Course Plan for April and May
April 3 -- Visit Eric Carle Museum of Picturebook Art
April 10 -- Meet at Jones Library to look at local Amherst resources
Libby on the Mount Pleasant Classical Institute
Jasmine on Amherst boys in the Civil War
April 17 -- Meet at Fayerweather 117
Leslie on the Spanish Civil War and children's art from the camps
Sabrina on remembering childhoods in slavery in the WPA interviews
Esther on tracking Sing Kum
Learn to use the Five College Museum's art database and request objects to view next week.
April 24 -- Meet at the Mead museum to see the things you have selected
May 1 -- no regular meeting. Celebration at my house time to be arranged
Research Proposal due.
Course Plan for Feb 28 - March 13
On February 28th we meet in Archives and Special Collections to use the fabulous Dickinson collections to see what they can teach us about childhood. A pdf of relevant poems and letters by Dickinson is below. For more biographical information peruse the Dickinson Museum website http://www.emilydickinsonmuseum.org/ and click on the "Emily Dickinson" links that interest you. As time allows we can also talk more about the census projects so you may want to bring your computers to class.
On March 6th we will meet at the Emily Dickinson Museum itself. Below you will also find a pdf of a little essay I published last year about the Dickinson nursery, I will try as well to get a pdf of an essay about the Dickinson's family life and what we can learn from the material culture of these houses posted in the next few days.
On March 12th post your census based biographies of some child. On March 13th we will talk about these in class (meeting again in my office).
Emily Dickinson Readings for Feb. 28
Readings for visiting the Dickinson Museum on March 6 ..............Jane Wald on the Dickinson Household
My Essay on the Dickinson Nursery
child biography instructions
Course Plan Feb 14 - March 6th
So here are the next installments in course planning. We can talk about it in class Feb 7 and do some fine tuning.
We will meet in Archives and Special Collections, Frost Library to look at manuscripts in the collection with relevance for children.
Homework due Feb 10th by 11 am. Scour the Amherst College manuscripts site and locate three items or collections you would like to explore. At least one needs to be a manuscript collection. This will give the library staff enough time to pull materials for us.
We will meet in the Lane Room at Frost with Missy Roser to learn about census search tools. Come prepared both with individuals you would like to try to find as part of your project and some ideas about demographic searches that might be useful to your research. I am going to ask Missy to give us a bit of a zotero introduction in this class as well.
A second day at the Amherst College Archives, we will look at Dickinson family materials in preparation for our visit to the Emily Dickinson Museum on March 6th.
The Emily Dickinson Museum has agreed for us to hold our seminar there on March 6th to view the Dickinson children's nursery and to work with an array of their childhood artifacts (toys, clothes, etc).
Amherst rare books and manuscript collections 2012
Course Plan Jan 31-Feb 7
Not exactly a syllabus but a plan of action
Each of you needs to think about a particular topic, time, place, issue of childhood that you would like to start investigating. It may well be that as the semester progresses you refine or shift your topic—and individual topics may not work well for any given research tool/method/source—but I think you will get the most out of this course if you pick an area of research to start with that seems likely to interest you for a long while, and for those of you who are considering doing thesis work next year it is an excellent plan to use this course to get yourself started.
We will meet next Tuesday Jan 31 in Webster 102—a room with lots of computers—and will work with periodical and newspaper databases.
By this Friday afternoon, Jan 27, you need to have come up with a research idea, you are welcome to bounce ideas off me if you like (by email or stop by my office, I will be here from 2:30-5:30 tomorrow). Let me know what you are planning to work on so that I can find good periodical databases for that project. Once you have picked a topic you will want to find 3 scholarly articles or book chapters that will help you to think about the issues involved and get the benefit of other scholar’s research on this issue.
The Amherst College Library homepage is the best place to start.
For books on the “Catalog” tab searching by “keywords anywhere” or “subject keywords” will help you find relevant material, and if you go to that shelf the books around the title you found are likely to have useful information as well.
For articles click on the “Databases” tab, choosing databases by subject is usually a good strategy. Some of the most helpful databases depending on your topic are likely to be:
Academic OneFile (1980 to present)
Full-text articles from all disciplines.
Academic Search Premier (date coverage varies)
Full-text articles from over 3,600 journals in the social sciences, arts and humanities, and sciences.
America: History & Life (1964 to present)
Covers the world's scholarly literature on the history and culture of the United States and Canada.
IBSS: International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (1951 to present)
Indexes about 3,000 journals and 7,000 books per year.
Historical Abstracts (1955 to present)
Scholarly literature about world history since 1450 (excluding the United States and Canada).
ERIC (1966 to present)
Covers research documents, journal articles, technical reports, program descriptions and evaluations, and curricular materials in the field of education.
Political Science Abstracts (1975 to present)
Covers international journals in political science and its complementary fields.
MLA International Bibliography (1926 to present)
Covers critical scholarship on literature, language, linguistics, and folklore.
If you know the title/source of the article you are looking for your best bet may well be to go straight to
Full-text backfiles of over one thousand leading academic journals across the humanities, social sciences, and sciences.
You may need to play with your search terms for a while before you find ones that really pull up material that is of interest to you. Once you find one article on your topic (especially a recent one, so go to the most recent first) its footnotes will help you find other relevant material.
Your assignment for our next class is to have picked a topic and find three articles or book chapters (secondary material) that address it and at least skimmed them. Then we will work in class to see how you can use periodical databases to find primary sources, and ideally children’s perspectives, or information that will help you get closer to that.
Then for the next week you will work with periodical databases to find relevant material for your topic. We will share key finds with each other and the readings for Feb 7th will be your classmates’ periodical clippings and each of you will produce as well a 1-2 page discussion of what you have found that starts to frame the questions at stake. What is interesting here?!