Spring 2023

Unequal Childhoods: Race, Class and Gender in the United States

Listed in: , as EDST-265  |  American Studies, as AMST-265  |  Anthropology and Sociology, as SOCI-265


Leah C. Schmalzbauer (Section 01)


(Offered as SOCI 265 and AMST 265) This course explores the ways in which race, class, gender and immigration status shape children’s lives. We begin by conceptualizing childhood as a social construct whose meaning has changed over time and that varies across context; for class privileged individuals, for example, childhood or adolescence may extend into the third decade of life, whereas for “others,” poverty and/or family responsibilities and community struggles may mean it scarcely exists at all. The bulk of the course draws from ethnographic scholarship focused on the relationship between childhood and inequality in key institutional contexts including school, family and the legal system. Through ethnography, we will critically examine the ways in which inequalities among and between groups of children shape their daily life experiences, aspirations and opportunities, and what this means for overall trends of inequality in the United States.

Limited to 25 students. Spring semester. Professor Schmalzbauer.

How to handle overenrollment: Priority given to sociology and American studies majors, then first and second year students

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Intensive academic and reflective writing, regular small group discussions/work, reading and interpreting interdisciplinary texts, critical engagement with issues of power, inequality and identity.

AMST 265 - LEC

Section 01
Tu 11:30 AM - 12:50 PM WEBS 217
Th 11:30 AM - 12:50 PM WEBS 217

This is preliminary information about books for this course. Please contact your instructor or the Academic Coordinator for the department, before attempting to purchase these books.

ISBN Title Publisher Author(s) Comment Book Store Price
Privilege: The Making of an Adolescent Elite at St. Paul's School Princeton University Press Khan Amherst Books TBD
On Becoming a Teen Mom: Life Before Pregnancy University of California Press Erdmans, Mary Patrice and Timothy Black Amherst Books TBD
The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students Harvard University Press Jack, Anthony Amherst Books TBD
Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family life California Press Lareau, Annette Amherst Books TBD
Never Ran, Never Will: Boyhood and Football in a Changing American City Perseus Books Samaha, Albert Amherst Books TBD
Educated: A Memoir Random House Westover, Tara Amherst Books TBD
The Maid's Daughter NYU Press Romero, Mary Amherst Books TBD

These books are available locally at Amherst Books.


2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2016, Spring 2019, Spring 2023