"Charlotte Perkins Gilman's novel, Herland, is regarded by many as the pioneering feminist utopian novel. Authored in 1915 (but published as a monograph only in 1978), Herland is intended as a social critique, and as a sociological theorist, Gilman sees herself as a change agent for a better social life for women especially, as well as society in general. Like other intellectuals at the turn of the 20th century, Gilman struggled to theorise her social vision, whilst simultaneously placing great efforts at promoting her vision in a package that is attractive to the masses. By self-consciously distancing herself from the intellectuals of her time, she crafted her works as endeavours at transforming society. With the utopian novel as her genre of choice, Gilman provides readers with a deeper sense of understanding of the ills of a society that subscribes to and is fixated with masculinity. As such, it is the contention of this paper to discuss Gilman's second novel, Herland as a feminist utopian novel critiquing some aspects of culture Gilman describes as androcentric and to briefly link the images portrayed by Gilman in Herland to the Jungian theory of archetypes with some reference to female archetypal images."
(Shahizah Ismail Hamdan and Ravichandran Vengadasamy, 2006)
Shahizah Ismail Hamdan, and Ravichandran Vengadasamy , (2006) Herland and Charlotte Perkin Gilman's Utopian Social Vision of Women And Society. e-BANGI: Jurnal Sains Sosial dan Kemanusiaan, 1 (1). pp. 1-8. ISSN 1823-884x
"In 1972, the British–born geography student Roger Hart settled on an unusual project for his dissertation. He moved to a rural New England town and, for two years, tracked the movements of 86 children in the local elementary school, to create what he called a 'geography of children,' including actual maps that would show where and how far the children typically roamed away from home. Usually research on children is conducted by interviewing parents, but Hart decided he would go straight to the source. The principal of the school lent him a room, which became known as 'Roger's room,' and he slowly got to know the children. Hart asked them questions about where they went each day and how they felt about those places, but mostly he just wandered around with them. Even now, as a father and a settled academic, Hart has a dreamy, puckish air. Children were comfortable with him and loved to share their moments of pride, their secrets. Often they took him to places adults had never seen before–playhouses or forts the kids had made just for themselves.
Hart's methodology was novel, but he didn't think he was recording anything radical. Many of his observations must have seemed mundane at the time. For example: 'I was struck by the large amount of time children spend modifying the landscape in order to make places for themselves and for their play.' But reading his dissertation today feels like coming upon a lost civilization, a child culture with its own ways of playing and thinking and feeling that seems utterly foreign now. The children spent immense amounts of time on their own, creating imaginary landscapes their parents sometimes knew nothing about. The parents played no role in their coming together–'it is through cycling around that the older boys chance to fall into games with each other,' Hart observed. The forts they built were not praised and cooed over by their parents, because their parents almost never saw them.
Through his maps, Hart discovered broad patterns: between second and third grade, for instance, the children's 'free range'–the distance they were allowed to travel away from home without checking in first–tended to expand significantly, because they were permitted to ride bikes alone to a friend's house or to a ball field. By fifth grade, the boys especially gained a 'dramatic new freedom' and could go pretty much wherever they wanted without checking in at all. (The girls were more restricted because they often helped their mothers with chores or errands, or stayed behind to look after younger siblings.) To the children, each little addition to their free range–being allowed to cross a paved road, or go to the center of town–was a sign of growing up. The kids took special pride, Hart noted, in 'knowing how to get places,' and in finding shortcuts that adults wouldn't normally use."
(Hanna Rosin, April 2014, The Atlantic)
Roger Hart (1979). "Children's Experience of Place", Irvington.
"It sounds like a child's dream and a parent's nightmare – a school with no rules. But at Swanson School in Auckland, New Zealand, a blind eye is turned at break time while the kids run amok outside. Dani Isdale joins the children as they climb trees, skid around on bikes and fire makeshift weapons – it's all allowed and even encouraged.
'The need to wrap up our kids in cotton wool and not give them an opportunity to hurt themselves – you are actually taking away a lot of learning opportunities,' says principal Bruce McLachlan. When playtime ends, serious learning begins and he says the children are much more receptive, confident and cooperative after their 'free range' play. But he does admit to Dani that there is just one rule – the kids aren't allowed to kill each other. They love it, but do parents think he's gone too far?"
(Dani Isdale, 21 October 2014, SBS Dateline)
[Bruce McLachlan, the principal of Swanson School in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand believes that 'wrapping children in cotton wool' is more risky in the long–term than giving them the freedom to set their own rules in the playground]
"If it is the case that mobile devices, with their specific social and technological structures and attendant cultural practices, have become an integral part of everyday life, then the educational field has to react. But how and who? Fact is that mobile devices have reached and become fully integrated in everyday life, worldwide and across social milieus. This development is 'ubiquitous' (e.g. Haythornthwaite, 2008, Beale 2007, Nyiri 2002) and is accompanied by an increase in individualisation enabled and necessitated by a variety of mobile devices characterised by media convergence. Education must ask questions about the impact of these irreversible trends on the personal development of young people and about its role in mediating them as well as about their impact on individual agency of young people in the context of emerging socio–cultural structures (see Stald 2007)."
(Ben Bachmair, Norbert Pachler and John Cook, 2009)