Fall 2019 - SA 332 D100

The Anthropology of Childhood (A) (4)

Class Number: 3958

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 3 – Dec 2, 2019: Thu, 1:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    SA 101 or 201W.



A cross-cultural examination of the social and cultural relations that shape childhood in different settings. Topics to be considered could include: the social definition of childhood and child rearing; the institutional arrangements established for children and youth and the impact that these have on children, families, and society; the social construction of child and youth cultures.


The human species is one of a small number on Earth where new individuals undergo an extended period of growth, maturation, and enculturation before taking their place in society as full-fledged adults. While the period of development and transition into adulthood is a universal human experience, the life stage that we call “childhood” in the English language varies widely across cultures and is profoundly shaped by social, cultural, political, religious, and economic dimensions. In this course we will explore the construction and experience of childhood around the world, focusing on the insights that cross-cultural anthropological research provides into young people’s diverse experiences of growth, development, and transition, from birth to adolescence.


Upon completion of the course, students should be able to:

  • Explain how anthropological methods are used to examine the socio-culturally constructed experience of childhoods around the world.
  • Generate insights into the universalities and particularities of diverse childhoods by making intercultural comparisons and expressing them verbally and in writing.
  • Describe the interrelatedness of childhood with different social problems and histories of racism, oppression, and colonialism.
  • Critically read, analyze, and discuss different academic sources, alone and with peers.
  • Demonstrate understanding of how academic research is an ongoing, polyvocal, critical conversation by preparing a detailed literature review on an area of study within the anthropology of childhood.


  • Participation/in-class collaborative work 10%
  • Weekly outline roundtable 15%
  • Group presetation 20%
  • Reflection essay 25%
  • Final review paper 30%


Grading: Where a final exam is scheduled and you do not write the exam or withdraw from the course before the deadline date, you will be assigned an N grade. Unless otherwise specified on the course outline, all other graded assignments in this course must be completed for a final grade other than N to be assigned.

Academic Dishonesty and Misconduct Policy: The Department of Sociology and Anthropology follows SFU policy in relation to grading practices, grade appeals (Policy T 20.01) and academic dishonesty and misconduct procedures (S10.01‐S10.04). Unless otherwise informed by your instructor in writing, in graded written assignments you must cite the sources you rely on and include a bibliography/list of references, following an instructor-approved citation style.  It is the responsibility of students to inform themselves of the content of SFU policies available on the SFU website: http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student.html.



Lancy, David F. (2015). The Anthropology of Childhood: Cherubs, Chattel, Changelings, 2nd edition. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
ISBN: 978-1-107420984

Additional required readings will be provided on the course Canvas page.


Recommended readings for each week will be provided on the course Canvas page.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html