Children painting

Childhood, Mind, and Culture

Core Studies in Social Science

This example is broadly focused on childhood studies, with interests that connect the child's lived experience in a social/cultural surround, to the way culture is made and transformed, and to developmental processes through which the mind/brain takes shape. The student thus addressed questions that expand the understanding of child development as it is conceived of in psychology, of culture as it is conventionally approached in anthropology, and of mind/brain as it is approached in cognitive science. By taking a deep historical view, it also suggests the relevance of childhood for understanding human evolution, as well as the importance of children to the formation and transformation of cultural life. The concentration might be described as a CBD "major," with an emphasis on children's social development and bio-cultural anthropology. Courses are listed below as generic titles or topics, with some reference to specific courses offered at Hampshire and the Five Colleges.

During Division I six courses provided foundations for the concentration: Psychology and Culture; Representations of Young People; Darwin and Evolution; Biological Foundations of Psychological Development; Historical Perspectives on Infant Development; and a philosophy/ cognitive science course on emotions.

The CBD concentration included the following courses or independent studies.

Intellectual breadth

Biological sciences

  • Biological anthropology
  • Evolutionary biology

Social and cultural sciences

  • Children and their cultural worlds
  • Fictional child

Cognitive sciences

  • Emotions and the brain
  • Evolution of behavior

Core studies

Understanding children
Independent research project on the archaeology of childhood
Developmental psychology
Teaching assistant to Children and Their Cultural Worlds
Neural plasticity (The Plastic Brain)
Culture and biology

Integrative studies

CBD course Adolescent Development
CBD 300-level seminar on Culture, Mind, and Brain


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CBD (Program in Culture, Brain, and Development)
Mail Code CS
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002