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Ekstrom Library

WGST 691-50/HIST 611-50: History Of American Childhood: Essay #3

Your Assignment

Your final assignment for this class is to write a research paper with a minimum of 15 pages of text (excluding endnotes and bibliography, which your paper must also have). Your paper must focus on some aspect of childhood/adolescence in the United States in some period between 1970 and 2020, and must be based on your interpretation of primary sources available in/through Ekstrom Library or in the city of Louisville. You must utilize your primary sources to address a question/problem/issue/controversy you pose about childhood/adolescence in the United States. You must also consult at least five secondary sources (scholarly articles/books) to frame/situate your interpretation within a larger scholarly conversation.

The tricky part of this assignment for most students is identifying primary sources to interpret. One approach is to focus on the types of sources you (or the undergraduates) have looked at in this course: children’s literature, professional periodicals (but interpreted as “state of the profession”; not used as information sources), advice literature aimed at parents or advice literature aimed at adolescents, popular periodicals (including newspapers) covering an issue/question/controversy. But you might also consider other types of primary sources: blogs (that are archived), popular music, movies/television, the works of a particular author, government reports, legal cases/decisions, organizational records, etc.

Your research paper must be based on your research paper proposal.

Finding Sources


  • Proquest Newsstand - full text of 800 U.S. and International news sources from 1977 to present


Popular Culture Periodicals

Government Reports

Children's Books

  • Multicultural Children's Literature Collection - located on the 3rd floor of Ekstrom Library

Discover. Create. Succeed.