All SHCY members receive the Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth. Published three times a year, it features scholarly research and critical book reviews.

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Nov  25

2016 SHCY Outreach Grant Competition

The SHCY will award two $500 grants and one $1500 grant for events that take place in 2016 to projects deemed worthy by the Outreach and Executive Committees of the SHCY.

1. The $500 grants will help defray expenses for speakers, workshops, and other scholarly events fully or partially devoted to the history of children and youth.

Possible uses:
•Keynote speakers or panelists
•Printed materials
•Support for students attending the event

2. The $1500 grant will help offset the costs of a regional conference dedicated to the history of children and youth and held in 2016. The Society is particularly interested in supporting programs that address the the histories of children and youth in interdisciplinary and transnational ways.

Application deadline for both grants: January 15, 2016.

Terms of the grants:
•Applicants must be members of SHCY. (See for membership information.)
•Recipients of 2014 and 2015 Outreach Grants cannot receive 2016 grants, and no one may apply for more than one 2016 grant.
•Funds will be distributed directly to host departments or institutions prior to the event.
•SHCY must be acknowledged as co-sponsor on all print and web-based materials and announcements, and, when appropriate, in speaker introductions. When possible, use the SHCY logo and link to the SHCY website.
•SHCY must be sent PDF’s or links to announcements and promotional materials before the event.
•A report must be submitted to the chairs of the Outreach Committee no later than thirty days after the funded event. It should consist of the following:
—Blog post describing the event for use on the SHCY website
—Summary of the attendance (size, makeup)
—Copy of appropriate printed materials or screenshots of websites
—Description of the actual expenses covered by the grant

Note: If the event funded by the grant is part of a larger conference or other function, the funded portion of the conference must be identified as discrete portions of the program and labeled as co-sponsored by SHCY.

One-page applications should be submitted as PDF files via email to the Outreach Committee chair Luke Springman ( They should include:
—Date, location, and primary sponsor of event
—Description of audience (size, makeup)
—Total cost of event and other confirmed or potential funding sources
—Description of event that articulates how it contributes to all or part of SHCY’s mission: promoting the history of children and youth by supporting research about childhood, youth cultures, and the experience of young people across diverse times and places; fostering study across disciplinary and methodological boundaries; providing venues for scholars to communicate with one another; and promoting excellence in scholarship.
–Note: The Committee may request additional information from applicants about their event and about the participants and intended audience.

The Outreach Committee will recommend awardees to the SHCY Executive Committee, which will make final decisions. Recipients of grants will be announced by February 15, 2016.

Nov  18

Child Poverty in Times of Crisis

CFP: Child Poverty in Times of Crisis

University of Salzburg, Austria, 25. & 26. August 2016

Keynote speakers:
Mario Biggeri (Florence) & Lucinda Platt (LSE)

The aim of this conference is threefold: (1) to discuss how different crises (like the recent economic downturn, political instability, natural disasters or (civil) war) affect child poverty; (2) to reveal the consequences such crises have on children living in poverty and their families as well as to show how they respond; and, finally, (3) to provide suggestions for international, national and local policy designs for the reaction to such crises. We are interested in bringing together empirical and theoretical papers and in discussing the normative and ethical issues attached to child poverty and related policy making.

The conference fee is 150 Euros (75 Euros for students) and covers the conference folder, coffee breaks, two lunches, the reception, the conference dinner and a guided city tour.

Please send your proposal (250 words) to until January 31, 2016.

Organised by the Centre for Ethics and Poverty Research at University of Salzburg (CEPR) and the Austrian chapter of Acadamics Stand Against Poverty (ASAP).

For more information please go to:

Conference Homepage:
ASAP Homepage:
CEPR Homepage:

Nov  13

Black Women and Girls’ Lives Matter

Hiphop Literacies: Black Women and Girls’ Lives Matter
The Ohio State University
Frank B. Hale Jr. Black Cultural Center, Main Campus
March 30-31, 2016

Call For Papers/Proposals/Performers:

The purpose of the Hiphop Literacies conference is to bring together scholars, educators, activists, students, artists, and community members to dialogue on pressing social problems.  This year our working conference theme is Black Women and Girls’ Lives Matter.  Participants of the Hiphop Literacies Conference join a community of those concerned with African American/Black, Brown and urban literacies, who are interested in challenging the sociopolitical arrangement of the relations between institutions, languages, identities, and power through engagement with local narratives of inequality and lived experience in order to critique a global system of oppression. Literacies scholars who foreground the lives of Hiphop generation youth see Hiphop as providing a framework to ground work in classrooms and communities in democratic ideals.

This movement converges with critical education/literacies and the current BlackLivesMatter modern civil rights movement “created in 2012 after Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman, was acquitted for his crime, and dead 17-year old Trayvon was post-humously placed on trial for his own murder.” ( BlackLivesMatter converges with other efforts to address the legacies of slavery that still oppress Black people in the United States of America: state-sanctioned killing of Black people, state-sanctioned poverty, hatred and oppression of queer people, the prison industrial complex, school-to-prison-pipeline, ineffective schooling and more.  This year’s conference illuminates issues in the struggle to engender the fight for racial justice, so that the needs of girls and women are fully addressed as we continue the fight to dismantle institutional racism and promote healing for collective empowerment of Black and Brown communities. 

Full details available in the downloadable PDF. Abstracts due December 1, 2015.

Nov  13

Job: Professor in Child Studies, Linköping University

New Posting from Linköping University:

Professor in Child Studies with a focus on children and childhood from a historical perspective formally based at the Department of Thematic Studies

Child Studies carries out unique research that combines a focus on children’s roles as actors and their social interactions with a critical and theoretical awareness of childhood’s shifting meanings in time and place. Third cycle and first cycle studies specialising in issues of children and childhood are carried out at the department. First cycle studies include an international master’s programme, as well as stand-alone courses and teacher-training courses.

For more information, see the job advertisement:

Nov  11

Guest Post: Heidi Morrison and Reflections on the Universality of Finding Meaning in Death

Heidi Morrison is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. She is the author of The Global History of Childhood Reader (Routledge, 2012) and Childhood and Colonial Modernity in Egypt (Palgrave, 2015). Her writing has appeared in Le Monde Diplomatique, CounterPunch, and Mondoweiss.  An earlier version of this piece originally appeared in The Globe and Mail.

When asked to blog about my JHCY article, I considered various topics. Should I write about the inordinate difficulty it takes to conduct research on Palestine, due to Israeli airport and checkpoint security that seek to keep a lid on what is happening in the occupied territories? Should I write about how some of the oral history training that I received at Columbia’s Oral History Summer Institute did not always correspond to the reality of doing fieldwork? Should I provide a basic primer of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, since this topic remains elusive to so many people despite its central place in shaping the world we live in today? Should I write about the delicate job of being a researcher who asks a mother to relive the worst tragedy of her life: the death of a child? All of these aforementioned topics are compelling, but the topic I have chosen to blog about is more personal.

Death is an emotionally resonate topic that no one can escape dealing with at some point in his/her life. What the mothers in my research showed me is that dealing with death often means finding meaning in death. The mothers I interviewed who lost their children to Israeli violence memorialize their son’s death as beautiful and an act of strength. They do this for a reason. Many westerners misinterpret that reason to be that Palestinians embrace a culture of violence. However, the real reason is grounded in the historical and contemporary context of living under occupation, the details of which are explored in my JHCY article.

The mothers I interviewed are no different than you or me in their objective to make some sense of death. Whether our explanation be religious, scientific, or cultural we all look for answers to the pain caused by the loss of human life.  I am no different than a Palestinian mother in this universal quest, as the following narrative seeks to explain. I title the narrative “A Miscarriage, a Revolution, and a Pekingese: Finding Meaning in Death.” I would greatly enjoy hearing from readers about your experiences with searching for meaning in death. As the tale will tell, my solace in death came from perceiving death as an impetus for life. The hope in sharing my personal story is threefold: to honor the bravery of the mothers who confided in me; to show our common humanity; and to make discussions of death less taboo. Here is my story:

A nine-week old human fetus fits in a plastic cup. I know this from experience. Under a bridge of a congested street near Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, my husband reached for anything he could to place the contents of my sudden miscarriage. I lost the life that was growing inside me at the center of where the 2011 Egyptian Revolution’s hope for democracy had both came alive and died a few years prior.

The symbolism in location accentuated my need to find meaning in the pregnancy’s premature ending. Just as many Egyptian activists living under renewed military dictatorship grappled to believe the Revolution was not in vain, I too grappled to believe the much desired, yet short-lived, gestation had a purpose.

Heidi with the German Shepherd March that helped heal the wounds of death. (Summer 2013).

Heidi with the German Shepherd March that helped heal the wounds of death. (Summer 2013).

Almost as soon as I left the hospital, my thoughts turned to a German Shepherd dog named March that I had met the previous week at an Egyptian animal shelter. Named after the month in which she was found dying in the streets of Alexandria, March recovered at the dog shelter from an unexplained, deep, and foot-long stab wound across her back. Her leg muscles were atrophied from lack of adequate exercise at the overcrowded shelter.

I adopted March as a surrogate to the baby I had just lost and as a way to give life.  A few days later, March flew home with me to Los Angeles.  When I cried, March nestled her big body into my lap, as if to say she knew my pain.  To my dismay, her empathy quickly turned into irrational protection, attacking anybody who came near me. One horrific night, March pinned a family member against the wall, teeth snarling.  I began putting a muzzle on March and hoped that with time she would recover from her own abusive past and settle down.

Unfortunately, the situation deteriorated to the point that I had to rehome March with an experienced German Shepherd trainer. The day I left March with Nixon, she howled as I walked away. She was a child losing her mother. I heaved with sorrow too. I was a mother losing her second child. My only solace came from knowing that Nixon, arms scarred with years of dog bites, would never give up on March.

Although tears still readily swelled in my eyes, work obligations pulled me abroad again for research. In Palestine as a Fulbright scholar, the loss continued to haunt me and leave me yearning for a beginning to come from the tragic end. Volunteering in a Jerusalem animal shelter, I met a small Pekingese dog that needed a caretaker as much as I needed a dependent. His original owners left him starving and infested with maggots in an Israeli militarized zone, a sort of no-man’s land arguably inhospitable to any life at all.

Heidi with the life-inspiring neighborhood children and dogs (including Zeitoon) in Ramallah, Palestine. (Spring 2014).

Heidi with the life-inspiring neighborhood children and dogs (including Zeitoon) in Ramallah, Palestine. (Spring 2014).

I took the Pekingese dog home and gave him the name Zeitoon, Arabic for Olive, because of his big, round black eyes. Just as the olive tree represents the Palestinians’ struggle to stay rooted in their land, my Zeitoon held fast onto life in the face of death. Over the coming months, I carted Zeitoon back and forth across checkpoints to get him the necessary medical care. In the process, I became a sort of Coyote, transporting Palestinians’ animals into Israel for medical treatment they could not receive in Palestine and for which their owners were not allowed entry.  Children in my apartment building fell in love with Zeitoon, often passing by to ask if he could come out and play. Zeitoon allowed a young Palestinian named Muna to materialize her ambition to start the first ever dog-walking business in Palestine.

On many occasions, I hugged Zeitoon tight and thanked him for abounding with life. Similar to March, he responded by empathetically pushing his head into my neck. Also similar to March, he took his compassion too far. A few months after making a full recovery, Zeitoon suddenly lost the ability to walk with any of his legs.  He became so weak that I had to hand feed him with a little spoon, dress him in diapers, and use a syringe as a bottle for hydration. He literally became my baby. I even had to push him around in my rolling grocery basket.

Despite consultations with canine neurologists, twice-weekly physical therapy on a water treadmill, and multiple medications, Olive remained completely dependent upon me for mobility. I soon learned the meaning of his different cries.

It was not until almost one year after the start of Zeitoon’s paralysis and when I finally gave birth to a human baby, that Zeitoon for no apparent medical reason suddenly began to use his legs again.  Although wobbly and not with great stamina, Zeitoon is on the path to regaining some of his independence.

With a baby of my own now, I wonder if Zeitoon understands I no longer need him to assume that role.  I also wonder if Zeitoon, like March, used his own painful life experience as reason to help me. Finding meaning in tragedy and disappointment is itself a revolution.

Oct  27

New Book Review Editors for the JHCY

The editorial board of the Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth has approved the appointments of Corinne T. Field and Nicholas Syrett as co-editors of the journal’s book review section.

Nick is an associate professor at the University of Northern Colorado and author of The Company He Keeps: A History of White College Fraternities (Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 2009) and of a forthcoming study of the regulation of youthful sexuality in the United States.Cori is lecturer in the Department of History and in the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Program at the University of Virginia.  She is the author of The Struggle for Equal Adulthood: Gender, Race, Age, and the Fight for Citizenship in Antebellum America (Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 2014).  Nick and Cori together edited the just-published Age in America: The Colonial Era to the Present (New York: NYU Press, 2015).

Cori and Nick are now recruiting reviewers and commissioning reviews; “their” reviews will begin appearing in the late 2016 edition of the journal.

Oct  20

CHC Season 2, Ep. 1: Racial Innocence

Childhood: history & critique (CHC) is a multi-media series of interviews, essays, and reports on happenings in the historical study of childhood hosted by a team of scholars and edited by Dr. Patrick J. Ryan.  The series is published and circulated online by the Society for the History of Children and Youth.

Audio of Martin Woodside’s Conversation with Robin Bernstein

Conversation Transcript
Transcript coming soon!

Commentary by Martin Woodside

Robin Bernstein’s most recent book, Racial Innocence: Performing American Childhood from Slavery to Civil Rights (New York University Press) came out in 2011 to broad acclaim, winning numerous major awards, including the Society for the History of Children and Youth’s, Grace Abbott Best Book Award. Using innocence as an analytical lens, Robin’s book offers a powerful reappraisal of the history of American childhood, arguing that ideas of innocence were employed to support a range of racist ideologies and practices in the 150 years after the Civil War. Theoretically ambitious and meticulously researched, the book impresses on many levels. Robin’s articulation of racial innocence—the idea that innocence was not applied universally to American childhood but rather selectively, designating white children and black children as fundamentally different— serves to bind the strands of her analysis together. As some critics have alluded, and Robin herself points out in this interview, Racial Innocence is, in itself, not a new concept, and one of this book’s most impressive accomplishments is using what’s already known to provide profound new insights about the history of race and childhood in America.

Our conversation featured a substantial consideration of historical methods. The considerable theoretical heft of Robin’s work impressed me the first time I read Racial Innocence, especially her refitting of the archive and the repertoire as analytical tools.  What impressed me more, though, was how effectively she puts theory into practice. We talked about this in some depth, retracing Robin’s steps as she built her central argument about Racial Innocence. She described how early research efforts gave shape to this foundation piece and talked about being in a “constant dialectical relationship” to the evidence she encountered. This idea, and her process overall, seems especially useful to me, establishing a viable general framework for approaching the history of childhood and children’s culture. It helped shed light on how the methodologies Robin employs in Racial Innocence, such as the notion of scriptive things, worked for her, and provided useful cues as to how they could work for others conducting archival research.

In our discussion of historical research on children’s culture, Robin challenged the idea that there’s a paucity of evidence about childhood and children’s lives—at least certain kinds of evidence.  The challenge, she maintained, is how to best approach that evidence. Robin’s work in Racial Innocence provides not only an example of how to do that, but a useful set of tools for other scholars. She stressed that providing such tools was one of her goals for this project. Taking things a step further, she exhorted more scholars to do the same, working to create scholarship that’s not, as she put it “hermetically sealed,” but, rather, that can be easily used and adapted to fit a range of scholarly approaches and projects. Robin’s stance here may not be unique, but it’s refreshing to see a scholar of her standing argue so forcefully for modes of historical research that promote accessibility and invite collaboration.

Finally, Robin and I spent some time discussing the legacy of Racial Innocence and the different ways this idea informs her current work. Currently, she is writing a book inspired, at least partially, by the Trayvon Martin case, entitled White Angels, Black Threats: How Stories about Childhood Innocence Influence What We See, Think, and Feel about Race in America.

Selected Bibliography

“Signposts on the Road Less Taken: John Newton Hyde’s Anti-Racist Illustrations of African American Children,” J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists 1, no. 1 (2013): 97-119.

Bernstein, Robin. “Children’s Books, Dolls, and the Performance of Race; Or, The Possibility of Children’s Literature.” PMLA 126, no. 1 (2011): 160-169.

“Dances with Things: Material Culture and the Performance of Race,” Social Text 101 (December 2009): 67-94.

Martin Woodside

About Martin Woodside

Martin Woodside earned his Ph.D. in Childhood Studies from the University of Rutgers-Camden. He has a background in Children’s Literature and Creating Writing and has published five books for young readers and a full-length collection of poetry. He spent 2009-10 as a Fulbright Fellow in Romania and has published two books of Romanian poetry in translation. He studies gender, popular culture, and Young Adult Literature, and his critical work has been published in Extravio and Otherness: Essays and Studies.

Robin Bernstein

About Robin Bernstein

Robin Bernstein is Professor of African and African American Studies and of Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Harvard University and co-editor of the book series Performance and American Cultures for New York University Press. Her most recent book, Racial Innocence: Performing American Childhood from Slavery to Civil Rights, won five awards: the Outstanding Book Award from the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE, co-winner), the Grace Abbott Best Book Award from the Society for the History of Children and Youth, the Book Award from the Children’s Literature Association, the Lois P. Rudnick Book Prize from the New England American Studies Association, and the IRSCL Award from the International Research Society for Children’s Literature. Racial Innocence was also a runner-up for the American Studies Association’s John Hope Franklin Publication Prize and received an Honorable Mention for the Book Award from the Society for the Study of American Women Writers. Her other books include the anthology Cast Out: Queer Lives in Theater (University of Michigan Press) and a Jewish feminist children’s book titled Terrible, Terrible!. A refereed ebook, African American Children and Childhood, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press. She is currently writing a book titled White Angels, Black Threats: How Stories about Childhood Innocence Influence What We See, Think, and Feel about Race in America.

Sep  29

Caroline Cox

Long-time member and former Executive Committee member Caroline Cox died after a long illness on July 11, 2015.  Caroline, a legendary teacher at the University of the Pacific, was author of The Fight to Survive: A Young Girl, Diabetes, and the Discovery of Insulin (2009) and was writing Boy Soldiers: War and Society in the American Revolution at the time of her death.  Caroline served on the SHCY executive committee from 2011 until 2015.  Read more about her at

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