Westerns channeled nascent ideas of American adolescence into a unique vision of empowered American boyhood. Mapping the frontier as a space for youth, these texts troubled nineteenth-century age categories, establishing the dime novel as an ideological
In this article I propose a different way of reading children's novels by identifying types of stories that implicate social structures in their representation of inequality. My analysis focuses on children's novels in order to develop two distinct categories of stories, differentiating between narratives that reinforce the status quo and narratives that challenge it. I illustrate my contention that a subversive story makes visible connections between social power and inequality. To that end, I examine two case studies—Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie and Carol Ryrie Brink's Caddie Woodlawn—to demonstrate how these analytical categories bring to light key differences between two texts which have been subjected to other kinds of comparative analysis, appear to share so much, and are regularly discussed as being good books for girls.
Convergences and Divergences of the Gothic Literary Heroine
What brand of heroine can be found in the Twilight series? What discernible characteristics of a heroine can be found in gothic fiction and do these characteristics contribute to a social definition of girlhood/womanhood? In an analysis of the Twilight series' protagonist as a gothic heroine in contrast to Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, I claim that the author, Stephenie Meyer, constructs a particular category of contemporary gothic heroine. Drawing on the statement made by the novel's leading male character, Edward, to Bella that she is his “brand of heroin,“ this article plays with the idea that Meyer merged elements of the bildungsroman and the Female Gothic to create her brand. This brand of heroine fulfills the three distinct categories of girlhood/womanhood that characterize both the Gothic novel and the bildungsroman: a dependent stage, a caretaker stage, and a wife stage.
Evoking Girlhood Self-Images Through Photographic Self-Study
Rosalind Hampton and Rachel Desjourdy
Photographic self-study can promote professional growth and deepen analysis of how girlhood experiences such as those related to ability, class, gender, and race are conditioned by and inform our multiple, shifting identities as women. This article presents excerpts from three women's experiences of photographic self-study, highlighting the possibilities of this method as a malleable, feminist approach to critical reflexive practice. Our stories demonstrate how a creative process of self-interpretation, self-representation, and self-knowing can draw oppressive categories of self-identification-carried from girlhood-to the surface and expose them to critique and deconstruction.
Penny Welch and Susan Wright
Welcome to this issue of Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences. Important social aspects of contemporary higher education are addressed in this issue by authors from a number of countries and social science disciplines. These range from learning and teaching concepts of capitalism and alienation, to the impacts of computerised university administration, the systematic ways certain categories of students fall through cracks in the academic pipeline, and how to reintroduce social activism into a ‘professionalised’ curriculum and teach social justice through international study visits.
This article examines how middle school history textbooks published between 1951 and 1995 explain the origins of the Japanese as an ethnic group (minzoku). The analysis shows that despite the relatively long period from which the sample of textbooks was taken, these texts continue to emphasize two categories of Japanese identity: a biologically heterogeneous people through prehistoric immigration and a unified language. Building on the latter theme, the textbooks continued to treat the innovation of the kana as a quintessential development underlying the Japanese cultural achievement. The analysis reveals that the narrative tone shifted from being emotive in the early 1950s texts to somewhat muted in later decades.
Muhammad Ayaz Naseem and Georg Stöber
The concept of identity has evolved from an essentialist notion of a dominant group (which largely disregards the existence of plural identities or “patchwork identities” and their contextuality)2 into a notion that recognizes the discursive and fluid constitution of identities that are “constantly in the process of change and transformation.”3 Beyond academic debate about definitions, identity remains a relevant category in politics and society. Identity politics mobilize followers and supporters and may foster nation building. They are seldom unchallenged, for different discourses of identity often struggle for supremacy.
Cris Shore and Miri Davidson
As an early pioneer of market-led institutional reforms and New Public Management policies, New Zealand arguably has one of the most 'neoliberalised' tertiary education sectors in the world. This article reports on a recent academic dispute concerning the attempt by management to introduce a new category of casualised academic employee within one of the country's largest research universities. It is based on a fieldwork study, including document analysis, interviews and the participation of both authors in union and activist activities arising from the dispute. Whilst some academics may collude in the new regimes of governance that these reforms have created, we suggest that 'collusion' and 'resistance' are inadequate terms for explaining how academic behaviour and subjectivities are being reshaped in the modern neoliberal university. We argue for a more theoretically nuanced and situational account that acknowledges the wider legal and systemic constraints that these reforms have created. To do this, we problematise the concept of collusion and reframe it according to three different categories: 'conscious complicity', 'unwitting complicity' and 'coercive complicity'. We ask, what happens when one must 'collude' in order to resist, or when certain forms of opposition are rendered impossible by the terms of one's employment contract? We conclude by reflecting on ways in which academics understand and engage with the policies of university managers in contexts where changes to the framework governing employment relations have rendered conventional forms of resistance increasingly problematic, if not illegal.
Gust A. Yep, Sage E. Russo, and Ryan M. Lescure
Offering a captivating exploration of seven-year-old Ludovic Fabre’s struggle against cultural expectations of normative boyhood masculinity, Alain Berliner’s blockbuster Ma Vie en Rose exposes the ways in which current sex and gender systems operate in cinematic representations of nonconforming gender identities. Using transing as our theoretical framework to investigate how gender is assembled and reassembled in and across other social categories such as age, we engage in a close reading of the film with a focus on Ludovic’s gender performance. Our analysis reveals three distinct but interrelated discourses—construction, correction, and narration—as the protagonist and Ludovic’s family and larger social circle attempt to work with, through, and against transgression of normative boyhood masculinity. We conclude by exploring the implications of transing boyhood gender performances.
Anticipation and Imaginings of Mexican Immigrant Adolescent Girls
This article explores the immigrant journeys of Mexican immigrant adolescent girls raised in transnational families. Based on interviews conducted with this young cohort I examine how they experienced migration long before they neared the United States-Mexico border. Using a transnational approach to migration and the intersections of gender and age as analytical categories, I highlight how Mexican immigrant adolescent girls are uniquely situated within their families so as to have a different set of experiences from men, women, and adolescent boys. Their stories reveal that before migration their lives were saturated, because of their parents' departures and visits, with anticipation and imaginings about Napa Valley, California, and with interruptions of migration. Their lives always seemed to be on the brink of migration. This also means that the very reason for their parents' migration—to better provide for their children—placed the children en route, as it were, to the United States.