Showing posts from May, 2007

More Books Back to UIUC

So many books, so much time they took... -White, A Historical Introduction to Library Education (kept TofC and a xeroxed section of pages related to youth services work) -Hopkins, History of the YMCA in North America -Macleod, Building Character in the American Boy: The Boy Scouts, YMCA, and Their Forerunners, 1870-1920. Useful because it gave me background on Ernest Seton Thompson, who spoke to the first class of children's librarian trainees (along with John Dewey, Jane Addams, and others). (xeroxing TofC and a few select pages re discouragement of fiction reading in 1870s) Histories of the Kindergarten Movement -Ross, The Kindergarten Crusade -Liebschner, A Child's Work: Freedom and Play in Froebel's Educational Theory and Practice -Shapiro, Child's Garden. This was another book I encountered early in the process. Lots of stickies to remove, but ultimately all I really want to keep is the TofC. Other Social Movements Related to Childhood: -Cavallo, Muscles and

Life in Books

I've read two extraordinary books over the past week, books that have helped me put some of the recent tumult in my life into perspective. They are also scholarly reflections, written by women whose work in the academy has transformed their ways of looking at their own lives. Bateson, Mary Catherine. Composing a Life. Bateson, daughter of Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson, draws on the tradition of ethnography to create this detailed narrative of central themes in the lives of five women. She looks at women's work in an era when feminist ideals were at their height but women's realities were (as they are now) still often at odds with the concepts of equality. She sees lives as processes of negotiation. The chapter "Opening to the World" might be an excellent reading to include as part of the personal narrative portion of the storytelling class. (starts p. 56) A few quotes.... Related to storytelling and narrative as the basis upon which we shape our lives: --&

Shelf 2: Books back to UIUC

This is the shelf on women's history, gender history... General Women's History -Lerner, Gerda, The Woman in American History -Lerner, The Majority Finds its Past (edited collection) These might be useful as I look forward to making an article for the Journal of Women's History, or maybe not... I need to see what they're publishing now to know more, Lerner is, I assume, deep background due to the age of her work. -Kerber, Women of the Republic: Intellect and Ideology in Revolutionary America -Cott, The Bonds of Womanhood: "Women's Sphere" in New England, 1780-1835. -Hays, The Cultural Contradictions of Motherhood. Covers too wide a time to be deeply useful to me, but interesting arguments that echo some of what Alma has written and suggested that I read. -Matthaei, An Economic History of Women in America. This was a major point of reference in writing the dissertation, as background to arguments I wanted to to make about how childhood became im

Books that are going back to UIUC

There are some important books that are now going to leave my bookshelves, because it's time to turn them in and make the U of I library happy again. I have put my dissertation, in full, up on my website:, linked from "projects," in case you're curious. This post is more shorthand for myself than news for my readers, but I promise to make the next post interesting to others.... 3 major works on Progressive Era history: -Wiebe The Search for Order -Hofstadter The Age of Reform -McGerr A Fierce Discontent -Glanz Bureaucracy and Professionalism On Children/Childhood: -Heininger, ed. A Century of Childhood 1820-1920 . Broad overview in intro of Rousseau/Locke influencing Protestant ideas about children, moving from born damned to born innocent, and therefore the responsiblity to raise them well -Graff, Conflicting Paths: Growing Up in America . Graff argues, using a series of case studies, that childhood in the 19th century was more diverse than a

Back to fiction for youth adults... Vail and Oates

Rachel Vail, You, Maybe: The Profound Assymetry of Love in High School Yes, another novel of high-school love. Rachel Vail came along right before the recent explosion of chick lit (back in 1999--I remember her Friendship Ring series causing a splash). What's good about Vail is her ability to go deeper than most into the psychology of young characters' decisions about their lives. In this book, Josie first scorns the attentions of high-school-god Carson Gold, then craves them, and finally we see her internal dialog as she starts to blame herself for every crappy thing he does to her. It's eerily familiar reading, and yet Vail keeps it fresh by showing Josie's step-by-step loss of self. The plot is predictable, but aren't so many high school romance books, really? (Vail's subtitle seems to acknowledge this book as one in an established genre.) Carson likes her less as her independent attitude evaporates, and dumps her just as she has all but fully conform

Aristotle's Poetics

Can't say as I ever thought I'd be seriously considering teaching a bit of Aristotle, much less the very text in which he describes women as inferior (and slaves as worthless... it was another time, long ago). But I am. Considering it. Parts I through IX make a handy intro to a totally different way of thinking about storytelling than a public library story hour, an intro that also takes seriously the idea of story writing, not only performance, as part of this task.

Children's Cultural Spaces

I requested the book Learning to Curse for Greenblatt's essay "Towards a Poetics of Culture," with the idea of finding inroads to literary/anthropological ways of addressing children's public culture, and specifically of addressing the public library story hour as an instance of that culture... That, dear readers, is where I'm heading right now with research, historical and otherwise. I'm about to post a note on the GSLIS board asking folks to relate their memories of public library story hours or any childhood experiences in libraries or museums that they remember. Do you have such memories? What's most vivid to you about those experiences? Would you post here, in response, or perhaps even be willing to let me informally inteview you at some point? I'm not at a formal stage of interviewing or focus groups, but I may hold a tea in the Center for Children's Books at some point this summer as a way of jumpstarting this conversation. After all,

as the books come due...

and I am trying to clean out the bookshelves of library titles post-dissertation, I'm realizing that this blog has to become way less entertaining and way more practical for awhile. So it will, with apologies to my loyal readers. I'll try to throw in tidbits for you, but my need to record what I've read is taking precedence for the moment. Recently Read Things: --Several articles on children's interactions with an online storytelling environment in Portugal: This was the better one of the two, but both articles begged the question: why create a computer program to do something kids can do just as easily with a dress-up box? Is it to direct them toward acting out particular stories? It inevitably does this, which raises questions about which stories are selected and how children are enculturated. --Illick, American Childhoods This was one of many titles of its ilk that I read parts of and cited in the di

books in a pile in my office

I'm probably going to be in clean-out mode for some time to come, which means these posts will continue to be jumbled.... Books Related to Teaching Storytelling: --Bruner, Jerome Making Stories I read this while in the hospital for a one-day medical test, so I have odd memories associated with it. (All was well with the test.) Alma Gottlieb recommended it to me, and I found it to be intriguing because it situates story both as an inherent element of the legal system--"The Legal and the Literary," chpt 2--and as the central tool for "The Narrative Creation of Self" (chpt 3). I'm copying the first chapter, "The Uses of Story," with the idea that it would make a good reflection piece for later in the class, much as I've used the set of three articles by Betsy Hearne for this spring 2007 iteration. --Thursby, Jacqueline S. Story: A Handbook Absolutely useful, positively dry as dust. It's not that the definitions, information, and expansive