Uses of the Past - Invention of a Teenage Girl

CLLC-L 220 / CLASS 11882 — Spring 2024

Edmondson Hall C112
Days and Times
Tu/Th 1:15 p.m. - 2:30 p.m., 3 credits
Course Description

For the last 150 years, teenage girls have captured the attentions and imaginations of creatives, activists, authorities, experts, parents, and teenagers themselves, many of whom have seen young women’s behavior as indicative of the moral and physical well-being of society as a whole. In this course, we will explore how the “teenage girl” as a cultural construct has been invented and reinvented, and reshaped by war, social movements, and moral panics, from the popularization of “adolescence” as a life-stage in the late nineteenth century, through the post-World War II establishment of the “modern teenage girl”, and to the present day. We will particularly emphasize how ideas about how girls “used to be” articulated by experts and in memoir, has shaped expectations for young women. Students will draw on primary and secondary sources to contextualize a variety of documents produced for or about teenage girls from 1870 to the present. 

Instructor: Meghan Paradis

Selected by Board of Educational Programming (BOEP)