Naptime at the OK Corral

That’s right, folks, after a bazillion hours at the drafting table and doing participant observation in doll corner, Shane is BACK in Naptime at the OK Corral: Shane’s Beginner’s Guide to Childhood Ethnography

The beloved heroine of students and faculty alike returns in this third volume of the acclaimed series, focusing on the basic how-to’s and foundations of ethnographic studies of children and childhoods. The book opens with Shane trying to land a post-doc working in a department of cultural anthropologists studying children and childhood. Rather predictably, Shane initially sees children as nothing more than small adults. But in this book she’ll be forced to reorient herself, yet again. As usual, she is aided by the spirits of the ancestors, of senior colleagues, of talking guinea pigs and gigantic head lice, and through it all by her esteemed guide, Billy the Literal Kid.

This illustrated guide will orient the reader to the fundamental challenges in doing ethnographic research with children. The book begins by briefly exploring the history of research on children, with children, for children and “by” children. Throughout, it is about doing research with children rather than on them, highlighting their participant rather than object nature.

Topics covered include:

  • Foundations of child development
  • Defining childhood
  • The history, essential theories and major works in the anthropology of childhood
  • Children’s culture and popular Kinderculture
  • Ethical concerns and IRBs
  • Foundations of naturalistic inquiry with children
  • Introduction to ethnographic methods with child participants, including detailed guidance in observation and interview methods
  • Practical guidelines for analyzing children’s artwork and other visual products
  • Addressing the complexities of adult researcher subjectivities and roles

This book is intended for the novice ethnographic researcher and student alike with learning at its core and is designed to encourage wider and deeper reading. It is a useful tool for teaching advanced undergraduate and graduate students in Education, Anthropology, Childhood Studies, Nursing, Communications, Media Studies, Art Education, and more, as well as an essential volume for any faculty bookshelf.

You can get your own copy here!

Nasty Women and Bad Hombres

I am so excited to be part of this new book coming from University of Rochester Press, edited by Christine Kray, Tamar Carroll and Hinda Mandell. My contribution, “This is Vienna: Parents of Transgender Children from Pride to Survival in the Aftermath of the 2016 Election,” addresses the experiences of transgender children and their families during the 2016 presidential campaign, and in the immediate, frightening aftermath.

You can pre-order using the discount code, above!




I am so pleased to be featured in this most recent special issue of Anthropology News, focusing on #MeToo in Anthropology. The visual scholarship I produced is a reflection on my own and others’ experience in the field, navigating disciplinary and other violence. My work as an artist and ethnographer is rooted in “redirecting conversations about social phenomena by enabling others to vicariously experience the world” (Barone & Eisner 2012, 20), and I hope this piece is a step in that direction, to divert feeling– even painful feelings– toward understanding and action. 

Non-Fiction Comics Mini-Fest

Come one, come all to the Non Fiction Comics MiniFest at the Vermont Folklife Center! I will be talking in the latter part of the afternoon on 16th June about ethnography and comics, hot on the tails of the new release of both the second edition of the original Shane the Lone Ethnographer as well as the brand new, Naptime at the OK Corral: Shane’s Beginner’s Guide to the Ethnography of Childhood. Come for the sneak previews, stay to learn from the amazing people on all the panels that day.

At the Conference on Contemporary Childhood in Madrid (well, not actually IN Madrid but kind of…)

My picture and words went to a very nice conference on contemporary childhoods in Madrid, but I stayed in rainy Western Massachusetts and sniffled. I was so honored to be a part, and if you missed it, apparently there could be another chance— we might be taking the show on the road to AAA in San Jose next year!

Here are the materials generated by participants in the Workshop Infancia_c #6: Estudios Culturales de la Infancia / Cultural Studies of ChildhoodThese are mainly videos and short texts. If you share or comment them in other social media please use #wsic6 as a hashtag and we will add a link to these threads here.

Aquí puedes encontrar los materiales generados por los/as participantes en el Workshop Infancia_c #6: Estudios Culturales de la Infancia / Cultural Studies of ChildhoodSe trata principalmente de pequeños videos o textos escritos. Si los comentas o compartes en otros medios, por favor, utiliza el hashtag #wsic6 y crearemos un link a estos hilos aquí.


Join me in beautiful Tblisi and Svaneti in 2019

The official call for papers is out!

Please consider joining me in Tblisi and Svaneti in fall 2019 for SUPERNATURAL 24 September-02 October 2019. This conference promises to offer thought-provoking, powerful interdisciplinary conversation, warm rapport, deep learning and seeing the sights at a UNESCO World Heritage location. I can personally vouch for the high quality and power of an Island Dynamics conference as well (am I right, fellow Mermaids?) For those of you asking, “Wait, aren’t you a childhood studies prof? What are you doing convening a conference on literature and film?” Remember that we can all think deeply about our work in terms of the natural, the SUPERnatural, the text and the image, and the varied folk knowledges in our sphere. I know these themes are important to my work as an anthropologist of childhood– and maybe to you too! Please reach out to me if you want any support as you write your abstract! I hope to see you there! 

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!

Art, social justice, and the ethnography of childhood (and the new Shane!)

I am so honored and thrilled to be speaking about my work as an arts-based ethnographer of childhood at Kansas State University this February. This is going to be a very special talk about my work with transgender and gender-creative children, my interrogations of adult roles and power in childhood ethnography for social justice, and (drum roll please) unveiling some of the images from the brand new Shane book, out SOON (well, as soon as I can finish inking it! For real, an actual picture of me inking the book is below). And– bonus– you can see Dr. Kakali Bhattacharya and I have a great time talking writing and qualitative work together!

Like we do here:

Art and Method at the AAAs

Next week is the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association! There are so many great papers and sessions, many of them through the Council for the Anthropology of Education. I’ll also be there, talking about art and method and hope in my paper/performance, “Not a mirror, but an icon: Ethnographic comic art in three acts.” This paper focuses on my ethnographic work with communities of transgender and other gender diverse children and their families. For those of you who witnessed our collective devastation and mourning at last year’s AAAs, I’m picking up the thread of resilience, resistance and the real power of doing creative good  in evil times.

Or just come for the comedy as I try to draw and talk at the same time! 🙂 

Mermaids and Metaphors

It was a fantastic couple of days attending the Island Studies conference on folklore, mermaids, islands and magic in beautiful Copenhagen. I learned so much from my lovely new interdisciplinary friends whose work spans the globe and touches on everything from new materialism to terrorism to identity work to Armenian fairy tales to the life and times of a real life working Paris mermaid. I spoke about Kinderculture and the mermaid as feminine credential and trans* pride symbolism for young children. More soon on that! 
I took lots of notes.