Video and podcast: “The Turn to ‘Tween’: An Age Category and its Cultural Consequences”

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Even though people age nine through twelve have always been with us, the same cannot be said for the category “tween.” When did this category emerge and why? How are “tweens” represented in popular culture, including music, television, and YA literature? And how does this relatively new age category intersect with–or elide–issues pertaining to race, class, and gender identity?


Tyler Bickford is an assistant professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh and is completing two book projects on music and childhood.

Meryl Alper worked at Nickelodeon and Disney before becoming an Assistant Professor of Communication at Northeastern University and publishing Digital Youth with Disabilities.

Moderator: Marah Gubar is an Associate Professor of Literature at MIT and author of Artful Dodgers: Reconceiving the Golden Age of Children’s Literature (2009).

Andrew Whitacre

Communications Director