Tween Pop: Children's Music and the Public Sphere


ACLS Fellowship Program




This project explores the dramatic expansion in the “tween” music industry over the last generation. It focuses on the decade from 2001-2011, a moment that brought together corporate investments in children’s music, new channels for media distribution, and changing conceptions of child audiences. It explores a range of examples, from teen superstars Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift to TV-based acts Hannah Montana and High School Musical, and retread pop brands like Kidz Bop. Supplementing close readings of musical and visual texts with interviews with musicians and ethnographic research with child audiences, this project argues for the importance of children’s culture to core questions in the humanities about identity politics, consumer culture, and the changing structure of the public sphere.