Core Courses


AP/HUMA 1970 6.0 The Worlds of Childhood
AP/HUMA 2690 6.0 On Children: An Introduction to Children's Studies
AP/HUMA 3695 6.0 Listening to Children: Ethics and Methodology of Child-Centered Studies
AP/HUMA 4142 6.0 Contemporary Children's Culture


AP/HUMA 1970 6.0 The Worlds of Childhood
AP/HUMA 2690 6.0 On Children: An Introduction to Children's Studies
One of:
AP/HUMA 4142 6.0 Contemporary Children's Culture (open to Minors as available)
AP/HUMA 4140 6.0 Childhood in Canadian Culture
AP/HUMA 4145 6.0 Fantasy and Children's Culture

AP/HUMA 1970 6.0 The Worlds of Childhood

This course explores the significance of childhood being constructed differently in various times and cultures. We will study the history of childhood with an emphasis on Western culture. We will analyze representations of children and childhood in a variety of cultural forms: children's fiction and poetry, film and television (fiction and documentary), visual arts (including painting and photography), and music.

We will investigate cultural products created for children, including children's toys, video games, and other artifacts from popular culture. We will study children as consumers, but we will also research the culture children create and transmit for themselves, including their folklore, art, writing, activism, and responses to the world. We will focus on issues of children's rights and child power, with an eye to present and future developments in "the worlds of childhood."

Course Credit Exclusion: Prior to Fall 2009: AS/HUMA 1970 9.00

This course is the first-year, required core course in the Children's Studies Program.

It also fulfills General Education requirements for Humanities.
To enter the Children's Studies Program from another or undecided major, students require at least a "B" (6.0) in this course.
Students intending to major or minor in the Children's Studies Program should contact the Program Coordinator for permission to enroll in this section (Section A) of this course because of the literacy partnership and fieldwork project.
Children's Studies majors and minors require at least a "B" (6.0) in this course to continue in the Program.

AP/HUMA 2690 6.0 On Children: An Introduction to Children's Studies

Throughout the 20th century, research on children proceeded from the hegemonic developmental perspective that emerged towards the end of the 19th century. Children were seen as objects, recipients of, rather than participants in, cultural exchanges. Childhood was mainly considered to be a progress toward adulthood rather than valued as a state of being in its own right. Emphasis therefore was placed upon child-rearing practices and the adult society's constructions of childhood. Children's own worlds – their phenomenal realities – and their views of the larger world in which they lived were largely ignored. In the past thirty years, the gaze on children and childhood has shifted such that children are now seen as active participants in their own culture as well as in the larger world.

This course is an interdisciplinary introduction to the study of children and childhood from birth to age eighteen (the international definition of "child"). It draws on many disciplines, including anthropology, sociology, psychology, kinesiology, criminal justice, children's and adult literature, environmental studies, history, religious studies, philosophy, economics, business, and biology. The focus is on contemporary narratives of knowledge of children and childhood and the means through which they are constructed. Of particular importance are the voices of children themselves as authorities on being children.

Each student will participate in a contemporary children's culture project enabled through a community partnership. In order to do so, every member of the class will be required to apply to the Ontario Education Services Corporation for a "vulnerable sector" police record check. Exact details will be given to each student enrolled in the course. The project will involve regular and direct experience with young children in child-centred situations, observations of children's culture in operation, and subsequent analysis of the understanding of contemporary childhood acquired through this process.

Course Credit Exclusion: AP/HUMA 2690 9.00, prior to Fall 2009: AS/HUMA 2690 9.00


This is a required core course for majors and minors in the Children's Studies Program, to be taken after HUMA 1970 9.0A and before HUMA 3695 6.0 and 4142 6.0.
Children's Studies majors and minors require at least a "B" (6.0) in this course to continue in the Program.

AP/HUMA 3695 6.0 Listening to Children: Ethics and Methodology of Child-Centered Studies

Under the UN Convention of Rights of the Child (adopted 1989), young people under 18 are defined as a vulnerable population with special rights of provision, protection and participation. All professional interactions with children should, then, be governed by ethical standards and guidelines that realize their rights through working in their best interests.

Central to achieving this goal, which is the guiding principle of the UN Convention, is the determination of the best interests of any given child or group of children in a particular situation. It is, then, necessary to shape standard methodologies of human interaction in professional circumstances to realize a child-centred approach that enables children's voices to be heard in all matters that concern them – the second guiding principle of the UN Convention. Research that recognizes children as having agency in their own lives and as authorities on being child will issue from this approach.

This course first explores the ethical issues specific to professional interactions with children as a result of their rights, particularly to protection as a vulnerable population; to privacy; to freedom of association; to participation and to full disclosure of procedures, risks and potential harm/benefits; to religious and cultural freedom of choice; to engagement with the physical and social environments; to be directly involved in giving informed consent and to have some enduring control over the research outcomes.

Case studies, representing various ethical dilemmas, will be used in this section along with readings that explicate extant means used to determine the best interests of the child, for instance, by the Children's Aid Society and the Office of the Children's Lawyer for Ontario. Also, the standards applicable to professional groups such as teachers and health care workers involved with children will be considered with reference to their agenda of concern and their relation to children's rights.

Simultaneously, there will be consideration and workshopping of the specifics of various standard methodologies employed in child research and the necessity to re-think and re-shape them so as to be appropriate for working with children in their best interests and in accord with their rights. Here the marked changes since 1989 in the justice and health care systems will be studies. Such consideration will necessarily involve the notable failures to hear children's voices (as in questionnaires or intimidating interviews by authority figures) or attend to their best interests that characterized practices prior to the evolution of the contemporary approaches.

Also, there will be intensive consideration of best practices for doing research with children. Here students will engage in workshops to learn how to undertake participant observations with children, interview them effectively, utilize other media (such as visual art work, drama, movement, storytelling) and technology (such computerized discussion groups) ethically to elicit children's voices, and to acquire the skills necessary to thorough, yet as non-intrusive as possible, documentation.

From the outset of the course, each student will develop a research project that will involve hearing children's voices in order to work in their best interests in some specific way or circumstance of particular interest. Here they will work cooperatively in research groups that will offer suggestions and critical comment to help shape each other's projects.

They will each learn the process of obtaining institutional consent to pursue the research and, in so doing, they will learn the restrictions that must be placed upon them in order to realize the rights of the children involved. They will also subject their research proposals to an ethics review, using the York University standards and forms. The final portion of the course will involve their completion of the research projects and presentation of them to the class.

Each student will then prepare his/her own project to be archived, complete the necessary documentation and undertake the process of accessioning it in the Canadian Children's Culture Collection in Ross. By so doing, the students will have achieved a heightened professional competence as Children's Studies specialists.

Course Credit Exclusion: Prior to Fall 2009: AS/HUMA 3695 6.00


This is a required, core course for Children's Studies majors, to be taken after HUMA 2690 6.0 and before HUMA 4142 6.0.
Children's Studies majors and minors require at least a "B" (6.0) in this course to continue in the Program.

AP/HUMA 4140 6.0 Childhood in Canadian Culture

This course analyzes childhood as represented and experienced in Canadian culture through time, across regions, and among cultural groups. There are two primary aspects to the course: first, an exploration of the range of representations of children and childhood in Canadian expressive culture through different moments of history, throughout different regions, and among different cultural groups; and second, the relationship of these cultural constructs to the real-life experience of children at various times in different parts of, or groups within, Canada.

The course will also focus on children's own culture (through their folklore, reminiscences of being a child, and similar documents of the voice of the child); on "child power" and its limitations; and on contemporary concerns about the role and status of children in Canada. The course utilizes several genres of "texts" (including fiction, poetry, life-writing, drama, and film) and multidisciplinary approaches (including the studies of literature, film, history, and ethnography).

Course Credit Exclusion: Prior to Fall 2009: AS/HUMA 4140 6.0; prior to Fall/Winter 2003-2004 AS/HUMA 4000B 6.0


This course is one of three possible required capstone courses for Children's Studies minors. It can also count as 6 credits at the 4000 level for majors.

AP/HUMA 4142 6.0 Contemporary Children's Culture

This course proceeds from an understanding of children as agents in and of culture. It argues that children are not mere receivers of culture but active producers of it as well. Like all distinguishable human groups, children have cultural artifacts with which they identify collectively and by which they are identified by outsiders. These artifacts may be material, oral, behavioural, and, increasingly, virtual or digital. Young people manipulate these artifacts in response to a multiplicity of physical and social milieux to fulfill various needs and achieve desired ends. These artifacts comprise childhood culture as well as children's own culture.

Childhood culture is that which supports and reflects the social construction(s) of children and childhood amongst a given people at a particular time and place. Its persistence tends to rely predominantly upon adults and the media and institutions they control. Examples include rhymes and games adults play with infants, manufactured toys, children's literature, and traditional singing games taught in preschools and kindergartens.

Children's own culture is that which resonates with young people's sense of "childness" or state of being a child, again in particular sociocultural and historical-geographical contexts. Children inherit some of their own culture through oral tradition, as well as through observation and imitation of their older peers; some they appropriate from the world around and re-create or manipulate to their liking; while some they create themselves and share within whatever child-centered milieux and avenues are available to them.

Taken together, childhood culture and children's own culture support childhood as a microcosm of the larger culture in which it exists. As such, children's culture at any given time or place serves as a worthy topic for serious study as a means to appreciate the nature, meanings and functions of children's "ways of being" and their "shared set of ideas," these being two of the most humanistic definitions of culture. Further, children's culture (by virtue of being typically more subversive and more creative than its "parent" culture) offers a particularly significant perspective on that larger culture and its potential trajectory into the future.

The course will address the nature, significance and relevance of children's culture today by exploring the qualities that children's own culture has typically exhibited whenever it has been documented worldwide. This is not to essentialize children or their culture – the content definitely varies, but the characteristics persist. The culture that children themselves have considered strong enough to be remembered and passed on for their own use is oral, interpersonal, and interactive; shows an omnipresence of play; is active as well as secretive, displaying strong boundary maintenance; is superstitious, imaginative and primarily creative; values tradition and honours fairness and justice (especially retributive justice); displays imagination and creativity; has short generations; is subversive and serves as children's locus of control and a primary means for their development and empowerment.

We will consider contemporary children's culture in terms of these attributes that children themselves value and that evidently have served them well. By so doing, we will analyze the ways and means by which contemporary culture of and for children does or does not work in their best interests. Further, we will explore contemporary social constructions of children and childhood and the agenda of child concerns associated with them as well as the childness of contemporary childhoods and its potential enduring impact on people's lives.

Prerequisite/Corequisite: AP/HUMA 3695 6.00

Course Credit Exclusion: Prior to Fall 2009: AS/HUMA 4142 6.00


This course is the required, core course at the 4000 level for Children's Studies majors
This course is one of three possible required capstone courses for Children's Studies minors.

AP/HUMA 4145 6.0 Fantasy and Children's Culture

This course explores the fantasy mode in childhood and children's culture made by and for them, including literature (poetry, picture books, and novels), film (live action and animated), toys, songs, and games (including video games).

The course examines the concept of fantasy, investigating the role fantasy plays in the lives of children through the study of various genres of fantasy, including heroic and epic fantasy, talking animal fantasy, and time-travel fantasy.

The roots of fantasy in Victorian and Edwardian fantasy, in Britain, the United States, and Europe, will be explored, as will the evolution of literature, film, and game fantasy from throughout the 20th century, including contemporary manifestations of fantasy in children's and young people's culture.

Course Credit Exclusion: Prior to Fall 2009: AS/HUMA 4145 6.0

NOTE : This course is one of three possible required capstone courses for Children's Studies minors. It can also count as 6 credits at the 4000 level for majors.

All Courses

CHST SU17 courses (PDF)

Not all of the courses below will necessarily be offered in any given year. For more information, please consult the relevant supplemental calendars.

With the approval of the program coordinator, students may complete other courses for credit in Children's Studies. Subject to course exclusion and in-Faculty regulations, students may also complete courses offered outside of the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies for credit in Children's Studies.

(1) Students are warned to check, and ensure they have completed, the prerequisite(s) for each of the courses listed below that they hope to take. Such prerequisites will not be waived for Children's Studies students.

AP/CDNS 4200 6.00
AP/EN 3032 6.0
AP/EN 3171 3.0
AP/EN 3173 3.0
AP/EN 3174 3.0
GL/EN 3636 6.00
AP/FR 3340 6.00
AP/GEOG 4700 3.00
AP/HIST 1080 6.00
AP/HIST 4051 6.00
AP/HREQ 3961 3.0
AP/HREQ 3964 3.0
AP/HUMA 2680 9.00
AP/HUMA 3103 6.00
AP/HUMA 3685 6.00
AP/HUMA 3690 6.00
AP/HUMA 3691 3.00
AP/HUMA 3692 6.00
AP/HUMA 3693 6.00
AP/HUMA 3694 3.00
AP/HUMA 3697 3.0
AP/HUMA 3698 3.0
AP/HUMA 3699 3.00
AP/HUMA 4140 6.00
AP/HUMA 4141 6.00
AP/HUMA 4144 3.0
AP/HUMA 4145 6.00
AP/HUMA 4146 3.00
AP/HUMA 4147 6.00
AP/HUMA 4148 3.00
AP/HUMA 4149 3.00
AP/HUMA 4410 6.00
AP/HUMA 4824 3.00
HH/SC/KINE 3340 3.00
HH/SC/KINE 3480 3.00
HH/SC KINE 3530 3.00
HH/SC KINE 4560 3.00
AP/LING 3210 3.00
HH/SC/PSYC 2110 3.00
HH/SC/PSYC 3500 3.00
HH/SC/PSYC 3520 3.00
HH/SC/PSYC 3630 3.00
HH/SC/PSYC 4010 3.00/6.00
HH/SC/PSYC 4460 6.00
GL/PSYC 3300 3.00
GL/PSYC 3510 3.00
AP/MIST 4010 3.0
AP/SOSC 2150 9.00
AP/SOCI 3660 6.00
AP/SOCI 4060 3.00
AP/SOCI 4830 3.00
GL/SOCI 3210 3.00
FA/DANC 3370 3.00
FA/DANC 4369 3.00
FA/DANC 4375 3.00
FA/DANC 4376 3.00
FA/THEA 3450 6.00
FA/THEA 4334 3.0/ 6.00
FA/THEA 4440 6.00
AP/GL/GWST 3553 3.0