CUL118 - Childhood: A Cross Cultural Perspective

Outline info
Last revision date 2018-06-01 14:20:36.004
Last review date 2018-07-16 00:15:01.498

Subject Title
Childhood: A Cross Cultural Perspective

Subject Description

This course examines childhood from a variety of anthropological perspectives. It will investigate the cultural and societal constructs of childhood ranging from infancy through to adolescence and how different biological and social factors impact each stage. Throughout the course, both historical and modern theories will be presented to focus on the study of children and child-rearing practices across time and cultures. This course will compare and contrast cross cultural differences and similarities to determine which practices are universal or shared and which practices are culturally specific when raising children to be full members of society. Present day issues facing children will be explored through both global trends and culturally specific cases, and how these issues may shape the future of childhood. 

Credit Status
One General Education Credit.

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

Investigate the role and function of childhood through comparisons of various cultures and societies 
Demonstrate an understanding of changes and diversities that take place from infancy to adolescence and how changes relate to both biological and social factors
Analyze cross-cultural patterns of children’s activities, such as language, work and play and how these shape key components of childhood 
Use an anthropological approach to understand the study of children using observations, interviews, case studies and analysis of research
Describe the relationships between childhood and society and its ability to reflect and or challenge both current and historical cultural values, beliefs and global trends

Cheating and Plagiarism
Each student should be aware of the College's policy regarding Cheating and Plagiarism. Seneca's Academic Policy will be strictly enforced.

To support academic honesty at Seneca College, all work submitted by students may be reviewed for authenticity and originality, utilizing software tools and third party services. Please visit the Academic Honesty site on for further information regarding cheating and plagiarism policies and procedures.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Disabilities Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.


Topic Outline

  • Course Introduction: Childhood Through an Anthropologic Lens
  • Studying Children and Childhood: Historical Methods and Theories
  • What is a Child and What Defines Childhood? -
  • The Role and Importance of Infancy
  • Families and Parenting – Interview Assignment
  • Socialization and Peer Groups
  • Language, Work and Play
  • Discipline, Punishment and Abuse
  • Children and Sexuality  - Case Study #1
  • Adolescence and Initiation
  • Violence, Victimization and Loss of Childhood – Case Study #2
  • The Future of Childhood 

Mode of Instruction

 In-class: Students attend classes on campus each week. All instruction is delivered in a face to face environment.

Teaching and Learning Methods:
To ensure that students are engaged as much as possible in the learning process, instructors can use such teaching methods as class and small group discussions, essays and research, individual and group presentations, readings, lectures, workshops, in-class exercises, and/or web-based instruction. The mode of delivery will dictate the most appropriate teaching methods available to an instructor.

Prescribed Texts
Montgomery, Heather. An Introduction to Childhood: Anthropological Perspectives on Children’s Lives. 1st Edition. Wiley-Blackwell, West Sussex, 2009. ISBN 9781405125901.

Reference Material
Students are required to use the Seneca Libraries MLA or APA Research Guides for their assignments.

Required Supplies

Promotion Policy

Grading Policy
A+ 90%  to  100%
A 80%  to  89%
B+ 75%  to  79%
B 70%  to  74%
C+ 65%  to  69%
C 60%  to  64%
D+ 55%  to  59%
D 50%  to  54%
F 0%    to  49% (Not a Pass)
EXC Excellent
SAT Satisfactory
UNSAT Unsatisfactory

For further information, see a copy of the Academic Policy, available online ( or at Seneca's Registrar's Offices.

Modes of Evaluation

To be successful in this course, you must complete all course work as specified and achieve an overall grade of 50% or higher. For further information on evaluation and academic standing, see a copy of the Academic Policy available at Seneca registration offices.

Term work:
All term work assignments must be completed prior to the time of the final exam or last class.  Students must contact faculty in advance of the assignment due date to discuss the possibility of an extension.  Late assignments may be subject to the awarding of a penalty resulting in a lower grade assigned. 
Make-up opportunities for assignments must also be made in advance of the scheduled due date.  If an assignment is missed due to class absence, official documentation must be submitted to the faculty member on or before the next scheduled class. Make-up opportunities may not apply to all graded assignments

Interview Assignment 20%
Case Study 1 20%
Case Study 2 20%
Weekly Reading Reviews 10%
Final Examination  30%

Student Success:
Please come prepared to participate in class. Make sure you bring your course text to each class, participate in class discussions, hand in any assigned work on time and attend each and every class. Following these suggestions will increase your chances of success.

Approved by: Fiona Bain-greenwood