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High School Teacher's Institute: Leslie Fishbein
Friday, November 17, 2017, 09:00am - 02:30pm

American Cultures of Adolescence

Friday, November 17, 2017, 9am-2:30pm
Leslie Fishbein, Associate Professor, Departments of American Studies and Jewish Studies, Rutgers

Although the first use of the word “adolescence” appeared in the 15th century and came from the Latin word “adolescere,” which meant “to grow up or to grow into maturity,” it was not until 1904 that the first president of the American Psychological Association, G. Stanley Hall, was credited with discovering adolescence as a distinctive stage of life worthy of scholarly study. This seminar will examine why adolescence emerged as a distinctive stage of life in the early twentieth century and the subsequent impact of its emergence on such issues as education, child labor, and juvenile delinquency. We will trace how adolescence had been understood through the interpretation of literary texts such as J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye (1951) and Julia Alvarez’s memoir Once Upon a Quinceanera: Coming of Age in the USA (2007); films such as Frederick Wiseman’s documentary film High School (1969) and feature films such as Blackboard Jungle (1955), Rebel without a Cause (1955), and Mean Girls (2004); and, via such works on neuroscience and parenting as Frances E. Jenson and Amy Ellis Nutt’s The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist's Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults (2016).

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