Monday, June 25, 2012
I hardly know where to begin. I've fallen behind in my posts because I can't add new posts on my main computer. Very strange. I'm not sure what losing no draft blog, or something, means, either. Today was another long, slogging day, but it was lovely out, and is now very cool as I sit and write. There have been many exciting things happening in the doll world and in the museum world. We put up a dollhouse shaped large bookshelf which looks very nice. I spent some time this weekend dressing dolls that need it, and rearranging. I've noticed trends in black dolls becoming more popular, and more vintage seventies and eighties dolls are showing up in antique malls, and thrift shops. I went to one yard sale where there were two large dolls dressed in Victorian silk outfits with wooden stands were onsale for fifty cents each. One is pink, one is lavender. The dolls are over three foot and appear to be Uneeda. We are looking for any information on metal dolls or mechanical dolls. I was also lucky enough to find some issues of Doll Castle News from the late seventies, early eighties. I was thinking of more collections of things I don't collect, and came up with Rumer Godden books, which I'm looking for as conference paper sources, pencils and pens as souvenirs, vintage material and ribbon to make things, political memorabilia, Black memorabilia, some horse and dog figurines, cat artifacts. Once the collectors bug bites you, you can get rabid! Also, good books on law and criminal justice; love to read them! I am rereading A Little Princess and The Dolls House by Godden. The former is by Burnett, of course. Also want to reread Miss Happiness and Miss Flower. Here is a draft of a review I am writing: I welcome comments.Childhood in World History. Peter N. Stearns New York: Routledge, Second Edition, 2011 Contents, Preface, Further Reading, Index 179 pp. $29.95 paper ISBN 978-0415598095 Stearns delivers his message using a clear, concise vocabulary, which avoids professional jargon. Though he uses many sociological and anthropological studies in his book, he does not regurgitate the statistics and professional lingo, which often plague these types of works. Instead, Stearns recognizes that his readers are interested in the overall information his sources have to deliver. He sets the agenda clearly in his introduction where he writes that his is not “just the history of childhood, but the world history of childhood, and this adds some additional spice” (7), Obviously, as the author of several titles in the Themes in World History Series, Professor Stearns has proved he is also an expert in his field. Moreover, there are many sources on the history of childhood, but few that address it in the context of world history and the effects of globalization. Many of the references Stearns lists in “Further Reading” illustrate the lack of the timeline study and global analysis Professor Stearns has accomplished in the second edition of his book. These sources include A.R. Colon, A History of Childhood; A Socio-Economic Survey, Phillip Ariès Centuries of Childhood: A Social History of Family Life, and Willem Koops and Michael Zuckerman Beyond the History of the Child: Cultural History and Developmental Psychology. The book contributes to the scholarship in the field by addressing a global perspective against a historical timeline. His chapter “Globalization and childhood” considers the effects of globalization as a “real force,” adding to the factors prompting change in childhood in the years around 2000” (134). Stearns’ work is thus relevant to studies of postmodernism, childhood/family dynamics and marketing aimed towards consumers under the age of eighteen. Stearns makes at least one positive statement about globalization when he writes that globalization meshed with traditional modes of childhood around the world. This blend created “additional common influences” but “globalization” did not erase forms of diversity both old and new” (154). In light of his discussion of globalization creating common influences among children without affecting their diverse, multicultural customs, I was disappointed Stearns did not talk more about the roles dolls and toys play in childhood. Barbie, alone, with her contemporaries in the Moslem world and her myriad costumes, would have been a perfect illustration of a western cultural icon gone global. For example, Stearns discusses the evolving nature of play and its importance from training children to be adults to pure fun and recreation, but he only discusses toys in about eleven pages scattered trough his book. At least toys are listed in his index; dolls are not. Furthermore, in the chapter “Childhood and communist revolutions,” Stearns has a perfect opportunity to discuss the evolving role for toys in the old USSR where children made toys in specialized schools instead of plaything with them (107). Yet, here and elsewhere, Stearns only devotes a few lines to that topic. In “Modern childhood in Asia,” Stearns addresses games and toys for children in Japan and spends two very interesting paragraphs addressing how by the 1920s, Japan had become a major toy exporter. Yet he does not discuss the important role dolls have played for centuries in Japanese culture, where dolls are celebrated in temples devoted to doll cremation, and in Girls and Boys festivals, which involve dolls and miniatures. I expected to find Lea Baten, Alan Pate, and others who have written on Asian dolls in Stearns’ “Further Reading” but they were not there. Dolls and toys in Ancient Greece, Rome and elsewhere were important ritual objects and toys. Their roles evolved within their cultures, but Stearns does not address them. Again, writers such as Max von Boehn, Mary Hillier, Jane Pagter Johl, Helen Young, Laura Starr, Carl Fox, and Winifred Gerin would have been wonderful, relevant sources for is research. Overall, scholars researching the history of play and childhood will find Stearns’ work and interesting survey of how attitudes towards children and childrearing have evolved over time to be very valuable to those who study the nature of play. He should pay more attention to the history of toys, games, and dolls as they relate to early definitions of childhood around the world Ellen M. Tsagaris, J.D., Ph.D. 4 Hillcrest Court Rock Island, IL 61201 309-721-9882 firstname.lastname@example.org Take care good doller friends and readers and thanks for following me!