1st Edition

Childhood and Pethood in Literature and Culture
New Perspectives in Childhood Studies and Animal Studies

ISBN 9780367346324
Published May 21, 2019 by Routledge
298 Pages

USD $49.95

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Book Description

Bringing together new perspectives in childhood studies and animal studies, this book is the first collection to critically address the manifold alignments and frequent co-constitutions of children and pets in our families, our cultures, and our societies. The cultural politics of power shaping relationships between children, pets, and adults inform the wide range of essays included in this collection, as they explore issues such as protection, discipline, mastery, wildness, play, and domestication. The volume use the frequent social and cultural intersections between children and pets as an opportunity to analyze institutions that create pet and child subjectivity, from education and training to putting children and pets on display for entertainment purposes. Essays analyze legal discourses, visual culture, literature for children and adults, migration narratives, magazines for children, music, and language socialization to discuss how notions of nationalism, race, gender, heteronormativity, and speciesism shape cultural constructions of children and pets. Examining childhood and pethood in America, Europe, Asia, and the Pacific, this collection shows how discourses linking children and pets are pervasive and work across cultures. By presenting innovative approaches to the child and the pet, the book brings to light alternative paths toward understanding these figures, leading to new openings and questions about kinship, agency, and the power of care that so often shapes our relationships with children and animals. This will be an important volume for scholars of animal studies, childhood studies, children’s literature, cultural studies, political theory, education, art history, and sociology.

Table of Contents


List of Figures


List of Contributors

Preface 1: Children and Animal ‘Pets’

Monica Flegel

Preface 2: On Childhood Studies and Human Exceptionalism

Kenneth Kidd

Introduction: The Cultural Politics of Childhood and Pethood

Anna Feuerstein and Carmen Nolte-Odhiambo

Section I: Family, Language, and Nationhood

1. Custody, Adoption, Protection: Contested Institutional Representations of Pets as Children

James Gillett

2. Transgressing the ‘Luggage’ Metaphor: Children and Pets as Migrants in the Context of Contemporary International Mobility from Poland to Norway

Justyna Struzik and Paula Pustulka

3. Who Needs Protection and Discipline? Children, Pets, and Nationalism in the Early Twentieth-Century Ottoman and Turkish Lands

Melis Sulos

4. Pets as Vehicles of Language Socialization: Encouraging Children’s Emotional, Moral, and Relational Development in Japanese

Matthew Burdelski

5. Moamahi ā Puaʻa Moe Poli: Nā Keiki a nā Hānaiāhuhu i ka Moʻomeheu Hawaiʻi (Cherished Chickens to Chest-cuddled Pigs: Children and Pets in Hawaiian Culture)

ku‘ualoha ho‘omanawanui

Section II: Literature for Children and Adults

6. Pullman, Pets, and Posthuman Animals: The Dæmon-child of His Dark Materials

Zoe Jaques

7. Domesticating Dorothy: Toto’s Role in Constructing Childhood in The Wizard of Oz and Its Retellings

Caryn Kunz Lesuma

8. Mr. Dog Is a Conservative: Representations of Children and/as Animals in Little Golden Books

Kelly Hübben

9. ‘Oh God, Give Me Horses!’: Pony-Mad Girls, Sexuality, and Pethood

Amalya Layla Ashman

10. ‘The cats are outside hanging’: Settler Colonialism, Racialized Animality, and Queer Kinship in Lois-Ann Yamanaka’s Blu’s Hanging

Anna Feuerstein and Carmen Nolte-Odhiambo

11. Doomed Creatures: Children and Nonhuman Animals in Contemporary Southern African Fiction in English

Wendy Woodward

Section III: Music and Visual Culture

12. Bird Songs for Children, the Rhetoric of Conservation, and Voicing the Bird in the United States, 1900-1930

Katheryn Lawson

13. Black Children as Pets in Eighteenth-Century European Courts

Michèle Bocquillon

14. ‘The Values of Savagery’: Pathologies of Child and Pet Play in Avant-Garde Visual Culture

Victoria de Rijke

15. The Best Friend: Exploring Power Relations of the Child-Pet Co-Construction in Children’s TV Programs

Åsa Pettersson


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Anna Feuerstein is Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the University of Hawai’i – Manoa, USA.

Carmen Nolte-Odhiambo is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Hawai’i – West O’ahu, USA.