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Domesticating the Wild in Children's Literature

Semester and Year FA 2017
Course Number IDSEM-UG1596
Section 001
Instructor Myisha Priest
Days R
Time 3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Units 4
Level U
Requirement   HUM



The Ur-text of literatures for children is the encounter between a child and a Wild Thing. From  Little Red Ridinghood  to  Peter and the Wolf  to  Charlotte’s Web , the border between the child and the wild is a rite of passage marking the transformation of the child into an adult, and is the site of a child’s most fundamental education about how to be human. Works of children’s literature agree that literature can be used to explicitly structure the relationship between children and the wild, and construct subjectivities by nurturing a deeper awareness of what that relationship should be. Yet, what, exactly, is the wild in children’s literature? Representations of the wild reflect adult ideas about children—do they have a privileged relationship to nature, and innate understanding of the connection between humans and the world around them? Or are they wild things themselves, in need of templates for human/humane behavior toward other beings? Representations of the wild are also informed by ideology, shaped by societal ideas about race and gender, domination and subjection, power and privilege. In this course we will be thinking and writing about the surprising ways that children's texts imagine the wild as a charged cultural, political and racialized space, and how these texts imagine and construct subjectivities based on these relations pf power. Text may include  Babar ,  The Wind in the Willows ,  Alice in Wonderland, Where the Wild Things Are, Ricky Tiki Tavi  and  Fantasia .


All Syllabi

Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)