Visual Methods in Childhood Studies


I am so excited and pleased to have a chapter in April Mandrona and Claudia MItchell’s lovely new volume, Visual Encounters in the Study of Rural Childhoods. My chapter is titled “The story of Peter Both-in-One: Using visual storytelling methods to understand risk and resilience among transgender and gender-nonconforming young children in rural North American contexts.”  The piece is about rurality, gender and transgender childhoods, but also about innovations in using visual method, and interpreting children’s visual products, in childhood studies research. And here is a sneak peek from the introduction:

Now that more popular attention is being paid to young children’s diverse experiences with gender, and as bullying and school climate concerns have captured popular attention, understanding the self-definition and experiential trajectories of transgender and gender-nonconforming children is essential (Ehrensaft 2013). Given the psychosocial literature’s particular focus on these children’s traumatic school and social experience, scholars in childhood point to the urgency of capturing portraits of resilience across the varied contextual landscapes of childhood gender expression and experience (Luecke 2011; Holmes and Cahill 2004). The ethnographic study from which these analyses are drawn employed visual methods in the form of the Identity Scrapbook. This methodology is the primary innovation of this study, specifically designed to elicit pictures and ideas from children preschool aged and older. The Identity Scrapbook was used here to render a more fine-grained portrait of children’s resilience, as illustrated here in the composite vignette of a child who calls himself “Peter Both-in-One”.

You can purchase it on the Rutgers website. Enjoy this work!

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