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Elizabeth Dillenburg

S. E. Duff. 2015. Changing Childhoods in the Cape Colony: Dutch Reformed Church Evangelicalism and Colonial Childhoods, 1860–1895. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

In Changing Childhoods in the Cape Colony: Dutch Reformed Church Evangelicalism and Colonial Childhoods, 1860–1895 (hereafter Changing Childhoods), S. E. Duff explores shifting notions of childhood and, more specifically, the emergence of new ideas about white childhood in the Cape Colony, South Africa, during the late nineteenth century by examining various efforts to convert and educate children, especially poor white children, and improve their welfare. As indicated in the title, Changing Childhoods draws attention to the multiplicity of experiences of children who existed alongside each other in the Cape Colony and how they were shaped by a variety of factors, including religion, location, class, race, and gender. While many histories of childhood elide the experiences of boys and girls, Duff pays careful attention to the different constructions of girlhood and boyhood and how gender shaped the lives of boys and girls, men and women. Throughout the book, girls appear not as passive observers but as complex agents shaping and participating in broader social, political, cultural, and economic transformations in the Cape.

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Not Too Real

Young Men Find “The Real” in “Unreal” Media

Allison Butler

This article explores stories told by five young men, ages 17-19, about how they conceptualize “reality” through their electronic media choices. In studies on young people and the media, there is a rich and popular conservative tradition of seeing those deemed “deviant” as deeply and negatively influenced by the media. These individuals are assumed to have a fragile conscience that will permit them to be attracted to and act out socially unacceptable behaviors seen in the media. Deviance is understood in terms of social location, including race, gender, social class, and educational attainment. This essay challenges that tradition by asking how these boys understand and make meaning from their media choices. I draw directly from their stories told by youth of color from the inner-city South Bronx, New York. How do they articulate their viewing/listening positions and make meaning of “reality” when it is often people like them who are depicted as criminals and perpetuators of socially unacceptable behaviors in the media? Instead of seeking out or reacting against violent media, they choose and “make meaning” from media that help them conceptualize family, friendship, community, and career choice.

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Rethinking Agency and Resistance

What Comes After Girl Power?

Marnina Gonick, Emma Renold, Jessica Ringrose, and Lisa Weems

With the current proliferation of images and narratives of girls and girlhood in popular culture, many ‘truths’ about girls circulate with certainty. Amongst the aims of this Special Issue is to examine critically these ‘confi dent characterizations’ (Trinh 1989), to trace the social conditions which produce these ‘truths’ along with the public fascination with girls and to analyze critically the eff ects of these ‘truths’ in the lives of young girls. Th e concepts of resistance and agency have been critical to the field of youth studies, sociology of education and school ethnographies (Hall and Jeff erson 1976; McRobbie 1978; Willis 1978) for conceptualizing the relationships between young people and their social worlds. Ground breaking scholarship by McRobbie (2000) challenges the gendered assumptions of political agency articulated in previous theories of subcultures developed in the 1970s and 80s. While feminist poststructuralist work in the 1990s has re-conceptualized agency in ways that are markedly diff erent to humanist notions of rational actors with free-will (Butler 2006; Davies 2000), feminist researchers have also shown the importance of a classed, raced and sexed analysis of agency. For example, scholarship by feminists of color have shown how girls of color challenge and defy dominant stereotypes of girlhood in culturally specifi c ways such as participating in spokenword contests, rap and hip hop, and ‘beauty contests’ (Hernandez and Rehman 2002; Gaunt 2006). In the changing social, economic, political and globalizing context of the new millennium, where ‘girl power’ has become a marketing tool and a branding (Klein 2000) of girlhood, it is important to look anew at the relations between girlhood, power, agency and resistance.

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Christopher Pittard

begins by positing the anonymous serial The Boy Detective (1865–1866) as a response to the supposedly criminal influence of the penny dreadful, identifying the titular Herbert Keen as a means of inculcating middle-class values in a predominantly working-class

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Jay Mechling

scientists see the change from concern with “character” to concern with “personality” as a perfect sign of the cognitive change accompanying the economic and social revolution Americans were experiencing around 1910. The status revolution in the middle class

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Reframing Disability through Graphic Novels for Girls

Alternative Bodies in Cece Bell’s El Deafo

Wendy Smith-D’Arezzo and Janine Holc

format, but also as an expression of a new approach to the portrayal of disability in literature for young readers. Bell uses graphic novel techniques to create a representation of girlhood in which gender, disability, race, age, and class intersect in a

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Contemporary Girls Studies

Reflections on the Inaugural International Girls Studies Association Conference

Victoria Cann, Sarah Godfrey, and Helen Warner

issues of Brexit and austerity continue to have an impact on girls, and it is poor, working class, inner city girls of color who are disproportionally affected as Maya Goodfellow (2016) has pointed out. Indeed, the leading NGO for girls’ rights, Plan UK

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Smart Girl Identity

Possibilities and Implications

Bernice Loh

t girls. They recognize that not all girls who do w ell at school do so in the terms outlined in media stories of post-feminist girlhoods because of intersecting personal and social factors such as socio-economic class, race, age, and nationality

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Sharing Images, Spoiling Meanings?

Class, Gender, and Ethics in Visual Research with Girls

Janet Fink and Helen Lomax

of working-class girlhood and knowing in their engagement with the photographer, albeit unalike in terms of the gendered identities they are performing at that moment as they play, literally and metaphorically, to the camera. What we have described

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Martin Woodside

avid fan of dime novels, so much so that he had nicknamed himself “Kansas Charley.” The murder made tantalizing headlines, playing on the fears of anxious middle-class parents and pedagogues. One report warns that despite “his extreme youth,” Miller is