Words and pictures. Those different ways of framing expression often come together in works addressed to children—so much so that, though illustrated books have a long history that assumes adult readership, nowadays we have come to associate “picture books” mainly with children. In the same way, works produced by children—including many children who went on to become famous adult writers or artists—often take shape through words and pictures together.
In this course, our focus will be the convergence of words and pictures as they define children and childhood. Do understandings of childhood change when depicted in different ways—when different kinds of visual forms (drawings or photographs) illustrate different kinds of written texts (poems or stories)? When depicted by children or by adults?
Our approach will employ careful reading of formal conventions—for example, what different conventions shape photographs and drawings? It will also stress specific investigation of social and historical context—in what particular circumstances were these works produced: when? Where? Given what economic means? By whom exactly were they produced—what age? What gender? What race?—what else?—might their authors or artists be?