FYS 101   Childhood: Then, Now, & Around the World

Childhood is a changing social phenomenon, of continual fascination and concern. This course examines
childhood from a cross-cultural perspective. Every cultural community provides varying developmental
pathways for children. We will explore how the behavior and psychological functioning of children are
shaped by their culture and how various cultures potentially impact children’s personalities, selves,
thought patterns, health, fears, and behaviors. The course will focus on how human knowledge is
transmitted through multiple cultural channels in both informal and formal contexts. We will compare
the living conditions of children in developed and developing nations and what can be done to help
enhance the lives of children throughout the world. We will learn about the wide variety of
childhoods/families that exist across the world and caution against interfering in or criticizing people
whose lives, and understandings of the world, are very different than our own.  An analysis of how
childhood has changed across time will also be discussed. In addition, students will be asked to
compare their childhood experiences with children growing up elsewhere.