Childhood and Gender in Time

CALL FOR PAPERS: Genesis on Childhood and Gender in Time

The journal Genesis. Rivista della Società Italiana delle Storiche calls for papers for a special issue dedicated to “childhood and gender in time.”

The nature of childhood and its significance as a separate phase of life are at the centre of a process of critical rethinking, which is generating new and challenging interdisciplinary research. We would like to explore the social construction of gender in childhood, from a transnational and interdisciplinary perspective, giving particular attention to the role of play, toys, and children’s literature. Our aim is to examine how gender norms and gender models have been formulated and propagated in different historical, geographical and cultural contexts, but also how those models have been appropriated, contested and possibly subverted. We are interested in the relationship between the effort of regulating children and the “agency” that children are able to express, particularly in the context of a children’s peer culture, in which play (broadly understood) has a central role.

The main questions explored in the issue are:

-How have ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ been understood and socially constructed through time?
-How have toys, games, and children’s books contributed to construct specific gender roles for children?
-What role have they played in different pedagogical approaches and in political interventions towards children?
-How have gender models been played out, appropriated and resisted in different social and historical contexts?

We are also interested in exploring historiographical and methodological questions related to the topic.

-Is it possible to identify continuities and fractures, contaminations and cultural transfers in the way notions of gender have informed approaches to childhood and education through time?
-What kind of sources and approaches are most suitable to the investigation of the role of play, toys and games in the construction of gender in childhood?
-What kinds of sources allow studying how children have appropriated and transformed (perhaps even subverted) gender norms through play? (What is, for instance, the role of oral history, ego-history and ethnological approaches in the study of childhood and gender?)

We encourage proposals exploring childhood and gender in history, through the perspective of play, toys and children’s books. We welcome proposals, which will allow us to adopt a long historical perspective, to explore different historical contexts and to discuss diverse approaches to sources.

Proposals should include: title of the article, abstract (300 words maximum) and a short biographical profile of the author. Submissions must be received by the 20th of January 2014; all proposals should be sent by email to the editors of the special issue, Stefania Bernini ( and Adelisa Malena ( The articles selected for publications (up to 50,000 characters, including spaces and notes) must be submitted in final form by the 15th of May 2014. All articles will be subject to double-blind review prior to publication. Will be considered for publication articles in Italian, French, English and Spanish).

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