ENGL439J - Spotlight on Major Writers; Race, Early Childhood TV, and the Legacies of Jim Henson
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This class will critically study the role of animated cartoons, educational television, and children’s TV programmes in general as important socializing and teaching tools for children. We will think of the child as a philosophical figure and explore the commonplaceness of animated cartoon in parenting and teaching children—pedagogy. We will do this by critically tracing the development of children’s television from its roots in blackface minstrelsy at the turn of the twentieth century to the development of educational children’s television by Jim Henson, from the decline of the "Saturday Morning Cartoon Lineup" at the end of the twentieth century to the creation of gifs and avatars in the Digital Age. In particular, we will look at the role of children’s television through the frame of race and how these works aid in teaching the performance of race and racism.