Director of Academic Innovation, Professor of Childhood Studies
Professor Conrad teaches courses on childhood studies and critical youth studies with a particular focus on the convergence of psychological, social, and literary analysis. Her current scholarship involves taking young people seriously as poets and is the subject of her book project, Time for Childhoods: Young Poets and Questions of Agency. Her essays have appeared in Childhood: A Journal of Global Child Research; Children’s Literature Association Quarterly; Callaloo: Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters; Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures; and The Lion and the Unicorn’s Special Issue on Children’s Rights and Children’s Literature.
She is on the steering committee of the Critical Studies of Childhood, Youth, and Learning program.
For what and whose purposes do young writers write, and how are these purposes represented in our literary, cultural, and political worlds? How can works by young writers be read as literary texts, and how can adults facilitate opportunities for young writers? How do young writers engage with themes of injustice and oppression? This course integrates literary studies and critical youth studies in reframing young writers as cultural producers and participants in literary culture. We will focus on case studies in genres of diary/memoir and poetry including: young white Jewish writer Anne Frank whose Diary of a Young Girl was written in hiding in Amsterdam during World War II; and Vanessa Howard and other young Black poets who wrote in the US during the 1960s and early 1970s Civil Rights movement. Keywords: children, youth, literature, poetry, memoir
Young activist Xiuhtezcatl Martinez has written that "the youth of the world are continuing to rise to power and shape our culture." In this course, we will examine texts written by youth, and youth action and activism primarily in the contemporary U.S., as forms of enacting such power and shaping. We will use methods from critical youth studies and literary studies to take seriously young people's literary, cultural and social-political engagements. In focusing on young people writing and taking action for racial, environmental, and climate justice, we will consider youth-produced texts and action/activism as well as conditions that make possible youth-and-adult collaborations. As part of the Environments and Change Learning Collaborative, we will have the opportunity to engage in collaborative work and projects with a cohort of classes at Hampshire College addressing similar questions from different perspectives to form a learning community. (keywords: youth, children, activism, justice, childhood studies)
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