Study Children and Families in Beautiful New England

Study children, families and schools in beautiful New England!


Applications are now being sought for Doctoral, EdS and MEd programs.

Application deadline: January 15, 2015. Funding available.
The Children, Families and Schools Concentration in the Department of Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst College of Education is now accepting applications for graduate study in the areas of human development, child and family and early schooling. Located in the beautiful Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, we are surrounded by both ample opportunities for outdoor recreation and picturesque vistas, as well as the bustling, high-energy urban landscapes of Northampton, Holyoke and Springfield.


The Children, Families, and Schools (CFS) graduate program is designed to address the growing concern for meeting the educational and developmental needs of children across the varied settings in which learning and development occur. Our program of study addresses the philosophical, historical, social, and cultural foundations of childhood, with a focus on families, learning and development.  It offers future researchers and practitioners an excellent foundation in child development, childhood studies, and learning, and examines how these relate to educational practice from birth through the early childhood and elementary school years.


To learn more about our program of study, faculty research profiles, program blog and other information, please visit our webpage:


Our multidisciplinary program offers a range of graduate study opportunities for professionals at all stages of their careers. Applications are now being accepted for the Fall 2015 entering doctoral and master’s cohorts; Funding is available on a competitive basis for qualified applicants.


Questions? Please contact Concentration Coordinator, Professor Sally Campbell Galman, at


We look forward to hearing from you!


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Ahoy, matey!

465096479_7qYyt-M-1It’s time for the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association, this year in Washington, DC during the first week of December. If you are in DC, I encourage you to come on down to the Marriott Wardman Park to hear me talk about my ongoing work with children’s cultures, gender and early schooling. You can hear my talk, “How to be a pirate: Using pictures and words to destabilize ‘patriarchal constellations’ in preschool” on Thursday at 11:00.  This paper is part of a special session, perpetrated by myself and my partner-in-art Mathangi Subramanian, called, “Producing disruption, subversion and other really good stories: Ethnographic storytellling and fiction as alternatives to production-as-usual.”  Not surprisingly, we aim to throw a spanner in the works. Come see for yourself.



From the depths of the internet…

So, I make it a policy to never, ever Google myself. Ever. The internet is scary enough without doing so.  But today I happened to be looking up some citations for an executive board bio I’m writing— and look what I found. A review of one of my first books that I never even knew existed AND a super cute pinterest picture of me with Virgins right after it came out!

Click here to read: the Screen Shot 2014-11-16 at 10.51.45 AMReview of Shane

Ideas from GLSEN Massachusetts Fall Conference 2014

Last Saturday I had the opportunity to come together with teachers, youth, families and caregivers at the GLSEN Massachusetts Fall Conference. We spent some time learning together about ways to support early elementary children who identify as gender-creative, gender-nonconforming and transgender.  The attendees and I developed checklists of concrete things we can do to make our classrooms friendly for and inclusive of children all across the gender spectrum. Here is what we came up with!

 Things We Can Do Right Now

o   Find out what pronouns people prefer. Ask rather than assume. This can be as easy as sharing your own. I might say, “My name is Jackie and I like for people to use she/her/hers when they talk about me. What pronouns do you prefer?”

o   Mobilize the classroom teddy bear. Use bears or classroom “mascots” to model positions on the gender spectrum. That way, students can get used to what it feels like to use pronouns like “they” for a person who does not identify as male or female, for example. Also critically examine the environmental print, posters and decorations in the classroom to make sure your classroom walls are affirming to people across the gender spectrum.

o   Call people by the pronouns they prefer. If you mess up and call someone by the incorrect pronoun, correct right away and apologize. People are usually really understanding and know you are trying your best to honor their personhood.

o   Support your own gender inclusive practice in pro-active ways. Find ways to remind yourself that genders exist on a spectrum, not a binary. Ask yourself frequently, “Am I using gender-inclusive language? Or does my language assume gender?” Use sticky notes in your lesson planner or other visible places to help yourself remember.

o   Encourage expression and exploration. Encourage children and youth to express themselves by providing safe spaces. Remember, expression can also be quiet: It sometimes helps if young children have high quality, gender-inclusive literature to read and art materials available.

o   Support parents, families and caregivers where they are. Remind them that unlearning the gender binary takes time, that you support them on their journey, that you are not judging them, and that you like, believe in, and support their child.

o   Make more unicorns. Encourage schools, churches, libraries and municipal spaces to have inclusive bathrooms—sometimes these “unisex” bathrooms have fun names like unicycle or unicorn bathrooms (sometimes with fun pictures on the doors)! These can also simply be “family” bathrooms that are gender inclusive.

o   Affirm that we are people first. Be careful of how you use “boys” and “girls” in the classroom. Try not to use these at all and replace them with “people.” As in, “I need three strong people to help me move a large piece of furniture.”

o   Make spaces for safe talk. Consider starting a gender group at your school. For younger students, this can be as simple as reading picture books or other literature that opens the door and provides healthy language for talking about gender. Conversations that happen at snack or other quiet times can be casual and productive.

o   Support teachers and school communities.  Provide opportunities for teachers to talk about gender, especially as it appears in classroom practice. Incorporate materials from or other resources in the Professional Development library at your school, and consider bringing specialists to the school to support teachers.

o   Get comfortable with they/them/their. If you are teaching grammar lessons or writing word problems in mathematics, use a variety of pronouns, including “they/their/them.” Point out that using They as a pronoun for a single person may “feel” grammatically incorrect, but that we are going to put respect for people ahead of linguistics.

o  Lots of different kinds of bodies are healthy bodies.  Do you teach the Healthy Bodies or similar unit/curriculum? In the lower elementary grades, most of what we might call healthe education focuses parts of the body. So, when you teach about the body, remember to be affirming and separate biological sex/genitals from gender identity. Also be cognizant that not everybody’s private parts look or function the same way. No need to make a big deal about it, but instead of saying ALL bodies do something, or ALL boys have certain parts, just say MOST or SOME. You’d be amazed at the difference it makes to leave this little bit of wiggle room.

o   All activities should be for everyone. This is a hard one. While we know that there are some activities and clubs that are “for boys” or “for girls” for a variety of reasons, make sure that you are critical and careful of how you frame who gets to do what and ask yourself the hard question: do we really need to reify gender in this way? For example, when I was a classroom teacher we had a lunchtime friendship group for girls in response to some bullying among the girls in the classroom. We started the group as a girls’ space, but soon feminine boys in the class wanted to join, then other boys wanted to talk about friendship, and so on. We had to think critically about why we separated girls and boys, and open up to a bigger conversation—one that was a lot harder to have—about what gender was, and what it wasn’t. The group became a group for everyone, one that didn’t force people to identify one way or the other. In athletics, there should be room for girls on the football team, and boys on the field hockey team, and so on.

o   Keep school uniforms, well, uniform. If wearing a skirt is an option for some people, it should be an option for all people. Similarly, if pants are an option for some people, they should be an option for everyone.  There is no reason why your school uniforms cannot be uniform.

o   No bullies, please. If your school or classroom does not have an anti-bullying curriculum, consider getting one. Refer to GLSEN and for some good examples of programs that explicitly address LGBTQ folks, and gender and sexuality.

Workshop for early/elementary educators at GLSEN this Saturday, 1st November, 2014

glsen 2

GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network of Massachusetts, is having their annual, one-day fall conference this coming Saturday. There is a fantastic lineup for youth, teachers, parents, administrators and others. My workshop is in the afternoon (so, you have no excuse, sleepy heads!) and focuses on the needs of transgender, gender-nonconforming, and gender-creative children in grades PreK-3. Look me up in the program and stay for the day.




Lecture Event: Preschoolers know more than you think about power, gender and the imagination

UntitledCome one, come all, to hear me present brand new, hot-off-the-presses, research at this free, public lecture event at Assumption College.

Tuesday, 4th November @ 6:30 PM

We’ll have a good time, ask lots of questions and (hopefully) explore why being “brave” in preschool may be more complicated than one might imagine.

(Fans of my previous work on “Ninja Kitty” will be pleased to know that she will make appearance as well!)


New Creative Section in Anthropology of Education Quarterly!

Send us your art!olbannerleft

Call for Papers – Ethnographic Short Fiction, Poetry and Creative Non-Fiction

Anthropology and Education Quarterly

 Anthropology and Education Quarterly (AEQ) is seeking ethnographic short fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction for a new creative section of the journal focused on alternative productions and representations of anthropological work in education.
The field of anthropology is rooted in the search for multiple truths. Stories (Bell, 2003; Solinger, Fox, & Irani, 2008; Yosso, 2006) and poems (Maynard & Cahmann-Taylor, 2010) provide avenues for scholars to make sense of their findings, honor the traditions and experiences of marginalized communities, explore the tensions of researcher positionality, and trouble the authority of knowledge(s) and its representations. Furthermore, creative approaches to anthropological production can open the otherwise closed space of the academy, communicating findings in ways that provoke both thought and action among the wider public. 
Submissions should draw on rich, rigorously collected ethnographic data. Additionally, they should represent high literary quality. Short fiction and creative non-fiction should be no longer than 5000 words, and poetry should be limited to 1-3 poems. Please include biographical information in a separate cover letter so that the work itself remains blind for review. Please submit to Submissions will be considered on a rolling basis, and will be accepted or rejected but will not receive reviewer comments.