Dr. Patrick Ryan

Course Calendar (2210)

Week 1- Sept. 9 - Course Introduction

Week 2 – Sept. 16 - Knowing Subjects and Objects of Knowledge

Reading: Bluebond-Langner Chapters 1-2

Class Exercise: While reading Chapter 2 of BL, mark passages where children positioned themselves or were positioned by others as (1) social actors, (2) innocent of their situation, (3) products of environment, (4) developing organisms. 

Lecture Resources

Piaget's Stages of Cognitive Development

Piaget's Questions on Children's Concept of Life

Susan Carey's Stages of Children's Concept of Death

MBL Talks about Her Dissertation



Jean Piaget
Genetic Epistemology
Marking Binet's Tests
3 Mountain Tests
Stages of Cognitive Development
Stage Theories
Piaget on Children and Life
Carey on Children and Death

Myra Bluebond-Langner
Bluebond-Langner's Theses

Week 3 – Sept. 23 - Social and Moral Actors

Bluebond-Langner Chapters 3-4

Class Exercise: Find at least four examples where children adjusted behavior or self-presentation to acquire knowledge about their illness.

Lecture Resources

Bluebond-Langner's Stages of Children & Death

Unk., "Who is Studying Whom?" (L20C)

Arnold Gesell, "Yale Clinic" (1947)

Rockwell's "The Problem We All Live With," (1964)


B-L's stage model
Participant Observation
Thick Description

Lawrence Kohlberg
Heinz Dilemma
stages of moral reasoning
strange situation

Robert Coles “Moral Life”
Ruby Bridges
historical/institutional context

Week 4 – Sept. 30 – Reflexivity and Socialization

Reading: Bluebond-Langner, Chapters 5-7

Class Exercise: The concept of the “mutual pretense” is very important in BL.  Try to think of at least one example of this phenomena from your life; what consequences do you think it has had?

Lecture Resources

Identity Formation Model

SAT Identity Cycle




Behaviorism and Popular Concepts of Children's Socialization
generalized other
significant other

Identity Formation in 20C Sociology
George Herbert Mead
Symbolic Interactionism
Generalized Other
Role-Play and Games
the 'I' and the 'Me'
Politics-Conditioning Tension
Erving Goffman
Dramaturigical Analysis
frontstage & backstage
secondary adjustment
mutual pretense
William Corsaro

social actors


Paper 1 - Due Oct. 4 - Critical Review of Bluebond-Langner - 30% - Submit Through OWL


Week 5 – Oct. 7 – Landscape of Modern Childhood 1

Reading: watch the video or listen to the audio of an ask-the-author session on the LMC at Althouse faculty of education, 2013.

Class Exercise: While reading media news reports, or viewing advertising and TV shows, gather together some contemporary examples of images, key phrases (etc.) of childhood.  What discourses of childhood show themselves (socialization, development, authenticity, competent agency)?  What consequences might these ideas about children have for the practices of childhood?

Lecture Resources

Text-Discourse Dynamic

The Landscape of Modern Childhood (LMC) Diagram

Vermeer's The Milkmaid (1658)

John Locke, excerpt from Some Thoughts par. 42-46 (1693)

Key Family Portrait (L16C)

The Peale Family
(L 18C)

Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson, "Portrait du jeune Trioson" (1800)

Lewis Hine, "Glimpse"



LMC Diagram
romantic dev.
sci. developmentalism

The Conditioned Child
John Locke
tabula rasa
the conditioned child
'the affirmation of ordinary life'

The Authentic Child
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
amour-propre (vs) amour de soi
romantic poets
romantic dualisms

discursive positioning
generative tensions
conditioning-authenticity tension


Week 6 – Oct. 14 – The Landscape of Modern Childhood 2

Reading: Ryan, "How New is the 'New' Social Studies of Childhood? The Myth of a Paradigm Shift," Journal of Interdisciplinary History, vol. 38, no. 4 (Spring, 2008): 553-576. 

Class Exercise:
Examine Gesell's "Yale Clinic"  and Milestones closely. 

Identify and name the key (1) compositional (visual or grammatical) structures, (2) propositional (assumptions, meanings, ideas) elements, and (3) material (media, practices, relations) techniques that are put into play by these two texts.  

What discourse(s) of childhood are instantiated in these two texts?

Lecture Resources

Arnold Gesell, "Yale Clinic" (1947)

Milestones, Mothercraft (1923).

Baby in a Box


Radical Simplification
Graphic Visualization

The Developing Child
Child Science
Developmental Models

The Conditioned Child of Science
operant conditioning
B.F. Skinner
Baby in a Box

Margart Mead
cultural socialization
nature-nurture tension


Week 7 – Oct. 21 - Children's Rights

Reading: Andrew Rehfeld, "The Child as Democratic Citizen," The Annals of the American Academy of Social Science vol. 633 (January 2011): 141-166.

Class Exercise: View the UNICEF 2013 and UNICEF 2016.

Who is the assumed viewer (target) of these videos? How do the videos define children's rights (are they claims to care or claims to participation)? Who is the imagined 'actor' in the use of these rights?

Justify your answers in terms of the compositional (visual or audio arrangment), propositional (dialogue plot, figures, etc.), or practical (media form, the viewing practices, the circulatory norms, etc.) elements of these texts.

Lecture Resources


UNICEF Chile on the Right of Expression (CRC 13, 2006)

UNICEF Australia on the CRC (2013)



negative rights
positive rights
participatory rights
rights of care
United Nations
UNCRC 12,13, 18, 28

The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child

Week 8 - Oct. 28 - Children's Rights to Care and Informed Consent

Reading: A.C. v. Manitoba [2009] SCC
(20-page excerpt)

Class Exercise: Read this note on the excerpt of AC v Manitoba above, and do several things:

1) Which of the three holdings do you find most persuasive and why?

2) Focus on pages 166-170 (Binnie's additional facts), do these facts alter the profile of the dispute in a way that changes your understanding of the legal question or the proper legal answer?  Say why or why not.

Lecture Resources

Health Care Consent Act, Ontario

Globe and Mail 2002 Story on Bethany Hughes

"Aboriginal medicine ruling ignites debate on children's rights" Toronto Star 10/05/2018.


A.C. v. Manitoba (2009) SCC
Charter s. 1, 2, 7, 15

parens patriae
emancipated minors
informed consent
Ontario's Health Care Consent Act
mature minor doctrine

 Paper 1 - Due Nov. 4 - Children's Rights Paper - 35% - Submit Through OWL


Week 9 - Nov. 11 - Household Production & Children's Work

Reading: "Working Children," (excerpt 62-69) in Childhood in America edited by Paula Fass and Mary Ann Mason (NYUP, 2000): 237-259.

Class Exercise:  The first five short excerpts introduce the terms of apprenticeship in British North America. The next three excerpts (Kohn, Nasaw, and Cohen) outline urban, industrial child labour. Make two parellel lists of the  characteristics of these two forms of labour, and identify the key similarities and differences.

Lecture Resources

General Historical Typology of Child Labor

Indenture of Apprenticeship (Va, 1659).  Philip A. Bruce, An Economic History of Virginia (NY: MacMillan, 1896).

Household Types, U.S. (1790-1990) from William A. Corsaro, The Sociology of Childhood (1997): 80.

Number of Persons in U.S. HH 1960-1998 From Lynne M Casper and Suzanne M. Bianchi, "A "Quieting" of Family Change" in Andrew Cherlin ed. Public and Private Families:  A Reader (McGraw-Hill, 2005): 11.

Sons Established (Ontario) -1881 

General Historical Typology of Child Labor

Lancashire Mills, UK (1833) Age/Gender of Employees

Family-Wage Earning Stategies and Child Labour

Rapid Decline in Youth Participation in Industrial Labour - Ohio data

Rapid Decline in Youth Participation in Industrial Labour - Ontario Data

Rapid Decline in Working-Class Generational Interdependency



traditional paternalism
Cotton Mather

Master-Servant Child Labour
(family land owning, generational residential and inheritance patterns, patrilineal naming)

Historical Typology of Child Labour

Working-Class Child Labour
industrial discipline
family wage-earning strategy
generational reciprocity
U.S. Housheold Budget Surveys

Week 10 - Nov. 18 - Child Labour Reform & Middle-Class Childhood

"The Politics of International Intervention," chapter 9 in Rights and Wrongs of Children's Work edited by Michael Bourdillon et al (Rutgers University Press, 2010): 180-202. 

Class Exercise: List the pros and cons of boycotts as a means of seeking positive social change.

Lecture Resources

Lewis Hine Photography

Canadian Statistics on School Participation


Historical Typology of Child Labour

Middle-Class Child Labour
parental breadwinning
child dependency
the institutionalization of childhood

Lewis Hine

liability law
assumed risk
fellow servant rule
contributory negligence
due care

U.S. and Canada Historical Youth Workforce and Education Data

Week 11 - Nov. 25 - International Prohibitions on Children's Labour

Reading: International Labour Organization, Conventions on Child Labour, ILO C-138 "Establishing Minimum Agre Requirements" (1973) & C-182 "Eliminating the Worst Forms of Child Labour" (1999).

Class Exercise: What discourses of childhood and what types of rights seem to be present in the ILO conventions on child labour?

Lecture Resources

ILO Global Estimates, 2017

Hollos Charts

BBC Documentary Film
"Child Slavery"
(with Rageh Omarr, 2007).

ILO global estimates
by category
over time
by region
by national income
by gender
by sector
by labour framework

Marida Hollos Study

International Labour Organization

Week 12 - Dec 2 - The Working Children's Movement

Reading 1:
Manfred Liebel and Antonella Invernizzi, "The Movements of Working-Children and International Labour Organization - A Lesson on Enforced Silence," Children and Society vol. 33 (2019): 142-153.

Reading 2: The Kundapur (1996) & Dakar (1998) Declarations.

Class Exercise: Liebel and Invernizzi advocate for listening to working children's organizations.  List the strengths and weaknesses of their argument

Lecture Resources

The Corporation Clip 1
The Corporation Clip 2

A Letter From the World-Wide Movement of Working Children and Youth to the International Labour Organization (2002)

Three Short Documents of the Working Children's Movement in Latin America


International Working-Children's Movement
Kundapur Declaration
Dakar Declaration

Paper 3 - Child Labour Paper (35 %) - Due Dec. 8 - Submit through OWL