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Dolls Studies

The Many Meanings of Girls’ Toys and Play


Miriam Forman-Brunell and Jennifer Dawn Whitney

Dolls are the focus of this pioneering anthology establishing Dolls Studies as an interdisciplinary field of scholarly inquiry. This work revises conventional understandings of what constitutes a doll; broadens the age range to include female adolescents, women and others; locates dolls in untraditional contexts; and utilizes new methodological practices and theoretical frameworks. Placing dolls at the center of analysis reveals how critical girls’ toys are in the making – and undoing – of racial, ethnic, national, religious, sexual, class, and gender ideologies and identities. Catharine Driscoll, Robin Bernstein, Elizabeth Chin are among the dozen scholars who interrogate doll products, producers, players, and youthful performers (like Nicki Minaj). Covering eight countries and crossing three centuries, this volume reveals the potential of dolls – and girls at play – to construct and disrupt, mediate and contest, perform and rescript girlhoods.
Robin Bernstein: Children’s Books, Dolls, and the Performance of Race; or, the Possibility of Children’s Literature – Lisa Marcus: Dolling Up History: Fictions of Jewish American Girlhood – Alexandra Lloyd: Dolls and Play: Material Culture and Memories of Girlhood in Germany, 1933-1945 – Meghan Chandler/Diana Anselmo-Sequeira: The «Dollification» of Riot Grrrls: Self-Fashioning Alternative Identities – Jennifer Dawn Whitney: «It’s Barbie, Bitch»: Re-reading the Doll Through Nicki Minaj and Harajuku Barbie – Vanessa Rutherford: Technologies of Gender and Girlhood: Doll Discourses in Ireland, 1801-1909 – Naghmeh Nouri Esfahani/Victoria Carrington: Rescripting, Modifying, and Mediating Artifacts: Bratz Dolls and Diasporic Iranian Girls in Australia – Elizabeth Chin: Barbie Sex Videos: Making Sense of Children’s Media-Making – Juliette Peers: Adelaide Huret and the Nineteenth-Century French Fashion Doll: Constructing Dolls/Constructing the Modern – Catherine Driscoll: The Doll-Machine: Dolls, Modernism, Experience – Judy Shoaf: Girls’ Day for Umé: Western Perceptions of the Hina Matsuri, 1874-1937 – Erich Fox Tree: The Secret Sex Lives of Native American Barbies, from the Mysteries of Motherhood, to the Magic of Colonialism – Amanda Murphyao/Anne Trépanier: Canadian «Maplelea» Girl Dolls: The Commodification of Difference.