From psychology to labor rights, from ethics to education, Childhood Studies is one of the most active fields in academia today. It encompasses the meanings that adults place on children’s innocence or competence, and interrogates the notion of childhood as a social category. How adults have thought about children and the impact that this has had on the ways children are treated are also analyzed critically and great emphasis is placed on historical, cultural and literary interpretations of childhood. Contemporary Childhood Studies is also characterized by its insistence on the need for children themselves to be understood as the best informants of their own lives. Childhood Studies is international and cross-cultural in scope, transcending narrow geographical confines and analyzing modern and historical childhoods both locally and globally.
An artist’s book is a work of art that takes the form of a book. But what does that mean? And what counts as a book, anyway? Is it a bunch of pages that have been bound together, or is there more to it than that?
These are the kinds of questions that artists’ books try to answer. They play with both the form and the function of books as objects, encouraging onlookers to question traditional conceptualizations of “books.” They are usually handmade, often unique, and all different from one another. Because most artist’s books are hand-made and only crafted in small, limited runs, they offer artists a special opportunity to create books that are intensely personal.
All of the books featured in this exhibit are part of Miami University’s Walter Havighurst Special Collections. The materials on display reflect a concentrated effort to build a diverse, provocative collection that will challenge students to reconsider their notion of “books” while also paying tribute to the creativity and innovation of book artists across the globe.
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