IHRC Symposium Commentary on Migration across Global Regimes of Childhood

Welcome to the first of the new SHCY Commentary series, in which SHCY members provide written contributions on various academic topics pertaining to the history of childhood and youth. This commentary will also appear on the new website when it launches on 1 October 2018. Thank-you to Kelly Condit-Shrestha and the Immigration History Research Centre for this think-piece and introduction to the upcoming Migration and Global Regimes of Childhood Symposium.

Migration across Global Regimes of Childhood1: An Introduction

Friday, September 21, 2018

120 Elmer L. Andersen Library, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

See the IHRC Symposium poster and event schedule, here. To register in advance, see EventBrite.

On Saturday, June 16, 2018, a Homeland Security official asserted, “We are not separating babies from parents.” On Tuesday, June 19, 2018, a Border Patrol official told news journalists “that it’s a matter of ‘discretion’ how young is too young for a child to be separated from their parents. In general, he said, the age of 5 has been used as a benchmark, with children younger than that called ‘tender-aged.’

On Wednesday, June 20, 2018, The Associated Press reported: “The Trump administration has set up at least three ‘tender age’ shelters to detain babies and other young children who have been forcibly separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.” That same day, the Detroit Free Press reported how, “in the middle of the night, two baby boys arrived in Grand Rapids after being separated from their immigrant parents at the southern border weeks ago. One child is 8 months old; the other is 11 months old.

As of Thursday, July 19, 2018, only 364 of an estimated 2,551 children separated under Trump’s zero-tolerance border policy had been reunited with their parents. That same day, Congresspersons Elijah E. Cummings, Jerrold Nadler, and Bennie G. Thompson reported: “Trump officials made a startling confession – they had no interagency plan in place to reunite children with their parents when Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced President Trump’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy in April.’” On Wednesday, July 23, 2018, U.S. attorneys presented more than 100 pages of migrant parents’ personal testimonies documenting the “coercive and misleading manner” through which immigration officials took their children.

What is the current U.S. and transnational “regime of childhood” that, despite intense bi-partisan resistance and public protest, governs the separation of these migrant children and parents? How might we think more broadly about “regimes of childhood”?

Michel Foucault offers one possible starting point when he describes the domain of sexuality “as an especially dense transfer point for relations of power: between men and women, young people and old people, parents and offspring, teachers and students, priests and laity, and administration and a population.” 2 This symposium illuminates the domain of childhood as a similarly notable “dense transfer point for relations of power.”

Ann Laura Stoler’s thought is also helpful in analyzing regimes of childhood. In her essay, “Tense and Tender Ties: The Politics of Comparison in North American History and (Post) Colonial Studies,” she responds to historian Robert Gregg’s appeal to better understand “the larger dimensions of the imperial system.”3 In particular, Stoler’s intersectional analysis utilizes Foucault’s “regimes of truth”4 to explore these larger “ways of knowing and establishing truth claims about race and difference on which macropolities rely,” and macropolities’ more intimate spheres of governance, in order to “reveal how North American histories and those of empires elsewhere compare and converge.”5 In particular, Stoler suggests that:

Refocusing on an imperial field highlights the contradictions between universal principles and the differentiated imperial spaces and particularistic ways in which they were applied.

But it may also do something more, helping identify unexpected points of congruence and similarities of discourse in seemingly disparate sites. It may prompt a search for common strategies of rule and the sequence of their occurrence that questions the relationship between imperial expansion and nation building… It may point to techniques for managing the intimate that spanned colony and metropole and that constrained or enabled both colonizer and colonized. Not least, such an exercise may challenge cherished distinctions between the dynamics of American internal empire and European overseas ones-or undo those distinctions altogether.6

In conversation with the insights drawn from Foucault and Stoler, this symposium will investigate the overlapping and intersecting scales through which child bodies were (and are) meant to be managed—at the levels of individual and family, institution and state, and across national boundaries—at different historic and contemporary moments. Within an overarching frame of “the global” and multiple scales of movement, this symposium will treat child migration processes whether they crossed oceans or national borders, or remained within continental or state boundaries, as interconnected, rather than separate histories. In this way, the symposium will explore the perpetuation and trajectory of what I call global “regimes of childhood”7 that have governed large-scale and local “ways knowing” children and childhood, across time and space. These transnational “truth claims” have worked to implement modes of governance in order to control the movement of youth, and by extension, their families, networks of kin, and broader communities—thus illustrating children and childhood as “dense transfer point[s] for relations of power.”

Ruminating on “connections and comparisons,” Stoler asks: “Would it be more fruitful to compare the governing strategies of colonial regimes or ‘the regimes of truth’ that informed colonial cultures at different times and places?”8 “Migration across Global Regimes of Childhood” will seek to do both.

Across Time and Space

By June 23, 2018, 81 of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” migrant children had entered the U.S. foster care system via the Michigan-based adoption agency, Bethany Christian Services. Even before, and especially after, this development, domestic and transnational adoptees, first/birth mothers, and multidisciplinary scholars had already made connections between these contemporary events and the United States’ long history of child separation centered, in particular, around indigenous and children of color.

Since it’s come to light that parents were given mere “minutes to decide whether or not to leave their children in the U.S.” and the Trump administration assessed that “48 hours” constituted acceptable decision-making time, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) pushed back “for a longer waiting period after reunifications – seven days.” The ACLU argued that this was “sufficient time [for parents] to consult about what might be the most consequential decision of their lives.” This argument resonates with the politics surrounding the 2011 amendment to South Korea’s Special Adoption Law. This historic amendment represented the culmination of an extensive human rights campaign regarding the separation of Korean children from their unwed mothers, and included stipulations that guaranteed a seven-day waiting period for thoughtful deliberation, parent counseling, consultation, consent, and child relinquishment.9 Present-day, CHANGE (“a Coalition for the human rights of adoptees,” led by repatriated Korean adoptee activists and allies) is in the midst of a transnational political campaign, in support of further revising the 2011 Special Adoption Law. These revisions argue for the inclusion of specific child and family rights-based principles to “support family preservation and the protection of children,” “children’s rights as recognized by the UNCRC,” and “anti-corruption measures and penalties for noncompliance.”10

On the other hand, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen validates the administration’s border-child separations through a discourse of criminalization and illegality:

[T]he law says if you cross between the ports of entry, you are entering without inspection and that is a crime… Our policy has not changed in that if you break the law, we will refer you for prosecution… Operationally what that means is we will have to separate your family. That’s no different than what we do every day in every part of the United States when an adult of a family commits a crime.

Again, we do it every day in every part of the country. If you have a family and you commit a crime, the police do not not put you in jail because you have a family. They prosecute you and they incarcerate you. Illegal aliens should not get just different rights because they happen to be illegal aliens.

Laura Briggs’s Somebody’s Children (2012), documents the long history of separating children from their families, for political reasons, in the U.S. and Latin America. In particular, the book’s epilogue “explores how the U.S. citizen children of immigrants… [were] starting to become very vulnerable to being sent into foster care and adoptions… [b]y treating the status offence of overstaying a visa [, for example,] like a crime…. Officials [were] pushing children into state protective services and foster care.”11 More recently, legal scholar Marcia Zug provides additional examples of how “[s]tate courts and welfare agencies have frequently concluded that a parent’s undocumented status and their willingness to cross the border illegally was proof enough of parental unfitness that could justify the termination of parental rights.” Anthropologist Lauren Heidbrink makes this link to the eventual adoption of certain unaccompanied minors: “[For those minors who have been reclassified as refugees under special immigrant juvenile status], what’s presented as abuse, abandonment, or neglect can instead be a parent who was deported or detained.

Beyond the discourse of migrant status and documentation, what role does race play in this current regime of child-family criminalization and illegality? Turning our gaze to the internal politics of U.S. child separation, the highly raced criminalization of black and Hispanic mothers, resulting in their children’s placement into foster care, have led some to label this systematized child separation as “Jane Crow.” The most explicit (post-slavery) criminalization of black mothers occurred during the 1980s “crack babies” epidemic. The racialized taking of black children from their “undeserving” families has a deep, long, and painful history.12

And what of the expression of “nurture,” if you will, offered by border-separating government officials? In practice, there has been no age-protective limit that has kept children with their parents. But the sentiments expressed by both Homeland Security and Border Patrol officials about “not separating babies” and “the age of 5… as a benchmark” recalls, for example, political and administrative discussion surrounding compulsory education and American Indian boarding schools during the late nineteenth century. In 1893 Congressman Taylor defined “Indian children [as] Indians between the age of 6 and 21.”13 On June 16, 1894, Congress held a lively debate regarding parental consent, children’s age, and whether or not youth “under the age of 14 years” should be sent “to a school beyond the State or Territory in which said reservation is situated.”14 Within this discourse of nineteenth century policy dialogue surrounding American Indian child removal, infants were not separated from their parents.

In the historic enactment of global “regimes of childhood”—focused on child and parent rights, surveillance and discipline, nurture and sentiment—what logics of governance have changed and transformed? What circuits of knowledge have continued and been sustained, despite these changes, over time? What have varied “regimes of childhood” meant with respect to migration, discourse, and practice, as reflected both in global universalities and specificities, in different communities’ experiences, in geopolitics, and in national conceptualizations of race and sovereignty?

Dr. Laura Briggs’s15 keynote, “Understanding the Spectacle of Separating Children at the Border: A History,” will place a sharp focus on the contemporary and historic removal of children for political reasons, as well as its “spectacularization – the making of grotesque spectacle, whether this summer or at the end of the Indian Wars, with boarding schools, or on the auction block in slavery, the tearing away of children from their mothers’ sides, or the paradoxical invisibility and spectacle of child disappearance in the Cold War civil wars in Central America.”16

The remainder of the symposium will be organized temporally, across three panels focusing on different “regimes of childhood”: “Empires, Old and New,” “Cold War Geopolitics,” and “Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989)” in order to highlight three specific epochs: the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Cold War era, and present-day immigration politics. The symposium will encourage public engagement, academic and non-academic collaboration, and interdisciplinary dialogue by bringing together fifteen presenters: graduate students and renowned scholars (from a multitude of disciplines), acclaimed writers, activists, and community members. The presentations will focus on such topics such as: child labor in British and U.S. imperial contexts; transracial domestic and transnational adoptions; child refugees, contemporary human rights and child welfare discourses; and the interconnections between these different (im)migrant communities. This symposium will also foreground the insights, expertise, and perspectives of child migrants themselves by including presentations from refugees and adoptees who arrived and migrated throughout the U.S., during different historical contexts. Together, these panelists will present a variety of case studies in order to illuminate the intersections and divergences, in discourse and practice, of child migrations that resulted from a range of motivations: the desire for labor, the pursuit of education, humanitarian concerns, and intergovernmental agendas.


Influenced by Stoler’s view that “research that begins with people’s movements rather than with fixed polities opens up to more organic histories that are not compelled by originary narratives designed to show the ‘natural’ teleology of future nations, later republics, and future states,”17 this symposium centers migration as its overarching framework. Through this framing, I imagine the symposium to be an opportunity to shed new light on the global interconnectedness, divergence, and transformation of youth and youth migration—how children have been historically perceived and governed; how they acted and moved, internally and across oceans.

As I’m certain these presentations will show, global “regimes of childhood” have not been shaped only through state intervention, but through the children, their families, and their communities who have moved “within, [among,] between, and outside” of these regimes.18 However, the power of regimes that continue to govern and manage populations over the longue durée despite, for example, political changes and successful forms of community resistance, contribute to the endurance of certain discursive logics that continue to manage meaning and construct social categories. Ann Laura Stoler and Frederick Cooper describe such sustainment of these governing logics as:

colonialism’s modular qualities, how different regimes [build] projects with blocks of one earlier model and then another, projects that were then reworked by the colonized populations that those models could never completely master or contain… we might imagine nineteenth-century history as made up, not of nation-building projects alone, but of compounded colonialisms and as shaped by multinational philanthropies, missionary movements, discourses of social welfare and reform, and traffics of people.19

We can thus witness the global and enduring power of certain “regimes of child separation” in Laura Briggs’s June 2018 testimony in support of the State of Washington v. Donald Trump in his official capacity as President in the United States, et al.20 In her testimony, Briggs seamlessly links the Trump administration’s “current policy of separating children from their parents in order to deter border crosses” to U.S. federal government policies of Native American child separation “as a strategy to end the Indian Wars of the nineteenth century.” She continues to map the legacies of these nineteenth century family separations into the twenty-first century, and their social, cultural, and political impact on Native American communities. According to Briggs’s testimony, it is then also logical to compare discourses surrounding nineteenth century and contemporary U.S. policies and practices with the actions of “Latin American dictators and paramilitaries in the mid-twentieth century [, who utilized child separations] to terrorize communities thought to be involved in insurgencies and to avoid the raising of another generation of ‘reds.’” From the 1970s through the 1990s, countries throughout Latin America, sometimes with the explicit support of the U.S. government, enacted child separation policies under the rubric of Cold War agendas in order to take the children of alleged insurgents, most often vulnerable unwed mothers.21

While in many ways “different,” how is it that Trump’s “zero tolerance” border separations continue to resonate with nineteenth century U.S. indigenous and Cold War Latin American child separation policies?

It was also between the mid-nineteenth and late twentieth centuries that Canada and Australia employed their own versions of forced child removal on behalf of (white) nationalist political agendas and indigenous children’s alleged “best interests.” These youths were placed into white families, institutions, sometimes federal boarding schools; and in Australia, they encompassed a “stolen generation” of more than 25,000 aboriginal children.22 And it was following Spain’s Civil War (1936-1939) that the victorious Nationalist government separated Republican children from their parents, to be raised and assimilated into Nationalist families and ideals. Loyalist mothers were infantilized as incapable and undeserving of keeping their families intact. Their children thus “disappeared” via government policy and were adopted out.23

All of the above-mentioned instances of child separation policy have since ended, often with official apologies on behalf of federal governments. But similar “regimes of childhood” and child separation continue into the present, as evidenced in our contemporary politics—a history that appears to keep repeating itself. In this way, the central task of this symposium, through its exploration of manifold case studies, is “not to figure out who was colonizer and who was colonized,” but “to ask what political rationalities [concerning childhood, child separation, and child-family-parent rights] have made [specific] distinctions and categories [of governance particularly] viable, enduring, and relevant.”24

I will follow up on these proposed inquiries via a Report, following the September 21, 2018 Immigration History Research Center (IHRC) Symposium: Migration across Global Regimes of Childhood, in a future Society for the History of Children and Youth (SHCY) Commentaries issue.


[1] This Immigration History Research Center (IHRC) event is funded in part by the Imagine Fund Special Events Award from the University of Minnesota Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost and an Outreach Grant from the Society for the History of Children and Youth, and co-sponsored by the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD); Asian American Studies Program; Human Rights Program; Center for Austrian Studies (CAS); Center for German and European Studies (CGES); Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change (ICGC); Institute for Global Studies; Departments of American Indian Studies; Anthropology; Chicano & Latino Studies; English; Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies (GWSS); German, Scandinavian & Dutch (GSD); and History; Subjects, Object, Agents: Young People’s Lives in the Global South (YaSOA). Concept/Organization: Kelly Condit-Shrestha. Artwork: Simi Kang.

[2] Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, vol. I: An Introduction, trans. Robert Hurley (New York: Vintage Books, 1990), 103.

[3] Robert Gregg, Inside Out, Outside In: Essays in Comparative History (New York: St. Martin’s Press, Inc., 2000), 6.

[4] Michel Foucault, “Truth and Power,” trans. Colin Gordon, Leo Marshall, John Mepham, Kate Soper, in Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, 1972-1977, ed. Colin Gordon (New York: Pantheon Books), 131.

[5] Ann Laura Stoler, “Tense and Tender Ties: The Politics of Comparison in North American and (Post) Colonial Studies,” The Journal of American History 88, no. 3 (2001): 831.

[6] Ibid., 847.

[7] Thank you to Mary Jo Maynes for pushing me toward this language and literature. For related scholarship with different emphases that point to the usefulness of Foucault in Childhood Studies or utilize a “regimes” framework see, for example, Gunilla Dahlberg, Peter Moss, and Alan Pence, Beyond Quality in Early Education and Care: Postmodern Perspectives (Philadelphia: RoutledgeFalmer, 2001); Glenda Mac Naughton, Doing Foucault in Early Childhood Studies: Applying poststructural ideas (London: Routledge, 2005); Leena Alanen, “Regimes of childhood and children’s welfare,” Funding by the Academy of Finland, 2004-2007, staff.jyu.fi/Members/lalanen/projects; Jean Grugel and Nicola Piper, Critical Perspectives on Global Governance: Rights and regulation in governing regimes (New York: Routledge, 2007); David M. Pomfret, Youth and Empire: Trans-Colonial Childhoods in British and French Asia (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2016).

[8] Stoler, “Tense and Tender Ties,” 846-847.

[9] Sang-hun Choe, “Group Resists Korean Stigma for Unwed Mothers,” New York Times, October 7, 2009, A6; Jane Jeong Trenka, tammy ko Robinson, and Kim Stoker, “New adoption law puts family preservation first,” Hankyoreh, July 7, 2011, http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_editorial/486303.html; Shannon Doona Heit, “Diasporic Articulations and the Transformative Power of Haunting: Returning Adoptees’ Solidarity Movement with Unwed Mothers in Korea” (MA thesis, Hanyang University, 2013); Sang-hun Choe, “An Adoptee Returns, and Changes Follow,” New York Times, June 29, 2013, A4; Jane Jeong Trenka, “The 2011 Amendment to the Special Adoption Law: A One-Year Evaluation” (MA thesis, Seoul National University, 2014); Maggie Jones, “The Returned,” New York Times Magazine, January 18, 2015, MM30; Paul Y. Chang and Andrea Kim Cavicchi, “Claiming Rights: Organizational and Discursive Strategies of the Korean Adoptee and Unwed Mothers Movement,” Korea Observer 46, no. 1 (2015): 145-180; Hosu Kim, Birth Mothers and Transnational Adoption Practice in South Korea: Virtual Mothering (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.), 191, 197. See also, Kelly Condit-Shrestha, “South Korea and Adoption’s Ends: Reexamining the Numbers and Historicizing Market Economies,” Adoption & Culture (forthcoming).

[10] tammy ko Robinson, Email message to author, February 9, 2018; CHANGE Coalition, “adopteesforchange,” Instagram, www.instagram.com/adopteesforchange/.

[11] Laura Briggs, Somebody’s Children: The Politics of Transracial and Transnational Adoption (Durham: Duke University Press, 2012), 271.

[12] See, Susan Okie, “The Epidemic That Wasn’t,” New York Times, January 26, 2009; Briggs, Somebody’s Children, Chap. 3; Dorothy Roberts, Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare (New York: Basic Civitas Books, 2002). See also, Kelly Condit-Shrestha, “Racialized Borders within the United States: A History of Foster Care, Adoption, and Child Removal in African American Communities,” U.S. History Scene (forthcoming).

[13] “For Support of Schools,” in An Act: Making appropriations for the current and contingent expenses of the Indian Department, and for fulfilling treaty stipulations with various Indian tribes, for the year ending June thirtieth, eighteen hundred and ninety-two, 26 Stat. 1012 (1893), 24th Cong., Congressional Record: 2138.

[14] Rep. William Holman of Indiana, on June 16, 1894, to Senate, 53rd Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record: 6432.

[15] Laura Briggs is Professor of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is the author of several books, including Somebody’s Children: The Politics of Transnational and Transracial Adoption, which explores the political and economic reasons why Native and African-American people in the US and those believed to be part of insurgent and indigenous groups in Central America’s Cold War, usually single mothers, lose their children–and how those children become available for adoption. Most recently, she wrote expert testimony for a group of 17 states’ attorneys general who filed legal action against the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their parents at the US border.

[16] Laura Briggs, Email message to author, July 22, 2018.

[17] Stoler, “Tense and Tender Ties,” 862.

[18] Ibid., 864.

[19] Ibid., 862. See also Anna Laura Stoler and Frederick Cooper, “Between Metropole and Colony: Rethinking a Research Agenda,” in Tensions of Empire: Colonial Cultures in a Bourgeois World, eds. Frederick Cooper and Ann Laura Stoler (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997), 1-58.

[20] “Declaration of Laura Briggs in Support of the State of Washington” in State of Washington v. Donald Trump in his official capacity as President of the United States, et. al., P.Attorney General of Washington 138 (WA 2018).

[21] Ibid., 154-180.

[22] Rowena MacDonald, Between Two Worlds: The Commonwealth Government and the Removal of Aboriginal Children of Part Descent in the Northern Territory (Alice Springs: IAD Press, 1996); Robert Van Krieken, “The ‘Stolen Generations’ and Cultural Genocide: The Forced Removal of Australian Indigenous Children from their Families and Its Implications for the Sociology of Childhood,” Childhood 6 (1999): 297-311; Wesley Crichlow, “Western Colonization as Disease: Native Adoption and Cultural Genocide,” Critical Social Work 3 (2002): 104-27. On the global dimensions of post-World War II indigenous child separations see Margaret D. Jacobs, A Generation Removed: The Fostering and Adoption of Indigenous Children in the Postwar World (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2014).

[23] Michael Richards, “Ideology and the Psychology of War Children in Franco’s Spain, 1936-1945,” in Children of World War II, ed. Kjersti Ericsson and Eva Simonsen (Oxford: Berg Publishers, 2005), 115-137, 121.

[24] Stoler, “Tense and Tender Ties,” 865.

Kelly Condit-Shrestha is a transnational U.S. historian of migration, childhood, adoption, and critical race, and Post-Doctoral Research Associate in the Immigration History Research Center (IHRC) at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Her research explores children who are placed out, whether for economic or humanitarian rationales, as child migrants operating within transnational social, cultural, and political systems. Her forthcoming articles include “South Korea and Adoption’s Ends: Reexamining the Numbers and Historicizing Market Economies,” Adoption & Culture and “Racialized Borders within the United States: A History of Foster Care, Adoption, and Child Removal in African American Communities,” U.S. History Scene. She is currently working on a book manuscript, tentatively titled Adoption and American Empire: Migration, Race-Making and the Child, 1845-1988. Her consultation and public history work with the Adoption Museum Project (AMP) highlights intersections between past and present child placement practices, law, culture, and public policy. She also serves as a fellow with U.S. History Scene (USHS), a multimedia history education website composed of historians and educators at over fifty universities.

This symposium concept grew out of the work, learning, and collaboration she’s done at the IHRC and with the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change (ICGC) research circle Subjects, Objects, Agents: Young People’s Lives and Livelihoods in the Global South (YaSOA), this past year.

I thank Director Erika Lee for inviting me to organize this symposium and for her support, along with that of interim Acting Directors Saengmany Ratsabout and Yuichiro Onishi at the IHRC, and Pat Baehler, Events Coordinator at the Institute of Global Studies (IGS). I am particularly indebted to Elizabeth Dillenburg and Mary Jo Maynes whose intellectual contributions and participation in the symposium planning have been critical to envisioning the conference day.

Call for Contributions, Pink and Blue: The Gendered Culture of Pediatrics

Call for Contributions, Pink and Blue: The Gendered Culture of Pediatrics

We are looking for one to two additional contributors for an edited volume on the historical relationship between cultural notions of gender and pediatrics in the U.S.

The volume, Pink and Blue: The Gendered Culture of Pediatrics, explores how gender serves as an organizing principle of pediatrics and frames how practitioners interpret patients’ bodies, development, and psychological well-being, and how pediatrics in turn shapes cultural understandings of girlhood and boyhood. We are specifically interested in contributions that investigate the reciprocity between cultural expectations and gendered therapeutics in depth, and that explore how gender as a dynamic category relates to race, class, sexuality, and ability. Other possible topics include gendered therapeutic recommendations, pediatrics’ role in defining gender, gender and disease diagnosis, and more. Contributions already slated for the volume address such topics as infectious disease, height and growth, sexual behavior, medical education, disease prevention, and diet. Though our methodological approach to the topic is primarily historical, we welcome interdisciplinary approaches as well.

Pink and Blue is co-edited by Elena Conis and Sandra Eder, University of California, Berkeley, and Aimee Medeiros, University of California, San Francisco. Potential contributors are invited to send short abstracts (3 – 5 sentences) and a short biography (1 -2 sentences) to econis@berkeley.edu as soon as possible, or no later than September 30, 2018.

Gossard Wins JHCY Article Prize – 2017

Gossard Wins JHCY Article Prize – 2017

Julia M. Gossard won the 2017 prize for the best article published in the Journal for the History of Childhood and Youth for “Tattletales: Childhood & Authority in Eighteenth-Century France.”

Her article was selected from the sixteen articles published in volume 10 by a committee consisting of Peter Stearns (chair), Patrizia Guarnieri, and Shurlee Swain. The article explores how the Church and the French state in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries used charity schools to press children to report on the misdeeds of parents and neighbors. The committee noted Julia’s very imaginative use of sources, along with her solid analysis of children’s motives and behaviors, which suggested considerably more complexity in parent-child relations in this period than had been realized. Julia is assistant professor of history at Utah State University. Her first book, Coercing Children: State-Building and Social Reform in the Early Modern French World, is under contract with McGill-Queen’s University Press.

The committee also noted the excellence of Lynne E. Curry’s “‘A Sick Child Deserves Its Rights’: Law, Religion, and Children’s Medical Care in the United States, 1870-1910.” Lynn is professor of history at Eastern Illinois University and author of The DeShaney Case: Child Abuse, Family Rights, and the Dilemma of State Intervention and Modern Mothers in the Heartland: Gender, Health, and Progress in Illinois, 1900-1930.

Newsletter Summer 2018: The Girls’ History and Culture Network

For the original newsletter, please visit this page.

This special announcement is about the Call for Papers for the International Girl Studies Association (IGSA) Conference at the University of Notre Dame (USA) on 28 Feb 28- 2 Mar 2019.

In addition to letting you all know about this conference, we are looking for a third panelist for a session about innovative ways to research and teach about girlhood. It will include Miriam Forman-Brunell discussing teaching girlhood online and Hillary Hanel from Girl Museum talking about ways to use and collaborate with Girl Museum for teaching girl history in high school.

The paper deadline is Sunday July 1, but please send your paper abstracts to Miriam by June 27, so we can organise the panel. Thanks!

See below or click here for the full CFP at the IGSA website.

Your co-chairs,

Miriam Forman-Brunell
Professor of History
Ashley E. Remer
Founder/Head Girl
Girl Museum


The second International Girls Studies Association (IGSA) conference will be held at University of Notre Dame (USA) from 28 Feb 28- 2 Mar 2019
Proposal Submission Deadline: Sunday, 1 July 2018

Girls Studies has become one of the most dynamic academic fields, encompassing scholars from a vast array of disciplines engaged in a variety of interdisciplinary approaches. This conference aims to bring together scholars and creative practitioners from across the world to explore contemporary and historical experiences and constructions of girlhood and girls’ culture, as well as recent developments within the field.

The Host Committee invites proposals for individual papers, pre-constituted panels, pre-constituted roundtables, and creative works that address one or more of the following topics. Moreover, we are keen to move beyond the traditional conference format and encourage collaborative work and presentations of digital humanities projects as well as creative, visual, and performance-based work. We also welcome proposals from individuals working in collaboration with girls in schools, after-school programs, and community-based organizations.

We welcome submissions from scholars, teachers, activists, artists, and students (both graduate and undergraduate).

Topics may include (but are not limited to):

  • Histories of girlhood
  • Global girlhood(s)
  • Girlhood and intersectionality
  • Representations of girlhood
  • Intergenerational girlhoods
  • Queer and trans girls
  • Girls’ cultures
  • Girlhood and consumption
  • Mediated girlhoods
  • Girls and feminism
  • Girls and sport
  • Girls and politics
  • Girls and education
  • Girls and religion
  • Girls and STEM
  • Body image
  • Girls and subcultures
  • Girls and digital media
  • Girls and politics/activism
  • Girls and popular culture
  • Girls and music
  • Girls and literature & theatre
  • Girlhood during austerity
  • Girls’ sexuality
  • Girls’ health
  • Neoliberal girlhoods
  • Ethnographies of girlhood
  • Methodological approaches to Girls’ Studies
  • Submission Guidelines
    The deadline for submissions is 11:59 PM (US Eastern Daylight Time) on Sunday, 1 July 2018.
    Please submit your proposal here: https://genderstudies.submittable.com/submit
    You will first need to become a member of Submittable (which is easy and free).

    To allow for as many voices as possible at the conference, proposers may apply for only one role from each of the following two categories: 1) paper presenter, creative works presenter, or roundtable participant; and 2) coordinator of panel or roundtable in which they are participating.

    Open Call Papers – Individuals submitting paper proposals should provide an abstract of 250 words, a short bio, and contact information. Co-authored papers are acceptable.

    Pre-constituted Panels – Panel chairs should submit a 500-word rationale for the panel as a whole. Chairs should collect abstracts from individual participants in advance and then weave the abstracts into one coherent proposal that reflects the overall topic and goals of the panel while also representing the themes and objectives of individual papers. Panels should include 3-4 papers. Co-authored papers are acceptable. Panels that include a diversity of panelist affiliations and experience levels are strongly encouraged. For each participant, coordinators should submit a short bio and contact information.

    Pre-constituted Roundtables – Roundtable coordinators should submit a 250-word rationale for the pre-constituted roundtable as a whole. Roundtables should include no more than 6 participants (inclusive of coordinator). Roundtables that include a diversity of panelist affiliations and experience levels are strongly encouraged. Roundtable participants’ remarks at the conference should be brief in order to create substantive discussion with attendees. For each participant, coordinators should submit a short bio and contact information.

    Open Call Creative Works – Proposals for audiovisual and other creative works should consist of a 250-word abstract (including the length and format of the work), a short bio of the creator/producer, contact information, and requirements for exhibition. Co-authored work is acceptable. If some or all of the work is viewable online, please submit a URL.

    More Information
    Please direct any questions about the conference and the submission process to: igsaatnd2019@gmail.com.

    Updates about the conference schedule, events, travel and lodging, and more will be posted at https://genderstudies.nd.edu/conferences/.

    Conference Organizers: Barbara Green, Mary Celeste Kearney, Sonja Stojanovic, and Pamela Robertson Wojcik, University of Notre Dame.

    University of Notre Dame Co-Sponsors: College of Engineering, Department of Africana Studies, Department of American Studies, Department of Anthropology, Department of Art, Art History, & Design, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Department of English, Department of Film, Television, & Theatre, Department of German and Russian Languages and Literatures, Department of History, Department of Irish Language and Literature, Department of Psychology, Department of Sociology, Department of Theology, Flatley Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement, Gender Studies Program, Graduate School, Institution for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, Kellogg Institute for International Studies, Kroc Institute for Peace Studies, Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies, and William J. Shaw Center for Children and Families.

    GHCN is your network. Send us any news, publications, announcements, conference notices, podcasts, blogs, CFP, etc., and we will share them with our community. We will be publishing this newsletter on a quarterly basis, with informal announcements sent out as emails or via social media.

    Call for Nominations: 2017 Fass-Sandin Article Prize – Scandinavian Languages

    Call for Nominations: 2017 Fass-Sandin Article Prize – Scandinavian Languages

    The Society for the History of Children and Youth (SHCY) har glädjen att välkomna nomineringar till den bästa artikeln på danska, norska eller svenska inom barndoms- eller ungdomshistoria som publicerats år 2017. Priset består av ett diplom och en prissumma på $ 250 US. Vinnaren meddelas hösten 2018. Nomineringar är välkomna från förlag, redaktörer och forskare, och självutnämningar från författare. Nuvarande medlemmar i SHCY-priskommitté, verkställande utskottet och tjänstemän får inte nominera bidrag. För att nominera en artikel, skicka en PDF-version av artikeln via e-post senast den 15 juli 2018 till var och en av medlemmarna i priskommittén.

    The Society for the History of Children and Youth (SHCY) vil med dette invitere til nominasjoner av beste dansk-, norsk- eller svenskspråklige artikkel publisert i 2017, som behandler barn-, barndom- og ungdomshistoriske spørsmål (i bred forstand). Prisen for beste artikkel er en plakett og $250 US. Vinneren vil bli annonsert høsten 2018. Både forleggere, redaktører og forskere er velkommen til å sende inn nominasjoner. Forfattere kan også nominere egne arbeid. Nåværende medlemmer av SHCY-prisutvalget, lederkomiteen og andre med formelle roller i SHCY kan ikke nominere kandidater til prisen.
    For å nominere en artikkel kan dere sende en PDF-versjon av artikkelen på epost til samtlige medlemmer av prisutvalget innen 15. juli 2018.

    The Society for the History of Children and Youth (SHCY) inviterer hermed til nomineringer af de bedste dansk-, norsk- eller svensksproglige artikler publiceret i 2017, som behandler børn-, barndom- og ungdomshistoriske spørgsmål (i bred forstand). Prisen for den bedste artikel er et diplom og $250 US. Vinderen vil blive annonceret i efteråret 2018. Både forlæggere, redaktører og forskere er velkomne til at indsende nomineringer. Forfattere kan også nominere sit eget arbejde. Nuværende medlemmer af SHCY-prisudvalget, lederkomiteen og andre med formelle roller i SHCY kan ikke nominere kandidater til prisen.
    For at nominere en artikel kan I sende en PDF-version af artiklen via e-mail til samtlige medlemmer af priskomiteen inden den 15. juli 2018.

    Christian Ydesen (Prize Committee Chair)
    Department of Learning and Philosophy
    Centre for Education and Policy Research
    Aalborg University
    Email: cy@learning.aau.dk

    Vegard Kvam, Associate Professor
    Department of Education
    Faculty of Psychology
    University of Bergen
    E-mail: Vegard.Kvam@uib.no

    Christian Lundahl, Professor of Education,
    School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences,
    Örebro University
    E-mail: Christian.Lundahl@oru.se

    2017 Fass-Sandin Article Prize in Scandinavian Languages
    The Society for the History of Children and Youth (SHCY) is pleased to call for nominations for the best article in Danish, Norwegian, or Swedish on the history of children, childhood, or youth (broadly construed) published in 2017. The award consists of a plaque and a check for $250 US. The winner will be announced in the Autumn of 2018.
    Nominations are invited from publishers, editors, and scholars, and self-nominations by authors. Current members of the SHCY award committee, the executive committee, and officers of the society are ineligible.
    To nominate an article, send via email a PDF version of the article by July 15, 2018 to each of the Award Committee Members.

    SHCY 2019 Conference – Extended Deadline for Proposals

    SHCY 2019 Conference — Extended Deadline For Proposals

    The programme committee has already received a large number of submissions for the 2019 SHCY conference to held at Australian Catholic University in Sydney. A few requests for extra time to finalise organisation of panels have also reached us, and so we have decided to extend the deadline for submissions to 1 July, 2018.

    The original Call For Papers can be found at: http://shcyhome.org/2018/03/shcy-2019-conference-cfp/

    The Girls’ History and Culture Network Newsletter: Spring 2018

    From the Editors
    This special announcement is for our Call for Papers for the Girl History and Culture Network at SHCY 2019 Conference, 26-28 June, Australian Catholic University, Sydney, Australia.

    Please consider sending your conference proposals to the Girls’ History and Culture Network with the Society for the History of Children and Youth (SHCY). We invite submissions for the upcoming biannual conference: “Encounters and Exchanges,” June 26-28, at Australian Catholic University in Sydney, Australia. The full CFP below encourages submissions through working groups:


    All SHCY working groups and regional networks can submit two panel proposals for consideration by the program committee. As co-chairs of the Girls’ History & Culture Network, we invite you to send us individual paper proposals that we can organize into panels, workshops, roundtables, etc., or you can organize a panel and submit your proposal. If you’ve already submitted a session or paper, feel free to forward it to us to see if it might fit into a Girls’ History & Culture Network panel.

    Any individual papers or panels not sponsored by our Network will be forwarded for consideration under the general call for papers. The advantage of sending your papers through the group is that our two panels are more likely to be accepted. We aim to assemble individual submissions into panels in order to increase the likely hood of acceptance.

    Sessions last 90 minutes, with at least 15 minutes discussion, leaving some flexibility in what we put together (ex. 20 minutes for 3 panelists; 15 minutes for 4 panelists).

    In order to submit our proposals for panels by the May 30, 2018 deadline, we would like to have proposals by May 28.

    Feel free to contact us to discuss ideas concerning panels or the GHCN.

    Please send your proposal to forman-brunellm@umkc.edu.

    Your co-chairs,

    Miriam Forman-Brunell
    Professor of History

    Ashley E. Remer
    Founder/Head Girl
    Girl Museum


    SHCY 2019 Conference CFP: 26-28 June, Australian Catholic University, Sydney, Australia.
    Conference Theme: “Encounters and Exchanges”
    Proposal Submission Deadline: Wednesday, 30 May, 2018

    The Society for the History of Children and Youth invites proposals for panels, roundtables, workshops or papers that explore histories of children and youth from any place and in any era. We particularly encourage proposals for complete sessions, rather than individual papers, and we are interested in proposals which explore a theme or idea across diverse chronological or geographical settings. We also strongly encourage panels, workshops and roundtables which propose innovative presentation styles, particularly those which show that they will promote discussion and interactive exchanges of ideas.

    We encourage all proposals to consider how their work might build on the 2019 conference theme: “Encounters and Exchanges.” The theme invites reflection on the many ways in which relational interactions shape the experience and understandings of childhood and youth. Given the conference’s location, proposals might consider the significance of geography, nation, culture or place, but they could also conceptualise the theme more broadly. How do we understand personal relationships with parents, siblings and friends? How do states, schools and religious institutions interact with children and young people? How do larger forces like colonialism and empire shape the opportunities for encounters and exchanges between children across time and place? How do we encounter our own memories of childhood? How do particular theoretical frameworks or interdisciplinary studies invite deeper exploration of the conference theme?

    Proposals which consider the potential of scholars of children and youth to make impactful exchanges beyond academia are also encouraged. What role can history play in developing government policy? How have/do historical experts approach the court room? What is the future of digital history, and other innovations which seek to present history in new ways and make it accessible to wider audiences? How can academic studies impact the school classroom—and vice versa? How do we write children and youth into national histories? How does history place itself in conversation with art, film and literature? What are the other exchanges and encounters you see as critical for the future of the history of children and youth?

    The SHCY 2019 biannual international conference is especially focused on enabling the participation of people from across the globe, and is therefore mindful of keeping the conference costs very modest. Australian Catholic University is supporting the conference by funding some travel bursaries to assist students undertaking research degrees to attend the conference. These will be awarded based on merit and need. Please see the submission guidelines for further details.

    For the complete CFP, go to their site.

    GHCN is your network. Send us any news, publications, announcements, conference notices, podcasts, blogs, CFP, etc., and we will share them with our community. We will be publishing this newsletter on a quarterly basis, with informal announcements sent out as emails or via social media.

    CFP: Children’s Literature Working Group, SHCY

    Dear SHCY members,

    Please consider sending your conference proposals to the recently formed Children’s Literature Working Group with the Society for the History of Children and Youth (SHCY). We invite submissions for the upcoming biannual conference: “Encounters and Exchanges,” June 26-28, at Australian Catholic University in Sydney, Australia. The full CFP below encourages submissions through working groups:


    All SHCY working groups and regional networks can submit proposals for up to two panels for consideration by the program committee. Send us email individual paper proposals that we can organize into panels—or you can organize a panel and send the proposals together. Sessions last 90 minutes, with at least 15 minutes discussion, leaving some flexibility in what we put together (ex. 20 minutes for 3 panelists; 15 minutes for 4 panelists). We can also proposal workshops, roundtables, etc. If you’ve already submitted a session or paper, feel free to forward it to see if it might fit into a panel. When considering possible collaborators, “children’s literature” for the purposes of the working group is broadly inclusive of children’s material culture, e.g. manuscripts, ephemera, periodicals, pedagogical materials.

    Any individual papers or panels that do not make our sponsored panel(s) will be forwarded by the Working Group for consideration under the general call for papers. The advantage of sending your papers through the group is that our 2 panels have very strong chances of acceptance, and beyond that, I could assemble individual submissions into panels to give them a better chance, as indicated by the submission guidelines.

    In order to submit our proposals by the May 30, 2018 deadline, I would like to have proposals by May 25. But keep in touch, if you’re writing last minute. We hope to hear from many of you so that we can find some interesting ways to combine our work, and feel free to contact us to discuss ideas concerning panels or our new Working Group. Please send your proposal to hoiem@illinois.edu.

    Liz, On behalf of the Children’s Literature Working Group:

    Chair: Kristine Moruzi, PhD
    School of Communication and Creative Arts, Deakin University

    Co-Chair: Elizabeth Massa Hoiem
    Assistant Professor, iSchool at The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, USA

    A Call for Submissions for “SHCY Commentaries”

    A Call for Submissions for “SHCY Commentaries”

    The Society for the History of Children and Youth will be launching a new website in a magazine format in September 2018. As part of our website renewal, we will be introducing three, non-peer-reviewed online series: featured books; featured students; and SHCY commentaries.

    We invite those working on childhood and youth to submit research findings, interviews, reflections, reviews, and commentaries in any media form (text, visual, or audio) on any topic, institution, question, region, approach, or historical period. Submissions may introduce historiographic or theoretical questions, discuss methodological challenges, reflect upon scholarly journeys, address professional issues, comment on current politics and policies, or offer substantive claims within the history of childhood and youth (widely construed).

    We hope SHCY Commentaries will be produced and circulated in diverse shapes and sizes; and that it will provide an accessible space for scholarly discourse outside peer-reviewed journals and books, academic conferences and programs of study. Texts should typically be between 1,000 and 4,000 words. Audio/Video files should typically be under 30 minutes. Photographs and other visual materials are welcome. And, we are open to alternative lengths and to discussing opportunities for multi-lingual productions.

    Commentaries will be featured upon and permanently accessible on SHCY’s website. Interested scholars should contact us or submit ideas and materials to shcyhome@gmail.com, or correspond directly with SHCY’s online editor, Patrick Ryan at pryan2@uwo.ca.

    Please circulate at will.

    CFP: 2018 MAPACA Conference

    Call For Papers: 2018 MAPACA Conference
    Lord Baltimore Hotel, Baltimore, Maryland
    November 8th, 9th, and 10th, 2018.

    Area: Children and Childhood Studies

    Area chair: Ryan Bunch, Rutgers University

    Due date for proposals: June 30, 2018

    Children and Childhood Studies (CCS) focuses on the societal, cultural, and political forces that shape the lives of children and the concept of childhood contemporaneously and throughout history. CCS research may originate in any discipline including the humanities, the behavioral and social sciences, or the hard sciences. We especially encourage multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary research.

    Papers for this area may examine, but are not limited to, the impact of popular culture on children and/or childhood, representations of children/childhood in popular culture, and the roles of children and youth as consumers or producers of popular culture. Paper and presentation topics should address the convergence of popular culture and American childhood in some regard. Single papers, panels, roundtables, and alternative formats are welcome.

    Examples of previous presentations include:

  • Representations of children/childhood in popular texts, images, or media
  • The relationships between children’s identities and popular culture (race, gender, disabilities, sexuality, ethnicity, class, etc.)
  • Discussions of youth subcultures or youth agencies in relation to popular culture
  • Children’s digital lives
  • Children’s health and popular culture
  • The role/use of children’s popular culture in education
  • Contested and conflicting values of childhood in popular culture
  • To submit a proposal visit: https://mapaca.net/conference

    Contact the area chair at: ryan@ryan.bunch.com

    CFP: Open Registration for Children and Youth on the Move, University of Greenwich (London, UK), 21-23 June

    Open Registration for Children and Youth on the Move, University of Greenwich (London, UK), 21-23 June

    Registration is now open for the Children History Society (UK) biennial conference, Children and Youth on the Move, at the University of Greenwich (London, UK), 21-23 June 2018.

    To register, use the following link: https://www.gre.ac.uk/ach/events/cyotm.
    To see a draft conference programme, price of attendance and joining the Children’s History Society, see https://histchild2018.wordpress.com.

    In 2015, a shocking photograph of Alan Kurdi – one of the many Syrian child refugees drowned whilst crossing the Mediterranean – seared public and political consciousness around the world. Related to the concept of youthful displacement, that of mobility – described by geographers as a ‘hallmark of modern times’ (Uteng and Creswell, 2008) – requires interrogation for all historical settings and eras. Children and Youth on the Move, the second biennial conference of the Children’s History Society, will be hosted at the spectacular riverside campus of the University of Greenwich, a world heritage site. The conference seeks to expand understandings of young people’s historical movements in all their forms. We will reflect on movement in relation to individual development (intellectual, emotional, spiritual and physical). Our conference will again offer a platform for school-age scholars to reflect on the ways they respond to history. Themes might include:

    Spatial movement: forced and and voluntary migrations and removals, refugees, evacuation, child soldiers, child transportees and slaves, fleeing, escaping, settlement and resettlement, ‘third culture kids’

    Movement and the body: ability and impairment, dance, physical education and sport, ritual movement in religion, sickness

    Leisure and lifestyle: travel, transport, vacations, sociability, visiting, trips to museums and heritage sites

    Emotions: altered emotional or spiritual states (‘being moved’)

    Social and geographical mobility: movements and work, education, housing, welfare

    Sources on the move: literary narratives, moving images, correspondence, archival objects

    Politics: intellectual/cultural movements, marching, demonstration

    All attendees and presenters need to join the Children’s History Society, UK in order to attend the conference. By joining up you will be contributing to an expanding series of activities and bursaries that the CHS is planning. To receive details of how to join, please e-mail cyonthemove@gre.ac.uk.

    Once you have become a paid up member of CHS you will receive a password which will enable you to register for Children and Youth on the Move on Eventbrite.
    To follow us on social media, see also https://twitter.com/histchild and https://www.facebook.com/histchild/.

    CFP: Humanities Special Issue

    Dear Colleagues,

    Children’s narratives have often been thought to sum up national character: Nils Holgersson as an introduction into Swedish landscapes and cultures, Heidi as the epitome of ‘Swissness’, Hansje Brinker as a prototypical Dutch hero, etc. It is important to realize, however, that they became national icons in the eyes of non-Swedish, –Swiss and – Dutch audiences, through transnational reception, adaptation and remediation: Heidi, for example, exemplified the Swiss way of life in the eyes of a German audience. Familiarizing children with and involving them in these ongoing processes of creative transnational appropriation may help them to deconstruct national stereotypes. Positively put, it may help them to feel at home in ‛a wider circle of we’ that allows for the coexistence of local, national and transnational identifications. Contemporary citizens may well identify simultaneously as, for instance, Bavarians, Germans, and Europeans. Heritage narratives for children may facilitate the development of such a poly-local, multidimensional sense of belonging in today’s globalizing world. Young and adult readers also actively contribute to these processes of adaptation and remediation as co-creators of heritage by, for example, participating in fan cultures, as a significant dimension of their emergent citizenship.

    The aim of this special issue is to explore the viability of childhood heritage for citizenship education of 8-12-year-olds in a globalizing, multi-ethnic Europe. It seeks to address issues such as: How are children’s (non-)fictional narratives constructed as local, regional, national and/or transnational heritage through dynamic processes of adaptation and remediation? 2) How can childhood heritage institutions such as museums, archives and international advocacy organizations facilitate transnational appropriations of aesthetic and educative artefacts? 3) How can children be actively engaged in the process of heritage construction as a significant dimension of their emergent citizenship?

    Papers may address topics such as:

    — the trope of home in children’s narratives: stories beyond the “home-away-home” plot described by Perry Nodelman in The Pleasures of Children’s Literature.

    — children’s texts in an imagological perspective

    — transnational fan practices related to children’s narratives

    — transnational memory in children’s literature

    – children’s narratives as materials for citizenship education

    — children and/or young adults as active participants in heritage construction

    — children’s literature as national and transnational heritage in institutional contexts (museums, heritage libraries, etc.)

    — international organizations advocating children’s narratives as media for fostering international understanding

    Length of the article: 6000-7000 words.

    Prof. Dr. Lies Wesseling
    Dr. Justyna Deszcz-Tryhubczak
    Mr. Mateusz Marecki
    Guest Editors

    CFP: SHCY Featured Students

    SHCY Featured Students

    The Society for the History of Children and Youth is introducing a “Featured Student” online series with a revitalized website Fall 2018. We are creating a space for doctoral students to share what has inspired and challenged them during their dissertation projects.

    Interested applicants should submit the following for review by July 1, 2018. Featured students will appear on SHCY’s website throughout the 2018-19 academic year. Please include in your submission to shcyhome@gmail.com

    E-mail address
    Short C.V.
    100-200 word bio statement
    Hi-Res Headshot
    A 750-1000 reflection or commentary on your dissertation project
    Brief (under 10-minute) audio or video clip discussing your work with a colleague.
    Additional visual material as appropriate.
    Large files will require google-drive or drop-box exchange.
    In your text, audio, or video submission, consider addressing:

    What do you want your peers and other academics to know about your work?

    What inspires your research? (ideas, theories, great works, pressing issues, persistent problems, hopes and aspirations).

    What questions are you asking and how are you trying to answer them?

    Why do you think that this research is important?

    If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail shcyhome@gmail.com, or directly to Carla Joubert – SHCY Digital Fellow – cjoubert@uwo.ca.



    The Society for the History of Children and Youth (SHCY) is pleased to call for nominations for the best book published in English on the history of children, childhood, or youth (broadly construed) during 2017. The award consists of a plaque and a check for $500. The winner will be announced in the Autumn of 2018. Nominations are invited from publishers, editors, and scholars, and self-nominations by authors. Current members of the SHCY award committee, the executive committee, and officers of the society are ineligible.

    To nominate a book, send BOTH a PDF file of the book via email and a paper copy via postal mail to each member of the prize committee by June 1, 2018.

    Elena Albarrán
    History Department
    Miami University
    254 Upham Hall
    Oxford, OH 45056

    Abigail Van Slyck
    18 Bank Street
    Mystic, CT 06355

    David Pomfret
    Department of History
    1063, 10/F, Run Run Shaw Tower
    Centennial Campus
    Honk Kong University

    2017 Fass-Sandin Article Prize in English – submission deadline June 1, 2018

    2017 Fass-Sandin Article Prize in English – submission deadline June 1, 2018

    The Society for the History of Children and Youth (SHCY) is pleased to call for nominations for the best article in English on the history of children, childhood, or youth (broadly construed) [u]published in 2017[/u]. The award consists of a plaque and a check for $250 US. The winner will be announced in the Autumn of 2018. Nominations are invited from publishers, editors, and scholars, and self-nominations by authors. Current members of the SHCY award committee, the executive committee, and officers of the society are ineligible.

    To nominate an article, send PDF versions of the article by June 1, 2018 to each of the Award Committee Members.

    Sacha Hepburn, University of Warwick

    Nicholas Syrett, Kansas University

    Kelly Duke Bryant (Chair), Rowan University

    Children in Space, Place, and Time

    Children in Space, Place and Time
    6th-7th September 2018
    University of Strathclyde

    Dear Colleagues,

    The deadline for proposals for the Children in Space, Place and Time conference has been extended to the 31st May. For more information and to upload proposals: https://www.strath.ac.uk/humanities/schoolofeducation/newsevents/contemporarychildhoodconference2018/

    Best regards,

    Dr. Claire Cassidy
    Senior Lecturer
    Course Leader Pg Certificate in Philosophy with Children
    School of Education
    Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences
    University of Strathclyde
    Lord Hope Building
    141 St James Road
    G4 0LT
    00 44 141 444 8036.

    The University of Strathclyde is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, number SC015263.

    SHCY 2019 Conference CFP

    SHCY 2019 Conference CFP: 26-28 June, Australian Catholic University, Sydney, Australia.

    Conference Theme: “Encounters and Exchanges”

    Proposal Submission Deadline: Sunday, July 1, 2018

    The Society for the History of Children and Youth invites proposals for panels, roundtables, workshops or papers that explore histories of children and youth from any place and in any era. We particularly encourage proposals for complete sessions, rather than individual papers, and we are particularly interested in proposals which explore a theme or idea across diverse chronological or geographical settings. We also strongly encourage panels, workshops and roundtables which propose innovative presentation styles, particularly those which show that they will promote discussion and interactive exchanges of ideas.

    We also invite all proposals to consider how their work might build on the 2019 conference theme: “Encounters and Exchanges.” The theme invites reflection on the many ways in which relational interactions shape the experience and understandings of childhood and youth. Given the conference’s location, proposals might consider the significance of geography, nation, culture or place, but they could also conceptualise the theme more broadly. How do we understand personal relationships with parents, siblings and friends? How do states, schools and religious institutions interact with children and young people? How do larger forces like colonialism and empire shape the opportunities for encounters and exchanges between children across time and place? How do we encounter our own memories of childhood? How do particular theoretical frameworks or interdisciplinary studies invite deeper exploration of the conference theme?

    Proposals which consider the potential of scholars of children and youth to make impactful exchanges beyond academia are also encouraged. What role can history play in developing government policy? How have/do historical experts approach the court room? What is the future of digital history, and other innovations which seek to present history in new ways and make it accessible to wider audiences? How can academic studies impact the school classroom—and vice versa? How do we write children and youth into national histories? How does history place itself in conversation with art, film and literature? What are the other exchanges and encounters you see as critical for the future of the history of children and youth?

    The SHCY 2019 biannual international conference is especially focused on enabling the participation of people from across the globe, and is therefore mindful of keeping the conference costs very modest. Australian Catholic University is supporting the conference by funding some travel bursaries to assist students undertaking research degrees to attend the conference. These will be awarded based on merit and need. Please see the submission guidelines for further details.

    Submission Guidelines

    We will give priority to submissions of complete sessions (panels, workshops, roundtables etc.), and we encourage sessions with diverse national representation. Individual papers will also be considered, but we urge you to recruit members for complete sessions and to make use of the many networks in the history of childhood and youth, for example, H-Childhood.
    Sessions will last approximately 90 minutes and, in line with the conference theme, “Encounters and Exchanges”, we particularly encourage ample discussion time. As a minimum, fifteen minutes should be reserved for audience discussion. In lieu of formal discussants, the Program Committee suggests that complete panel session organizers identify Chairs who can facilitate engagement with the session audience.

    Complete Session Proposals:

    In order to be considered for the program, proposals must be received no later than Sunday, July 1, 2018. They should include the following information:

    1. Session title and 100-word session summary.

    2. The session organizer’s name, department, institution, address, and e-mail address.

    3. The following information for all participants:

  • Names and roles (eg. paper-presenter and/or Chair)
  • Separtment and institution
  • Address and e-mail address
  • 4. 250-word abstract for each paper (or summary of each presenter’s contribution where the session is not structured around formal individual papers).

    5. 1 page CV for each participant.

    6. Clearly identify any participants who wish to be considered for a student travel bursary, and for those people also supply:

  • The title the degree you are completing
  • The institution where you are enrolled
  • Any other funds available to support your conference attendance (e.g. from your institution or other travel scholarships)
  • An estimate of the cost of airfares between your home city and Sydney.
  • 7. Please state what, if any, audio-visual technology will be required for your session.

    Individual Paper Proposals:

    In order to be considered for the program, individual paper proposals must be received no later than Sunday, July 1, 2018. They should include the following information:

    1. Name of presenter, institutional affiliation, address and email.

    2. Title of individual paper.

    3. 250-word abstract of paper.

    4. 1 page CV for presenter.

    5. Clearly identify if you wish to be considered for a student travel bursary, and if so supply:

  • The title the degree you are completing
  • The institution where you are enrolled
  • Any other funds available to support your conference attendance (e.g. from your institution or other travel scholarships)
  • An estimate of the cost of airfares between your home city and Sydney.
  • 6. Please state what, if any, audio-visual technology will be required for your paper.

    Proposals should be gathered into one MS Word document and sent as an email attachment to SHCYconference@acu.edu.au

    The Program Committee will finalize decisions no later than Wednesday, 15 August, 2018 – at which time we will notify the delegates. The program schedule will be available in early 2019.

    Direct queries to the Co-chairs of the program committee:
    Shurlee Swain
    Nell Musgrov
    Tamara Myers
    Kristine Moruzi

    SHCY Survey Report 2017

    From July through September 2017, the Society for the History of Children and Youth circulated a survey through global electronic networks. The 229 scholars who completed the questionnaire reside on all continents (save Antarctica). They reported working across the cycle of academic life from graduate school through retirement. Among them, 115 are current SHCY members; 114 are not members. Sixty-seven attended the 2017 conference at Rutgers- Camden, but a majority (162 persons) did not.

    The survey was designed to gather information about those researching childhood and youth historically. What were they doing; what did they want? This report offers an analysis of our findings, and it outlines how the society is responding to them. The main-body of the report summarizes who works in the field and what interests them. Then, it provides an assessment of the three primary ways the Society engages scholars: our conferences, our journal, and our website.

    Please find the full survey report here.

    CFP: SHCY sponsored panels at the PCB-AHA meeting in Santa Clara, California, August 2-4, 2018

    CFP: SHCY sponsored panels at the PCB-AHA meeting in Santa Clara, California, August 2-4, 2018
    Deadline: March 2, 2018

    The Society for the History of Children and Youth (SHCY) is hoping to sponsor 2 panels for the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association meeting in August 2018. Any area within the history of children and youth is welcome. For more information about the conference, please visit the associated website. The PCB-AHA especially welcomes involvement by junior and non-tenure-track faculty, and graduate students. Anyone can participate as long as s/he is an AHA member at the time of our conference, regardless of affiliation or location.

    If you’re interested please submit a proposal by email to catjones@ucsc.edu with SHCY PCB-AHA proposal in the subject line by March 2, 2018.

    Following the PCB-AHA guidelines, proposals must include a contact person; a title and 250-word abstract of the panel, paper, or roundtable; the title and brief description of each presentation; a one-page C.V. (including the email address and affiliation) of each participant; and any AV requests.

    Reminder CFP: Childhood and Youth Network of the Social Science History Association – Deadline February 16

    CFP: Childhood and Youth Network of the Social Science History Association
    “Histories of Disadvantage: Meanings, Mechanisms, and Politics”
    Phoenix, AZ; November 8-11, 2018
    Submission Deadline: February 16, 2018

    We invite you to participate in the annual meeting of the Social Science History Association by submitting a session proposal or paper to the Childhood and Youth Network of the SSHA. The conference will take place in Phoenix on November 8-11, 2018. For more information on the conference as well as the general call for proposals, see the SSHA website: http://www.ssha.org. The deadline for full panel or individual paper proposals is February 16, 2018.

    The SSHA particularly emphasizes interdisciplinary and transnational research, and the annual meeting provides a very supportive environment in which to present new work. The theme of the 2018 conference is “Histories of Disadvantage: Meanings, Mechanisms, and Politics” though papers on any other aspects of the history of children and childhood are also certainly welcome. Some possible topics include (but are not limited to):

    Children, Youth, and Political Movements
    Youth Empowerment, Resistance, and Activism
    Children and Conflict
    Child Rights and Governance
    Indigenous Childhoods and Children
    Children and Globalization
    Child Migrants and Refugees
    Children and the Environment
    Children and the Media
    Turning Points in Childhood History
    Youth and Commodification
    Spaces of Childhood
    Children and Familial Relationships
    Child Labor
    Institutions/Institutionalization of Childhood
    Schooling and Education

    We especially encourage complete panels, which should include at least 4 papers and presenters from more than one academic institution and discipline. Other formats, including roundtable discussions and book sessions, are also possible. Please do get in touch with the network chairs if you have an idea for a session and need help gathering presenters.

    Proposals can be submitted by means of a web conference management system. If you haven’t used the system previously you will need to create an account, which is a very simple process. Graduate students presenting at the conference may apply for a travel grant from the SSHA.

    If you need help making a submission or advice about a proposal or have any questions, please contact the Childhood and Youth network co-chairs:

    Emily Bruce: bruce088@umn.edu

    Elizabeth Dillenburg: eadillenburg@gmail.com

    Mateusz Świetlicki: mateusz.swietlicki@uwr.edu.pl

    CFP: Child Rights Governance, Future Special Issue of Childhood: A Journal of Global Child Research

    Original PDF attached below.

    Guest Editors
    Anna Holszcheiter, Department of Political and Social Sciences, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
    Jonathan Josefsson, Department of Child Studies, Linköping University, Sweden
    Bengt Sandin, Department of Child Studies, Linköping University, Sweden

    In this special issue of Childhood we would like to explore the origins, logics and effects of child rights governance. Almost three decades after the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the human rights of children have gained hegemonic status in policy making and influenced a wide range of political and social practices as well as knowledge production on children and childhood. Children’s rights have become an instrument, not only to protect and emancipate children from oppression, but also to govern, regulate and control children and define appropriate types of childhoods.

    With this in mind, we would like to take a critical view of how children’s rights are used and have been integrated into national and global political systems of governance over children and childhood. From a state-centric perspective, the concept of governance can be associated with the analysis of state power and its ability to interact with and steer a constantly widening array of non-state actors in the exercise of political authority and the crafting and implementation of policies. Alternative notions of governance, though, embrace a horizontal perspective on politics in which political and social authority is dispersed among different types of actors and political decisions emerge from the interaction between states, international agencies, civil society organizations and social networks. Governance in modern society is tainted with a number of tensions that arise as a result of this reconfiguration of the exercise of systems of governing.

    Aims and Scope

    In this issue, we seek contributions that study forms and processes of child rights governance. With child rights governance we refer to how children’s rights, and the principles and institutions associated with the idea of children’s rights, through different historical legacies and contemporary political challenges increasingly have become part of the mechanism, systems and instruments that are commonly associated with the notion of governance.

    We welcome empirical and theoretical contributions that adopt historical perspectives and scrutinize the practical implications of the ”hegemonic” status of the CRC and competing children’s rights concepts as main points of reference in national and international policy-making. The Special Issue will therefore also incorporate analyses of child rights governance in regions of the world where the CRC is a contested legal framework or adopted in ways that considerably stretch the meanings of children’s rights. Consequently, we are interested in how dominant ideas and legal and political frameworks associated with children’s rights also forge the identity of children as subjects and objects of governance and how the idea that children are rights-holders becomes institutionalized and instrumentalised in the governance of childhood.

    Possible themes for papers include, but are not limited to: regimes of children’s rights in a comparative perspective; international politics of children’s rights before and after 1989; new forms of governance of national children’s right institutions/children’s ombudspersons; children’s rights in NGO policies and international relations; children’s rights in the EU’s external policy; governance of childhood and children’s representation through parents and third parties; the nature and limits of State responsibility for children; governance and the politics of apology; children’s rights and the management of migration; post-colonial theory and the governance of children’s rights; governance of family policy and children’s rights in an era of authoritarianism.


    • Submission of 300 words abstract in English by ,15 January 2018.
    • Papers by invitation only by 1 July 2018 (detailed information about paper submissions will be sent with the invitation).
    • Abstracts should be sent electronically to the Managing Editor, Karen Ekberg: karen.ekberg@ntnu.no
    • Please include author’s(s) name(s), and affiliation(s) and all relevant contact information.
    • Anticipated publication date for the Special Issue: August 2019

    For enquiries contact
    Anna Holszcheiter: anna.holzcheiter@fu-berlin.de
    Jonathan Josefsson: jonathan.josefsson@liu.se
    Bengt Sandin: bengt.sandin@liu.se

    Call-Child Rights Governance

    Call for Submissions: INCS Richard Stein Essay Prize

    Richard Stein Essay Prize

    Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies Association

    We are delighted to announce the naming of the INCS Essay Prize in honor of Richard Stein, Professor Emeritus at the University of Oregon, for his role as a principal founder of INCS and for his long and crucial service to developing and nurturing our organization. His books and articles as well as his teaching at Harvard, Berkeley, and Oregon have focused on the connections among Victorian literature, history, visual culture, and other arts. In 1985 he recognized something we now take for granted: the need for a collaborative organization devoted to the interdisciplinary study of the nineteenth century.

    INCS 2017 Essay Contest

    Guidelines and Eligibility

    Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies (INCS) invites nominations and submissions for its Richard Stein Essay Prize. The $500 award recognizes excellence in interdisciplinary scholarship on any nineteenth-century topic.

    Articles that appeared in print in a journal or an edited collection in 2017 are eligible; if the date of publication is not 2017, but the essay appeared in 2017, it is eligible. Essays published in online, peer-reviewed journals are considered to be “in print” and are thus eligible.

    We encourage INCS members to submit their own work and to nominate essays written by other INCS members. To be eligible for the prize, authors must be 2017 members of INCS. If potential contestants have forgotten to join INCS during 2017, they may do so within a grace period of one month. Authors joining INCS on or after Jan. 1, 2018 in order for their 2017 essay to be eligible must specify that their membership count for 2017, rather than 2018. Membership is always for the calendar year.

    The winning essay will be announced at the 2018 INCS conference in San Francisco, California from March 1-4, 2018. The winner will be invited to assemble a panel for the 2019 INCS conference in Dallas, Texas.

    Please send an electronic copy of the nominated essay (PDF preferred) to Professor Narin Hassan, Georgia Institute of Technology, at incsprize2017@gmail.com no later than January 21, 2018. In the case of an essay that appeared only online, a durable link is acceptable in lieu of a PDF. For more details about the essay competition, the conference, or the organization, we invite you to visit the INCS website: http://www.incsscholars.org. Specific questions about the 2017 Richard Stein Essay Prize may be directed to Narin Hassan at narin.hassan@lmc.gatech.edu

    Call for Submissions: Neil Sutherland Prize for the Best Scholarly Article Published on the History of Children and Youth

    Call for Submissions: Neil Sutherland Prize for the Best Scholarly Article published on the History of Children and Youth. Purpose: This award honours the pioneering work of Neil Sutherland in the history of children and youth by recognizing outstanding and innovative contributions to the field. The prize will be awarded by the History of Children and Youth Group in conjunction with the 2018 meeting of the Canadian Historical Association.
    Eligibility: Articles published in English or French in scholarly journals and books between January 2016 and December 2017 will be eligible for consideration. There are no restrictions on time periods or national/international context. Award winners will demonstrate originality of scholarship and clear contribution to the study of the history of young people.
    Submission of articles: Please submit a PDF copy of the published article by January 15, 2018 to Jamie Trepanier, Co-Chair, History of Children and Youth Group (james.trepanier@historymuseum.ca). Please write “Sutherland Prize” in the subject line of your email. Self-nominations welcome.


    Appel à candidatures pour le Prix Neil Sutherland pour le meilleur article publié dans le domaine de l’histoire de l’enfance et de la jeunesse. Objectif: Le prix Neil-Sutherland en histoire de l’enfance et de la jeunesse, commémorant l’œuvre du professeur Neil Sutherland, vise à récompenser le meilleur article paru dans ce domaine. Le prix sera décerné par Le Groupe d’histoire de l’enfance et de la jeunesse dans le cadre de la Réunion Annuelle 2018 de la Société Historique du Canada.
    Conditions d’admissibilité: Des articles publiés en anglais ou en français dans des revues et des ouvrages scientifiques entre Janvier 2016 et Décembre 2017 seront admissibles aux fins d’examen. Il n’y a pas de restrictions quant aux périodes de temps ou quant au contexte (national / international). Les lauréats seront récompensés pour le caractère innovant de leur recherche et pour leur contribution significative à l’étude de l’histoire des jeunes.
    Consignes de la mise en candidature: soumettre une copie PDF de l’article publié au plus tard le 15 janvier 2018 à Jamie Trepanier, Co-président, Groupe d’histoire de l’enfance et de la jeunesse (james.trepanier@historymuseum.ca). Veuillez s.-v.-p. inscrire « Prix Sutherland » dans le titre de votre courriel. Possibilité de présenter sa propre candidature.

    Job Ad: King’s University College Childhood and Social Institutions Probationary Tenure-track Position

    King’s University College at Western University, a Catholic Liberal Arts College, invites applications for a probationary tenure-track appointment at the rank of Assistant Professor in the Department of Interdisciplinary Programs, effective July 1, 2018 (subject to budgetary approval). Candidates should hold a Ph.D., or be near completion.

    The Childhood and Social Institutions Program at King’s University College is a four-year undergraduate program dedicated to the study of childhood and youth through discursive, contextual and experiential lenses. The program is committed to the idea that children are social actors, that childhood is a cultural construction, and is an historically embedded discourse. More on the program can be found at https://www.kings.uwo.ca/academics/childhood-and-social-institutions/.

    Successful applicants for this position will ideally have research, expertise and training around childhood advocacy and/or the participation of children and young people in any of the social institutions within which childhood takes place: the school, the family, the legal system, aspects of political engagement in governmental and non-governmental organizations, etc., although other areas of interest may be considered.  We are open to the consideration of applications with a research focus on childhood from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds including, but not limited to, anthropology, childhood studies, education, geography, history, media studies, philosophy, political science, or sociology. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.

    Applicants should submit a letter of application, curriculum vitae, the names of three academics willing to write a letter of reference, a teaching portfolio (including teaching evaluations) and all relevant publications, in a single PDF file to
    jobsearchcsi@kings.uwo.ca. The letter of application should be addressed to Dr. Sally McNamee, Chair, Department of Interdisciplinary Programs. All materials should be sent electronically to the above address by December 31, 2017. Queries about the position may be sent to smcnamee@uwo.ca.

    King’s University College is committed to Employment Equity, welcomes diversity in the workplace, and encourages applications from all qualified individuals, regardless of ethnicity, race, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity. The King’s University College website is http://www.kings.uwo.ca.

    King’s University College is committed to recognizing the dignity and independence of all and seeks to ensure that persons with disabilities have genuine, open and unhindered access to the College’s employment opportunities. If you require an accommodation during the recruitment process, please contact Human Resources at HRkuc@kings.uwo.ca for assistance.

    First Girls’ History and Culture Network Newsletter, Fall 2017

    From the Editors

    This inaugural issue of the Girls’ History & Culture Newsletter includes news provided by members of the newly-organized Girls’ History & Culture Network (GHCN). Established under the auspices of the Society for the History of Children & Youth, the GHCN seeks to foster conversation, communication, and collaboration among scholars, museum professionals, teachers, activists, students, and others interested in girl-focused research, teaching, publishing, pedagogy, policy, politics, etc. It is with these goals in mind that the Newsletter draws upon familiar categories — publications, conferences, exhibits, podcasts, activism, teaching, blogs, etc. — to organize information about relevant professional activities we expect will be useful to current members and of interest to potential Network participants.

    We fully anticipate adding, splicing, and consolidating sections in response to the changing needs and desires of the GHCN membership. We very much welcome your suggestions, submissions, as well as participation in the production of the Newsletter and other GHCN initiatives. By sending this newsletter on to others you will be contributing to the goals of The Girls’ History & Culture Network.

    Your co-chairs,

    Miriam Forman-Brunell
    Professor of History

    Ashley Remer
    Founder/Head Girl
    Girl Museum

    Network News

    Launching the Girls’ History and Culture Network

    From the founding of the Society for the History of Children & Youth (SHCY) in 2001 to our most recent conference in 2017, scholars and graduate students have energetically presented historically-grounded, girl-focused scholarly research. We have participated in panel discussions on the history of girlhoods, girls’ cultures, and the lived experiences of girls from international, intersectional, and interdisciplinary perspectives.
    In so doing, we have contributed to the development of Girls’ Studies, history and other fields, while also furthering the mission of SHCY. This past summer, SHCY’s launch of the “Network and Working Groups Initiative” provided those of us interested in girls’ history and culture with an unprecedented opportunity to establish organizational space and an intellectual presence.

    The newly-established Girls’ History & Culture Network aims to:

    • foster conversation, communication, and collaboration among scholars, museum professionals, teachers, activists, students, and others interested in girl-focused research, teaching, publishing, pedagogy, policy, politics, etc.
    • increase professional recognition of the historical significance of girls and girlhoods within Children’s Studies, Youth Studies, the field of history, and across disciplinary and geographical boundaries
    • promote the use of historical analysis and methods within Girls’ Studies scholarship
      increase public awareness of the significance of girls in history, cultures, and societies
      create and circulate girl-centered papers and web materials, newsletters, pamphlets, statements, digital and audio recordings, and guest edit special issues of the Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth
    • sponsor girls’ history and culture panels, business meetings, receptions, field trips, presentations, workshops, roundtables, lectures, mentoring sessions, activism, “mini conferences,” etc.
    • generate networking opportunities with other girl-focused interest groups
      increase the diversity of SHCY membership to include more scholars, museum professionals, teachers, activists, students, and others interested in girls’ history and culture

    To those ends, The Girls’ History & Culture Network seeks to provide members with opportunities to:

    • communicate with others via a designated content-sharing portal on the SHCY website (already in the works)
    • receive priority when establishing roundtables, panels, or other sessions at SHCY biennial conferences
    • propose special issues for the Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth
      produce edited collections, and advance academic programming for the study of girls and female adolescents
    • work collaboratively to win grants, hold regional or topic-specific colloquia
      co-curate digital exhibits and engage in other collaborations with Girl Museum (the first and only museum in the world dedicated to celebrating girls and girlhood)


      We invite all scholars, students, library and museum professionals, teachers, activists, and writers to join The Girls’ History & Culture Network (GHCN). Participation is open to SHCY members. If you are not yet a member—or if your membership has lapsed—please join the Society for the History of Children and Youth by clicking here: http://shcyhome.org/membership/SHCY membership covers a two-year period—includes a 24-month subscription (including the online version) to the Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth, access to the SHCY members’ directory, and eligibility to present at the biennial conferences.

      After joining SHCY, send an email to Forman-BrunellM@umkc.edu to be added to GHCN membership list.


      Wendy Rouse, Her Own Hero: The Origins of the Women’s Self-Defense Movement. New York University Press, 2017.

      Her Own Hero

      At the turn of the twentieth century, women famously organized to demand greater social and political freedoms like gaining the right to vote. However, few realize that the Progressive Era also witnessed the birth of the women’s self-defense movement. It is nearly impossible in today’s day and age to imagine a world without the concept of women’s self defense. Some women were inspired to take up boxing and jiu-jitsu for very personal reasons that ranged from protecting themselves from attacks by strangers on the street to rejecting gendered notions about feminine weakness and empowering themselves as their own protectors. Women’s training in self defense was both a reflection of and a response to the broader cultural issues of the time, including the women’s rights movement and the campaign for the vote. Perhaps more importantly, the discussion surrounding women’s self-defense revealed powerful myths about the source of violence against women and opened up conversations about the less visible violence that many women faced in their own homes.

      Through self-defense training, women debunked patriarchal myths about inherent feminine weakness, creating a new image of women as powerful and self-reliant. Whether or not women consciously pursued self-defense for these reasons, their actions embodied feminist politics. Although their individual motivations may have varied, their collective action echoed through the twentieth century, demanding emancipation from the constrictions that prevented women from exercising their full rights as citizens and human beings. This book is a fascinating and comprehensive introduction to one of the most important women’s issues of all time.

      To order and to read the Intro, click here.

      Wendy Rouse, Ph.D Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, San Jose State University

      Emilie D. Zaslow. Playing with America’s Doll: A Critical Analysis of the American Girl Doll Collection. Palgrave MacMillan, 2017.

      Playing with America's Doll

      This critical account of the American Girl brand explores what its books and dolls communicate to girls about femininity, racial identity, ethnicity, and what it means to be an American. Emilie Zaslow begins by tracing the development of American Girl and situates the company’s growth and popularity in a social history of girl power media culture. She then weaves analyses of the collection’s narrative and material representations with qualitative research on mothers and girls. Examining the dolls with both a critical eye and a fan’s curiosity, Zaslow raises questions about the values espoused by this iconic American brand.

      To order the book or just a chapter and read the Intro click this link:

      Emilie Zaslow, Ph.D
      Associate Professor
      Communication Studies
      Co-Director, Dyson Women’s Leadership Initiative
      Pace University

      Kristine Alexander, Guiding Modern Girls: Girlhood, Empire, and Internationalism in the 1920s and 1930s. University of British Columbia Press, November 2017.

      Guiding Modern Girls

      Across the British empire and the world, the 1920s and 1930s were a time of unprecedented social and cultural change. Girls and young women were at the heart of many of these shifts. Out of this milieu, the Girl Guide movement emerged as a response to modern concerns about gendfer, race, class, and social instability. In this book, Kristine Alexander analyzes the ways in which Guiding sought to mold young people in England, Canada, and India. It is a fascinating account that connects the histories of girlhood, internationalism, and empire, while asking how girls and young women understood and responded to Guiding’s attempts to lead them toward a “useful” feminine future.

      For more information and a sample chapter, click here.

      Kristine Alexander, PhD. Canada Research Chair in Child and Youth Studies Assistant Professor of History Director, Institute for Child and Youth Studies (I-CYS) Co-Editor, Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures, The University of Lethbridge.

      Shenila Khoja-Moolji, Forging the Ideal Educated Girl: The Production of Desirable Subjects in Muslim South Asia. University of California Press, June, 2018.

      Forcing the Ideal Educated Girl

      For more information and ordering, click here.

      Dr. Shenila Khoja-Moolji
      The Alice Paul Center for Research on
      Gender, Sexuality and Women
      The University of Pennsylvania

      Mary Jo Maynes [with Ann Waltner], “Young Women, Textile Labour, and Marriage in Europe and China around 1800” in A History of the Girl: Formation, Education and Identity. Edited by Mary O’Dowd and June Purvis (Palgrave, 2018)

      Silk spinnery workforce at Jurjurieux in southern France, ca. 1900. 
Original source: Photograph by Claudius Corne issued as a postcard entitled “Personnel interne de la Maison C.J. Bonnet, á Jujurieux (Ain). <a href=http://patrimoines.ain.fr/n/memoire-ouvriere/n:174#p468” />


      A Report on the 2017 Global History of Black Girlhood Conference

      by CORINNE FIELDS, Ph.D University of Virginia

      The Global History of Black Girlhood Conference held at the University of Virginia in March, 2017, brought together more than 150 people from 70 institutions to consider the experiences of black girls from the seventeenth century to the present in Africa, Europe, and the Americas. The conference was organized by LaKisha Simmons (University of Michigan), Abosede George (Barnard College), and Corinne Field (University of Virginia). More than 20 presenters offered scholarly papers, artwork, and films exploring broad themes such as pleasure, play, kinship, trauma, healing and activism.

      Through conversations that bridged disciplines, regions, and time periods, participants considered how to place black girls’ history in a diasporic framework, what “blackness” has meant in different times and places, and how various people define what it means to be a girl. For the keynote panel, activists from the US and South Africa reflected on youth, justice, and girlhood.

      Participants were Beverly Palesa Ditsie, co-founder of the Gay and Lesbian Organization of Witwatersrand (GLOW), South Africa; Phindile Kunene, former member of the Young Communist League and South African Student Congress; Janaé Bonsu, National Public Policy Chair of the Black Youth Project (BYP) 100; Denise Oliver-Velez, former member of the Young Lords and the Black Panther Party.

      Round table participants including LaKisha Simmons (left), an assistant professor of history and women’s studies at the U. of Michigan at Ann Arbor.
Photos credit: Michael Bailey

      In a wide-ranging and frank conversation moderated by Claudrena Harold, University of Virginia, panelists talked about the factors that pull girls and young women into activism early in life, the challenges they face, and the strategies upon which they can draw to create change. As part of the conference program, students in grades six through twelve from Charlottesville city schools presented a documentary film that they produced under the direction of Abigail Akosua Kayser, a Ph.D. student in the Curry School of Education, with the collaboration of City of Promise, UVA Arts Mentors, and Light House Studios. The students interviewed local black women leaders about how black girls can overcome challenges and stereotypes. An Undergraduate Symposium enabled students from Harvard University, Amherst College, Columbia University, and the University of Virginia to present paintings, poetry, and scholarly research.

      A special reception following this event brought together undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty. The conference concluded with a reading by novelist Tayari Jones, author of Silver Sparrow. Sponsored by the NEA Big Read and the Jefferson Madison Regional Libraries, this event enabled a panel of local high school students to ask Jones questions about the novel, her writing strategies, and her future projects. Simmons and Field will be editing an anthology of essays developed by the presenters at the conference as well as a special issue of the Journal Women, Gender and Families of Color. The History of Black Girlhood Network continues as an informal collaboration among scholars. Those interested in joining should email Corinne Field.

      • A video of the keynote panel is available here
      • View a trailer of the film Black Girlhood: Access and Assets
      • Read more about The History of Black Girlhood Network in The Chronicle for Higher Education.

      REBECCA R. NOEL, of Plymouth State University in New Hampshire, presented “Girls Deformed and Reformed by School: Spinal Curvature, Female Exercise, and Healthy Schooling in 19th-Century Britain and the United States” at the 2017 Society for the History of Childhood and Youth conference at Rutgers University — Camden. This presentation traced worries about spinal curvature among female students in Britain and the United States, both in physicians’ and educators’ discourse and in educational practice. It also explored how girls themselves responded to such programs.

      Beginning in the late eighteenth century, European physicians developed increasing interest in child health. Orthopedics formed one area of focus, and spinal curvature received special attention. By the 1820s, British and American physicians concluded that school in particular was causing spinal curvature in girls.

      This explanation recast an ancient fear that the scholarly lifestyle, in teachers and students, inevitably led to ill health. Concerns about scholarly frailty had taken many forms over the centuries: weakness, melancholy, dyspepsia, neurological derangement, and, starting in the early nineteenth century, pulmonary consumption. Spinal curvature was the first scholarly symptom to apply uniquely to girls and women. Boston physician John Collins Warren advised the American Institute of Instruction in 1830 that half of the educated women he knew, but none of the men, had curved spines. Warren and others blamed how schools and parents treated girls’ bodies. With increasing modern conveniences, middle-class girls pursued advanced education instead of taxing physical housework. After school, though, girls headed into their houses for sedentary needlework and similar duties. But boys (again not including the poor) ran and played after school, mitigating the health effects of their long hours at the desk. In response to this problem, educators instituted mechanical manipulations and exercise programs designed to straighten out their female students.

      Noel’s work on girls is part of her research on schooling and health. Her article “‘No Wonder They Are Sick, and Die of Study’: European Fears for the Scholarly Body and Health in New England Schools Before Horace Mann” appears in the Paedagogica Historica Special Issue on Education and the Body (online August 2017, print March 2018).

      MADELEINE DOBSON, of Curtin University, recently presented Appreciating the Emotional Ties Young Girls Share with Their Media at the Western Australian Institute for Educational Research Conference in Fremantle, Western Australia. She also presented, Hayley’s Story: Exploring a Junior Primary Student’s Relationship with Media, at the Digitising Early Childhood International Conference in Perth, Western Australia.

      Madeleine Dobson Ph.D., B.Ed. (ECE/Hons.)
      Lecturer, School of Education
      Faculty of Humanities, Curtin University
      Western Australia.

      MIRIAM FORMAN-BRUNELL, University of Missouri-Kansas City, is presenting “Girls’ Economies and Girlhood Cultures: Working, Performing, Playing,” at the Midwestern Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association conference, in St. Louis, MO, Oct 18-22, 2017. Forman-Brunell is also the Girls’ Culture/Girlhoods Area Chair for the MPC/ACA. This paper draws upon the Introduction to Girls’ Economies & Girlhood Cultures: On the Borders of Work and Play, a scholarly collection co-edited with Diana Anselmo, featuring the work of a number of GHCN members.


      KATHRYN GLEADLE is organizing the workshop, “Girlhood, Travel and Global issues: A Multi-Disciplinary Workshop’. University of Oxford, 14 March 2018.

      , SUNY Canton, will be presenting her paper, “The Hackett-Lowther Unit With the French Army at Compiégne; or, the Historical Counterparts to Edna Brooks’ Khaki Girls.” Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association Conference, Indianapolis, IN, March 28-31, 2018.

      The Khakhi Girls of the Motor Corps

      MARY JO MAYNES, is co-organizer of the research circle “Subjects, Objects, Agents: Young People’s Lives and Livelihoods in the Global South” based at the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change at the University of Minnesota. They will be holding a conference in May 2018. Click here for more information.

      SCHY 2019
      It’s not too early to start networking with partners, plan papers, organize panels, and develop presentations for the next biennial SHCY conference to be held in Sydney, Australia, in June 2019


      Children’s Victorian Library Collection Unveiled in Orkney

      Maria Cowan, 12, her 10-year-old sister Clara, and their young cousin Isabella Bremner began producing their own library in 1864, sometimes with the help of other children. They named it Minervian Library and it is held at Orkney Library and Archive. A selection of the short stories, fairytales, poems, plays and newspaper articles is now on display in the Orkney Museum in Kirkwall. The exhibition was a collaborative venture between Orkney Archives, Orkney Museum and Kathryn Gleadle. Kathryn Gleadle is also co-authoring with Beth Rogers, “’A Library of Our Own Compositions’: The Minervian Library and Girlhood Creativity in Victorian Orkney.”

      Click to read the article published by BBC News.

      Classical Girls’ at Girl Museum

      What was life like for a girl in Classical Greece and Rome? Classical Greece and Rome are often called the birthplaces of Western history. During the period from 500 BCE to 250 CE, these civilizations flourished – bringing about achievements in fields like art, medicine, and philosophy that continue to influence us today. Evidence about young girls during this time can readily be found. Yet many museums do not include their stories. In this exhibit, we bring the girls of Classical Greece and Rome to life – showing how their daily lives were similar and different, both from each other and from our modern lives. Travel back with us and discover the surprisingly complex lives of girls.

      Visit the exhibition here.

      Contact Ashley E Remer for more information about Girl Museum as well as possible partnerships and collaborations.

      Podcasts & Blogs

      Pirouettes from the Past

      Listen to Melissa Klapper’s podcast, Pirouettes from the Past, tracing the history of ballet in America. The latest episode examines the history of dance recitals. Click here to listen to this episode along with previous instalments.

      Girl Speak

      GirlSpeak, produced by Girl Museum, is a monthly podcast about girls’ history, art, and culture. We explore topics like how girls are represented in art and museums, mythological stories and folktales, our favorite stories about awesome girls, and special topics related to our exhibitions and programs.

      Listen to our newest episode to celebrate the International Day of the Girl called ‘Girls in the Museum’. GirlSpeak is available at iTunes and http://girlmuseum.podbean.com/.

      LA Review of Books BLARB

      LA Review of Books BLARB
      The ‘New’ Muslim Woman: Fashionista and Suspect
      by Shenila Khoja-Moolji

      From the notorious Pepsi commercial and H&M’s video promoting their recycling project, to the cover of Vogue Arabia and CR Fashion Book, women donning the hijab are acquiring greater media visibility than ever before. On the face of it, this is a welcome development. For decades, feminist scholars and activists have been working towards disrupting the trope of the Muslim women as silent, submissive, and somehow uniquely oppressed. The growing prevalence of these new images hints at the potential to re-shape imaginations and open up possibilities for Muslim women, particularly in the West. Unfortunately, the reality is that these images are actually limiting and oppressive. Read more here.

      GHCN is your network. Send us any news, publications, announcements, conference notices, podcasts, blogs, CFP, etc., and we will share them with our community. We will be publishing this newsletter on a quarterly basis, with informal announcements sent out as emails or via social media.

    Last Minute Search fo Co-Panelist for UK Children’s History Society (Deadline Nov. 1)

    Karen Balcom posted the following call for panelists on H-Childhood:

    Hello –

    I am making a last minute effort to form a panel for the Children’s History Society conference at the University of Greenwich in June 2018. Theme of the Conference is Children and Youth on the Move. My paper would be on Greek adolescents and young adults in the 1950s who were relinquished for adoption by their parents in Greece, and then adopted by Aunts and Uncles in the US as a way to facilitate migration to the US. I’m looking for other schoalrs treating adoption as migration, or exploring other modes of child migration esp. in the immediate aftermath of WWII.

    The call for papers is at: https://histchild2018.wordpress.com/2017/07/02/call-for-papers/ Deadline is Nov. 1st.

    Contact me: balcomk@mcmaster.ca

    Thanks! Karen

    Call for Applications for Graduate Study Department of Childhood Studies Rutgers University—Camden, NJ, USA

    Applications are now being accepted for Ph.D. and MA programs. Ph.D. application deadline: January 12, 2018. Up to 5 years’ funding available, on a competitive basis, in Graduate Assistantships for PhD students. https://childhood.camden.rutgers.edu/graduate-program/faqs/. Please visit the Graduate Admissions website http://gradstudy.rutgers.edu/ for more information.

    In addition to Graduate Assistantships, significant ongoing support of graduate student research and travel is also available. Please see https://childhood.camden.rutgers.edu/graduate- program/financial-aid/ for the different funding opportunities offered.

    Our graduates have gone on to pursue careers in higher education, counseling, publishing and other areas, nationally and internationally. See “Where Are They Now?” for updates (https://childhood.camden.rutgers.edu/graduate-program/graduate-news/).

    Department faculty (http://childhood.camden.rutgers.edu/faculty/) represent diverse areas of scholarship—including psychology, literature, sociology, history, geography, education, media studies, critical race and post-colonial studies and health sciences—who, through research, public engagement and teaching, contribute to the expansion of the dynamic field of childhood studies, with a number having recently published books (https://childhood.camden.rutgers.edu/research/).

    Please contact Dr. Sarada Balagopalan (sarada.balagopalan@rutgers.edu), Director of Graduate Studies, with any questions regarding graduate applications.

    Announcements: The Department of Childhood Studies is excited to announce that we will be hosting the Anthropology of Childhood and Youth Interest Group (ACYIG) at Rutgers-Camden on March 7-9, 2019. The biennial conference brings together anthropologists and other researchers interested in ethnographic methods and theory to investigate the diverse, lived experiences of children and youth. A Call for Papers will be out in early 2018.

    Childhood Studies also recently played host to the Society for the History of Children and Youth Ninth Biennial Conference in June 2017. Approximately 250 attendees from more than dozen countries came to Rutgers-Camden for the memorable three-day event (https://shcy2017.wordpress.com/).

    Background: The Department of Childhood Studies at Rutgers University in Camden, New Jersey USA (http://childhood.camden.rutgers.edu/), opened its doors in September 2007 as the first Ph.D. granting program in Childhood Studies in North America. Graduate students in the program (http://childhood.camden.rutgers.edu/graduate-program/graduate-students/), hail from a variety of backgrounds and bring with them an impressive array of educational and life experience.

    Childhood Studies_Rutgers-Camden_Grad Applications 2018

    CFP: Global Studies of Childhood

    CFP: Global Studies of Childhood
    Special Issue: Children and Popular Culture
    Guest Editor: Patrick Cox, Rutgers University

    Childhood and youth are always contested notions, but perhaps nowhere more than in popular culture. Popular culture offers representations of children and youth as, among other things, wise, dangerous, evil, innocent, sexual, doomed, and in various states of “in progress.” Popular culture is also the broad site of much child agency, where children and youth produce texts from novels to YouTube channels to websites, blogs, and zines, frequently outstripping their adult contemporaries in technological savvy and communicative capability. Popular culture for children is by turns condescending to the youngest audience, crass, pedantic, and appropriated by adults for their own pleasure. Elements of popular culture are designed to educate and socialize children; others are manipulated by children as political activism. These turns call into question and trouble conceptions not only of “the child” but of “popular culture” itself and propose a compelling nexus of questions befitting both Childhood Studies and Popular Culture Studies.

    In this special issue, authors are invited to consider intersections of popular culture by, for, and about childhood, both broadly construed. We will explore both the impacts of popular culture on youth and childhood and the very real impacts of children and youth on popular culture. All disciplinary approaches are welcome, including but not limited to textual and visual analysis, ethnographic work, studies of children’s popular material culture, historical readings, comparative analysis of texts, and consumer and communication studies.

    Additionally, contemplations of the interstices between Childhood Studies and Popular Culture Studies as academic endeavors are encouraged. The two fields have been in limited conversation with one another, perhaps separated by epistemological and methodological concerns, yet the available data seems like a rich vein for insight. While both fields are multi-disciplinary and continuously evolving, Childhood Studies maintains very clear traces of its roots in social sciences, while Popular Culture Studies is still found more often housed in the Humanities. The two fields each have at their center subjects that have at times made it difficult for them to be taken seriously as sites of academic inquiry. With different questions at their core, how can the two fields interact? Put another way, how do we study this multitude of texts?

    [u]Topics for this special issue might include:[/u]
    Popular culture and education, whether intentional or inadvertent;
    Children’s popular culture as grown-up nostalgia;
    Youth vs. adult perspectives on popular culture;
    Children and youth as producers of popular culture;
    New media as empowering or oppressive;
    Capabilities for communication and interconnectivity;
    Adult consumption of children’s popular culture;
    Children’s consumption of decades-old popular culture;
    Definitions of youth in popular culture;
    Nostalgia through revivals and reboots;
    Social media;
    Diminishing space between children’s and adult popular culture.

    The guest editor welcomes submissions of articles via the journal submission system on its SAGE Publishing site. See “Submission Guidelines” here: https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/journal/global-studies-childhood#description.

    Deadline for submissions: December 1, 2017.

    Please send any queries to guest editor Patrick Cox at patrick.cox@rutgers.edu.

    2017 Fass-Sandin Prize for the Best Article on the History of Childhood and Youth (Spanish and French)

    The committee for the 2017 Fass-Sandin Prize for the Best Article on the History of Childhood and Youth written in French and/or Spanish and published between 2015 and 2017 has received eight high-quality articles, and selected the following two to receive the Prize and an Honorable Mention:

    Prize Winner:

    Fábio Macedo, “ACTION HUMANITAIRE ET ADOPTION D’ENFANTS ÉTRANGERS EN SUISSE. LE CAS DE TERRE DES HOMMES (1960-1969)”, Relations internationales 2015/2 (n° 161), p. 81-94.

    The article represents an innovative, thoroughly researched, and original approach to the study of both humanitarian action and child adoption over an understudied decade. It builds upon a wide array of primary sources, and pays close attention to the interconnections of State-led and civil initiatives, including their tensions and negotiations. The article contributes to ongoing historiographical debates surrounding child mobility, adoption, and the effects of international wars (in this case, the Algerian War and the Vietnam War). It also adds to a better understanding of the making of new legislation, especially by combining the perspectives of discourse analysis and political history. It will surely become a major reference for those scholars interested in childhood history from a transnational perspective.

    Honorable Mention:

    Elena Jackson Albarrán, “Los niños colaboradores de la revista Pulgarcito y la construcción de la infancia, México 1925-1932”, Iberoamericana, XV, no. 60, 2015, pp. 155-168.

    The article represents an original, finely argued and written, piece of research that sheds light on both State initiatives and child agency. By focusing on the children’s magazine Pulgarcito, depending on the Mexican Public Education Secretariat, the article reconstructs the history of how the authorities understood the role of child’s drawings in connection with ideas of civility and modern nationhood. Equally important, the article approaches to children’s drawings in their own terms, in an effort to elucidate the meanings that children created out such concepts as cleanliness, education, and the nation.

    Prize Committee
    Dr. Célia Keren, History, Sciences Po Toulouse – LaSSP
    Dr. Valeria Manzano (Chair), History, Universidad de San Martín/CONICET
    Dr. Amélie Nuq, History, LARHRA – Institut des Sciences de l’Homme. UFR Sciences humaines

    Grace Abbott Book Prize 2016

    The Society for the History of Children and Youth is pleased to announce that 2016 Grace Abbott Book Prize has been awarded to David Pomfret’s Youth and Empire: Trans-Colonial Childhoods in British and French Asia (Stanford UP).

    The prize committee of Anna Mae Duane, Helle Strandgaard Jensen, and Sabine Fruhstuck wrote:

    Youth and Empire is remarkable for its ambitious, innovative approach to youth and childhood. Its transnational scope and deft theorizing of how childhood functions (both symbolically and materially) in colonial enterprises offers rich food for thought for scholars working across the field. This study stepped into the role of what the Grace Abbott Prize winner should do: offer new and exciting directions for the field to pursue.”


    P. Ryan
    SHCY President

    JHCY Best Article Prize for 2016

    From James Marten, JHCY, editor

    The JHCY Best Article Prize selection committee (MJ Maynes, Rebecca Friedman, and Birgitte Soland) has selected the winner and one honorable mention for Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth Best Article Prize for 2016. The winner receives a certificate and $250.

    Sarah Walters: “’Child! Now You Are’: Identity Registration, Labor, and the Definition of Childhood in Colonial Tanganyika, 1910-1950”

    Sarah Walters’ exceptionally well written article manages the trick of being both conceptually sophisticated and absolutely accessible to non-specialist audiences. Her article traces child labor in colonial Tanganyika over the first half of the 20th century and argues that the variations in and ambiguity of definitions of childhood had many repercussions, including the institutional inability to implement child labor legislation. At the same time, Walters explains, this lack of a singular definition of childhood meant that children could exert themselves and claim agency over their own economic futures by working and increasing their financial security. This complex view of colonial processes is one of the most impressive aspects of this multifaceted research piece. By using evidence from the archives including inspection reports, legislative debates, newspapers, and anthropological investigations, Walters aptly challenges the notion that western definitions of childhood were imposed on colonial subjects wholesale; rather what we find is the degree to which children and youth in colonial Tanganyika were able to act as somewhat autonomous agents, using western-oriented definitions and rules to their own advantage. In addition to its historical originality, this scholarship will be useful and stimulating to any reader intrigued with wider present-day discussions about empowerment, agency, and the politics of development and also about human rights – including children’s rights.

    Honorable Mention:
    Susan Miller: “Assent as Agency in the Early Years of the Children of the American Revolution”

    This excellent article on children’s participation in the group Children of the American Revolution, which was affiliated with the Daughters of the American Revolution, does a marvelous job of offering complex and creative ways of approaching the question of agency in childhood studies. In particular, Miller complicates dichotomous understandings of agency by suggesting that there is a “continuum from opposition to assent” when it comes to children asserting themselves, rather that imagining agency as a simple matter of having it or not having it.

    SHCY needs your feedback!

    The Society for the History of Children and Youth (SHCY) invites you to participate in a survey designed to inform our efforts to advance the production and dissemination of historical research on childhood and youth.

    This questionnaire is written for any researcher or professional engaged in historical work on childhood and youth across disciplines, topics, regions, periods (etc.). We hope to better understand your backgrounds, interests, and preferences regardless of whether you are a SHCY member or have previously attended our events.

    The survey can be completed with any hand-held device or computer with an internet connection. It takes about 10 minutes – depending on how much you wish to write. Link to it at: https://uwo.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cwMWJSdqqFyFqoB

    A small amount of your time will help us do better than guessing after or projecting our own limited experiences upon what we know is a very diverse group of people.

    Call for Papers: History of Education Society 50th Anniversary Conference

    Theme: Celebration, Commemoration and Collaboration
    When: November 10-November 12, 2017
    Where: Winchester, United Kingdom

    Registration is now open! Details can be found on this registration form

    In 2017 as the History of Education Society (UK) celebrates 50 years of scholarship and international collaboration, we look forward to welcoming colleagues, friends, and those new to the field, to historic Winchester. It is time for celebration to recognise the distance travelled in the development of ideas, theories and practice in the history of education. It is also a time for looking forward to what the next fifty years may hold. Proposals are welcome for formal papers, workshops, symposia and posters on the themes of celebration, commemoration and collaboration.

    We encourage authors to think creatively within the themes and to identify new directions. Proposals may include spatial, material and sensory methodologies, international, transnational, imperial and colonial perspectives using a range of sources, interpretations and theoretical approaches.

    Postgraduate students are welcome to submit full proposals on conference themes. In addition, there will be a dedicated session for students to present 10 minute work in progress papers on their current research. A limited number of bursaries will be available, more details to follow.

    Proposals should address aspects of commemoration, celebration and/or collaboration in the following:

    • Education as public history
    • Mapping the field
    • Institutional histories
    • Personal and political histories of education
    • Formal and informal education
    • Archives and objects

    Abstracts of 250 words should be sent to the Centre for the History of Women’s Education at the University of Winchester: CHWE@winchester.ac.uk

    The first call for papers closes March 31st, while the second call for papers closes July 31st. Please state which strand(s) your paper addresses.

    Call for Papers: Children and Youth on the Move

    What: Children and Youth on the Move Conference

    Where: University of Greenwich, London, 21-23 June 2018

    In 2015, a shocking photograph of Alan Kurdi – one of the many Syrian child refugees drowned whilst crossing the Mediterranean – seared public and political consciousness around the world. Outside London’s Liverpool Street Station, as well as at transport hubs in Berlin, Gdańsk, Hamburg and Rotterdam, commuters collected newspapers detailing the toddler’s terrible fate from stands located near bronze statues of children hauling suitcases and clutching teddy bears, public memorials recalling the years of the kindertransport and an earlier phase of traumatic displacement. Such global uprooting composes a tough and longstanding feature of the experience of childhood and youth. From the Dust Bowl to the Great Trek; from slave ship voyages to the passages of child convict transportees; from border journeys from Afghanistan to Pakistan, or South to North America; from the more contemporary era backwards in time to the great migrations of the pre-modern world: trails of youthful footprints criss-cross the globe.

    Albeit deeply significant, however, the practice and concept of youthful movement encompasses more than transnational journeying and displacement. The related concept of mobility – described by geographers as a ‘hallmark of modern times’ (Uteng and Creswell, 2008) – requires interrogation for all historical settings and eras. Children and Youth on the Move, the second biennial conference of The Children’s History Society, seeks to expand understandings of young people’s historical movements in all their forms. In addition to considerations of movements across borders or thresholds, we welcome assessments of movements big and small, individual and collective, localised and global, permanent and temporary, desired and feared, acted out by and acted upon. We will reflect on movement in relation to individual development (intellectual, emotional, spiritual and physical), as well as associated cross-cultural implications. Offering a forum for historical reflections from established and upcoming historians of children, childhood and youth, we also anticipate that our conference will again offer a platform for school-age scholars to reflect on the ways they respond to history.

    We invite panel contributions (especially long chronological and/or geographically diverse in collective scope) as well as individual papers on topics related to the conference theme. These might include:

    • Forced and voluntary migrations and removals
    • Kinetic abilities and impairments
    • Young people’s independent mobilities
    • Skills in movement and their social function: dance; running; gymnastics, and more
    • Sociability and popular culture
    • Altered emotional or spiritual states (‘being moved’)
    • Ritual movement in religious communities
    • Social mobility in history
    • Youthful holidays/vacations
    • Mobilisations of youthful discourse
    • Child evacuees, refugees and soldiers
    • Mobile young workers, and associated fears of idleness
    • Engagement with modes of transportation: animals; sail; rowing; bicycles, and more
    • Disease and its impact: quarantine; fleeing infection
    • Moving images of and/or by youth
    • Constructions of ‘natural’ youthful energy, and associated conflicts
    • Young people’s physical engagements with heritage sites and museums
    • Literary representations of movement including narrative arcs and bildungsroman
    • Correspondence and shared cultures
    • Movement, lifestyle and economic wellbeing: nomads; ‘moving house’; temporary accommodation; homelessness
    • Marching and demonstration
    • Transnational childhoods and ‘third culture kids’
    • Migration for education: boarding school and its rituals
    • Escapes and pursuit: slavery; prison and institutional breakouts
    • Welfare: settlement, resettlement and entitlement
    • Intellectual and cultural movements and their impact
    • Future trajectories for researching the histories of young people

    For individual papers, please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words, together with a 2-page CV, to both M.C.H.Martin@greenwich.ac.uk and simon.sleight@kcl.ac.uk by 1 November 2017. Panel submissions featuring three papers of 15-20 minutes apiece are also encouraged, and should be submitted collectively by the panel organiser. Please state your contact email address on the abstract. Applicants will be notified of the outcome in January 2018.

    Please note that our definitions of children and youth are flexible, reflecting the multiple constructions through time of these social categories. We expect the selection process to be competitive, and hence we will prioritise papers directly addressing the overall conference theme as well as one or more sub-themes.

    We are delighted to announce that the conference will be hosted at the spectacular riverside campus of the University of Greenwich, a world heritage site. Further details will follow regarding accommodation options, travel arrangements and conference-related activities. If you are based in or around London and would like to join the conference organising committee, or volunteer during the conference itself, please email M.C.H.Martin@greenwich.ac.uk and simon.sleight@kcl.ac.uk to express your interest.

    In the meantime, keep up to date with the activities of The Children’s History Society and developments within the field on Twitter and Facebook:

    https://twitter.com/histchild and https://www.facebook.com/histchild/

    Warm regards,

    Co-Directors Dr Mary Clare Martin (University of Greenwich), Dr Simon Sleight (King’s College London), and members of the conference organising committee.

    The SHCY invites members to organize regional networks (or) field working-groups.

    SHCY regional networks or field-specific working-groups are a means for researchers to engage in long-term projects under SHCY auspices with a defined focus or approach to the historical study of childhood and youth. They may be defined geographically, by nation states, by languages; by various groups, institutions, or discourses (girlhood, education, race, psychology, etc.); by conceptual or methodological focal points (popular culture, social movements, governmentality, demography, oral history, etc.); or by period (early-modern, Victorian, post-WWII, etc.).

    We hope member-created networks and working-groups will allow scholars to create spaces for their extraordinarily diverse interests at our conferences, within our journal, and through other activities. If members develop them avidly, they may enhance the relevance of our events and publications for specific regional and field connections and collaborations, while maintaining the Society’s commitment to serve as a larger umbrella for international, interdisciplinary exchanges in the history of childhood and youth.

    SHCY regional networks or SHCY field-specific working-groups will receive priority treatment when establishing roundtable, panels, or other sessions at our biennial conferences. They will have access to SHCY website for posting content (a website that receives many thousands of discrete visitors each month). Such groups and networks may propose special issues for the Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth. Recognition as a standing network or working group may help our members work collaboratively to win grants, hold regional or topically specific colloquium, produce edited collections, and even advance academic programming in the study of childhood and youth at our Universities and Colleges.

    Step 1: Discuss your idea and gather interest with colleagues in your regional, topical, period, or theoretical area. Read the relevant SHCY by-law (Article V) below and at http://shcyhome.org/about/

    Step 2: Come up with a name, a chair or co-chairs, produce a statement of purpose for your network or working-group. Gather c.v.’s and consider immediate steps or activities you would like to do together.

    Step 3: Send to SHCY President your statement of purpose, name the chair or co-chair with a 300-500 word prospectus about your plans. Proposals should include the c.v.’s of 3 to 5 colleagues committed to the project, but may name other interested scholars.

    Step 4: SHCY President will present proposals for regional networks or area working-groups to the Executive Committee for evaluation; and will communicate the Executive’s response back to the applicants.

    Step 5: Once approved, begin working and producing scholarly goods in collaboration with others. Continue to consult with SHCY officers and conference organizers.

    Sincerely Yours,
    Patrick Ryan
    SHCY President

    Relevant SHCY By-Law:

    Article V

    Section 1: Any SHCY member may propose for approval by SHCY Executive Committee a standing working-group or regional network of the Society.

    Section 2: SHCY working groups and regional networks would report to SHCY Executive Committee, and will share the following features:
    A – a chair or co-chairs.
    B – a statement of purpose.

    Section 3: Participation in the working-groups’ or networks’ activities ordinarily will require SHCY membership. Specific practices will be developed in consultation with the Executive Committee.

    Section 4: Funds raised by the working-groups or networks (outside of SHCY membership) will be accounted for, dispensed, and held by the groups or networks.

    Fass-Sandin Best Article Prize (English) for 2017 Awarded!

    Please join me in congratulating Dr. Brian Rouleau who has been awarded the 2017 Fass-Sandin Best Article Prize (English) for his article: ” ‘In Praise of Trash’: Series Fiction Fan Mail and the Challenges of Children’s Devotion.” Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth 9 (Fall 2016): 403-423.

    The prize committee was unanimous in their selection of Dr. Rouleau’s article and their citation reads:
    “Brian Rouleau’s article ” ‘In Praise of Trash’: Series Fiction Fan Mail and the Challenges of Children’s Devotion” is the winner of SHCY’s 2016 Fass-Sandin Prize for Best Article in English. Rouleau’s deeply researched article draws on neglected archival materials to explore children’s responses to the series literature generated by Edward Stratemeyer’s literary syndicate. By analyzing young readers’ letters to the authors of these series, Rouleau not only addresses the reception of children’s genre literature by the intended audience but also demonstrates that the children sometimes had an effect on future story elements and plots. Children sometimes appreciated but also sometimes resisted the gender norms and imperialist tropes embedded in the various series. By recovering their voices, Rouleau presents a model for how scholars can interrogate the interaction between writers and even young readers. This lively, well-written article thus contributes to the scholarship of reader reception as well as the history of children’s literature during the early twentieth century.”

    2017 Outreach Grant Winners

    The Society for the History of Children and Youth is pleased to announce the selections for 2017 Outreach Grants:

    1. Dr. Silke Hackenesch (University of Kassel) for the international conference “Designing Modern Families: International Perspectives on ‘Intercountry’ and Transracial Adoptions” (Nov 1718, 2017).
    2. M.J. Maynes (University of Minnesota) for a visit by Dr. Samia Khatun (McKenzie Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne, Australia) to the University of Minnesota to present a workshop and a public lecture on her current research project, a 400-year history of girls and young women (mostly between the ages of 13 and 21) engaged in textile work in what is now Bangladesh (late October, 2017).
    3. Graduate student grant: Victoria Holec, for a full-day interdisciplinary symposium at the Institute for Child & Youth Studies (I-CYS), University of Lethbridge, At the Intersections of Childhood Symposium, on the intersections of digital, Indigenous, and youth issues (April 1, 2017).

    Many thanks to the Outreach Committee Members for 2017:

    Stephanie Olsen, Chair

    Nell Musgrove

    Pablo Toro Blanco

    Call for Nominations: 2017 Fass-Sandin Prize for Best Article in French or Spanish (Translated Calls included below)

    The Society for the History of Children and Youth (SHCY) is pleased to call for nominations for the best article in French or Spanish on the history of children, childhood, or youth (broadly construed) published in a 2014, 2015, or 2016 issue of a print or online journal. The SHCY will grant one award. The prize consists of a plaque and a check for $250. The winner will be announced in early September 2017 on the website of the SHCY and will be informed of the award prior to the announcement. Nominations are invited from publishers, editors, scholars, and authors. Eligibility for the awards is based solely on the language in which the article is published, not on the residence or nationality of the author.

    Current members of the SHCY award committee are ineligible. Please note that current officers of the Society, including Executive Committee, ARE ELIGIBLE for nominations.

    The deadline for nominations is May 1, 2017.

    Please send a PDF (or photocopy) of the article to the Chair of the prize committee, Dr. Valeria Manzano:  amanzano@umail.iu.edu

    Committee Members:
    Dr. Valeria Manzano (Chair)
    Departamento de Historia
    Instituto de Altos Estudios Sociales/UNSAM
    Avda. Presidente Roque Sáenz Peña 832, Piso 7
    Ciudad de Buenos Aires

    Dr. Célia Keren
    Sciences Po Toulouse – LaSSP (ea 4175)
    2 ter, rue des Puits Creusés
    CS 88526
    31 685 Toulouse Cedex 6., France

    Dr. Amélie Nuq
    LARHRA – Institut des Sciences de l’Homme
    UFR Sciences humaines
    Building ARSH, office B28,
    1281 Avenue Centrale, 38400 Gières, France

    La Sociedad para la Historia de la Infancia y la Juventud (Society for the History of Childhood and Youth, SHCY) se complace en anunciar la convocatoria para nominar y elegir al mejor artículo, escrito en francés o castellano, sobre la historia de los/as niños/as, la infancia y la juventud (ampliamente entendidos) publicado en 2014, 2015 o 2016, en revistas impresas o digitales. La SHCY otorgará un solo premio. El premio consiste en una placa y un cheque por U$ 250. El o la ganador/a será anunciado a comienzos de septiembre de 2017 en el sitio web de la SHCY y será informado individualmente con anterioridad a la publicación del resultado. Invitamos nominaciones de editores, académicos y autores. El criterio de elegibilidad se basa solamente en el idioma en que está escrito el artículo, y no en la residencia o nacionalidad del autor/a.

    Los miembros actuales de los comités de premiación no son elegibles. Los miembros que tengan cargos ejecutivos en la SHCY, incluyendo aquellos que integran el Comité Ejecutivo, SON ELEGIBLES para esta nominación.

    La fecha límite para la nominación es el 1 de mayo de 2017.

    Por favor, envíen un PDF (o fotocopia) del artículo a la presidenta del Comité, Dra. Valeria Manzano: amanzano@umail.iu.edu

    Los miembros del Comité son:

    Dr. Valeria Manzano (Chair)
    Departamento de Historia
    Instituto de Altos Estudios Sociales/UNSAM
    Avda. Presidente Roque Sáenz Peña 832, Piso 7
    Ciudad de Buenos Aires

    Dr. Célia Keren
    Sciences Po Toulouse – LaSSP (ea 4175)
    2 ter, rue des Puits Creusés
    CS 88526
    31 685 Toulouse Cedex 6., France

    Dr. Amélie Nuq
    LARHRA – Institut des Sciences de l’Homme
    UFR Sciences humaines
    Building ARSH, office B28,
    1281 Avenue Centrale, 38400 Gières, France

    La Société pour l’histoire de l’enfance et de la jeunesse (SHCY) a le plaisir de lancer un appel à soumissions pour le meilleur article en français ou en espagnol portant sur l’histoire des enfants, de l’enfance ou de la jeunesse (au sens large) et publié en 2014, 2015 ou 2016 dans une revue papier ou en ligne. La SHCY récompensera un seul article. Le prix consistera en une plaque et un chèque de 250 dollars. Le résultat sera publié au début du mois de septembre 2017 sur le site Internet de la SHCY et le ou la lauréat-e en sera informé-e par avance. Les propositions d’article peuvent être adressées par des maisons d’édition, des directeurs de numéro, des chercheurs et les auteurs des articles. Le seul critère d’éligibilité est la langue de publication de l’article, en dehors de tout critère de nationalité ou de résidence de l’auteur.

    Les membres du jury sont inéligibles. En revanche, les membres de la SHCY, y compris de son comité exécutif, SONT ÉLIGIBLES à ce prix.

    La date-limite de soumission est fixée au 1er mai 2017.

    Veuillez envoyer un document pdf (ou une photocopie) de l’article à la présidente du jury, Valeria Manzano : amanzano@umail.iu.edu

    Membres du jury:

    Valeria Manzano (présidente)
    Maîtresse de conférences en histoire contemporaine
    Universidad Nacional de San Martín
    UNSAM Campus Miguelete
    Provincia de Buenos Aires, Argentina

    Célia Keren
    Maîtresse de conférences en histoire contemporaine
    Laboratoire des Sciences Sociales du Politique (LaSSP)
    Sciences Po Toulouse – LaSSP (EA 4175)
    2 ter, rue des Puits Creusés
    CS 88526
    31 685 Toulouse Cedex 6, France

    Amélie Nuq
    Maîtresse de conférences en histoire contemporaine
    LARHRA – Institut des Sciences de l’Homme
    UFR Sciences humaines
    Bâtiment ARSH, bureau B28,
    1281, avenue centrale
    38400 Gières, France


    Call for Nominations: Grace Abbott Book Prize for Best Book, 2016

    The Society for the History of Children and Youth (SHCY) is pleased to call for nominations for the best book in English on the history of children, childhood, or youth (broadly construed) published in 2016.

    Nominations are invited from publishers, editors, scholars, and authors. Nominations must be postmarked by April 25, 2017.

    The award of a plaque and a check for $500 will be made no later than August 15, 2017.

    Send a copy of the book, physical or electronic (PDF only), for consideration to each of the book award committee members at the following addresses:

    Dr. Anna Mae Duane (Chair)
    45 Harkness Drive
    Milford, CT 06460

    Dr. Sabine Frühstück
    Department of East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies
    University of California
    Santa Barbara, CA 93106-7075

    Dr. Helle Strandgaard Jensen
    Department of History and Classical Studies
    Aarhus University
    Jens Chr. Skovs vej 7
    8000 Aarhus



    Call for Nominations: SHCY Fass-Sandin Prize for Best Article (English) for 2016

    The Society for the History of Children and Youth (SHCY) is pleased to call for nominations for the best article in English on the history of children, childhood, or youth (broadly construed) published in 2016 in a print or online journal. The prize consists of a plaque and a check for $250. The winner will be announced no later than mid-August, 2017.
    Nominations are invited from publishers, editors, scholars, and authors.  Current officers of the Society, including those on the Executive Committee, are eligible for nominations.


    Please send a PDF of the article to Committee Chair, Melissa R. Klapper at klapper@rowan.edu.


    Please use the following format for the subject line of your email: ‘Fass-Sandin Prize Surname First Name 2016’ (eg. Fass-Sandin Prize Aries Philippe 2016). The deadline for nominations is April 21, 2017.


    The committee is comprised of:

    Melissa R. Klapper (Chair), Rowan University

    Jonas Qvarsebo, Malmö University

    Jane Nicholas, University of Waterloo

    SHCY Endorses AHA Statement on Executive Order

    Society for History of Children and Youth statement:

    Our organization seeks and depends upon a vibrant and open exchange of ideas from scholars from around the world. This commitment has encouraged the SHCY Executive Committee, on behalf of the SHCY membership, to endorse the American Historical Association’s recent denouncement of the Executive Order restricting entry to the United States. The AHA statement, endorsed by the SHCY, states in part that “(t)he AHA represents teachers and researchers who study and teach history throughout the world. Essential to that endeavor are interactions with foreign colleagues and access to archives and conferences overseas. The executive order threatens global scholarly networks our members have built up over decades. It establishes a religious test for scholars, favoring Christians over Muslims from the affected countries; and it jeopardizes both travel and the exchange of ideas upon which all scholarship ultimately depends.” You can read the complete statement on the part of the AHA here:

    JHCY Seeking Editor

    The Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth (JHCY) is seeking a new editor! This is an exciting opportunity to be involved with the most important journal in our field.

    The JHCY is published by Johns Hopkins Press and is the official journal of the SHCY. From the website: The JHCY “explores the development of childhood and youth cultures and the experiences of young people across diverse times and places. JHCY embraces a wide range of historical methodologies as well as scholarship in other disciplines that share a historical focus. The Journal publishes original articles based on empirical research and essays that place contemporary issues of childhood and youth in a historical context. Each issue also includes an ‘object lesson’ on the material culture of childhood, contemporary policy pieces, and relevant book reviews.”

    The duties of the editor include:

    • recruiting articles and object lessons
    • managing the peer review process through the online ScholarOne system
    • copyediting all articles and object lessons, and proofreading book reviews
    • ensuring that authors submit illustrations and permissions to publish text and      illustration
    • supervising copyeditor and proofreader
    • procuring cover illustrations
    • submitting annual reports to the JHCY Board and SHCY members (including a budget)
    • appointing the committee that awards the Best Article Prize for the JHCY
    • submitting JHCY nominations for Fass-Sandin Prize
    • maintaining communication with the President of the Society


    The JHCY is published three times a year. Deadlines for submitting completed issues are March 1, July 1, and November 1. The editorship position has followed different successful models, from one person to a committee of three. Currently, the book review section is co-edited by Cori Field and Nick Syrett. For additional information concerning the position, please contact current editor Professor James Marten at james.marten@marquette.edu.

    The Society recognizes this as considerable (unpaid) labour. This may be offset through course releases given by the editor’s (or editors’) institution(s).

    Start date is negotiable but ideally the new editor(s) would be ready to take on full responsibility for the July 2018 issue.

    Statement of interest and applications [including relevant experience] should be addressed to the JHCY editor search committee through Tamara Myers (tamaramyers@gmail.com); we aim to have the position filled by July 1, 2017.

    Outreach Grant Competition Open

    Our 2017 Outreach Grant competition is now open!

    The SHCY will award two $500 grants for events that take place in 2017 to projects deemed worthy by the Outreach and Executive Committees of the SHCY.

    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

    Application deadline for both grants: February 28, 2017.

    Terms of the grants:
    •Applicants must be members of SHCY. (See http://shcyhome.org/membership/ for membership information.)
    •Recipients of 2015 and 2016 Outreach Grants cannot receive 2017 grants, and no one may apply for more than one 2017 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 PDFs 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 Stephanie Olsen (stephanie.olsen@mcgill.ca). 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 March 13, 2017.

    Questions about the Outreach Grant competition can be directed to the Chair, Stephanie Olsen, at stephanie.olsen@mcgill.ca

    Journal of History of Childhood and Youth seeks articles on children and museums

    The Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth seeks articles (8000 words) for a themed issue on the portrayal of the histories of children and of childhood in museum settings. The issue will be guest-edited by Loren Lerner, Professor of Art History at Concordia University in Montreal.

    Potential topics for articles include:

    • histories of childhood museums: their origins, ideologies, changing philosophies, and current practices;
    • frameworks and perspectives on national museum collections of childhood objects;
    • studies on the constructions of children and youth in recent exhibitions across diverse cultures and socio-economic backgrounds;
    • discussions on the evolution of artefacts in museums reflective of childhood and child rearing such as toys and games, clothing, furniture, books and diverse items related to home and school life;
    • debates on the issues, practices, and policies of childhood museums including collection development, education, research, and other subjects of concern to academic scholarship and, or the local community.

    Proposals for articles to be sent to Loren Lerner at loren.lerner@sympatico.ca by 1 April 2017 should include:

    • Name of author, institutional affiliation, email address
    • Title of article
    • 300-500 words abstract of the article
    • Estimated number and type of illustrations
    • 50-words brief bio

    Successful proposers will be notified by 1 May 2017, with finished articles to be delivered by 1 September 2017. Publication is projected for Summer 2018.

    SHCY Elections – Congratulations to our new officers!

    Thank you to the many SHCY members willing to stand for our recent officer elections. Our new officers include:

    Vice-President (President Elect): Tamara Myers

    Executive Committee: Valeria Manzano, Kristine Moruzi and Emma Alexander

    Outreach Committee: Stephanie Olsen (Chair), Nell Musgrove, and Pablo Toro Blanco

    A special debt of gratitude to our Nominating Committee who recruited so many excellent candidates for our election: Margot Hillel (Chair), Mary Hatfield, and Orna Naftali.

    Congratulations to our all!

    CHC: Season 2, Ep 7: The new world should be built not only on children – but with children

    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.

    [gn_spoiler title=”Audio of Ning de Coninck-Smith’s Conversation with Mathias Gardet” open=”1″ style=”2″]

    [gn_spoiler title=”Commentary by Ning de Coninck-Smith” open=”1″ style=”2″]

    ”I must know more…” was my first reaction, when professor Mathias Gardet from the University of Paris 8 in the meeting room of the General Assembly  of UNESCO began his presentation about the children’s villages, born out of the ruins of WW2. This was a story about children’s self-governance, progressive educational ideas and citizenship across national borders.  The occasion was a conference marking the 70th Anniversary of UNESCO in October 2015. In the reconstruction of the world after WW2 education was thought to play a key role, and to UNESCO children’s villages, republics and communities held high promises for the creation of a future child-centered educational system.  It was confirmed at the General Conference in Mexico in November 1947.

    Where did the ideas come from, and how many villages where there? What did children’s self-governance imply and how did it work? And who were the people behind? These were the questions, which triggered my interest.  During a sabbatical month in Paris in April and May 2016 I contacted professor Gardet for an interview, soon to realize that his research into the children’s villages was part of a long academic engagement with the children on the margin and the history of special education in a French historical context. Apart from serving on the editorial committee of La revue de l’historie de l’enfance irrégulière, he is also one of the initiators to the Centre d’exposition: Enfants  en justice, located at a former youth correction home at Savigny-sur-Orge, south east of Paris. Visitors can see the reception building with its 18 cells, where the young inmates where left to their own thoughts for the first three days, as well as an exhibition telling the history of the French youth criminal system. The museum also functions as a documentary and research center. You can read more – and plan a visit – on the website enfantsenjustice.fr

    At a time when so many children again are “war-handicapped”, due to the  loss of parents, or because they have had to flee together with their families from villages, cities and homelands, the stories about the children’s villages unfortunately gain a new actuality.  We might not learn directly from this unknown chapter of the history of childhood and youth of how to handle the current situation. My hope is, that we can learn something as historians – and humans. Something about methodologies, engagement, transdisciplinarity  – and the usefulness of transnational scholarship. For these camps and the ideas behind them ranged from the US to Switzerland, from France to Denmark, and from Italy to Spain, from the East to the West. Their number remains unknown, but alone in France there were 55. (See map and photos in Impetus, vol III, no. 8-9, September-October, 1949 ) The ideas were not interpreted identically, the conditions varied – and the disagreements were many. And even though we know much more about the founding fathers – and mothers, than before – thanks to work of Mathias Gardet, and his colleagues Samuel Boussion (University of Paris 8) and Martine Ruchat (Geneva University), we still know very little about how the camps functioned, who the children were, and how they experienced this part of their lives.

    The studies of Gardet, Bouission, and Ruchart show the usefulness of working in the archives of the international organizations, as the UNESCO, where many documents are now online (unesdoc.org) – but also with the papers left by groups and advocates of progressive education. Their work challenges a widespread tendency to remain within a national context when writing the history of childhood and youth. But educational ideas travel and were tested, discussed and revised in transnational contexts through a network of people, educators, administrators, experts, philanthropists, diplomats – and in this case also resistance fighters.

    To preserve this transnational ambiance, our conversation is partially in English and partially in French.  The resumé of our conversation also draws on articles by Gardet and his colleagues and drafts of chapters to a forthcoming book L’internationale des communautés d’enfants.

    After a short introduction, I asked professor Gardet to tell us about the children’s communities– where did the idea come from, how many were there – and how did they work – and until when?

    Children’s villages have a long history going back to George Junior Republic in the late-19th-century or to Father Flanagan’s Boys Towns in Omaha, Nebraska in the early 20th-century, but the ideas were also tested by various progressive boarding schools in the UK from Bredales, Abbotsholme to  A.S. Neill Summerhill School. These experiments were central to the New Educational Fellowship movement, which was born as a reaction to the horrors and manslaughters of WW1. It’s goal was the creation of a child-centered school, based on children’s self-governance and rooted in the new, rising science of child psychology. Several of the founding members of NEF were active participants in the creation of the children’s villages, like the Swiss educator Adolphe Ferrière, the Belgian teacher and psychologist Ovide Decroly, the American educational reformer Carleton Washburne or the the Swiss peace activist and Quaker Elisabeth Rotten.

    As a consequence of WW2 about 13 million children were considered abandoned.  Parents had been killed in concentration camps or during bombing of cities, families had been separated on the run, or children born out of relations between German or Russian soldiers and local women, had been left to fend for themselves. The founding stone to the movement of children’s villages was placed at the villages of Trogen in Switzerland in January 1946 – soon 200 children were housed in 8 different national houses  – designed by the famous Swiss architect Hans Fischli – together with a surrogate “father” and a “mother”. In the groups the children spoke their own language, but German was the shared language. Understandably, German and Polish children did not get along easily after the war.  The educators tried to persuade them that they (as children) were all victims of the same war.

    In 1948, the UNESCO called for an international conference on children’s villages to be held in Trogen. The conference had participants from six countries, and the disagreements among the actors became visible. Children’s villages (or “republics”) could be completely self-governed with their own city council and money.  This happened in Cittavechia in Italy and at the children’s republic at Moulin Vieux in France.  However, we know other children’ s villages were places where children had very few participatory rights.

    For my second question, I wanted to know how Gardet came across evidence of these villages? Could he detect the voices of the children? And can we talk about their voices? Or is it rather voices, censured/shaped by the psychiatric experts?

    He stumbled over the villages, when reading educational journals from France, Spain and Belgium. The idea of children’s self-governance was either negative described or hailed  in the journal of the New Educational Fellowship movement. The story seemed completely forgotten.

    Working in the archives in Switzerland, France and Italy he realized that children’s voices were difficult to hear. In several villages the children produced their own newspapers – inspired by the educational ideas of Celestin Freinet – but they seem more like a “defences of the system” than children’s testimonies. A radio appeal was his best bid on how to get in touch with the former “inhabitants”, who now are very old and many are likely to be dead.  The village in Cittavechia has alumni association, who take care of the cultural heritage.  Yet, detailed children’s files do not exist as they do within youth reformatories.

    My third question related to their successfulness and how much did the children decide themselves?

    In many ways pragmatism had to reign, the lack of money and the scale of the problem forced children to participate in their own education as well as in the daily routines – in many ways similar to life in children’s homes and orphanages. At the beginning there was no educational project, it was “ a project d’urgence”. Some villages started out as summer camps, where children just stayed on, since they had no other home.  In one case, a castle was turned into a camp for Jewish children who had been hidden by their parents during the war.

    The educational frame and the reference to the ideas of NEF came gradually. But as mentioned, the cleavages were fundamental to the movement, even though they all distanced themselves from the historical heritage of children’s homes with their strict discipline, hard work and rough environment. I asked Gardet to reflect on how traumatized these children must have been and what role it played in the discussions. He told me that the educators and psychiatrists took two different stands. One group warned against children’s trauma and also that the responsibility of running a village risked doing more harm than good. The other group found it fascinating and promising that the children had survived in gangs and on the streets with hardly any food nor shelter. In their opinion this energy should be drawn upon for their education and civilization. Others claimed that children’s villages created an artificial environment, and therefore made it difficult for children to grow into adulthood. From these debates rose new understandings and definitions of children’s trauma.

    The end came in the early 1950s, when the villages – and UNESCO – were caught up in the cold war, and the contact across the iron curtain stopped, while the Americans and Canadians threatened to cut funding if grants were made to children’s communities in Eastern Europe.  A major crisis arose when around 27,000 Greek children, who the Greek government claimed had been kidnapped by the federation of children’s villages – with the support of UNESCO, were placed in villages in Bulgaria, Romania and Czechoslovakia. There were fewer and fewer war injured to save.  As the years passed, more of the children were victims of poverty after the war, rather than the war itself.

    The last part of our conversation turns around Gardet’s role as co-editor of the journal La revue de l’historie de l’enfance irrégulière and his other activities related to the history of special education. He explained that the journal together with conferences was meant to work as a platform for exchanges between scholars in the franco-phone world and an opportunity to develop not a comparative but a transnational and prosographic approach to the field. He finds it fascinating how ideas travelled through the international conferences during the 19th century, and yet the Northern and British countries seem to differ in their attitude to the children on the margins from Southern Europe. To the north, experts advocated family placement, where institutionalization were the preferred solution to the south. There were expert in the south, too, who claimed that institutions were not the best way to introduce children to their life as adults. Instead they advocated placement in a family with a similar social background.

    When asked about where this strong academic interest in the history of the prison system among franco-phone scholars could come from, he mentioned the importance of philosophers, sociologists and historians such as Michel Foucault, Michelle Perrot and Jacques Guy Petit.


    Samuel Boussion, Mathias Gardet and Martine Ruchat: Bringing Everyone to Trogen. UNESCO and the Promotion of an International Model of Children’s Communities after World War II in Poul Duedahl (ed): A history of UNESCO: Global Actions and Impacts, Palgrave Macmillan 2016

    Gardet, Mathias: Le modèle idéalisé des  communautés d’enfants à l’épreuve de la réalité française, 1948-1955.  Published on line from the international congress of AREF (Actualité de la  recherche en education et formation) Geneva, 2010.

    Gardet, Mathias (en collaboration avec Martine Ruchat) : “Le Village Pestalozzi, un modèle de communauté d’enfants pour l’Europe. Entre utopie pédagogique et propagande politique, 1944-1954”, in Furrer, Markus, Heiniger, Kevin, Huonker, Thomas et al., Entre assistance et contrainte : le placement des enfants et des jeunes en Suisse 1850-1980, Schwabe, supplément de la Revue suisse d’histoire, 2014, p. 123-138

    Gardet, Mathias (en collaboration avec Fabienne Waks) :  Une histoire de la jeunesse en marge, Textuel, Paris, 2015

    See also  Nicholas Stargardt : Witnesses of War: Children’s Lives Under the Nazis, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2005

    [wp_biographia user=”nconnincksmith”]
    [wp_biographia user=”mgardet”]

    Miriam Turrini Wins Fass-Sandin Prize for Best Article in German or Italian!

    It is with great pleasure that the committee for the Fass-Sandin Prize for the best article (German or Italian) on the History of Children and Youth for 2015 announces that the award goes to Miriam Turrini for her wonderful essay “Poco oltre la soglia: racconti autobiografici di aspiranti gesuiti a metà Seicento, Studi storici3/2014, July –Sept., pp. 585-614.  Congratulations Dr. Turrini!

    The Prize Committee wrote:
    Within a varied field, Turrini’s article stood out for the richness and productivity of the sources used, as well as for the methodological and conceptual issues that her work raises for the study of the history of childhood and youth in early modern Europe.The article is based on a meticulous archival research, whose main focus are the questionnaires compiled between 1636 and 1644 by young aspiring Jesuits admitted to noviciate of S.Andrea, in Rome. Out of the 180 questionnaires available, 82 include the novices’ narratives of their vocation. It is on the sources combining questionnaires and vocational stories that Turrini’s analysis is constructed.
    The author presents us with an extraordinary source from a period in which the voices of young people remain elusive and difficult to find. These sources provide information on the background and life experiences of these young people, together with the narration of the discovery of their vocation and subsequent decision to enter the noviciate. Most of the aspiring Jesuits were between 14 and 18 years olds, they came from various Italian and European territories, and from various family backgrounds. Only a minority came from either very rich or very poor family, and many of them were orphans of one or both parents. Young adults rather than children, their testimonies provide precious glimpses into the complicated transition from childhood to adulthood, which in these cases coincided with the equally complicated passage from their “old” secular life to their new life as novices in the Compagnia di Gesù.

    While the narratives studied by Turrini follow a recognisable scheme, the sources offer important insights into the individuality and subjectivity of young people engaged in a process of self-analysis and self-representation.

    In order to successfully complete the probation period, the aspiring Jesuits had to answer questions relating to their past, and had to present a vision of their future, seen as a project of self-realisation that should coincide with the obtainment of Christian perfection.

    Although inevitably informed by the need to satisfy the expectations of their examiners, the sources studied by Turrini show the complicated effort to narrate a radical life project: a project that required young people not only to resist worldly temptations but also to defy parental opposition. Only in a few cases, in fact, we find examples of solicited or even forced conversions, pursued as part of family strategies.

    Turrini compare texts written by a majority of younger novices with the texts written by (fewer) older writers, thus highlighting both the specificity of younger people’s voices and experiences and the methodological and theoretical issues brought up by the sources.

    The essay by Turrini represented an initial approach to this type of egodocuments, which have since been studied further. The article is bound to promote further historiographical reflections on the categories relevant to the history of youth in Europe.

    Many thanks to the Prize Commitee: Patrizia Guarnieri (chair, University of Florence), Stefania Bernini (UNSW Australia), Patrizia Dogliani (University of Bologna), Dirk Schumann (chair, University of Göttingen)

    Catherine Jones wins 2016 Grace Abbott Book Prize

    The Society for the History of Children and Youth Grace Abbott Book Prize for the best book on the History of Children and Youth published in English in 2015

    The 2016 Grace Abbott Book Prize committee has selected Catherine Jones’s Intimate Reconstructions: Children in Postemancipation Virginia (University of Virginia Press) as the best book on the history of children, childhood or youth published in English in 2015. In their citation, the Committee wrote:

    “Jones’ study is an outstanding example of what happens when a researcher approaches a familiar historical narrative from a child-centered perspective. Based on meticulous, extensive and creative archival research, and successfully blending traditional social history with novel analytic categories, Intimate Reconstructions reveals not only how children in Virginia were affected by the process of Reconstruction, but also how Reconstruction itself was shaped by concerns and debates about the treatment, training, reformation and protection of children.

    Jones convincingly claims that children, both as direct participants and as cultural symbols, were central to postemancipation struggles over the meaning of freedom, victory and defeat; kinship and citizenship, and the interplay of public and private life.

    By attending to the diversity of children’s postwar experiences (in the households of formerly enslaved people and former slaveholders, as apprentices or institutionalized orphans, in the new public schools), to whatchildren had in common as a group (age) and what divided them (race, class, and gender), Jones offers a rich and subtle account ofthe social, political and emotional gains and costs of emancipation. Intimate Reconstructions is an original contribution to the histories of Reconstruction and children, but its detailed storytelling, compelling and clear arguments, and important lessons on the interdependence of private and public—of families and the political and economic contexts in which they are embedded—give it a much broader appeal as well.”

    Thank you to the members of the Grace Abbott Prize Committee for their service, Adriana Benzaquén (chair, Mount St. Vincent University), Nara Milanich (Barnard College), and Hugh Morrison (University of Otago).

    by Mona Gleason, President, Society for the History of Children and Youth

    Lydia Murdoch wins Fass-Sandin Prize (English)

    The Society for the History of Children and Youth Fass-Sandin Prize for the best article (in English) on the History of Children and Youth published in 2015

    It is with great pleasure that the committee for the Fass-Sandin Prize for the best article (in English) on the History of Children and Youth published in 2015 announces that the award goes to Lydia Murdoch for her wonderful essay “Carrying the Pox: The Use of Children and Ideals of Childhood in Early British and Imperial Campaigns Against Smallpox,” Journal of Social History, vol. 48, no. 3 (Spring 2015), pp. 511-535. The Committee wrote:

    “In a strong and varied field, Lydia Murdoch’s essay stood out for us not only because of the fascinating story she tells – of the use of children as carriers of smallpox vaccines around the globe in the early nineteenth century – but also as a result of her careful attentiveness to the multiple ways in which the category of childhood was made and remade in intersection with ideas relating to class, race, and gender. What she demonstrates is that shifting conceptualisations of childhood in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries facilitated both the increasing social acceptance, as well as the dissemination, of vaccination. New ideas about childhood innocence were, as Murdoch notes, ‘flexible’. The concept of the pure, innocent child was crucial to popularising and legitimating vaccination particularly among middle- and upper-class parents: vaccination was a sign of their love and care for their children. But, equally, in their innocence, children’s bodies were believed to offer doctors and scientists a tabula rasa on which to test anti-smallpox treatments. Perhaps unsurprisingly, children who were poor, black, and without the protection of their parents were particularly useful for officials and doctors working to make the smallpox vaccine widely available. Murdoch charts the journeys by land and sea of a group of child vectors of the vaccine, whose bodies and work allowed imperial authorities to paint the British Empire as a benevolent parent of people around the globe, but whose treatment and living conditions were certainly well below those afforded to white, middle-class children.

    By dint of their innocence – and vulnerability – children were, then, significant to the extension of scientific and medical knowledge, and also to the making and entrenchment of imperial rule. This is an article that asks us to think carefully about how unstable age categories are crucial to the workings of power.”

    Thank you to the prize committee Sarah Duff, University of Witwaterand; Daniel Grey, Plymouth University; and Leroy Rowe, University of Southern Maine for their service.

    by Mona Gleason (President, Society for the History of Children and Youth)

    JHCY CFP: Histories of Children and Childhood in Museum Settings

    The Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth seeks submissions on the portrayal of the histories of children and of childhood in museum settings.  Individual articles (8000 words), a roundtable (perhaps 20,000 words by five or six different authors), or even a proposal for a special issue would be welcome.  Extensive illustrations would be a possibility.  Queries should be directed to James Marten, editor, JHCY, at james.marten@marquett.edu.  Submission guidelines can be found at https://www.press.jhu.edu/journals/journal_of_the_history_of_childhood_and_youth/guidelines.html.

    CHC: Season 2, Ep 6: Transnational Youth

    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.

    [gn_spoiler title=”Audio of Patrick J. Ryan’s Conversation with Rick Jobs” open=”1″ style=”2″]

    Part 1 of Patrick J. Ryan’s Conversation with Rick Jobs

    Part 2

    [gn_spoiler title=”Commentary by Patrick J. Ryan” open=”1″ style=”2″]
    When Rick Jobs first learned about the upheavals in Europe during 1968 as an undergraduate student, he thought, “Wow, look at these … young people articulating their aspirations…”  Youth culture and activism provided a compelling widow on the past for him.  Later, he decided to continue with graduate studies in history while backpacking around Europe.   His parents may have hoped he’d pursue the law, but he had other dreams.  “I’ll get my Ph.D., and it will enable me to come back here.”

    He fulfilled those hopes in the years that followed, and they seem to have served as initial seed for his forthcoming book Backpack Ambassadors: How Youth Travel Integrated Europe.   The book explores how the transnational mobility of young people in the second-half of the twentieth-century fostered European integration.  It is not a history of the European Union, as such, but takes a wider view of the cultural integration of Europe after the destruction of the Second World War.  Some of the things we will learn about include transitions in youth hosteling, youth circulation between sites of protest in 1968, state-sponsored programs for youth to travel together, the Franco-German Youth Office, the development of Eurorail passes, and the rise youth back-packing.

    In our conversation, Rick highlighted that by the 1970’s one million American youth annually traveled around Europe.  “The more and more that they travel, the dense network of their circularity begins to expand outward.” As they expanded from northwest Europe into Spain, North Africa, and the Eastern Bloc, the ideas, practices, and sensibilities of youth popular culture spread.  He hopes the book will find an audience with both advanced scholarly and undergraduate readers.

    cover art for Transnational Youth by Rick JobsWe discussed the concept of transnational youth at-length.  Rick argued the we are missing something “pretty huge” in the history of childhood and youth, if we don’t confront its “profound transnationality.”  I agreed that national histories of childhood had limitations, but I also wondered about the seeming progressive narrative underpinning the work I had read in this area.  In his recent keynote address at the “Horrible Histories Conference” that launched the Children’s History Society, David Pomfret argued that “childhood functions as a space where empires can be collapsed.”  I asked Rick if the opposite wasn’t also true.  Doesn’t the history of imperialism (programs such as Canada’s Indian Residential Schools – CHC S2 Ep5 – to name only one example) demonstrate repeatedly that empires have been erected on the politics of childhood and youth?  I was thinking of a recent article written by Toby Rollo, “Feral Children: settler colonialism, progress, and the figure of the child,” in Settler Colonial Studies (June 2016).  Rick agreed that age categories are full of paradoxes, but he emphasized that the general significance of childhood and youth deserved greater recognition by scholars if we were to sort through these difficulties.  We could, he said, “think about ‘collapsed’ in another way…the totality of imperialism itself can be enfolded within… childhood [and youth].”

    Select Works by Richard Ivan Jobs:
    Backpack Ambassadors: How Youth Travel Integrated Europe (University of Chicago Press, in press, forthcoming 2017).

    Transnational Histories of Youth in the Twentieth Century, co-edited with David M. Pomfret, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).

    “Youth Movements:  Travel, Protest, and Europe in 1968,” American Historical Review Vol. 114, No. 2 (April 2009):  376-404.

    Riding the New Wave: Youth and the Rejuvenation of France After the Second World War (Stanford University, Press, 2007).

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    JHCY Best Article Prize Winner Announced

    The Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth is happy to announce the winner of the JHCY Best Article Prize for 2015: Magda Fahrni’s “Glimpsing Working-Class Childhood through the Laurier Palace Fire of 1927: The Ordinary, the Tragic, and the Historian’s Gaze.” The article appeared in the special issue on children and spaces of death, Volume 3 (Fall 2015). Pamela Riney-Kehrberg (Iowa State University) chaired the selection committee, which also included Luke Springman (Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania) and Bianco Premo (Florida International University).

    This article has also been honored by the Canadian Committee on Labour History and the History of Children and Youth Group of the Canadian Historical Association.

    Magda Fahrni is Associate Professor in the Department of History at the Université du Québec à Montréal. She is the author of Household Politics: Montreal Families and Postwar Reconstruction (University of Toronto Press, 2005); the co-author of the 3rd edition of Canadian Women: A History (Nelson, 2011); and the co-editor of Epidemic Encounters: Influenza, Society, and Culture in Canada, 1918-20 (University of British Columbia Press, 2012) and of Creating Postwar Canada: Community, Diversity, and Dissent, 1945-75 (University of British Columbia Press, 2008). She is currently working on a monograph on risk and accidents in turn-of-the-twentieth-century Quebec and on a short history of families in Canada.

    Guest Post: Children, Childhood, and the Irish Revolution

    Marnie Hay is a lecturer in History at St. Patrick’s Campus, Dublin City University, and Sarah-Anne Buckley is a lecturer in History at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

    Forty children under the age of seventeen were killed during the 1916 Easter Rising, a week-long rebellion against British rule in Ireland. Most were innocent bystanders, children in the wrong place at the wrong time. Three of the boys who died participated in the insurrection, two as combatants and one as a dispatch carrier for the rebels. The story of these forty young lives lost, as told by RTÉ broadcaster and author Joe Duffy in his book Children of the Rising (Dublin: Hachette Books Ireland, 2015), has hit the bestseller list and seized the public imagination in Ireland as we mark the centenary of this seminal event in the development of the modern Irish republic. This is one of the positive aspects of the current commemoration of the rising—the way in which it is helping to broaden perspectives on the rebellion. Commemorative publications, events, television programs, and even banners have engaged with the experiences of combatants and civilians of all ages, genders, social classes, and political persuasions.

    The impact on children and youth of not only the rising, but the wider events of the Irish Revolution, which took place circa 1913-23, is one of the themes being explored as part of this year’s activities to commemorate the rebellion. The guest editors of the Spring 2016 issue of the Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth (JHCY) are playing a role in this. For instance, Marnie Hay co-organized a multidisciplinary symposium on “Children and the Irish Revolution” held at the St. Patrick’s Campus of Dublin City University on February 27, 2016. This symposium featured sessions examining the experiences of children and adolescents during the revolutionary years, the depiction of the Easter Rising in recent children’s literature, and the challenges of teaching children on both sides of the Irish border about the events of the Irish Revolution. Furthermore, Sarah-Anne Buckley is organizing an upcoming conference entitled “Children and Childhood in the Revolutionary Period,” which will be held at the National University of Ireland, Galway on September 16-17, 2016. The conference will feature Joe Duffy, Eunan O’Halpin, Caoimhe Nic Dháibhéid, Marnie Hay, Tony Fahey, Ciara Breathnach, Caroline McGregor, and many other expert scholars. Events will be held on and off campus, integrating Culture Night in Galway with an event in Galway museum entitled “Childhood and Galway. “ More information on the Galway conference is available from http://www.nuigalway.ie/anationrising/ourprogrammeofevents/ and will be updated over the coming weeks.

    The publication of this Irish special issue of the JHCY, the popularity of Duffy’s book, and the organization of these two academic events (not to mention various public lectures exploring the youth dimension of the rising) all attest to the increasing growth of public and academic interest in the history of Irish children and childhood.

    CHC: Season 2, Episode 5: Historical Truth and Childhood Trauma

    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.

    [gn_spoiler title=”Audio of Patrick J. Ryan’s Conversation with Ronald Niezen” open=”1″ style=”2″]

    Part 1 of Patrick J. Ryan’s Conversation with Ronald Niezen

    Part 2

    Part 3

    [gn_spoiler title=”Commentary by Patrick J. Ryan” open=”1″ style=”2″]

    Ronald Niezen was trained as an Africanist and his first research took place in Northern Mali. As a young scholar, he found work in health and human services with the James Bay Cree, and this set his career in a new direction. He later lived and worked in Northern Manitoba where he began hearing stories about Canadian residential schools.

    The Canadian aboriginal residential school project imitated the American model and built upon the ideas in Canada’s 1857 “Gradual Civilization Act.” At their height in the interwar period, the Roman Catholic and the Anglican Churches operated about 130 schools with funds and according to regulations provided by the Federal government of Canada. An estimated 140,000 students attended these schools. The last one was closed in the mid-1990s.

    Resistance to the schools was inspired by global anti-colonial and civil rights movements. Radio and later television coverage on the CBC developed lines of critique over several decades. In the 1960s and early 1970s, the most visible objection was that the schools alienated young people, produced language loss and cultural disintegration. By the late 1980s and early 1990s, the accusations had shifted to corporal punishment, emotional trauma, family separation, sexual abuse which caused a cycle of hardship for the families of former students.

    The shift toward visible violence, separation, and trauma made the complaints of former students and First Nation’s communities ‘legible’ at law. This resulted in a series of legal victories (and ultimately an enormous class-action suit) against the government of Canada in the new century. By 2007, a general settlement was reached that would pay former students approximately five billion CAD. The agreement also produced the world’s first Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) dedicated to state crimes against children.
    Truth and Indignation Selected.indd
    Truth and Indignation is an institutional ethnography, inspired by two disjunctions that Ron encountered in the developing narrative on the schools. In the 1950’s, the schools had been publicly promoted as an altruistic effort to improve literacy, discipline, piety, and security for native peoples. Within three decades the prevailing opinion had completely reversed; residential schools became viewed as sites of language loss, trauma, moral corruption, and violence. As one of the few writers who has conducted interviews of former operators of the schools (Oblate Brothers), Ron became aware of another divergence – and one that remains largely invisible or untouchable. These men recall schools as places of learning and pastoral care. Their memories could not have been more at odds with the cases brought forward by thousands of former students themselves.

    Taking these divergences seriously, Truth and Indignation explores how historical memory is formed. It unpacks structures and operations that were unique to Canada’s TRC. Along the way readers gain insights into the Commission’s template for truth and the significance of key exclusions in the scope of its investigations. The government of Canada called it a TRC, but there was no context transitional justice (no transformation of government in play). Canada made sure the Commission had no judicial powers or processes, and that it carried on without Crown representatives. We might borrow a phrase from David Silverman’s Discourses of Counselling and call Canada’s TRC an “institutionalized incitement to speak.” If so, it was an invitation that excluded major categories of actors. The process excluded (for quite formalistic reasons) those who had been part of about 1,400 similar care-giving and educational institutions. The TRC’s proceedings included no perpetrators, no naming of them. More importantly, they lacked participation from former administrators, teachers, and staff. Reading Truth and Indignation, one has to ask; in what sense was this a process of reconciliation at all?

    A book that effectively shows how Canada’s TRC created exclusions, templates, and practices for a specific kind of truth risks being read as an apology for the residential schools. Some may equate a phrase like the ‘production of truth’ with the ‘production of lies,’ precisely because the common term (production) weakens a more comfortable distinction between falsehood and truth. Others may be so motivated by child-saving, so offended by grotesque mistreatment of children at these schools, that they will wish to suspend critical inquiry into memory, trauma, or the making of history. It is an understandable response. The irony will not occur to them that child-saving discourse stood at the foundation of the schools themselves, reappears in the emotions that motivate our reluctance to examine the TRC critically.

    It seems to me that we are the beneficiaries of Ron Niezen’s willingness to take risks and examine the TRC in a careful way. I encourage you to read the book.

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    CHC: Season 2, Ep 4: Roundtable Discussion with Marah Gubar and Shauna Vey

    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.

    [gn_spoiler title=”Audio of Martin Woodside’s Roundtable with Marah Gubar and Shauna Vey” open=”1″ style=”2″]


    [gn_spoiler title=”Commentary by Martin Woodside” open=”1″ style=”2″]
    In recent years, increasing attention has been paid to child actors on the 19th century stage. I entered this conversation through my work on Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, in which child performers and notions of childhood played a prominent and under-appreciated role. In my research, I came across the work of Shauna Vey and Marah Gubar, two scholars who have done much to shed light on the dynamic relationship between changing ideas of childhood and early forms of 19th century popular culture. Marah and Shauna come from different disciplinary backgrounds— the former a children’s literature scholar and the latter a theatre historian—but their work addresses similar themes, adding layers of nuance to our understanding of children’s culture and child labor and complicating conventional narratives about the influence of childhood innocence in 19th century America. In this discussion, I invited both Marah and Shauna to comment on these issues, describe our current understanding of 19th century performers, and imagine how we can productively build on existing work in this field.

    In reading Marah’s work on 19th century children’s theatre, including the Viennoise Children, a juvenile ballet company, and Shauna’s in-depth case study of child actors in the Marsh Troupe, I became interested in how the lives of these children enrich and complicate our understanding of childhood innocence during the second half of the 19th century. Early in our talk, Shauna noted that her work was more about competence than innocence, a comment that helped to frame the conversation that followed. Both Marah and Shauna suggested their work demonstrates the agency of child actors in ways previous scholarship has failed to properly account for, and they both make a forceful argument that 19th century child actors were often valued for their craft and respected as professionals rather than categorically appraised as victims or exploited workers.

    Still, as we talked, it became clear that the murky relationship between innocence and competency gestures to unresolved questions about these performers and 19th century ideas of childhood. During the interview, Shauna argues that actors “are always playing two faces at the same time,” so that the children in the Marsh Troupe were considered workers, much like their adult peers, even as their appeal was bound up in a growing cultural fascination with helpless, innocent childhood. In a follow-up email, a few days after our talk, Marah suggested this was an important paradox, one that 19th century audiences were fully aware of; they celebrated the child actor’s innocence while deriving pleasure and profit from that same child’s labor. It seems clear to me that these child actors were paradoxical figures, and I wonder how much we can learn from that. How aware were children of this paradox? How did these contradictions inform their own sense of agency and influence their understanding of themselves as children, as performers, and as workers? These questions remain difficult to answer.

    Our broader consideration of audience opened up the discussion to the changing place of the theatre in 19th century culture and what those changes suggest about contemporaneous ideas of age, class, and gender. Shauna brought up Highbrow/Lowbrow, Lawrence Levine’s classic study of how American theater was gradually reorganized and reimagined in the 19th century, with theatre audience becoming more isolated and stratified. Reflecting on our work, we discussed what a messy process this was and how children’s relationships with the theater during the 19th century—both as performers and audience members—remains under-explored. Marah talked about the Grand Duke’s Opera House, a functioning professional theater put together run by newsboys in New York’s Five Points neighbourhood during the 1870s, and Shauna brought up the popularity of home theatricals among middle class girls in the Victorian Era. Examples like these ask us to reconsider children’s relationship to the theatre, blurring the line between work and play and troubling the notion of childhood innocence as a monolithic force in the late 19th century. Both Marah and Shauna have made significant efforts to address these complex issues, and it’s clear to me from our conversation that 19th century child performers have a lot more to teach us.

    Selected Bibliography
    Frey, Heather Fitzsimmons, “Defying Victorian Girlhoods through ‘Oriental Fantasies.’ Tensions and Possibilities for Girls in Nineteenth Century Drawing Room Theatre.” For the Performance Research For/By/With Young People conference at Brock University. Uploaded April 6th 2014. https://performanceresearchandyouth.wordpress.com/group-one-3/heather-fitzsimmons-frey/

    Gubar, Marah “Entertaining Children of All Ages: Nineteenth-Century Popular Theater as Children’s Theater,” American Quarterly, vol. 66, no. 1 (2014): 1-34.

    Levine, Lawrence. Highbrow/Lowbrow: the Emergence of Cultural Hierarchy in America. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988).

    Varty, Anne, “Children and Theatre in Victorian Britain: All Work, No Play.” (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008).

    Vey, Shauna, Childhood and Nineteenth-Century American Theatre: The Work of the Marsh Troupe of Juvenile Actors (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2015).

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    CFP: (Re) Examining Historical Childhoods: Literary, Cultural, Social

    (Re) Examining Historical Childhoods: Literary, Cultural, Social
    An Australasian Society for the History of Children and Youth Symposium
    December 12-13, 2016
    Melbourne, Australia
    Deakin University

    In this inaugural Australasian Society for the History of Children and Youth symposium, we are keenly interested in bringing together scholars of the history of children and childhood to consider new perspectives, new methodologies, and new cross- disciplinary frameworks that will enrich the field. We invite proposals for panels, papers, or roundtables that explore histories of children and youth from any place and in any era.

    Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
    • Representations of the histories children and childhood in the media, film, literature, music and popular culture
    • The ‘difficult’ histories of children and youth
    • Histories that consider children’s agency and voice
    • Children and their relation to space, place, and the built environment
    • Education and the histories of children and youth
    • Material culture and the commemoration of children’s heritage
    • Histories of ‘girlhood’ and ‘boyhood’
    • Cross-cultural and Indigenous experiences of childhood across time
    • Histories of childhood and public policy

    Paper and panel proposals are due no later than 15 May 2016. They should include the following information in a single document and should be sent to the conference convener Kristine Moruzi (kmoruzi@deakin.edu.au). Notifications of acceptance will be made by 15 June.

    1. Name of presenter, institutional affiliation, address and email.
    2. Title of individual paper
    3. 250-word abstract of paper
    4. Brief bio (max 50 words) for presenter
    5. Audio-visual requirements

    Other members of the programme committee are:
    Kate Darian-Smith, University of Melbourne
    Margot Hillel, Australian Catholic University
    Nell Musgrove, Australian Catholic University
    Carla Pascoe, University of Melbourne

    Guest Post: Leslie Ginsparg Klein on Dress Codes and Uniforms as a Socialization Tool

    Leslie Ginsparg Klein is the academic dean of Women’s Institute of Torah Seminary – Maalot Baltimore.

    My daughter, an elementary school student, started wearing a uniform this year. As a parent, I’m thrilled. Uniforms mean less laundry, less time spent picking out clothes, and less fighting over why tutus are not an appropriate clothing choice in the dead of winter. My daughter is happy to wear a uniform as well. For her it marks the transition from being a little girl to a big girl. She loves her uniform, for now. I can’t help but wonder if she’ll grow to resent it. I remember myself, as a high school student, hating my uniform. I found the scratchy sweaters and polyester pleated skirts chafing, both literally and figuratively. Those sentiments seemed to have only increased over time. The news is full of reports of students protesting and even suing their schools over dress codes.

    In my just-published JHCY article, “No Candy Store, No Pizza Shops, No Maxi-Skirts, No Makeup’: Socializing Orthodox Jewish Girls Through Schooling,” I discuss the way that uniforms and dress codes have been used to socialize Orthodox Jewish girls into appropriate gender roles. The dress codes conform to a combination of the traditional Jewish laws of modesty and social conception of what constitutes appropriate dress. Orthodox girls’ schools require girls to wear skirts and dresses (no pants) that cover the knees, sleeves that cover the elbows, and necklines that don’t dip below the collarbone. Students are expected to adhere to these standards both inside and outside of school. School leaders use uniforms and dress codes to enforce the dress and behaviors that are expected in their community.

    However, school leaders have acknowledged that uniforms and dress codes can have an educational downside. An administrator at an Orthodox girls’ high school admitted to me that while rules succeeded in creating an environment where all students adhered to the religious community’s standards of modesty, school leaders forfeited an opportunity to engage with students on the issue and educate them on the reasons for and ideology behind dressing modestly.

    Orthodox girls’ schools are not unique in using dress codes and uniforms to socialize students. These rules are a way for any public or private school leader to inform students of appropriate dress and behavior, and to exhibit social and cultural control. For example, when school leaders forbid students from wearing gang colors, they are declaring violent behavior socially inappropriate. In this case, dress codes are designed to preclude students from importing street rivalries into the school building, thereby allowing teachers and administrators to retain control of the school environment. Similarly, other clothing is restricted because school leaders perceive it as too informal for the school environment, or too sexually provocative.

    Whether in Jewish or secular schools, dress code rules tend to have a strong gendered component. Within the Orthodox Jewish world, dress code policies are tightly intertwined with the laws of modesty, which are generally directed toward women. Similarly, dress codes issued by public and private schools, although seemingly directed towards both boys and girls, generally only focus on girls’ dress. For example, a California junior high school in 1982 restricted students from wearing tube tops, bikini tops and short skirts. Dress codes in the 1990s, although again presented as gender neutral, began targeting boys’ dress as well. School designed these regulations to prevent the gang-related clothing typically worn by males. This gendered element is oftentimes the source of student protest. More recently, students have protested that these gender specific rules are discriminatory against transgendered students and are inconsiderate of more fluid conceptions of gender.

    These protests don’t typically take place in Orthodox girls’ schools. The parent body is a self-selecting population which generally supports the schools in socializing students into community norms. Though students have complained about increasingly strict dress codes, they generally choose to remain within the boundaries of the community. But as the Orthodox community becomes increasingly influenced by general American society, protests against dress codes and the accompanying gender socialization may become more common.

    Johns Hopkins University Press Features Latest Issue of JHCY

    Johns Hopkins University Press has featured the latest issue of JHCY on their blog.

    From the piece:

    Late last year, the Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth published a special issue which took a look at the thorny subject of child death. Kathleen Jones organized a discussion of young people and death at the 2013 conference for the Society for the History of Children and Youth, the sponsoring organization for the journal. This event drove the creation of the special issue. Jones, Associate Professor of History and Director of Graduate Studies at Virginia Tech, served as guest editor for the issue with Vassar College Associate Professor of History and Director of Victorian Studies Lydia Murdoch and Tamara Myers, Associate Professor of History at the University of British Columbia. The trio provided collective answers for a Q&A session.

    Read the full interview.

    Guest Post: Children, Poverty and Film in Mid-Century Mexico

    Eileen Ford is associate professor of history at California State University-Los Angeles and author of “Childhood and Modernity in Mexico City: Print Media and State Power during the ‘Mexican Miracle’” in the next issue of the Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth.

    Luis Buñuel’s classic film Los olivdados (1950) has mesmerized me for quite some time; countless viewings of the film and its use in my history courses over the years have continued this fascination.  Buñuel’s gritty portrayal of poverty in mid-twentieth century Mexico City and the corrupting influence of urban environment won him a prize at Cannes Film Festival in 1951 and unleashed countless commentaries in Mexico and abroad.  The fascination with his work continues; at least two book-length examinations of the film in the last decade or so contain reproductions of his original script with Buñuel’s notes and his photographs used to research the city in preparation for the production.[1]

    The fact that Buñuel, a Spaniard by birth but resident and eventual citizen of Mexico, produced such a scathing portrayal of Mexico’s youth led some to call for his expulsion from the country.  After conducting extensive research in Mexican periodicals from the era, the discovery of photographs and discourses of childhood in peril that paralleled Buñuel’s film merited further scrutiny.  Newspaper articles depicted images of mangy dogs superimposed over street children; the exact same image appears in the film near the tragic end.  In fact, Buñuel reportedly developed his idea for the film after reading an article about the brutal discovery of a child’s body found in a garbage dump.  He later toured various parts of the city taking photos and notes about the conditions he encountered and consulted files of the Juvenile Court and the psychiatric department affiliated with it.[2]

    While Buñuel’s depiction of juvenile delinquency and poverty certainly rang true for the most disadvantaged portion of the capital’s child population, it represented only part of the story told in print media in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s.  In this article, I demonstrate how both the depiction of children in peril and an idealized childhood experienced by more privileged children opened a public dialogue about how all children deserved to experience a protected childhood.  “Childhood and Modernity in Mexico City: Print Media and State Power during the ‘Mexican Miracle’” examines how photographers and journalists used languages of childhood to critique the ruling party in Mexico and the failure of the 1910 Revolution to bring about socioeconomic equality.

    While Los olvidados is but one artifact from the era, it nevertheless provides the viewer with a haunting depiction of childhood in peril.  The film challenges practitioners and students of history to examine more closely the historical forces that caused social inequality in the past and its persistence in today’s world.

    [1] Carmen Peña Ardid and Víctor Lahuerta Guillén, Buñuel 1950: Los olviadados guión y documentos (Spain: Instituto de Estudios Turolenses, 2007); Agustín Sanchez Vidal, Gabriel Figueroa Flores, Rafael Aviña, and Carlos Monsiváis, Los olvidados: una película de Luis Buñuel (Mexico: Fundación Televisa, 2004).
    [2] Sanchez Vidal et al., Los olvidados, 35.

    CHC: Season 2, Ep 3: Colonialism, Education, and Emotions

    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.

    [gn_spoiler title=”Audio of Ning de Coninck-Smith’s Conversation with Karen Vallgårda” open=”1″ style=”2″]


    [gn_spoiler title=”Commentary by Ning de Coninck-Smith” open=”1″ style=”2″]

    Within the history of childhood, emotions have always been present, but not necessarily explored. A key figure in the relative new field of emotional history is professor Peter Stearns, familiar to many historians of childhood and to readers of his journal: Social History – and books like Anxious Parents. A History of Modern Childrearing in America (2004). His articles and books on the history of jealousy, fear and sibling rivalry etc. were eye-opening for me. They pointed my attention to the richness of “educative manuals”, magazines and letters from the readers, but also to aspects of the lives of children, family and parents, which are more embodied than discursive – difficult to make visible, but not less important.

    Karen Vallgårda’s recently published book Imperial Childhoods and Christian Missions took me one step further in demonstrating how emotions could be explored, visualized, and understood. Missionary texts are emotionally rich. They were acts of emotional labour – a means for making and a record of the powerful connections between missionaries, indigenous children, and their parents. They reveal how missionaries managed and used feelings when educating the local children, their own children – and those more distant: children and adults back home in Denmark.

    cover art
    At first my interest in Vallgårda’s study was captivated by the concept of emotional labour and how it was unfolded and used. Secondly I was attracted – and challenged by Vallgårda’s conclusion that the sentimental and scientific elements of the concept of the innocent child was not only a product of the rise of the middle classes in the West, but born out of transnational encounters. These encounters altered European childhoods when missionaries wrote and globally circulated magazines, pamphlets, exhibitions, Sunday school classes, missionary slide shows, etc. The innocent child replaced an older understanding of children as dangerous and born in sin despite the fact that Christian missionary work itself had long rested on this older link between childhood and the Fall. From the 1890s onwards the tone/discourse, as well as the educative practices, changed completely as the children were increasingly perceived as sweet, innocent and emotionally gratifying.

    This new concept of the child was circulated partially through talks held during visits to the many “missionary houses” across the Danish cities and countryside. At the turn of the 20th Century these small and large mission branches could be counted by the hundreds, and by the end of WWI there were about 1400. Young and old came together to pray – but also to listen to talk about various subjects, inclusive reports from “foreign countries and cultures”. Here missionaries held a privileged position as informants. Vallgårda does not hide the fact that the impact of these meetings is open for debate, but her emphasis upon them is persuasive given the role that “third world children” play in advertising and fund raising campaigns today. This revives an eternal question of what makes the concept of childhood change and even more fundamentally what naturalizes it, so that a certain view of children and their life seems self-evident to many people.

    The scale of the Danish missionary work was smaller than it was in England, Germany or Holland. But even so, the Danish mission and the sources left behind are very useful to illustrate and document the missionaries’ relationship to the Indian children – and their relationship to their own children and to the children back in Denmark. These stories connect in unexpected ways, as when Vallgårda shows how new Western medical ideas about good motherhood and childbirth became part of the missionaries’ educative strategies towards the parents. Or how the new view of the child as innocent turned into an incentive to save it from the parents’ racial and cultural inferiority.

    The missionaries were often parted from their own children. Sometimes their children were left in Denmark to be educated by family and friends. Other children of missionaries struggled to adapt to the new climate or suffered from various diseases; some died during the mission and some returned home before their missionary parents. In these situations, the emotional work of the missionary turned towards themselves and their own children. How might these reflections have been similar to or different from what Indian parents thought and felt when they were separated from their own children by missionary work?

    During our talk, I asked Karen to draw an outline of her book and its main arguments. I furthermore asked her about her research questions and her methodologies – and her sources. In my reading, I was especially struck by the high level of reflectivity and the constant dialogue with other scholars of mission history. This dialogue widens the significance of the book beyond the Danish Missionary Society and its Indian outpost dating back to 1864 to include European missionary work, transnational cultural exchange, and the history of emotions. I was curious to know, how she had managed this dialogue and what its contributions could be.
    Karen Vallgårda belongs to a new generation of emotional historians, related to the two international centers for emotional history: the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin and at Melbourne University. From these circles also comes the volume Emotions and Christian Missions. Historical Perspectives, edited by Claire McLisky, Daniel Midena and Karen Vallgårda in 2015 as part of Palgrave Studies in the History of Emotions. This collection covers emotional practices, micro-historical perspectives, and rhetorical strategies of a variety of religious movements and nationalities (English, Danish, German, Spanish and Swedish).

    In their introduction McLisky and Vallgårda point to the importance of the socio-cultural context for the understanding of particular emotions and emotional cultures – and they also draw attention to the fact that even though missionary sources are rich in emotions, some voices and emotions are silent. Most of the sources have been written by missionary men, even though their wives from early on took part in the work of conversion. We find few words from prospective converts among children and parents. To be sure most of them were illiterate, but the missionaries seem to have no interest in their perspectives on missionary work. This will not come as a surprise to a historian of childhood, but it is a reminder of the work which needs to be done to completely understand the concept of emotional labor from more than the side of the missionaries themselves. The editors also stress the conflictual nature of these emotional communities and the distance between formal ideas and everyday practices. We have compelling evidence that frustration and anger were as common as the feeling of joy and happiness when conversion happened. Some missionary stations were burnt down, some children ran away from the boarding schools, some parents fiercely resisted the removal of their children, and some Indian mothers protested against the child-birth practices advanced by missionary women.

    Transnational and emotional history are two major themes within the current field of scientific history, judging from the program at the World History Conference in Jinan in August 2015. In Karen Vallgårda’s analysis of the Danish missionaries and their relations to Indian children and their parents the two are combined and connected in a fruitful and thought-provoking way. Her work is appealing and easily read. It raises methodological as well as existential questions which invite careful consideration. At a moment when the history of childhood has been institutionalized with conferences, centers, dictionaries, online bibliographies and journals, it is time to start thinking anew about our concepts, understandings and complexities. In my mind, Karen Vallgårda’s work will help us do this.

    [wp_biographia user=”nconnincksmith”]
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    2016 Outreach Grant Winners Announced

    The successful applicants for the 2016 Outreach Grants are:

    $500.00 Grant
    Conference, submitted by Dr. Gulay Yilmaz, Akdeniz University
    Title: “History of Childhood in the Ottoman Empire,”
    6-7 May 2016 at Akdeniz University, Antalya, Turkey

    $1,500 Grant
    Symposium, submitted by Dr. Kristine Moruzi, Deakin University
    Title: “Literary, Cultural, Social: (Re) Examining Historical Childhoods – An Australasian Society for the History of Children and Youth Symposium,”
    7-8 November 2016 at Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia

    Congratulations to the applicants and best of luck with your events!
    SHCY Outreach Committee:
    Luke Springman (chair), Adriana Benzaquen, David Pomfret, Shurlee Swain

    Call for Nominations: Fass-Sandin Prize for Best Article (English)

    The Society for the History of Children and Youth (SHCY) is pleased to call for nominations for the best article in English on the history of children, childhood, or youth (broadly construed) published in 2015 in a print or online journal. The prize consists of a plaque and a check for $250. The winner will be announced no later than mid-August.
    Nominations are invited from publishers, editors, scholars, and authors. Current members of the SHCY award committee are ineligible.

    CORRECTION (2/8/16): Please note that current officers of the Society, including Executive Committee, ARE ELIGIBLE for nominations.

    Send a PDF or photocopy of the article to Sarah Emily Duff at sarah.duff@wits.ac.za. Please use the following format for the subject line of your email: ‘Fass-Sandin Prize Surname First Name’ (eg. Fass-Sandin Prize Aries Philippe). The deadline for nominations is April 17, 2016.

    The committee is comprised of:

    Sarah Emily Duff (chair), University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

    Daniel Grey, Plymouth University

    Leroy Rowe, University of Southern Maine

    Call for Nominations: 2016 Fass-Sandin Prize for Best Article in German or Italian

    The Society for the History of Children and Youth (SHCY) is pleased to call for nominations for the best article in German or Italian on the history of children, childhood, or youth (broadly construed) published in a 2013, 2014, or 2015 issue of a print or online journal. The SHCY will grant one award. The prize consists of a plaque and a check for $250. The winner will be announced in early September 2016 on the website of the SHCY. She/he will be informed of the award prior to the announcement. Nominations are invited from publishers, editors, scholars, and authors. Eligibility for the awards is based solely on the language in which the article is published, not on the residence or nationality of the author. Current members of the SHCY award committee are ineligible.

    CORRECTION (2/8/16): Please note that current officers of the Society, including Executive Committee, ARE ELIGIBLE for nominations.

    The deadline for nominations is April 15, 2016.

    Please send a PDF or photocopy of the article to both chairs of the prize committee, Patrizia Guarnieri at patrizia.guarnieri@unifi.it and Dirk Schumann at dschuma@uni-goettingen.de. The third member of the committee is Patrizia Dogliani (Bologna).

    Committee Members:

    Patrizia Guarnieri (chair)
    Department Sagas, of History, Archeology, Geography and Fine Arts
    University of Florence -Italy

    Dirk Schumann (chair)
    Seminar für Mittlere und Neuere Geschichte
    Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
    Kulturwissenschaftliches Zentrum
    Georg-August-Universität Göttingen- Germany

    Patrizia Dogliani (member)
    Department of History, Culture and Civilization
    University of Bologna-Italy

    CHC: Season 2, Ep. 2: The History of Sexuality

    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.

    [gn_spoiler title=”Audio of Patrick J. Ryan’s Conversation with Kim Phillips and John Spurlock” open=”1″ style=”2″]
    Part 1 (runtime: 23:34)

    Part 2 (runtime: 23:55)


    [gn_spoiler title=”Commentary by Patrick J. Ryan” open=”1″ style=”2″]

    John Spurlock and Kim Phillips belong to different communities of scholarship and live on opposite sides of the world. Their paths might never have crossed.

    Yet, the briefest sketch of their scholarly efforts reveals important similarities and shared questions. John’s doctoral thesis centered on the mid-19-century “free love movement” and later he joined with Cynthia Magistro to produce a study of 20th-century American woman’s self-writing – New and Improved: the Transformation of American Women’s Emotional Culture (NYU Press, 1998). This past year he published Youth and Sexuality in the Twentieth-Century United States (Routledge, 2015). Kim’s doctoral thesis was published as Medieval Maidens: Young women and gender in England, 1270-1540 (MUP, 2003). She collaborated with Barry Reay to produce Sex before Sexuality: A Premodern History (Polity Press, 2011), and has since written or edited a number of books on the ways women, Asians, and others were positioned in medieval writing.

    book cover art

    John and Kim study worlds separated by our discipline’s well-policed boundary between modernity and the middle ages, but they share an interest in marriage, sex, youth, and women’s life course. Moreover, when asked about their own intellectual journeys, they respond with familiar words. John wanted to test “the larger narratives of continuity and change,” fashioned through important academic works (Smith-Rosenberg’s “The Female World of Love and Ritual” 1975) and to challenge popular beliefs (e.g. the idea that the sexual revolution began in the 1960s). Likewise, Kim emphasized the larger significance of a history of difference, diversity, and change. When historians examine how cultures form “rules around sexuality (and gender),” and show that these rules are historically contingent, people gain the remit to rethink dominant categories or assumptions. John concurred: covering historical trivia should be secondary to helping students learn to “think historically and (develop) the tools to really follow through…”

    I called upon John and Kim precisely because I wanted to talk about foundational ideas within the discipline as they are confronted by those writing the history of youth and sexuality in significantly different periods of time. We began by discussing the reasons for and challenges of pursuing histories of states of being that are widely considered essential features of the human subject – like sexuality. Kim emphasized the importance of trying to read evidence on its own terms. For example, she finds little reason to invoke the concept of “sexual identity” when we read medieval documents. John added that historians would benefit from the way Sex Before Sexuality clearly and convincingly showed that contemporary distinctions, such as the one between heterosexuality and homosexuality, can not be sensibly used to interpret writing prior to modernity. In fact, his research suggests that a careless use of this dualism would cause us to misread middle-class 19th-century Americans. As Phillips and Reay put it, “… one of the great problems with the history of heterosexuality is that we all think we know what it is.” But, what if the very “ordering of desires” is in-and-of-itself historical? (pg. 42)

    book cover art

    We shared thoughts on the discontinuities in the history of sexuality at length, and delved into differences between modern and medieval source materials. I asked them how they confronted the popular narrative of sexual liberation. Kim responded by concisely explaining why the middle ages can not be adequately cast as an age of repression. She reminds us that cultures and people in the deep past were complicated too. John associated sexual liberation with a “Whig” history of linear progress. His Youth and Sexuality challenges this way of understanding change and the standard assumption that the 1960s was a point of origin or a turning-point for youth sexual liberation. For him, the entire idea that sexual experience and activity is a precondition for being an “integrated” person has become an ontological trap.

    It is no coincidence that scholars interested in thinking about change over time, and questioning universal claims about who we have been, are, and might be, would be drawn to historicize things typically considered most essential – sex, love, and the life-course. It seems to me that this propensity applies a number of historical fields that have flowered over the past several decades – including the history of childhood. I hope you enjoy this conversation with John Spurlock and Kim Phillips as much as I did. Take care.

    Select Publications by Kim Phillips:
    Kim M. Phillips, “Gender and Sexuality” in Routledge History of Medieval Christianity, c.1050-c.1530 edited by R. N. Swanson (London and New York: Routledge, 2015): 309-321. URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/26340

    Kim M. Phillips, Before Orientalism: Asian Peoples and Cultures in European Travel Writing, 1245-1510. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014.

    Kim M. Phillips, ed. A Cultural History of Women in the Middle Ages. London: Bloomsbury, 2013.

    Kim M. Phillips and Barry Reay, Sex Before Sexuality: A Premodern History. Cambridge: Polity, 2011. URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/13493

    Kim M. Phillips, Medieval Maidens: Young Women and Gender in England, 1270-1540. Manchester ; New York: Manchester University Press, 2003.

    Select Publications by John Spurlock:

    John C. Spurlock, Youth and Sexuality in the Twentieth Century United States. New York: Routledge, 2015.

    John C. Spurlock, “AIDS.” Encyclopedia of Military Science. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2012.

    John C. Spurlock, “Peyton Place and the boundaries of sexual desire in 1950s U.S.A.” in On the Borders of Convention edited by Aleksandra Nikcevic and Marija Knezevic (Niksic: Faculty of Philosophy, 2010): 183-190.

    John C. Spurlock and Cynthia A. Magistro, New and Improved: The Transformation of American Women’s Emotional Culture. New York: New York University Press, 1998.

    John C. Spurlock, Free Love: Marriage and Middle-Class Radicalism in America, 1825-1860. New York: New York University Press, 1988.

    [wp_biographia user=”kphillips”]
    [wp_biographia user=”jspurlock”]

    Call for Nominations: 2016 Grace Abbott Book Prize

    The Society for the History of Children and Youth (SHCY) is pleased to call for nominations for the best book published in English on the history of children, childhood, or youth (broadly construed) published in 2015.

    The award of a plaque and a check for $500 will be made by mid-summer 2016.

    Nominations are invited from publishers, editors, scholars, and authors. Current members of the SHCY award committee are ineligible. Nominations must be postmarked by April 15, 2016.

    Send a copy of the book, physical or electronic (PDF only), for consideration to each of the book award committee members at the following addresses:

    CORRECTION (2/8/16): Please note that current officers of the Society, including Executive Committee, ARE ELIGIBLE for nominations.

    Adriana Benzaquén (Chair)
    Department of History
    Mount Saint Vincent University
    166 Bedford Highway
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3M 2J6

    Nara Milanich
    Department of History
    Barnard College/Columbia University
    3009 Broadway
    New York, NY 10027

    Hugh Morrison
    College of Education
    University of Otago
    PO Box 56
    Dunedin 9054
    New Zealand

    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 http://shcyhome.org/membership/ 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 (lspringm@bloomu.edu). 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.

    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 cepr@sbg.ac.at 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: www.uni-salzburg.at/childpoverty2016
    ASAP Homepage: http://academicsstand.org/
    CEPR Homepage: www.uni-salzburg.at/cepr

    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.” (http://blacklivesmatter.com/about/). 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.

    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: http://www.liu.se/jobba/lediga-jobb?l=en&&rmpage=job&rmjob=2374&rmlang=UK.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    [gn_spoiler title=”Audio of Martin Woodside’s Conversation with Robin Bernstein” open=”1″ style=”2″]

    audio-file-16Martin Woodside’s Conversation with Robin Bernstein


    [gn_spoiler title=”Commentary by Martin Woodside” open=”1″ style=”2″]

    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.

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    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 http://www.pacific.edu/About-Pacific/Newsroom/2014/May-August-2014/Pacific-mourns-loss-of-beloved-professor-Caroline-Cox.html.

    CHC Episode 16: Childhood and Politics

    CHILDHOOD: History and Critique (CHC) is a series of interviews, commentary, and happenings in historical studies of childhood presented by Dr. Patrick J. Ryan, Kings University College at Western University, Canada.

    The eighth biennial conference of the Society for the History of Children and Youth, held at the University of British Columbia, included approximately 240 delegates and over 60 panels. SHCY’s conferences have always been well-organized, sporting a diverse range of research papers, but I was especially impressed by the quality and volume of graduate student work (around 45 papers).

    UBC Colleagues and SHCY conference conveners Mona Gleason, Tamara Myers, and Leslie Paris
    UBC Colleagues and SHCY conference conveners Mona Gleason, Tamara Myers, and Leslie Paris

    SHCY 2015 marked the conclusion of James Marten’s Presidency (2013-2015), and the inauguration of Mona Gleason’s term (2015-2017). At the business meeting, members raised two perennial questions for the organization: (a) How can we continue to advance graduate student participation in the field of childhood history? (b) How might we encourage paper and article submissions on periods before the 19th-century, and outside North America?

    The Society has relied upon at least three mechanisms to address these persistent issues:

    (1) Representation in decision-making: The Society’s executive board and the Journal’s editorial board are occupied by a diverse, international set of scholars. Our conference, prize, outreach, website, and other committees are purposefully diverse. At SHCY 2015 we voted to add a second graduate student representative to the Society’s executive.

    (2) Raising and redistributing funds: Our ability to offer conference stipends to students (given their numbers) probably falls short of the existing needs. In addition to our primary dependence on membership dues, some members have made significant donations. It seems to me doing more would require an effort to raise funds outside of our own ranks.

    (3) Supporting events internationally and recognizing non-English works: SHCY has held conferences in the U.S. (on both coasts and the Midwest), Canada, England, and Sweden. We have also sponsored conferences and other events in North America and Europe. The Society’s Fass-Sandin prizes celebrate excellence in non-English research within childhood history.

    It seems to me there are limits to what any organization can do to attract temporally and regionally diverse research to its venues. As with previous years, volumes 7-8 of the Journal (2013-15), emphasized the post-WWII period – 19 of 37 articles. A fifth of the articles dealt with periods prior to the 20th-century, but none were from medieval or ancient times. Half of the articles focused on North America and about 16% on Western Europe. This said, the residential range of contributors has grown; the proportion of authors residing outside Canada and the U.S. tripled from 14% to 46% from 2011 to 2015. Of course, the contents of peer-reviewed journal’s cannot (should not) be manipulated simply to fit organizational goals. As Jim Marten pointed-out, the above figures reflect the distribution of quality submissions received – and this is dependent on the decisions and abilities of researchers. A forthcoming special issue on Ireland was made possible by particular scholars studying and organizing in that country. SHCY and JHCY can only communicate that a wide spectrum of historical work on childhood and youth is welcome.

    Conference location is another practical way that the Society has made itself accessible to an international mixture of scholars. Next time, the meeting will move 5,000 kilometres from the west coast of North America to the east. The executive board accepted a proposal from Susan Miller of the Department of Childhood Studies to host SHCY 2017 at Rutgers University – Camden. The business meeting included an extended discussion of the advantages and challenges of holding the 2019 meeting in Australia or Europe. As with the contents of the Journal, this is not a simple issue. A given location will always be more favourable for some than others. Where we are able to go depends upon who is willing and able to propose hosting a conference like SHCY. Clearly, our effort to establish an international organization would be greatly advanced if we could continue to find venues outside of North America one out of three times.

    As with previous SHCY business meetings members discussed additional initiatives that might help the Society continue to engage the vast temporal, theoretical, linguistic, and cultural diversity that one finds in the historical study of childhood. All of these ideas require volunteer labour and/or fund-raising success to materialize. We might increase our collaborations with other organizations and further utilize multi-media the way CHC has during the 2014-15.

    We might establish work-groups within the Society (girlhood studies, literature, early-modern Europe etc.). In other academic organizations, work-groups are supposed to encourage the assembly of conference panels or proposals for special issues within journals in targeted areas. Often the larger organization sets aside space and time at the conferences for them. Some working-groups hold events outside their parent conferences at locations well suited to their members. As with several of the ideas mentioned above, work-groups are a means for welcoming scholars to shape the Society as they see fit. It is upon us to make the proposals and complete the necessary work.

    Karen Dubinsky and Mona Gleason just prior to SHCY Keynote Lecture
    Karen Dubinsky and Mona Gleason just prior to SHCY Keynote Lecture

    The Keynote – The Politics of Childhood

    Karen Dubinsky delivered the keynote address – “The Politics of Childhood Meets the Children of Politics: Cuban Literacy Teachers Revisit their Youth” – for SHCY 2017. Her presentation was a visual feast. You can view and listen to it by clicking here or pasting the following URL into your browser: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jki7jr9tfQU

    Dubinsky outlined six categories of representation after years of examining political images of childhood around the world. In her talk she summarizes (an shows) them as:

    1) Children in War and Peace
    2) Revolution and National Liberation (or Mother, Child, and the Gun)
    3) Elections and Political Parties
    4) Social Welfare & Development
    5) Children’s Issues
    6) Children as Political Actors

    See her related commentary on these themes in her 2012 article, “Children, Ideology and Iconography,” (JHCY vol. 5, no. 1). As her title suggests, the balance of Dubinsky’s talk focused on the sixth category – children as political actors. She closely documented the engagement of children and youth as teachers in the revolutionary Cuban literacy program during the early 1960s, and gave attention to the memories and reports of participants during a celebration of it fifty years later.
    Dubinsky offered three questions for us to consider about the politics of childhood.

    1) What are the historical circumstances that produce children with self-consciousness of their political selves (political duties, responsibilities, or desires)?

    2) What would happen to the adult-child binary if we widened our imagination about children and political citizenship or political capabilities?

    3) What would our image archive look like if the full spectrum of political actors were represented? (images of children as political actors are relatively rare)

    *Concluding Note – this is the final episode of season 1 of “Childhood: History & Critique.” We are working to organize a second season with new hosts for the 2015-16 year. All the Best, Pat.


    Books By Karen Dubinsky

    Karen Dubinsky, Adele Perry and Henry Yu (eds.) Within and Without the Nation: Transnational Canadian History (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, forthcoming 2015.)

    Karen Dubinsky, Sean Mills, Scott Rutherford (eds.) Canada and The Third World: An Historical Introduction (in process)

    Caridad Cumana, Karen Dubinsky and Xenia Reloba (eds.) My Havana: The Musical City of Carlos Varela (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014)

    Karen Dubinsky, Caridad Cumana and Xenia Reloba (eds) Habáname: La Ciudad Musical de Carlos Varela (La Habana, Centro Pablo de la Torriente Brau, 2013)

    Babies Without Borders: Adoption and Migration Across the Americas(University of Toronto Press and New York University Press, 2010)

    Karen Dubinsky, Catherine Krull, Susan Lord, Sean Mills and Scott Rutherford (eds.) New World Coming: The Sixties and the Shaping of Global Consciousness (Toronto: Between the Lines Press, 2009)

    The Second Greatest Disappointment: Honeymooning and Tourism at Niagara Falls (Toronto: Between the Lines and New Brunswick New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, May, 1999)

    Improper Advances: Rape and Heterosexual Conflict in Ontario, 1880-1929 (University of Chicago Press, 1993) Book in progress: Children, Ideology, Iconography: How Babies Rule the World

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    Indigenous Children’s Rights

    Canadian Journal of Children’s Rights
    Call for Manuscripts, Special Issue: Indigenous Children’s Rights

    A special issue of the Canadian Journal of Children’s Rights dedicated to exploring rights in the lives of Indigenous children is open for submissions. For this special issue we invite a range of contributions including scholarly essays, original research articles, comparative analyses, critical reviews, advocacy and policy articles as well as personal narratives, interviews, oral histories, and poetry. We are interested in presenting a wide range of perspectives relating to Indigenous children and rights.

    For more information, download the full CFP (PDF)..

    Feminism and the Politics of Childhood

    Feminism and the Politics of Childhood: Friends or foes?
    Workshop at UCL Institute of Education, London, UK, 16-17th November 2015

    This workshop will bring together community- and university-based academics and activists to unpack perceived conflicts between children’s interests and women’s interests (which themselves are heterogeneous) and, more broadly, intersections and antagonisms between various forms of feminism and the politics of childhood.

    The lives of women and children are deeply entangled and the way relations between them are conceptualized has implications for approaches to service provision, public education, and social movement building about critical issues including childcare, domestic work and global care chains, familial violence, and the division of labor. Children, to varying degrees, are positioned as primarily dependent and in need of care, and women take by far the greatest responsibility for this, whether in families, education, formal care settings, global care chains, and so on. Women and children have often been elided or linked ideologically. Both feminist and childhood scholars and activists have worked against this conflation, but, in so doing, have been criticized for portraying women and children’s interests as opposing and adversarial (Thorne, 1987). Feminist scholars have argued that prioritizing children’s rights has led to increases in women’s ascribed responsibilities for children’s wellbeing (Molyneux, 2006; Newberry, 2014) and that rising attention to “the child” in the policy arena has side-lined women’s citizenship demands (Dobrowolsky and Jenson, 2004). Childhood theorists have commented that feminism is an “adultist” enterprise, rendering children largely absent from the social world and sociological consideration except as objects of social reproduction (Mayall, 2002). Concerns have been raised that this antagonism reduces the complexity of adult-child relations – which include joy, love, reciprocal concern, and solidarity – solely to that of work and burden (Riley, 1987).

    Until now, there has been limited attention to the ways these perceived antipathies might be addressed (but see Alanen, 1994; Burman, 2008; Oakley, 1994; Thorne, 1987). We propose to use this workshop as a means to initiate such a dialogue. We are inviting abstracts which address the following, or other relevant, themes:
    • How do we ensure the well-being of children and women, particularly in contexts where their interests may (appear to) be in conflict?
    • How might a conversation between feminism and the politics of childhood reconcile these tensions?
    o Are women’s and children’s interests necessarily opposed or inevitably linked?
    o What are the consequences of denaturalizing motherhood and childhood for women and children?
    o How do we conceptualize women and children’s involvement in creating a gendered and generationed social order?
    • What are the implications of theorizing women and children together?
    o Does discussing women and children together reify their relationship?
    o Where do men, the state, and society fit?
    o To what extent does this reinforce compulsory heterosexuality?

    To promote in-depth discussion and debate, workshop spaces will be limited to a small number of presenters and participants. Working papers of no more than 4000 words will be pre-circulated. At the workshop, each presenter will give a short synopsis which will be followed by discussion. We anticipate producing an edited volume from the workshop. All participants (including presenters) will be charged a nominal fee of £20.

    To apply to present: Please send titles and abstracts of no more than 250 words to r.rosen@ioe.ac.uk by 15th August 2015 (Subject line: PRESENTER Feminism and Childhood). Full papers will be due 26th October 2015.

    To apply to participate: If you wish to participate in the workshop as a non-presenter, please submit an expression of interest of no more than 250 words outlining relevant academic and/or community-based experience to r.rosen@ioe.ac.uk by 30th September 2015 (Subject line: PARTICIPANT Feminism and Childhood).

    Hosted by the Childhood and Gender Stream (Social Science Research Unit) and Gender and Sexuality Studies, UCL.

    Special Issue: Histories of Play

    International Journal of Play
    Call for papers for forthcoming Special Issue: Histories of Play

    The universality of children’s play crosses times, places and cultures — and histories of play offer unique perspectives on children and their worlds, and the wider societies they inhabit. This special issue examines the histories of play across historical periods, exploring (but not limited) to such topics as:

    • continuity and change in children’s play and playlore
    • histories of the material and oral cultures of play
    • the economies and consumption of games, toys and play “things”
    • the spaces and environments of play in historical context
    • documenting histories of play through visual, oral and other sources
    • transnational and comparative histories of games and playlore
    • remembering play: nostalgia, “kidults” and memorialization
    • children’s voices in the history of play

    The guest editors of the Histories of Play special issue (no. 3 in 2016, appearing in December) are Kate Darian-Smith (University of Melbourne) and Simon Sleight (King’s College London). Potential contributors are invited to send an abstract of 300 words to the editors by 1 November 2015 in the first instance.

    Full papers of up to 7,000 words, which will go through a blind peer-review process prior to publication, need to be submitted by 1 April 2016. Suggestions for shorter pieces of up to 2,500 words on historical archives and cultural collections relating to the histories of play are also welcome.

    Please check the International Journal of Play (Taylor and Francis Online) website for details on the journal and regarding presentation of material:

    Email contact for further information, enquiries and to submit abstracts:
    Kate Darian-Smith: k.darian-smith@unimelb.edu.au
    Simon Sleight: simon.sleight@kcl.ac.uk

    Horrible Histories?

    Horrible Histories? Children’s Lives in Historical Contexts
    16 and 17 June 2016, King’s College London

    It is now over forty years since the bold declaration of psychohistorian Lloyd deMause that “The history of childhood is a nightmare from which we have only recently begun to awaken.” Stirred by such claims, scholars have subsequently tested the “nightmare thesis” for both the pre-modern and modern eras, locating children’s agency in unexpected places and stressing the contingencies of context, gender, ethnicity, age, class, caste and sexuality. Narratives of historic and contemporary institutional abuse, however, together with insights concerning the legacies of forced child migration, children’s labours and other challenging aspects of childhood experience, suggest that sorrow rather than joy characterises much scholarship on children and childhood. Should this be so?

    In another context, since 1993 the phenomenally successful Horrible Histories books, stage plays and television series have helped introduce countless thousands of children around the world to the past. As their titles indicate, Horrible Histories also examine difficult and sometimes grisly historical episodes. Progressive narratives are at work here too, reinforced by children’s museum exhibits emphasizing an emergence from the “dark ages” of childhood in the twentieth century.

    “Horrible Histories? Children’s Lives in Historical Contexts” is the launch conference marking the inauguration of the new UK-based Children’s History Society. Offering a forum for historical reflections from established and upcoming historians of children, childhood and youth, we also anticipate that this will be a platform for school-age scholars to reflect on the ways they respond to the history. This two-day conference invites paper proposals on the following themes:

    • Dealing with difficult history and heritage
    • Children’s histories and the longue durée
    • The “West and the rest” in children’s history
    • Definitions of subjecthood and status
    • Pain and resilience
    • Archival approaches for retrieving children’s agency
    • The things of childhood
    • Children’s places and places for children
    • Play as protest, recreation and the “work” of childhood
    • Children’s histories in museums, online and in the media
    • The histories of children’s places and places for children
    • Future trajectories for researching children’s histories

    Please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words, together with a two-page CV, to both simon.sleight@kcl.ac.uk and M.C.H.Martin@greenwich.ac.uk by 1 December 2015. Applicants will be notified of the outcome in January. Panel submissions featuring three papers of 15-20 minutes apiece are also encouraged, particularly for panels showcasing in concert transnational and/or long chronological perspectives. Note that our definition of children is flexible, reflecting the multiple constructions through time of childhood as a social category.

    The conference will be free to attend, courtesy of the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies and the Department of History, both at King’s College London. Further details will follow regarding accommodation options, conference-related activities and Society administration. If you would like to become involved in the running of the Children’s History Society, please email simon.sleight@kcl.ac.uk and M.C.H.Martin@gre.ac.uk to express your interest.

    Dr Simon Sleight (King’s College London) and Dr Mary Clare Martin (University of Greenwich).

    Guest Post: Ashley Mathisen on the Curious History of the Spinal Machine

    Ashley Mathisen recently graduated from Oxford University with a DPhil in History, and is currently working on course development in the History Department at Guelph University, while pursuing a Bachelor of Education at York University. Her doctoral dissertation examined the role of the London Foundling Hospital as a center for research on childhood illness in the eighteenth century. Her current research focuses on the experience of childhood disability in eighteenth-century Britain, the emergence of disability technology in the popular press, and the links between early pediatrics and orthopedics.

    Disability Devices for Children: The Curious History of the Spinal Machine

    diagram of spine machine from 1783
    Timothy Sheldrake, An essay on the various causes and effects of the distorted spine. . . (London: DillyLondon, 1783). Wellcome Library.

    Eighteenth-century medical practitioners were in a particularly interesting position when it came to children’s medicine. Child patients were, of course, treated by medical practitioners before the rise of paediatric medicine as a formal speciality, but many medical men had limited knowledge of children’s health, and many were reticent to involve themselves with a patient population so prone to disease and death. Children’s medicine was also associated with mothers, nurses, and midwives, and was considered beneath the dignity of many medical men, some of whom also felt that a man could not possibly understand a child’s body in quite the same way as a woman could. Many were also put off by the prospect of treating patients unable to vocalize their symptoms. Finally, it is entirely possible that some medical men were, quite simply, uninterested in children. Fortunately, as the eighteenth century progressed, some of these obstacles were discarded and the subject of child health began to occupy a more prominent place in medical discussions and in medical education.

    Along with this increased interest in the bodies and health of children came a diverse set of “solutions” for correcting childhood disability or for integrating the disabled child into society. One of the more curious solutions was the “spinal machine”. In his Zoonomia, Erasmus Darwin referred to a machine:

    capable of improvement by joints in the bar at the back of it, to permit the body to bend forwards with-out diminishing the extension of the spine. The objections of this machine of M. Vacher, which is made by Mr. Jones, are first, that it is worn in the day-time, and has a very unsightly appearance. Mr. Jones has endeavoured to remedy this, by taking away the curved bar over the head, and substituting in its place a forked bar, rising up behind each ear, with webs fastened to it, which pass under the chin and occiput. But this is not an improvement, but a deterioration of M. Vacher’s machine, as it prevents the head from turning with facility to either side.[1]

    The spinal machine Darwin ascribed to Vacher was comprised of a whalebone corset, to which was attached a metal staff used to support the head and lengthen or straighten the spine. Darwin himself went on to devise two spinal machines: one for sitting (an armchair grasping the head and supporting the neck), and the other a sloping bed which supported the neck while extending the spine. Vacher’s machine was widely considered to be an improvement on other spinal devices, like the neck swing, since Vacher’s apparatus “does not prevent children from dancing, drawing, or writing”.[2]

    By 1777, Philip Jones, “Spinal Stay and Machine-maker”, was “offering his Spinal Machine to the public in general” and was “so happy to find, that by experience, it has proved an effectual remedy for curing distortions of the spine in children”.[3] In the same year, Jones was hired by the London Foundling Hospital to examine several girls suffering from distortions of the spine. For three guineas a piece, Jones tailored a machine for two of the Foundling children, though he refused to charge the Hospital for his time.[4] Two and a half months later, he returned and demonstrated the use of the machines for the general committee of the Hospital, recording that Blanch Rivers was three feet, nine inches without the machine, and three feet, nine inches and five eighths with the machine on. Bridget Smith was not measured at this time, since it was felt that her distortion was far less severe. The two girls, Blanch Rivers and Bridget Smith, were thirteen and eight years of age, respectively, when Jones was brought to the Hospital to tailor their spinal machines. Rivers had been returned to the Hospital by her apprentice master in 1775 as a result of her disability, which accounts for the Hospital’s eagerness to consult with Jones about remedying her distortion.[5] Rivers was not subsequently apprenticed, but was instead released from the Hospital’s care at age 24, suggesting that her disability persisted and continued to pose a difficulty in securing an apprenticeship on her behalf. Bridget Smith was apprenticed successfully in 1781, suggesting that her distortion had become less problematic, or that it posed no challenge as far as her apprentice master was concerned.

    The spinal machine represents a fascinating chapter in disability history and in the history of paediatric medicine. The efforts of Vacher, Darwin, Jones, and others reveal a great deal about medical attitudes to childhood disability, and the impetus to “cure”, rather than simply care, for the disabled child. Frustratingly, we know very little about how Blanch Rivers, Bridget Smith, and other similar children experienced their disabilities, or even if they considered them as such. While the story of the spinal machine in the eighteenth century can only ever be partially complete, it is a narrative worth exploring, since it tells us so much about social and medical attitudes to the bodies, and minds of children who lay outside the accepted norm.

    [1] Erasmus Darwin, Zoonomia; or, The laws of organic life. In three parts, vol. ii (London, 1796), 89.
    [2] Timothy Sheldrake, An essay on the various causes and effects of the distorted spine (London, 1783), 23.
    [3] “Classified ads”, Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser (London, England), Thursday, January 9, 1777; Issue 14 938.
    [4] London Foundling Hospital Sub-Committee Minutes, 23 August 1777, London Metropolitan Archives.
    [5] London Foundling Hospital General Committee Minutes, 22 Nov 1775, London Metropolitan Archives.

    2015 Winner of Fass-Sandin Prize (Article in English) Announced!

    The Fass-Sandin Prize for the best article (in English) on the History of Children and Youth published in 2014 has been presented to Barbara Young Welke, “The Cowboy Suit Tragedy: Spreading Risk, Owning Hazard in the Modern American Consumer Economy,” Journal of American History (June 2014), 97-121. The prize committee, which consisted of Simon Sleight (chair), Corrie Decker, and Corinne T. Field offered the following about Welke’s article:

    Showcasing a remarkable depth of historical analysis, Barbara Young Welke offers a compelling – indeed haunting – account of the position of children at the intersection of sentiment, profit, material culture and legal status. This is at heart a powerful family drama: we meet young Tommy McCormack, playing in his new cowboy costume inside his Manhattan apartment one winter’s evening in 1945. A gift received the previous Christmas, the outfit is so inherently flammable (this the result of cost-cutting, wartime contingency and corporate negligence) that a lick of flame causes instant conflagration. Welke assumes the role of a detective revisiting a crime scene in unraveling a tangle of threads that led ultimately to calamity. Tommy’s childhood and the childhoods of the many other victims of the same corporate tailor serve as catalysts for Welke’s substantive arguments on risk and attempted legal redress. Interrogation of disparate archival sources yields revelatory discussion, the analysis structured throughout with poise and precision. Where Viviana Zelizer charted the changing cultural status of childhood through sources including trial records and insurance documents, Welke offers – through the focus on children’s desires and the calculus of loss – a stark account of nothing less than the modern consumer economy. The article demonstrates how the history of children and childhood need never be a niche concern; it can instead speak to diverse audiences and help rework multiple meta-level narratives.

    The committee also recognized an article for Honorable Mention: Emily C. Bruce, ‘“Each word shows how you love me”: The Social Literacy Practice of Children’s Letter Writing (1760-1860)’, Paedagogica Historica, Vol. 50, No. 3 (2014), 247-64.

    Congratulations to Barbara and Emily!

    Guest Post: Jennine Hurl-Eamon on the Army’s Continuing Appeal to Marginalized Youth

    Jennine Hurl-Eamon is an Associate Professor of History at Trent University in Canada. She is the author of articles in scholarly periodicals such as Journal of British Studies, Labour History, Eighteenth-Century Studies, Journal of Social History, and Journal of Family History, as well as chapters in edited collections. She has also written three books: Gender and Petty Violence in London, 1680-1720 (2005); Women’s Roles in Eighteenth-Century Europe (2010); and Marriage and the British Army in the Long Eighteenth Century: The Girl I Left Behind Me (2014).

    From the “Spirit-Stirring Drum” to Camouflage: The Army’s Continuing Appeal to Marginalized Youth

    Although the British army of today might look considerably different than the redcoats of the eighteenth century, there are some striking similarities.

    In my article “Youth in the Devil’s Service, Manhood in the King’s: Reaching Adulthood in the Eighteenth-Century British Army,” I argue that enlistment actually served as an appealing option to some eighteenth-century youth. The article focuses on the ways in which the army was able to galvanize certain wayward youth into models of adult masculinity. Where in the article I stressed youth’s desire to enter the army, here I want to explore things from the other direction: the army’s ongoing efforts to attract youth.

    Then and now, the army presents a target audience of young people with three enticing prospects: a sense of belonging to those who feel isolated; the prospect of social mobility to those who currently feel destined to eternal poverty; and the promise of adventure and higher purpose in lives that seem otherwise doomed to banality. This appeal is not accidental and is the result of concerted effort on the part of the military to pursue marginalized youth.

    In my article, I tell the stories of eighteenth-century orphaned boys for whom the army represented a surrogate family, but the army’s attempts to lure orphaned boys into its ranks are even more visible in the Royal Military Asylum scheme. In a speech to parliament in 1800, the Secretary at War proposed that a building be erected at Chelsea to house soldiers’ orphans. The boys among these orphans could then enter military training at the age of twelve and formally enlist by fourteen. Though he stressed that they would have the freedom to choose another trade, it is clear that the Secretary expected these orphans to become soldiers.[1]

    Lonely and isolated children remain the key recipients of recruiters’ attention today. According to a recruiting sergeant in 2007, “there’s a lot of kids come in because their home life is a mess. . . .They want the army to give them a bit of discipline and a bit of support because their home life doesn’t offer that.”[2] The government recently launched the “Ethos” programme, which sends instructors—“over 70%” of whom “have an ex-Forces background”—into primary schools to help instill service-inspired values into their students. A 2013 promotional brochure stated the Department of Education’s belief “that pupils in the most challenging of circumstances could benefit the most from this.”

    The distinctive pageantry of military life has also long been vital in enticing youth into its ranks. One young man wrote of “the roll of the spirit-stirring drum, [and] the glittering file of bayonets” in enticing him to join the 43rd Light Infantry Regiment in 1804.[3] The army knew this and geared its efforts accordingly, ensuring that recruiting parties came through town with rousing martial music. While these efforts are unlikely to have been aimed solely at youth, they clearly made a strong impression on children. The fact that fifers and drummers were children only added to the appeal of martial pageantry for its youngest audience.

    The modern British army has Camouflage, a “youth information scheme” initiated in 2000 and designed to encourage kids from age 13 and up to see the fun of life in the military. Camouflage members can watch endless videos of uniformed personnel in action, have exclusive access to military computer games on the website, and are encouraged to develop a relationship with their local recruiting officer, who sends them Christmas cards.[4] “Join us and you’ll discover a group of people who take care of each other, on duty and off,” the army recruitment site proudly proclaims, promising that “you don’t just get brilliant training and support, you get somewhere to call home.”

    Poorer teens are also enticed by the possibility of a decent wage and the chance to build a better future. The same was true of the eighteenth century. The army could present itself as a welcome contrast to the unwaged apprenticeships available to most boys at the time. A popular play satirized recruiters’ promises that good soldiers would eventually rise to “have ten shillings a day and two servants.”[5]In a 2012 article, Labour politicians argued that giving poorer youth “opportunities to learn from the ethos of the Forces could help tackle disadvantage and promote social mobility.”[6] A teen brought to the Fulwood Barracks with her school in 2007 reportedly said “They told us about the pay, and it’s way better than all my cousins are getting.”[7]

    The army promises glory as well as gold. When the Duke of York reviewed the 56th regiment in 1796, he and his officers expressed their hopes that the men “would shortly add fresh laurels to those already gained” by the regiment. A man who had enlisted at age fifteen recalled how “elated with joy” these words made him. “Every heart…beat high to be led on to share in those glorious achievements,” he remembered. [8] Readers of the “Badge of Honour” article on the Camouflage site today are treated to an image of the Queen’s Royal Lancers’ cap badge, which reads “For Glory,” and told that soldiers’ regiment “makes them feel they’re a member of something special and gives them a sense of belonging.” Clicking on the prominent icon of the Union Jack with the words “Army: Be the Best” takes the viewer instantly to a site which introduces the Army as “Securing Britain in an uncertain world.”

    The similarities in army youth recruitment strategies are especially noteworthy in light of the apparent differences in state policies toward children since the Napoleonic era. The intervening centuries have seen the advent of the Welfare State, and dramatic rises in the accessibility of education and child-protection legislation. The fact that the British army remains prominent in schemes to deal with poor, lonely, at-risk youth in the twenty-first century raises important questions about how much child welfare policies of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have really changed the experiences and opportunities of marginalized youth.

    [1] The Parliamentary register; or, history of the proceedings and debates of the House of Commons, vol. 12 (1800) 247-8.
    [2] Quoted in Stephen Armstrong, “Britain’s child army,” New Statesman, 5 February 2007.
    [3] Anon., Memoirs of A Sergeant Late in the Forty-Third Light Infantry Regiment… (London, John Mason, 1835; reprinted Cambridge: K. Trotman, 1998), 13.
    [4] Armstrong, “Britain’s child army.”
    [5] George Farquhar, The Recruiting Officer. A comedy… (London: Printed for Bernard Lintott [etc.], 1706), Act IV, Scene ii.
    [6] Stephen Twigg and Jim Murphy, “Why the military must invade our schools: We should enhance the Armed Forces’ involvement in education,” The Telegraph 9 July 2012, my emphasis.
    [7] Quoted in Armstrong, “Britain’s child army.”
    [8] William Surtees, Twenty-Five Years in the Rifle Brigade (London: T. Cadell, 1833), 5.

    Guest Post: Margaret Cassidy on Digital Kids, Helicopter Parents, and 21st Century Childhood

    Margaret Cassidy is Associate Professor of Communications at Adelphi University, where she teaches courses in media history and criticism, communication theory, and media and children. Her research focuses on the role of media in the lives and education of American children, past and present. She is the author of BookEnds: The Changing Media Environment of American Classrooms (2003).

    “Text me when you get there”—Digital Kids, Helicopter Parents, and the Promises and Perils of Twenty-First Century Childhood

    In 1858, a minister named Alfred Beach delivered a sermon entitled “Our Children: Their Dangers, and Our Duties.” He talked about the difficulties of raising children “at a time and in a place filled with obstacles and perils.” In particular, he objected to the new media of his day, the mass press, which he felt produced “a constant flood of poisonous matter” to tempt, distract, and corrupt youth.

    Reverend Beach was neither the first nor the last adult to worry about the fate of children in changing times with changing media. From Socrates’ objections to writing to contemporary adults’ worries about smartphones and social media, a common theme in media history is that new media change children’s access to information and ways of interacting with others, and adults are not sure this is a good thing.

    I study media history because I like the way that historical context helps put our present experiences into perspective. As an academic and a parent, I see how badly in need of perspective we are right now. It’s a peculiar time to be a parent—at least, a middle class American parent. We are a notoriously anxious bunch; we are the helicopter parents. We coach our kids’ sports teams, we serve on PTA committees, we bring our work to the park so we can keep an eye on our kids while they play.   And while we hover, we talk nostalgically with one another about the freedom we enjoyed as kids, walking to school by ourselves, leaving home on a summer morning and not coming home until dinnertime, gathering in the park for afterschool ballgames without adult supervision. And then comes the melancholy commentary on how “things have changed,” “it’s a different world now,” “kids grow up too fast these days.” We nod understandingly and make sad faces, as if these statements are so obviously true that there is no point in questioning them.

    But what are we talking about? Where is the evidence that times are so bad? Would a nineteenth century working class parent really think now is a worse time to be a kid than when their children had to work in factories or stay at home to care for younger siblings or boarders, when measles, polio, and other now-rare diseases were likely to kill some of their children? What about parents raising children today in parts of the world that are torn apart by war, disease, terrorism, or natural disasters—what would they think of our reluctance to allow our children to walk a few blocks to school every morning? There is probably much more evidence supporting the claim that middle class American childhood is safer now than ever before than there is evidence to the contrary. So what’s really going on? Do kids really grow up too fast these days? Because sometimes it feels like we’re not allowing them to grow up at all.

    We seem to be living in a time when the changing media environment is upsetting adults in several ways. New media give children extensive, private access to all kinds of information. They put our kids in touch with all kinds of people. We don’t always know who they’re talking to, what they’re sharing, who is talking about them, or what they’re learning.

    New media are also unsettling because of the way they skew our perception of the world. They show us every horrific thing, every freak occurrence, every bizarre situation that we never knew existed. We learn all about what is possible without really understanding what is probable. Even when we intellectually understand the (relative lack of) risk, we can’t quite dismiss the possibility. Of course it isn’t all bad news. There are plenty of ways that new media might be used to cultivate a happy, healthy experience of childhood. But these possibilities are too often obscured by all the news that makes the world look like a terribly dangerous place.

    I recently re-watched the movie ET: The Extraterrestrial, and I couldn’t help but think that this movie would never be made today. Think about it. Elliott, the film’s protagonist, is a ten year old boy. Now think about the freedom he enjoys in that movie. What mother doesn’t realize her son is outside, in the middle of the night, playing catch with some unidentified creature in the shed? Who lets their kids ride their bikes in the woods? Without helmets, no less? If ET were to be stranded on earth today, he’d never get home because no kid would ever be outside, alone, at the right time to find him.

    Whenever the media environment shifts in a way that affects children, adults wonder what to think, what to do, what this shift will mean for their children. This is not “history repeating itself” in some futile way; it is a process that we have to go through whenever there is a change in the media environment. Back in 1858, Reverend Beach decided that “These dangers are such that we cannot remove them. Our children will have to meet and encounter them…..They must then be, in some way, prepared to meet them…and this must be our care,–this is our work.” This is still very good advice. Maybe we should try to focus less on protecting children and more on preparing children for the world they face, and the media they will use to understand that world and interact with others in it.

    Guest Post: Phillip Buckley on Challenging Nostalgic Visions of the Public School Students of Yesteryear

    Phillip Buckley is an assistant professor at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and an interdisciplinary scholar interested in law, rights, childhood, and politics in the context of education. His current work focuses on the relationship between law, childhood, and citizenship. He spent five years in Serbia, Ukraine, and Poland, teaching and working with higher education faculty on various projects related to legal English.

    In my article, “Conceptions of Childhood, Student Rights, & the Citizenship Crusade: Meyer, Pierce, and the Pledge of Allegiance Cases,” I examine a set of legal opinions through the lens of childhood. In the article, I argue that the opinions shed light on how judges understood childhood toward the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. However, this set of cases also provides insight regarding the relationship between public schools and their students over this period. Although not the focus of my article, one of the most interesting aspects of this project has been reading about the sorts of student behavior educators attempted to restrict and what circumstances led students and/or their parents to reject such restrictions. Here, I highlight two examples.

    Dritt v. Snodgrass (1877): Fighting for the Right to Party

    Over a century before the Beastie Boys proclaimed, “You gotta fight, for your right, to parrr-ttty,” seventeen-year-old Joseph Dritt did just that, suing his teacher and the local school board for “wrongfully, illegally, oppressively, willfully and maliciously, and in abuse of their authority” expelling him for “attend[ing] a party composed of the young people of said town, and participat[ing] in the amusements thereof.” In his complaint, Dritt claimed that “he had a right to attend said party, and that the defendants had no right or authority to dictate to or control him in the premises.” Four of the five judges on the court agreed that the school board had overstepped its authority (with one deciding the case on other grounds). However, for these judges, the policy was problematic because it “invaded the right of the parent to govern the conduct of his child,” not because it invaded Joseph’s right to party. This case provides an example of how judges’ conceptions of childhood may reframe a legal conflict from one that pits the school against the student to one that pits the school against the parents.

    Despite this reframing by the Missouri Supreme Court, the facts of the case and the wording of the complaint suggest that it was the student, Joseph, who saw his rights being restricted, not his parents. This conflict, involving a school, a student, and parties, sheds light on the lived experience of children and adolescents at the time and reveals some fascinating details. First, that the school was so concerned about student parties. Second, that the school felt it had the authority to control students’ behavior outside of the school by forbidding students from attending such parties. Finally, that a student resisted this authority and that his parents supported his resistance. In the end, Joseph’s victory preserved the right to party for future generations of Missouri students. More seriously, the decision in Dritt served as justification for future legal decisions that curtailed the authority of schools over students. Interestingly, although the court struck down the policy, neither Joseph nor his parents sought to have him readmitted to the school, so it is unclear if he ever finished.

    Pugsley v. Sellmeyer (1923): Fighting for the Right to Use Talcum Powder

    The facts included in the opinion in Dritt don’t tell us exactly how concerned Joseph and/or his parents were about Joseph’s right to party. Perhaps their complaint was motivated by the fact that Joseph had been punished (and a desire to recover damages for that wrongful punishment) rather than by a desire to assert that students had a right to party or by a concern that the school was overstepping its authority. In contrast, the facts included in Pugsley v. Sellmeyer, decided by the Arkansas Supreme Court half a century later, are clear. In that case, the student, Pearl Pugsley, was concerned with challenging the following rule: “The wearing of transparent hosiery, lownecked dresses or any style of clothing tending toward immodesty in dress, or the use of face paint or cosmetics, is prohibited.” As retold by the court, Pearl “infringed this rule by the use of talcum powder, and the teacher required her to wash it off and told her not to return again with it on her face.” Undeterred, Pearl returned to the school “a day or two later,” again wearing talcum powder. Upon being told she could not attend school if she violated the policy, “she refused to submit to or to obey the rule, and was denied admission to the school.”

    In other words, Pearl knowingly resisted this particular rule and risked punishment for doing so, suggesting that she was motivated by the principle at stake in the case. This is further supported by the fact that the policy was rescinded after her appeal was filed and yet Pearl did not drop the case. (The lower court had agreed that the rule was arbitrary and unreasonable but had nonetheless ruled against Pearl because she had not first gone to the district board with her complaint against the principal.) However, the Arkansas Supreme Court, with one dissenter, upheld the policy as a reasonable means of “promoting discipline in the school” and imparting “respect for constituted authority and obedience…an essential lesson to qualify one for the duties of citizenship.” The dissenting judge scolded the others on the court: “‘Useless laws diminish the authority of necessary ones.’ The tone of the majority opinion exemplifies the wisdom of this old proverb.”

    Students’ Resisting School Authority

    These two cases, along with others from this period, provide examples of students challenging school rules. They provide evidence against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s assertion in the 2007 Morse v. Frederick (“Bong Hits for Jesus”) case that “in the earliest public schools, teachers taught and students listened. Teachers commanded, and students obeyed.” If Thomas’s description of the “good old days” is accurate, Joseph Dritt and Pearl Pugsley were outliers. However, these two cases suggest that Justice Thomas may have oversimplified the history of the relationship between public schools and their students.

    CHC Episode 15: Violence & Power, part 2

    CHILDHOOD: History and Critique (CHC) is a series of interviews, commentary, and happenings in historical studies of childhood presented by Dr. Patrick J. Ryan, Kings University College at Western University, Canada.

    [gn_spoiler title=”Audio of Patrick J. Ryan’s Conversation with Ben Parsons” open=”1″ style=”2″]
    audio-file-16Patrick J. Ryan’s Conversation with Ben Parsons, part 1 (.mp3)
    audio-file-16Patrick J. Ryan’s Conversation with Ben Parsons, part 2 (.mp3)


    [gn_spoiler title=”Conversation Transcript” open=”0″ style=”2″]
    Transcript coming soon!

    [gn_spoiler title=”Commentary by Patrick J. Ryan” open=”1″ style=”2″]
    Click to download a PDF of CHC Episode 15
    This installment of CHC offers the second part of an inquiry into violence and generational relations. CHC Ep14 – part 1 introduced a Foucauldian perspective on power and the notion of “wicked” problems to make sense of troubling stories about the treatment of a prisoner in Maine and the use of cage-fighting in a Dallas public high school. It included an interview with Peter Kelly of RMIT University in Australia and a leader in critical youth studies. I argued that these and other incidents and programs suggest that measured physical violence and the disciplinary arrangement of space, time, and bodies operate together, dialectically to frame generational relations of power.

    In Part 2, we will begin with a review of institutionalized corporal punishment of children in American and Canadian law, policy, and practice. This includes a brief commentary on how historians have contributed to our understanding of these structures and concludes with a reading of the 1669 “Children’s Petition” – an anonymous appeal for the English Parliament to regulate corporal punishment in schools. I discussed the long-term continuities and changes in corporal punishment with Ben Parsons, Lecturer at the University of Leicester, who is engaged in a project on ideas about violence, discipline, and learning in late-medieval and early modern pedagogical discourse.

    Elaborate statistical analyses and case-by-case reviews of children’s corporal punishment are widely available. Here it is sufficient to begin with the obvious. Today most adults in the world appear to assent to using moderately painful and humiliating punishments to raise and educate children and youth.[1]

    This majority support for corporal punishment seems stitched together as a patch-work of varying ideas and practices; certainly regional variations are suggestive of diversity. For example, the geography of American corporal punishment policies in schools closely replicates the distribution of blue states (Democratic) and red states (Republican) in U.S. Presidential elections. Each year the schools of the American South formally paddle hundreds of thousands of students, while just north of the Mason-Dixon line the practice has been (largely) prohibited in public schools. In light of the tensions between punishment and interrogation examined in CHC Ep14, it is almost too rich to report that purportedly anti-government American Republicans overwhelmingly favour encouraging public school teachers and administrators to corporally punish disobedient students and allowing government agents to secretly water-board suspected terrorists.

    Without discounting diversity, there is an impressive global pattern of support for the corporal punishment of children by parents and other custodians.[2] The U.S., U.K., Ireland, Canada, and Australia are only five among well-over one-hundred countries not joining forty-four mostly European nations (led by Sweden in 1979) who have enacted general prohibitions of children’s corporal punishment.[3] A 1980 study of Scotland found that supermajorities (up to 95%) of boys were tawsed at least once in school. A 1995 survey of American parents reported that 94% had used it to control toddlers.[4] In 2007, a school board in Quebec hired a psychologist to teach parents how to spank correctly. More recently, significant majorities of English parents reported they support it and/or use it. In our correspondence, Ben Parsons pointed-out to me that popular coverage of the 2011 urban riots in the U.K., which included headlines such as “Feral Children Run Wild,” ignited calls for a renewed emphasis on corporal punishment.

    The ongoing global prevalence of corporal punishment makes it difficult to dismiss the practice as a relic of a pre-modern past; nor do I think it is fair to explain it as a product of mass media sensationalism playing to the lowest common denominator. In fact, Canadian and American scholars have identified the foundational sources of corporal punishment’s legitimacy in Anglo-American law. These include: (1) child custody and family privacy doctrines, (2) current practice and community standards, and – above all – (3) the argument that when the practice is controlled, moderate pain and shame may alter a child’s view of themselves, others, and the rules when subtler methods have failed. This third argument has been especially important, because it defends corporal punishment as a disciplinary technique – in the Foucauldian sense.[5]

    Consider what courts in North America have typically demanded while upholding the right to corporally punish children. They stipulate how severe the damage can be, which bodily zones are available, what instruments might be used, the numbers of blows that can be delivered, the ages of the children who can be struck, the emotional-states of the participants, and who should execute, witness, and document the punishment, and sometimes what should be said. Several scholars have argued that this elaborate architecture makes it more difficult to police violence against children, and that the complexity of the rules themselves insures that more children will be seriously harmed. These arguments are compelling (even conclusive), but for the purposes of this inquiry, the formal stipulations are themselves significant because they locate an interdependency between disciplinary interrogation and bodily pain within generational power relations.[6]

    Let’s outline the common institutional rules. Blows meted out to children are supposed to be delivered by or with the approval of a custodial parent in combination with techniques that encourage the children to reflect upon themselves. School codes of conduct sometimes state that corporal punishment will be used “if and after other forms of correction have failed,” or “administered to any student who indicates open defiance for authority…”[7] The punishment is supposed to “sting” without overwhelming the subject.[8] It is common to find policies instructing officials that students “shall be advised why they are being paddled and be provided with the opportunity to present their side of the story prior to the administration of corporal punishment.”[9] Even more telling is the stipulation that students “will be questioned as to reasons why corporal punishment should not be administered.”[10] Interrogation and the threat of bodily pain are partnered. These regulations seem to follow the logic captured in the famous line, delivered with a strap, in the movie Cool Hand Luke: “what we’ve got here is failure to communicate,” if we “can’t reach” you, pain awaits as a “last resort” to get your mind right.[11]

    In sum, court rulings and school policies often outline precisely how children’s self-examination and communication should be integrated into practices moderate bodily pain delivered by adults who know them well. Each time the exchange between punishment and interrogation is written, practiced, threatened, remembered, narrated, mandated, disputed, opposed, defended (etc.), it pushes a little deeper into the framework of modern generational power relations.

    How long has the punishment-interrogation dialectic been operating on the landscape of childhood and how has it changed over time?

    In Flogging Others: Corporal Punishment and Cultural Identity from Antiquity to the Present (Amsterdam UP, 2014), Guy Geltner makes a case that corporal punishment is ubiquitous; it has not declined with modernity and it is not declining today. Corporal punishment has been resilient in the face of reform, he says, because it helps us close-off liminal possibilities (it sets group boundaries), and because it allows us to place others on the “periphery of humanity.” One possible implication of Geltner’s argument for childhood and youth is obvious. Corporal punishment of children remains strongest against critique, because young people are exemplars of liminal possibilities and this is enhanced by the fact that they are positioned as ‘not yet’ fully human (or as human becomings).[12]

    Geltner’s call for us to think in terms of dynamic continuities (rather than by narratives of modern transformation) may be difficult for some childhood historians entertain. A diverse line of scholarship has identified over-arching stages moving European cultures from the sovereignty of patriarchal fathers and masters toward what Elizabeth Pleck called, more “psychological methods of discipline.” Think of the contributions of Bernard Wishy, Lloyd de Mause, Edward Shorter, Lawrence Stone, Philip Greven, Peter Stearns, Mary Ann Mason, Joseph Illick, Jacqueline Reinier, and others.[13] Studies concerned with matters as different as household devices (Karin Calvert) and legal thought/practice (Holly Brewer, CHC Ep 10) have delivered persuasive evidence of a profound early-modern reorientation in generational relations.[14] Collectively, these historians have outlined a long-term movement away from sovereign punishment toward disciplinary techniques since the early sixteenth century.

    The story of modern transformation has been told in numerous ways, but rarely without a sense of irony. For Philippe Ariès, the rise of the well-regulated school and the domesticated parlour from the 16th to the 18th centuries constituted a loss of liberty.[15] The closer historians looked at 19th- and 20th-century attempts to institute enlightened childhood ideals, the more ambiguous the project seemed. Perhaps Joe Hawes put the best face on it when he summarized the children’s rights movement as a series of cycles between periods of progressive energy followed by ones of apathy.[16] Studies by Anthony Platt, Jacques Donzelot, Viviana Zelizer, Linda Gordon and many others since have suggested something more problematic – modern child protection and family investigation often served as ideological tools for maintaining class, gender, and racial hierarchies.[17] Whatever these scholars intended and whatever influence their works exerted, the picture of misused police power has helped maintain the right of care-giving adults to corporally punish children and youths. The operative slogan is “don’t criminalize spanking.”[18]

    Which is to say that historical studies likely produced varying sensibilities and applications. For some, these books offered grounds for reading the history of children’s corporal punishment as a halting movement toward enlightenment, even if that progress was waylaid by ideological manipulation. In Michael Donnelly’s view historical research supports calls for continued efforts to finally liberate children and youth from corporal punishment.[19] Old generational ideologies are about to fall, as a ‘new’ paradigm of childhood emerges.[20] For other readers, this literature carved a janus-faced figure of modern childhood – a picture more amendable to my questions. In Nikolas Rose’s words, today’s young inhabit “the most intensely governed sector of personal existence.”[21] From his perspective, echoed variously on CHC by Karen Smith and Ansgar Allen, modern childhood itself was made through the govermentalization of the state and the rise of an unprecedented regulatory framework.[22]

    Bruce Curtis‘ work in the history of education (Ruling by Schooling Quebec and Building the Educational State) sharply captures this double-sense of the dynamics of punishment and discipline. In a wide-ranging, well-argued 1997 chapter on corporal punishment he concluded:

    “Lancaster’s [early-19th-century disciplinary innovations in classroom design] are remarkable in that corporal punishment no longer appears as a means of moral discipline. From a necessary good in the 16th-century, to a necessary evil in the 18th, the beating of students had, in theory, disappeared by the 19th…”

    Curtis completed his point with two key admissions: (1) the shift was never fully manifest because practices of inflicting pain continued; (2) the movement from punishment to discipline played with “tactics in a social politics of domination and subordination [more] than an unambiguous indications of ethical advance.”[23] It seems to me that both of these acknowledgments become logically consistent with the narrative of the rise of modern disciplinary institutions – (rather than caveats necessary to sustain the narrative) – if we accept that discipline always-already relies upon physical punishment. In other words, what Curtis and many others have found makes more sense if we more completely abandon the assumption that we are headed for a disciplined world without punishment, and consider the possibility that bodily violence exists in generative tension with disciplined self-examination.

    To explore this possibility further, I called Ben Parsons to help me read the oldest English document (of which I know) calling for statutory regulation of corporal punishment in schools. Early English Books holds a “Children’s Petition,” author unknown – dated 1669, which offers a plea to Parliament for statutory limits upon the school-masters’ rights to strike their students (boys of gentry and noble status).[24] The petition did not result in legislative action, but there is no reason to discount its serious intent.[25]

    Childrens Petition_1669

    Ben observed that the title sounded a lot like religious dissenter Simon Fish’s (d. 1531) “Supplication for the Beggars” – a early 16th-century satirical attack on clerical intercession and the doctrine of purgatory – and “The Song of the Husbandmen,” a 14th-century poem lamenting the toll of taxes on small farmers.   He explained that all three traveled the literary vane of “representing a larger mass, despite the fact that what is being vocalized is the opinion of a privileged few.” If this is so, perhaps the universal term “children” could become more visible as a group through the rise of grammar schools – even though the attending students were limited to a select class of boys.

    Ben thought the novelty of the “Children’s Petition,” lay constructing corporal punishment as a legal problem. He knew of at least three cases where teachers had been prosecuted for excessive beatings of students (Thomas Fosse at Bristol, John Roberdson at London, John Depupp at Nottingham); yet in these it was less than clear what law had been violated. The limited legal discourse upon schooling in the late-medieval/early-modern eras seemed more concerned with the pursuit of heresy (or the defence of capital T – Truth), rather than the establishment of discipline.

    It seems to me that the document might be read as an off-shoot of a larger humanist critique of corporal punishment. Enlightened opinion of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries reiterated, but also troubled the Latin aphorism – Inititum sapienteae timor domini – the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the master. Ben affirmed this reading and added in correspondence,

    “…indeed a lot of sixteenth-century material in the wake of Erasmus’ De pueris statim ac liberaliter instituendis: Montaigne’s ‘De l’Institution des Enfants’, Mulcaster’s Positions, and Ascham’s Schoolmaster all have extensive remarks on the practice [of corporal punishment]. Being humanists, they tend to associate flogging with ‘bad’ established practice, although many of them (especially Mulcaster) still see it as fundamentally beneficial if implemented correctly. Certainly their efforts did nothing to sever the link between physical discipline and formal education: thus Swift writes in a letter of 1708 of his time at Kilkenny: ‘I formerly used to envy my own happiness when I was a schoolboy…I never considered the confinement ten hours a day to nouns and verbs, the terror of the rod, the bloddy [sic] noses and broken shins’. Pope’s portrait of Dr Richard Busby in The Dunciad (4.139-64) is even less forgiving. Both were at school when the Petition appeared.”

    Perhaps humanist educational ideas unsettled the corporal punishment of students – and the relationship between bodily pain and learning – and helped open a more intense arena of debate. Ben Jonson was not complementing a rival when he called him a “pedantic schoolmaster, sweeping his living from the posteriors of little children.”[26] The image underlying Jonson’s insult served as the starting point of “The Children’s Petition.” School masters lacked civic virtue and economic independence in a society that had seized monastic property a century earlier. As a result, their authority was “derived” and “subordinate,” unlike that of natural fathers or agents of the King, and therefore it became subject to regulation by Parliament. During our conversation, Ben offered some interesting notes about the tensions between parents and teachers as the grammar school regime became established in the late-16th and 17th centuries.[27]

    The subordination of clerical class opened the way for the petition’s primary attack: such little men whipped the exposed buttocks of boys as a form of sexual debauchery. We find illusions to the traditions of Jesuit education which may have closed a circle from whipping to buggery to schooling for the petition’s presumed readers.[28] If punishment is “self-pleasing” by the punisher, its origins would rest in the desires of the master and “not in the punished to help it.” Students would be fashioned in a “hell,” where “they arise from an unquenchable fire, in the appetite of the Master.”[29] A reissue of the petition in 1698 concluded by referring to the biblical story of the wickedness of Sodomites in Genesis 19.[30] For these reformers, the fundamental problem with corporal punishment of students was not what it allowed anger and fear to do, but what it allowed pleasure to do. It is a “procurer of vice,” with a “root more deep perhaps in the flesh then is seen.”[31]

    It seems to me the petitioners are profoundly undermining the key Christian justification of corporal punishment as a practice of pastoral care. In the 10th-century, Anglo-Saxon translators of Pauline texts helped insure for centuries that the Benedictine monastic reforms would include beatings and forced fasts as requirements of spiritual transformation. The cornerstone of this transformation (via St. Paul) rested on the clerical renunciation of the body, sex, and family life (thus the priority given to monastic life).[32]

    Of course, the monastic order would fall in the 16th-century and clear the way for the rise of the grammar schools. Here we have 17th-century grammar school petitioners reversing the relationships between violence upon the body and the purification of the soul. Corporal punishment must be regulated in order to redirect the human propensity to seek pleasure and avoid pain. For the disciplined student, “…[it] is not the necessaries of his Meat & Drink, no not his Balls and Boundingstones, his Top and his Bandy, [that] would be delicious to him, as the time he was thus suffered to be with his Master…” Before Locke would make this argument famous in Some Thoughts on Education, the petitioners are assuming that children’s concern for how they are viewed by others (that is their capacity to take themselves as objects of vision) could be used as a means of control without arousing the corrupting passions of bodily pleasure. This idea stands as a pillar of governmental rationality. If discipline is established within, we will find students “chearfully striving with themselves and fellows in understanding, who shall excel, and wear the Wreath of their Masters commendation.” Schools should be something like a “Boys Olymicks, or so many Games of the Muses…”   Promising students should “not only be admitted to higher degrees of exercise, but to some more intimate conversation of their Master in reading of History, or other delightful studies.”[33]

    In Foucauldian terms, the petition asked for a regime of government rather than a sovereign doctrine. The ability of a master to manage students, “keep a company of Youth in obedience, without violence and stripes,” is more important than his skill at Latin or Greek.[34] Students who are unsuitable for school should be expelled, not beaten. Children are not “mad,” a school is not “bedlam.” [35] Whipping should never be visited upon a boy for academic failure.[36] Corporal punishment should be rare and regulated. It should never be delivered to a boy’s buttocks with drawers dropped.[37] The 1698 version added that pubescent youths (boys over 13 and “the Female sooner”) should be exempt completely.[38]

    To further prevent the procedure from being mixed with “the Masters heat of passion,” two procedures are recommended. Time between the offending incident and its punishment should pass (an hour or a day). In the interim, the school should convene a “solemn kind of Judicature” (a review by masters and fellows). Here justifications, extenuations will be heard. Candour will be encouraged. The offender must speak, confide, confess. Fellow students will hold the right to condemn.[39]

    The significance of the “The Children’s Petition” lies in the structure of thought it reveals. I read it as an attempt to widen the pathway for disciplinary techniques within a compromised seat of pastoral power – the school-master’s relationships with students. This pathway became clearer over time, not by abolishing children’s corporal punishment, but utilizing it to construct ever more subtle connections between physical pain and interrogating discipline. As this happened, to conclude with Foucault’s words, the sovereign found “himself responsible for, entrusted with, and assigned new tasks of conducting [men]…. this is why there is a problem that assumed an even greater intensity than others in this [early-modern] periodThe pedagogical problem of how to conduct children… The education of children was the fundamental utopia, crystal and prism through which problems [of governmentality were perceived].[40]

    In seems to me that the task of conducting the conduct of children has not – over the intervening three centuries – untangled itself from the sovereign bond of bodily punishments.

    Recent Publications by Ben Parsons:
    “Beaten for a Book: Domestic and Pedagogic Violence in the Wife of Bath’s Prologue,” Studies in the Age of Chaucer 37 (2015).
    “The Way of the Rod: the Functions of Beating in Late Medieval Pedagogy,” Modern Philology 113 (2015).
    “Bloody Students: Youth, Corruption and Discipline in the Medieval Classroom” in Blood Matters ed. by Bonnie Landers Johnson and Eleanor Decamp (Penn State UP, 2015).
    Comic Drama in the Low Countries, 1400-1560, with Bas Jongenelen (Boydell and Brewer, 2012).
    ‘”In Which Land Were You Born?”: Cultural Transmission in the Historie van Jan van Beverley’, with Bas Jongenelen, Medieval English Theatre 36 (2014): 30-76.
    “Scarring Roles: Trauma and Temporality on the Medieval Stage”, Romard 51 (2013): 43-50.
    “The English Fabliau in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries”, Literature Compass 10 (2013): 544-58.
    “Sympathy for the Devil: Gilles de Rais and his Modern Apologists”, Fifteenth-Century Studies 37 (2012): 113-38.
    “To Sir, With Loathing: Student Revenge Fantasies and the Middle English Lyric”, PEER English (Special Issue) 7 (2012): 24-45.
    ‘”Verray Goddes Apes”: Troilus, Saint Idiot and Festive Culture’, Chaucer Review 45 (2011): 275-98.
    “No Laughing Matter: Fraud, the Fabliau and Chaucer’s Franklin’s Tale”, Neophilologus 95 (2011): 1-16.
    ‘”A Riotous Spray of Words”: Rethinking the Medieval Theory of Satire’, Exemplaria 21 (2009): 105-28.
    ‘”For my synne an for my yong delite”: Chaucer, the Tale of Beryn, and the Problem of Adolescentia’, Modern Language Review 103 (2008): 940-51.

    [1] To obtain global information on corporal punishment from around the globe see www.corpun.com/. This essay focuses on English-speaking cultures; for the global prevalence and institutionalization of corporal punishment of children and youth in Spain, Ghana, South Africa, Romania, Israel, China, Japan, India (respectively), and in world-South see: Enrique Gracia and Juan Herrero, “Beliefs in the Necessity of Corporal Punishment of Children and Public Perceptions of Child Physical Abuse as a Social Problem,” Child Abuse and Neglect v. 32 (2008): 1058-1062; Frances Hunt, “Policy in Practice: Teacher-Student Conflict in South African Schools,” in Education, Conflict and Reconciliation: International Perspectives edited by F. Leach and M. Dunne (Peter Lang, 2007); Vusi Mncube and Tshilidzi Netshitangani, “Can Violence Reduce Violence in Schools? The Case of Corporal Punishment,” Journal of Sociology and Social Anthropology vol. 5, no. 1 (2014): 1-9; Afua Twum-Danso Imoh, “Children’s Perceptions of Physical Punishment in Ghana and the implications for Children’s Rights,” Childhood: a journal of global research v. 20, n. 4 (2013): 472-486; Adrian V. Rus et al, “Severe Punishment of Children by Staff in Romanian Placement Centers for School-Aged Children: Effects of Children and Institutional Characteristics,” Child Abuse & Neglect v. 37 (2013): 1152-1162; Zeev Winstok, “Israeli Mothers’ Willingness to Use Corporal Punishment to Correct the Misbehavior of Their Elementary School Children,” Journal of Interpersonal Violence v. 29, no. 1 (Jan 2014): 44-65; Meifang Wang and Li Lui, “Parental Harsh Discipline in Mainland China: Prevalence, Frequency, and Coexistence,” Child Abuse & Neglect vol. 38, no. 6 (June 2014) 1128–1137; Aaron L. Miller, Discourses of Discipline: An Anthropology in Japan’s Schools and Sports (Institute of East Asian Studies, 2013); N.S. Mumthas, Jouhar Munavvir, and K. Abdul Gaffor, “Student and Teacher Perceptions of Disciplinary Practices: Types, Reasons, Consequences and Alternatives,” Guru Journal of Behavioral and Social Sciences vol. 2 iss. 4 (Oct – Dec, 2014); Jennifer E. Lansford et al, “Attitudes Justifying Domestic Violence Predict Endorsement of Corporal Punishment and Physical and Psychological Aggression towards Children: A study of 25 Low- and Middle-Income Countries,” Journal of Pediatrics v. 164 n. 5 (May 2014): 1208-1213.
    [2] Joan E. Durrant, Linda Rose-Krasnor, and Anders G. Broberg, “Physical Punishment and Maternal Beliefs in Sweden and Canada,” Journal of Comparative Family Studies vol. 34 (2003): 585-604.
    [3] Analyses of Swedish penal and disciplinary regimes are particularly relevant. See Jonas Qvarsebo, “Swedish Progressive School Politics and the Disciplinary Regime of the School, 1946-1962: a genealogical perspective,” Paedagogica Historica vol. 49, no 2 (April 2013): 217-235; Vanessa Baker, “Nordic Exceptionalism Revisited: Explaining the Paradox of a Janus-faced Penal Regime,” Theoretical Criminology vol. 17, no. 1 (February 2013): 5-25. A more complete critique of the progressive narrative of penal reform relative to childhood was delivered by Agamben in Homo Sacer, see pages 130-131.
    [4] Murray Strauss and Julie H. Stewart, “Corporal Punishment by American Parents: National Data on Prevalence, Chronicity, Severity, and Duration, in Relation to Child and Family Characteristics,” Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review vol. 2, iss. 2 (June 1999): 55-70.
    [5] See Anne McGillivray, “Children’s Rights, Paternal Power and Fiduciary Duty: From Roman Law to the Supreme Court of Canada” International Journal of Children’s Rights vol. 18 (2012): 21-54; “Child Corporal Punishment: Violence, Law and Rights” (with Joan Durrant) in Cruel but not Unusual: Violence in Canadian Families edited by Ramona Alaggia and Cathy Vine (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2006): 177-200; “Childhood in the Shadow of Parens Patriae” Multiple Lenses, Multiple Images: Perspectives on the Child Across Time, Space and Disciplines edited by in Hillel Goelman, Sheila Marshall and Sally Ross (University of Toronto Press, 2004): 38-72. The outline given here is more sharply represented in Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth and the Law vs. Canada (Can. Sup. Ct, 2004); Katie Sykes, “Bambi Meets Godzilla: Children’s and Parents’ Rights in Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth and Law v. CanadaMcGill Law Journal vol. 51 (2006): 131-165. The grounding British case was R v Hopley (1860) 2 F&F 202, several European Human Rights Commission rulings have narrowed what is permissible by parents under British law. See Rhona Smith, “To Smack or Not to Smack? A review of A v United Kingdom in an international and European context and its potential impact on physical parental chastisement,” Web Journal of Current Legal Issues 1999.   The most important American case is Ingraham v. Wright (U.S. Sup. Ct., 1977); Virginia Lee, “A Legal Analysis of Ingraham v. Wright” in Corporal Punishment in American Education: readings in history, practice, and alternatives edited by Irwin A. Hyman and James H. Wise (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1979): 173-195.
    [6] There is strong evidence that statutes and policies that protect “mild” uses of corporal punishment from prosecution make it difficult to police more severe cases of abuse and humiliation. Whether these legal protections themselves cause measurable long-term damage to child and youth is a more difficult research question, but it seems likely to me that they do. See Bernadette J. Saunders and Chris Goddard, Physical Punishment in Childhood: the rights of the child (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010); Deana Pollard Sacks, “State Actors Beating Children: A Call for Judicial Relief,” University of California Davis Law Review vol. 42 (2008-09): 1165-1229; Joan E. Durrant, “Trends in Youth Crime and Well-being Since the Abolition of Corporal Punishment in Sweden,” Youth & Society v. 31, no. 4 (June 2000): 437-455; Anne McGillivray, “‘He’ll learn it on his body’: Disciplining Childhood in Canadian Law,” International Journal of Children’s Rights vol. 5 (1998): 255-288.
    [7] See examples from public and private schools Colorado and Georgia accessed online January 29, 2015. Appling County Middle School, Parent/Student Handbook of Information 2013/2014, http://bit.ly/1K6CCbi; “Meeker School District No Re-1” (Colorado) http://bit.ly/1I9Wiey; Appling County Middle School, Parent/Student Handbook of Information 2013/2014, http://bit.ly/1K6CCbi
    [8] Milford Christian Academy Student Handbook – Jan. 7, 2014 (Milford, CT) at http://www.bchristian.com/pages.asp?pageid=61499. See the defense of moderate usage in two Australian Christian Academies: (1) http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/why-the-cane-is-good/story-e6frg12c-1226091374079 and (2) https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/24479704/glare-on-cane-using-schools/
    [9] School District of Clay County, Green Cove Springs, FL, “Code of Conduct,” (2013-2014): 11 accessed on 02/03/15 at http://www.oneclay.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/code_conduct1314.pdf .   See also Sandra Himmel, “Citrus County Schools, Code of Conduct, 2012-2013,” page 19, accessed at http://www.oneclay.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/code_conduct1314.pdf
    [10] The School Board of Union County (Lake Butler, Florida), “Student Code of Conduct, Union County High School,” (2010): 18. Accessed at http://union.uchs.schooldesk.net/Portals/Union/UCHS/docs/StudentHandbook.pdf
    [11] See page 47 of Pendleton Heights (Indiana) High School Student Handbook, 2014-15. http://southmadison.in.schoolwebpages.com/education/components/docmgr/default.php?sectiondetailid=384&fileitem=12589&catfilter=ALL
    [12] Guy Gelner, Flogging Others: Corporal Punishment and Cultural Identity from Antiquity to the Present (Amsterdam University Press, 2014).
    [13] Bernard Wishy, The Child and the Republic: the Dawn of the Modern American Child Nurture (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1968); Lloyd deMause ed., The History of Childhood (New York, NY: Harper & Row, 1974); Edward Shorter, The Making of the Modern Family (New York, NY: Basic Books, 1975); Lawrence Stone, The Family, Sex and Marriage in England, 1500-1800 (London, UK: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1977); Philip J. Greven, The Protestant Temperament: Patterns of Child-Rearing, Religious Experience and the Self in America (New York, NY: Knopf, 1977); Elizabeth Pleck, Domestic Tyranny: the making of social policy against family violence from colonial times to the present (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1987); Peter Stearns, “The Role of Fear in American Emotional Standards for Children, 1850-1950,” American Historical Review v. 96, no. 1 (1991): 63-94; Mary Ann Mason, From Father’s Property to Children’s Rights: the history of child custody in the United States (New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 1994); Jacqueline Reiner, From Virtue to Character: American Childhoods, 1775-1850 (New York, NY: Twayne Publishers, 1996); Joseph Illick, American Childhoods (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002).
    [14] Karin Calvert, Children in the House: the material culture of early childhood, 1600-1900 (Boston, MA: Northeastern University, 1992); Holly Brewer, By Birth or Consent: Children, Law, and the Anglo-American Revolution in Authority (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2005).
    [15] Phillippe Ariès, Centuries of Childhood: a social history of family life trans. by Robert Baldick (London, UK: Cape, 1962): 406.
    [16] Joseph M. Hawes, The Children’s Rights Movement: a history of advocacy and protection (Boston, MA: Twayne Publishers, 1991); and, Children in Urban Society: Juvenile Delinquency in Nineteenth-Century America (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1971).
    [17] Anthony M. Platt, The Child Savers: the invention of delinquency (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1969); Jacques Donzelot, The Policing of Families trans. by Robert Hurley (New York, NY: Pantheon Books, 1979); Viviana Zelizer, Pricing the Priceless Child: the changing social value of children (New York, NY: Basic Books, 1985); Linda Gordon, Heroes of Their Own Lives: the politics and history of family violence, Boston 1880-1960 (New York, NY: Viking, 1988).
    [18] This was an important phrase in the government of Canada’s defense of statutory protections for parents provided by section 43 of the criminal code, and it was reiterated by the majority ruling. See Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth and the Law vs. Canada (Can. Sup. Ct, 2004). And it is widely used it support similar policies and laws in the English-speaking world.
    [19] Michael Donnelly, “Putting Corporal Punishment of Children in Historical Perspective,” in Corporal Punishment of Children in Theoretical Perspective edited by Michael Donnelly and Murray A. Straus (New Haven, CN: Yale University Press, 2005):41-54.
    [20] This said, research inspired by the so-called ‘new’ paradigm’s stress upon the evidentiary value of children’s perspectives does not necessarily result in advocacy for any particular policy; it can also complicate our understanding of the question. See especially the thoughtful article by Jean-Paul Payet and Vije Franchi, “The Rights of the Child and ‘The Good of the Learners,’: a comparative ethnographical survey on the abolition of corporal punishment in South African Schools,” Childhood: a journal of global research v. 15, no. 2 (2008): 157-176.
    [21] Nikolas Rose, Governing the Soul: The Shaping of the Private Self, second edition (New York, NY: Free Association Books, 1999): 123.
    [22] See CHC Ep14. The specific tensions between the social study of childhood and governmentality studies are summarized nicely by Marit Haldar and Eivind Engebretsen, “Governing the liberated child with self-managed family displays,” Childhood: a journal of global research v. 21, no. 4 (2013): 475-487.
    [23] Bruce Curtis, “‘My Ladie Birchely must needes rule,’ Punishment and the Materialization of Moral Character from Mulcaster to Lancaster,” in Discipline, Moral Regulation, and Schooling: a Social History edited by Kate Rousmaniere, Kari Dehli, and Ning de Coninck-Smith (NY: Routledge, 1997). Also see by Bruce Curtis, chapter 8 of Building the Educational State: Canada West, 1836-1871 (London, ON: Althouse Press, 1988); Ruling by Schooling Quebec: Conquest to Liberal Governmentality – A Historical Sociology (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012).
    [24] Author Unk, “The Childrens Petition, or a modest remonstrance of the intolerable grievance our Youth lie under, in the accustomed severities of the school-discipline of the nation. Humbly presented to the Consideration of the Parliament,” (London, Richard Chiswel, 1669).
    [25] This is the approach of C.B. Freeman, “The Children’s Petition of 1669 and Its Sequel,” British Journal of Educational Studies vol. 14, no. 2 (May 1966): 216-223. Following a 1975 lecture delivered by Keith Thomas, the documents focus on sodomy appears to have caused Hugh Cunningham to conclude that it was pornographic rather than a “genuine petition” to Parliament. Other studies (see note 29) have shown that this concern part of a wider discourse on pedagogy in the early modern period, and should not be dismissed. See Hugh Cunningham, The Invention of Childhood (London: BBC Books, 2006): 84.
    [26] Mark H. Lawhorn, “Taking Pains for the Prince: Age, Patronage, and Penal Surrogacy in Samuel Rowley’s When You See Me, You Know Me,” in The Premodern Teenager: Youth and Society, 1150-1650 edited by Konrad Eisenbichler (Toronto: Centre for Reformation and Rennaissance Studies, 2002): 131-150. (Jonson quoted on page 136)
    [27] “Childrens Petition,” 4-6; 35-37. The petitioners do briefly refer to the Roman antithesis between corporal punishment and citizenship. But they do not develop this line of thought. “Childrens Petition,” 25, 27, 33. A good summary of the Greco-Roman sources of this idea is offered by G. Geltner, “History of Corporal Punishment,” in Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice edited by Gerben Bruinsma and David Weisband (New York, NY: Springer, 2014): 2106-2115.
    [28] “Childrens Petition,” 22-23. The connection between pleasure, pain, pedagogy, and sex was part of a larger concern documented in Alan Stewart, Close Readers: Humanism and Sodomy in Early Modern England (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997): 84-121; It is also suggested by the way the text uses Latin passages, especially the one taken from Juvenal, Satire II, lines 8-10. See “Children’s Petition,” 17-18, 20. The point was made infamous by Sade. John Phillips, The Marquis de Sade: a very short introduction (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2005): 1-2.
    [29]“Childrens Petition,” 14-15.
    [30] Unk, “Lex Forcia: Being a Sensible Address to the Parliament for an Act to Remedy the foul abuse of Children at Schools…” London: Eliz.. Whitelock, 1698): 30.
    [31] “Childrens Petition,” 67.
    [32] Nathan Ristuccia, “Ideology and Corporal Punishment in Anglo-Saxon Monastic Education American Benedictine Review v 61, no 4 (Dec 2010): 373-386.
    [33] “Childrens Petition,” 58-60.
    [34] “Childrens Petition,” 55.
    [35] “Childrens Petition,” 50.
    [36] “Childrens Petition,” 26.
    [37] “Childrens Petition,” 34, 49, 61-63.
    [38] “Lex Forcia,” 27-28.
    [39] “Childrens Petition,” 61-63.
    [40] Foucault, Security, Territory, Population, 231.


    [wp_biographia user=”pryan”]

    Guest Post: Saheed Aderinto on Education and Childhood Poverty in Colonial Nigeria

    Saheed Aderinto teaches at Western Carolina University. He is the author of When Sex Threatened the State: Illicit Sexuality, Nationalism, and Politics in Colonial Nigeria (2015) and editor of Children and Childhood in Colonial Nigerian Histories (2015), among other books. His articles have appeared in leading Africanist and specialist journals including, the Canadian Journal of African Studies; Africa: The Journal of the International African Institute; Journal of the History of Sexuality; Journal of Social History; Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History; and Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies, among others.

    My article, titled “O! Sir I Do Not Know Either to Kill Myself or to Stay”: Childhood Emotion, Poverty, and Literary Culture in Nigeria, 1900-1960” uses letters composed by children of Lagos (Nigeria) in the 1940s to unlock the history of urban childhood poverty and emotion.[1] To the best of my knowledge, the letters is the largest and most comprehensive archival material on children’s history composed by children of colonial Nigeria. One theme I found really interesting as I researched my piece is the children’s emphasis on education as the solution to poverty and as a gateway to upward socio-economic mobility. The importance of education has featured prominently in academic and popular discourses of underdevelopment in twenty-first century Africa. It is intriguing to see that Lagos children of the 1940s realized the value of education to their personal, family, and community development. The children’s writings about the significance of education counters the assumption that it was mainly a prescription of adult, imposed on children. It is a truism that adults were mainly responsible for devising educational policy and curriculum; but how children of Lagos internalized it as a significant element of their socialization is fascinating.

    Elementary school education was not only popular in urban Africa, it was also conceived by many (especially African educated elites and nationalists) as an enterprise in nation building. The exponential increase in school enrollment throughout the first half of the twentieth century was therefore tied to high demand for education. Yet, the available classroom space could not accommodate demand for the “white man’s knowledge.” Much of the decision to enroll children in school was made by parents and guardians. But, as some of the letters revealed, children did make personal decision to enroll in school in contravention of their parents’ wish for them to receive training in a vocational field or in agriculture. Hence, one sees a lot of children’s agency that contravenes the well-received notion that they were totally innate, especially in big issues such as education and intellectual empowerment.

    The children’s letter tells the story of the contradiction inherent in the colonial education system. On one hand, education was viewed as a vehicle of civilization as professed by the colonialists, and as a prerequisite for sound nation building by the nationalists. Yet, access to education at all levels was a privilege. The restricted access to education was largely attributable to the unevenness of infrastructural development in colonial Africa and the government’s policy on public education. Most schools were located in the big urban centers, which had the facilities to support teaching and teachers. But more importantly, most colonial governments did not have free-education policy. Hence parents, guardians, and sometimes the entire community had to pay for children’s education. Some children, as young as ten, worked to pay their way through school—the letters revealed. When one reads about the numerous jobs children did to pay for their education, one is quickly alerted to the need to problematize such concept as “child labor” within the context of the difficult relationship between children’s economic activities in purely capitalist, unsafe, and exploitative environment, and what they did with resources accrued.

    Moreover, the children’s letters render a window to viewing how location shaped childhood experience. It also introduces a scholar to childhood poverty, a less charted path in colonial African studies. Who was a poor child in colonial Africa? How did children define poverty? Lack of family ties, which manifested in vagrancy, homelessness, and lack of food, were elements of poverty peculiar to the city—a domain characterized by facelessness and lack of kinship system that sustained communal living in the villages. The children not only rendered the profile of a poor child similar to what obtained in most urban centers across the globe, they painted an idealistic image of a “normal” childhood experience. An ideal childhood to them was a childhood free from the dangers of the street, shielded from the agonies of hunger, and nurtured with “knowledge of book” in an environment controlled by respected teachers and adults. It was a childhood of responsibility, which allowed minors to share household chores and reciprocate the opportunity to have food, education, and shelter by performing tasks or being in charge of responsibilities, beneficial to their parents, mentors, and guardians. As I have shown in my book titled, Children and Childhood in Colonial Nigerian Histories, the notion of “modern” or “ideal” Nigerian childhood emerged alongside with other elements of colonial modernities of the first half of the twentieth century.[2] The proliferation of European-styled play-grounds, schools, and advice manuals on children were all informed by the assumption that African childhood must be modernized. It is one thing to make prescription about an ideal childhood, it is another for it to become institutionalized or accepted by children. Thus, the idea of modern childhood was a two-way traffic—both the adults and children appropriated it to suit their realities and aspirations.


    [1] Saheed Aderinto, “O! Sir I Do Not Know Either to Kill Myself or to Stay”: Childhood Emotion, Poverty, and Literary Culture in Nigeria, 1900-1960,” Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth 8, no.2 (2015).
    [2] Saheed Aderinto, “Introduction: Colonialism and the Invention of Modern Nigerian Childhood” in Children and Childhood in Colonial Nigerian Histories, edited Saheed Aderinto, 1-18 (New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).

    New Book Series: Children, Youth, and War

    James Marten and the University of Georgia Press announce a new books series, “Children, Youth, and War.”  The series aims to broaden understanding of the experiences and points of view of children and youth during wartime as actors, victims and observers, as well as the effects of armed conflict on the nations, communities, and families in which those young people live. It will also provide historic contexts for such urgent contemporary topics as war refugees, under-age soldiers, and the politicization of childhood, among many others.

    More details can be found in the official release at: http://news.uga.edu/releases/article/uga-press-children-youth-war-series/.  Jim will be available to talk to prospective authors at the Society for the History of Childhood and Youth conference in Vancouver.

    CFP: Youth Circulations

    Youth Circulations (www.youthcirculations.com) is an online exhibit that traces the real and imagined circulations of global youth. As a collection of photographic representations, Youth Circulations illuminates a critical disconnect between the nuanced, transnational lives of the young migrants and the active reduction of these lives into abbreviated tropes–the vulnerable victim<http://www.youthcirculations.com/#/victimized/>, the delinquent<http://www.youthcirculations.com/#/delinquent/>, and so on–in mainstream news sources and policy reports.

    Youth Circulations invites scholars and artists to submit work that considers these primary circulations:

    1. Youth themselves circulate. Through transnational movement and global technologies, young people circulate between nations, communities, and virtual spaces.
    2. Global youth are agents of circulation. As transnational actors, young migrants shape and contribute to global flows of people, capital, ideas, and values.
    3. Ideas circulate about global youth. Put forth in the media, in policy reports, and by advocacy and opposition efforts, representations of young migrants are power-filled and consequential, both in and beyond communities of origin and destination.

    Submission format and length is flexible. We invite proposals for an individual blog post or photo essay; a brief analysis of a photo, series of photos, or a gallery on the site; a written or photographic  “conversation” between two or more individuals; or any other work that considers, critiques, or creatively counters so many circulating images of global youth.

    With a wide, interdisciplinary readership, Youth Circulations offers artists, scholars, and practitioners a dynamic space to present and interact with ideas about age, mobility, and representation. To contribute, please email youthcirculations@gmail.com.

    CHC Episode 14: Violence & Power, Part 1

    CHILDHOOD: History and Critique (CHC) is a series of interviews, commentary, and happenings in historical studies of childhood presented by Dr. Patrick J. Ryan, Kings University College at Western University, Canada.

    [gn_spoiler title=”Audio of Patrick J. Ryan’s Conversation with Peter Kelly” open=”1″ style=”2″]

    Patrick J. Ryan’s Conversation with Peter Kelly Part 1

    audio-file-16 Patrick J. Ryan’s Conversation with Peter Kelly Part 2


    [gn_spoiler title=”Conversation Transcript” open=”0″ style=”2″]
    Transcript coming soon!

    [gn_spoiler title=”Commentary by Patrick J. Ryan” open=”1″ style=”2″]
    Click to download a PDF of CHC Episode 14
    On January 16, 2015, I read a BBC story about Raif Badawi, the imprisoned founder of the Saudi Liberal Network.  King Abdullah spared him from a second round of flogging, apparently because a physician reported that he had not healed adequately from the first.  Under international pressure, the case was referred to Saudi Arabia’s highest court.  Unless Badawi is granted special dispensation, presumably, the weekly flogging will resume until he dies from his wounds or endures 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam.*

    For the most part, judicial corporal punishment is practiced by two kinds of states: those influenced by Sharia (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE) and places where public caning established strong roots under British rule (Malaysia, Singapore, and Tanzania).  Nevertheless, Badawi’s ordeal did not seem foreign to me.

    The story caused my thoughts to wander to the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA interrogation since September 11, 2001.  Americans are ineffectually split over whether the program amounted to torture, whether it was legally permissible and morally acceptable, and whether it “worked.”  The Pew Research Center reported that the debate follows party lines.  Over three-quarters of Republicans said the so-called “enhanced interrogation” techniques were justified, two-thirds said the practices yielded important information and that the program should have been kept secret.  Supporters of “enhanced interrogation” justify it as a means of discovery.  It is supposed to reveal threats to security and life. To be effective, the discovered truth must remain shrouded in secrecy, even if this means it never becomes evidence at a public trial against the accused.

    On opposite ends of the Earth, we have two violent programs or policies executed by the strangest of allies.  One corporally punishes dissent, another interrogates terror.  In dissent, a game of violence meets the state’s monopoly on truth; in terrorism, a game of truth meets the state’s monopoly on violence.  In the first, physical pain and bodily damage is visited upon an open challenger of theocracy, who speaks “truth to power.”  In the second, invasive interrogation is visited upon an informant who hides or denies knowledge of violent plans and illicit organizations.  Together they form a circle of punishment and interrogation.

    If the dream of torture is to establish a universal doctrine, the dream of interrogation is to gaze with the all-seeing eye of discipline.  As these dreams become manifest, the second does not eliminate the first.  Each opens discursive space needed by the other.  What is water-boarding if not a technique that moves between legal questioning and illicit torture?  And, if Saudi clerics, jurists, and physicians are caught in a weird debate about when a blasphemer is healthy enough to be beaten (admittedly – this is only my speculation), might they be approaching a similar bio-political paradox from a different direction?  These questions ask us to consider discursive tensions that are being inscribed on the very bodies of terrorists and dissenters alike.

    Whatever their immediate causes, the structures that conjoin these stories are not without precedent.  More than four centuries ago, Francis Bacon fashioned the architecture of the punishment-interrogation dialectic as he tortured English Catholics.  Inflicting bodily pain was “used not to produce answers to a particular charge but to discover” existing plots.  Elizabethan authorities were not, they insisted, like Papal Inquisitors defending doctrinal truth.  They were conducting an investigation of treason against a nascent governmental state – a novel entity in the process of being articulated.  English Catholics rejected this understanding of the bodily pain they suffered and the politics of knowledge upon which it rested.  The pain they experienced was a trial of faith in the defence of Truth; they were martyrs.[1]

    These parallels are stunning, even if they only outline the surface of deeply troubling, complex situations.  We still interrogate terrorist/martyrs (Islamicists, rather than English Catholics) in a mirror-image of the ordeal meted out to dissenters against theocracy (liberal writers in Saudi Arabia, rather than heretics facing an Inquisition).  The characters and technologies have changed, but the structures of power-knowledge are remarkably stable.

    What do such terrible things have to do with childhood and youth?

    Around the world today the punishment and examination of children and youth occupies a privileged place in law, institutions, and common family practices.[2]

    Some might object:  how can you equate spanking with public flogging (or) testing with water-boarding?  This objection is understandable, but it misconstrues my inquiry and wrongly assumes that I am interested in supporting or opposing practices based on levels of bodily pain or psychological damage.  A few paragraphs about how I am thinking about these issues might head-off confusion and clarify some key concepts.[3]

    The concept of ‘power’ is the key.  The term is commonly evoked as if it was a possession or an ability of agents and agencies, and particularly as if it was the capacity of the state to prohibit the choices of individuals – to make and enforce law.  This way of thinking about ‘power’ places the decision-making subject at the heart of political questions, and therefore, it long has been vital for liberal challenges to master-servant patriarchy and absolute sovereignty.  By associating ‘power’ with the capacity to secure liberty or interfere with it, modern political thought encourages us to imagine a bright line separating authoritarian and free societies.  Today this line is often temporal (e.g. sometimes located in late 18th-century revolutions), or spatial/cultural (e.g. distinguishing the democratic “West” from everybody else).  From this vantage point, an emancipatory project became obligatory:  how do we move the world from authoritarian misuses of power toward freedom?

    Because the dominant political discourse has been committed to a view of power as an ability possessed and/or exercised by agents and agencies, debates over punishment and interrogation often are limited to whether an act of power is within the boundaries of permissible violence:  “When does corporal punishment become abuse?” (“when is interrogation torture?”).  These come with corollary questions:  “Does the corporal punishment of children… (or the enhanced interrogation of terrorists)… work?”  These lines of inquiry are so strong, they have the ability to translate all others into their own terms.  We find ourselves locked into arguing about normative thresholds of violence and determining who, under what conditions, possesses the legitimate power to inflict it.  Consequently, questions about the structures and techniques of power relations remain underdeveloped.

    If a punishment-interrogation dialectic structures interactions between quite old forms of sovereignty and modern political arrangements, the progressive narrative becomes more difficult to support.  Alternative ways of conceptualizing ‘power’ might be helpful.

    A Foucauldian perspective on power begins by displacing the idea that the human subject is the origin of politics.  Power is neither a capacity that can be possessed, nor is it defined by an opposition between individual choice (& free thought) and state power (or institutionalized authority).  ‘Power’ appears as a relation that produces and is produced by techniques of knowing, sensing, or caring for ourselves and others; it is a creative relationship.  Admittedly, this runs the risk of inserting the concept of power into everything, but it provides a way to think differently about the transformation of absolute sovereignty that attended the rise of early-modern European state reason (and the birth of liberal individualism).  It offers an historical alternative to the essentialist hope that a privatized human subject can be freed from the problems of power.  Therefore, it gives us a critical edge for reconsidering the history and structure of liberal hegemony.[4]

    Because I am interested in the structures of power, and think they are produced by historically specific practices and relationships, I will avoid making normative judgments about permissible thresholds of violence.  Even if I were to advocate for a threshold of zero violence, my arguments would deploy the dominant definition of power as an action or possession.  And besides, numerous well-crafted studies establishing the position against the corporal punishment of children are available.  A different type of inquiry will frame CHC Ep14-15.

    How have practices of bodily punishment structured generational power relations and being young?

    Taking a critical (non-normative) posture toward this inquiry has benefits.  It strengthens our capacity to reflect upon the things we hold true, or consider right.  It helps us pause before being swept up by breath-taking visions of a world without corporal punishment for children – such as the one offered by Law Professor Susan Bitensky:

    “… when spanking is prohibited by law and becomes socially unacceptable, our children are spared fear-ridden, hurtful childhoods.  …[when spanking stops, we will] have it within our reach to humanize our species’ psychological evolution and societal progress through nonviolent child-rearing.  With the eradication of physical coercion as a child-rearing technique, future adults will not be as aggressive, authoritarian, or lacking in empathy.  Our descendants will then be poised for an epochal psychological breakthrough:  at last the human psyche will be free to shun the tyranny, cruelty, and crimes against humanity that have plagued past millennia.”[5]

    Narratives that place humanity at the cusp of liberation from violent power are seductive.  Similar calls have been building for centuries, long before Wordsworth wrote that “the child is father of the man.”  Yet, I have several concerns about this vision of liberation.  Once we accept it, childhood becomes a means for pursuing human authenticity and relationships unsullied by the problems of worldly power.  Children and youth become vehicles for our own desires for perfection.[6]

    From the historians’ perspective a narrative of liberation through childhood is fraught with problems.  More will be said about this in episode 15.  Here it is sufficient to say that the “eradication of physical coercion as a child-rearing technique” has been accompanied by the proliferation of interrogatory techniques that Foucault called “disciplinary.”  In the Foucauldian sense, discipline organizes space, time, and bodies to foster persons who take themselves as objects.  It is strongest when it goes unnoticed in floor-plans, circulates in forms, transcripts, and certificates, frames talk-therapy and self-help programs, bakes its way into chemical formulas, sounds with timed bells, and charts human variation with precise instruments of observation.  Disciplinary techniques produce relations of power.  Perhaps there is nothing inherently malignant about them, but they are not a means for escaping the problems of power.[7]

    The disciplinary institutions of childhood have been explored in many works, including books reviewed on CHC recently – Ansgar Allen’s Benign Violence (CHC Ep7) and Karen Smith’s The Government of Childhood (CHC Ep12).  These investigations do not offer a general theory of how physical punishment and disciplinary arrangements interact in all situations, but clearly the two share a profound corporeality.[8]

    It seems to me we have two somewhat obvious reasons to doubt on progressive visions of generational liberation.

    (a) Current reliance on violent punishment in concert with more subtle forms of control is deep and wide.  It exists everywhere from exceptional cases of ‘enhanced interrogation,’ to the popular justifications for striking children with paddles and belts.

    (b) If forms of violent punishment and interrogatory discipline are interdependent, we should not expect the historical growth of disciplinary techniques to liberate us from violence.

    In the remainder of this episode, I offer a reading of two situations involving institutionalized violence visited upon youths and young adults which should complicate the picture of a punishment-interrogation dialectic offered at the outset.  To help me make sense of these events, I recorded a conversation with Peter Kelly of RMIT University’s School of Education.  I asked him to discuss his engagements with critical youth studies, generational politics, and the violence facing young people today.

    In the next episode (CHC Ep15 – V&P Part 2), I will review ordinary practices and well-established policies that frame the corporal punishments experienced by millions of children and youth around the globe.  This will include historical observations about the dialectic of childhood punishment-interrogation and a conversation with Ben Parson, Lecturer in English at Leicester University, UK.  We discussed his work upon medieval discourses of punishment and education, and he provided some observations about a 1669 petition seeking intervention from the English Parliament into the practices of corporal punishment within schools.

    Making Sense of Wicked Problems

    In 2003-05, South Oak Cliff High School in Dallas used bare-knuckle cage-fighting as a punishment and to settle disruptive conflicts between the boys.  A decade later a non-complaint inmate in a Maine prison named Paul Schlosser was pepper sprayed in the mouth while guards were trying to strap his head into a restraint chair.  Perhaps these stories are as unrelated as public flogging and water-boarding, but they expose the brisk flow of illicit violence through disciplinary practices and institutions.

    Paul Schlosser is one of about 800,000 young adults (18-29) incarcerated in America – a country where one in thirty-one people are under some sort of correctional control (prison, jail, parole, or probation).  Staggeringly, one-fourth of the world’s prisoners are held in the U.S., and well over half of the young Americans imprisoned are African-American.

    Schlosser (who is white) is serving time in Maine for a series of armed robberies that he reportedly committed to fuel a drug addiction at the age of 23.  On June 10, 2012 (video version/audio version) guards removed him from his cell and placed him into a restraint chair to make him comply with medical treatment for self-inflicted wounds.  Reportedly, institutional procedures were followed until Captain Shawn Welsh fired a hefty crowd-control chemical spray at point-blank range into the inmate’s face.  According to investigators, Welsh had a grudge against Schlosser, perhaps because of the prisoner’s relentless demands.  Schlosser wanted his medication to be delivered on a more timely basis, and had told the guards they were “useless.”  Moments after spraying Schlosser, Welsh leaned over him while he gasped for air and whispered: “useless as teats on a bull, huh?  what do you think now?”

    When I asked Peter Kelly what he thought of this incident, he said the situation seemed indicative of “wicked problems.”  Here, the term ‘wicked‘ does not refer to evil.  Wicked problems resist being ‘tamed’ by our definitions of them.  A problem is wicked, if it is unclear where it is located, what it includes, and whether it will remain stable over time.  Chess problems occupy the other end of the spectrum; they are prototypically tame.  You might not be able to solve a chess position, but its terms are definitive, constant, and closed.  Perhaps we invent rational games like chess, because we live in a ‘wicked’ world.  Statistical thinking, the language of risk, and medical categorization are some of the more sophisticated ways that moderns have tried to tame and eliminate the ambivalence produced by wicked problems.[9]
    cover art
    Peter and I talked around the concept of wicked problems at-length, as he made a number of related points: (1) many policy issues and political conflicts are inherently wicked; (2) because the boundaries are not clear, we should “widen out” our investigations of them; (3) take a critical approach to the terms we and others use; (4) but, beware of “dogmatic” statements about what constitutes a critical approach; (5) and accept the ambivalence produced by wicked situations without becoming immobilized.

    Like most investigations, the ones conducted by prison officials and mass media on the treatment of Paul Schlosser attempted to ‘tame’ the event in various ways.

    Prison authorities located the problem within Captain Welsh, his emotional state, and orientation toward Schlosser.  According to them, Welsh’s misuse of power transformed the conflict from a “security situation to a punishment one.”  Here the violent use of power is conceptualized as a capacity possessed (abused) by agents.  Once the problem of power has been framed in this light, introducing sanctions against persons abusing power should deter them and others from continuing to do so.

    Following this logic, the Superintendent of the prison terminated Welsh’s employment, but this was reduced to a suspension without pay for 30-days by the state’s Correction Commissioner, Joseph Ponte.  Ponte explained his reasoning this way:  “When you’ve got a substantial amount of years of good, sound decision-making and performance measured against one bad decision, it’s kind of, you look at the odds.”  Welsh was a good risk not to become a repeat offender.  Ponte also called in experts from Connecticut to provide training in “non-confrontational” techniques to deal with self-injuring prisoners. [10]

    For Ponte, power is something exercised by decision-makers, but his agents have internal depth and operate within contexts beyond their immediate control.  Therefore, violence and other abuses of power may not be amenable to swift justice or, in this case, by holding Welsh entirely accountable for the Schlosser incident.  Solutions have to be systematic: better training for guards, increased procedural oversight, reduced use of solitary confinement for young inmates, and scientifically-informed treatment regimes that begin with sorting the mentally ill from the rest.  In 2014, Ponte brought this precise reform agenda to New York City’s notoriously violent Riker’s Island jail.  The terrible stories that emerge from this place, Ponte explained, largely stem from the policy mistake of turning jails and prisons into, “de facto mental hospitals… diversion is critical.”

    Ponte’s attempts to reduce prison violence are consistent with enlightened opinion, well-represented in the 2014 BBC documentary, “America’s New Bedlam.”  But, criticism of the “criminalization of mental illness” are not the preserve of progressive elites.  Indeed, Paul Schlosser deployed it cogently and this seems to have precipitated Welsh’s attempt to silence him.  Wicked indeed are problems that are inflamed when named.  Before his incident with Welsh, Schlosser had been isolated in solitary confinement for two months, during which he complained that he had not had so much as a book to read.  He was also unhappy with his psychiatric medication and its delivery, and said that he injured himself to relieve emotional pain.  Frustrated, he apparently told the guards they were useless, incompetent to confront his real problems.

    Schlosser’s words seemed intolerable to Welsh, who repeatedly told him to stop talking during the incident.  Even when his prisoner was totally immobilized, smothering in mace, making muffled pleas for the mask to be removed, what was Welsh’s response?  “If you’re talking, you’re breathing.”  For Welsh, the canister’s discharge should have ended the debate and demonstrated that he possessed power (“useless” – “what do you think now?”).  He proclaimed “I will win every time.”  But power is not this simple.  The video recording, the canister, and Welsh’s own words guaranteed that he and his guards (not Schlosser) would become objects of correction.  In fact, Welsh’s demonstration of power placed Schlosser words on a global stage, and increased disciplinary controls over Maine’s prison guards.  This happened because violence often fails to close the space it creates, just as disciplinary power will always fail to free us from our dependence on blunt forms of bodily force.

    Which is to say that the dialectic between discipline and punishment extends from materials and arrangements that we cannot easily dispose.  Picture the explosive canister inches from Schlosser’s bound head.  He was neither its first, nor its last victim.  These things have discharged their contents upon the bodies of countless persons when prison guards have confronted rioting inmates or when militarized police forces have dispersed citizens.  Pause to remember students, arm-locked, sitting-down at UC-Davis, and so many others who have tried to make public statements by occupying spaces or carrying placards.  They all faced the same physical insult to be silent from canisters, boots, batons, and rubber bullets.  As parallel artefacts, these things provide a signature for a carceral project which inflicts bodily pain without deadly force.  Under the shadows cast by such things, the guard-prisoner and police-citizen dyads are converging.

    Is this only a problem for prisoners and protesters; terrorists and dissenters?   Maybe, but who remains safely unprovoked – pacified workers and docile consumers?  A concluding story might begin to show that the dialectic between violence and discipline goes far beyond prison systems and police forces.

    The news reports about the use of cage-fighting to punish boys at Dallas’ South Oak Cliff High School usually present it as beyond comprehension.  It was not.  It appeared in the midst of the skyrocketing popularity of mixed marshal arts with children and youth, most notably UCF events and their central device: the octagonal cage.  At this time, the movie Fight Club starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton and based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk had gained a “cult following.”[11]  It seems likely that larger cultural threads inspired the South Oak Cliff security guards who instituted the cage.  Reportedly they were encouraged to do so by a Principal named Donald Moten – a retired police officer who carried a baseball bat after the fashion of New Jersey’s famous Joe Clark.  At least one cage-bout was attended by a group of cheering boys.  There was little to protect the combatants: no gloves or headgear or referee.  It is unclear if they padded the cell, as it had served as an ordinary equipment locker.  Supposedly the confrontations were limited to 5 or 10 minutes – more than long enough to leave a lasting impression.[12]

    Reading the cage is difficult – we have only a profile in comparison to bounty of evidence exposed after the Schlosser incident.  This is unsurprising.  Recall the cover of Palahniuk’s novel – “the first rule of fight club is that you do not talk about fight club.”  Following Henry Giroux, one might wonder if the cage was inspired by a culture (films, music, video games) where students’ identity formation was detached from “any sense of larger political, racial, and social conditions,” or public sphere.  As a pedagogical technique within a single school, the cage might signify a wider, chronic substitution of anomic violence for an education in civil, public conflict between groups (or democracy).[13]

    This interpretation is strengthened by the fact that the cage was implemented under vigilante assumptions about educational leadership (via Clark and Moten) that surged with American conservatism.  From Giroux’s perspective, echoed by Peter Kelly in our interview, practices such as cage are more likely to appear in “the context of neoliberalism” with “the devolution of the social state and the corresponding rise of a warfare and punishing state…”  As Giroux put it, neoliberalism “transformed the protected space of childhood into a zone of disciplinary exclusion and cruelty, especially for those young people further marginalized by race and class…”[14]

    Viewing the cage as a product of neoliberalism has some advantages.  It orients our understanding of the problem around recognizable electoral parties and policy positions.  It gives us something to fight for and against, and that helps reduce the ambivalence produced by wicked problems.  Yet, I’m not satisfied with the standard social democratic narrative on “neoliberalism.”  It seems to me that many of the problems pinned to neoliberalism are rooted in modern thought and practices that have been developing for several centuries.  This is particularly true for the institutional violence of schools and prisons.

    Giorgio Agamben offers a longer view of power and a much less sanguine way to read the cage.  The modern public sphere that Giroux praises,  (so Agamben says) relies upon “an identity between the sovereign and anomie.”[15]  The violence of “bare life” was excluded from social/political relations by its inclusion within the “political formulation of … … the sovereign bond.”  To frame Agamben’s point in terms of the South Oak Cliff story:  if the cage is a manifestation the idea that violence without rules must be included within the ruler in order to establish a non-violent public space, the device carries forward an ancient tradition which can hardly be blamed on Reagan and Thatcher.[16]

    Admittedly, I do not know how the practices of the cage are related to these deeper political questions.  I only suspect that the cage invited boys to taste sovereign power as a state of exception.  If so, upon entering this enclosed unregulated violent space, even for a few minutes, the boys would have simultaneously become offenders against rule (homo sacer) and the instruments of ruling justice (sovereign).  More enduring than Captain Welsh’s discharge of mace, the cage might have acted like a depository and distributor (a dispositif) of the reliance of institutional discipline upon violent punishment.[17]

    Some might say that the Schlosser and Oak Cliff high school stories are exceptions that confirm our enlighten sensibilities.  I think they expose passageways.  Here disciplinary buildings, equipment, and personnel so easily injured, caused pain, and produced obedience through fear.  I would not locate these dynamics in a late-20th-century or “neoliberal” shift.  They might be indicative of wicked problems with sources that resist explication, but I believe they are centuries in the making.

    Next week we will pose this question (how might we think historically about the punishment-interrogation dialectic?) and turn our attention to situations where corporal punishment of children and youth is exercised in the light of day.  If nothing else, moving from illicit practices toward formal policies and law will make it more difficult to dismiss the interdependence between sovereign force and disciplinary control – as if it was something out of the ordinary.

    *After this writing, on Sunday June 7, 2015 the BBC reported that Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court upheld Badawi’s sentence of 10 years imprisonment and 1,000 lashes.  See http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-33039815

    [1] Elizabeth Hanson, Discovering the Subject in Renaissance England (Cambridge, UK:  Cambridge University Press, 1998): 39-40.  See especially chapters 1 and 5.  Also see interesting dissertation on the theological politics that transformed sovereignty in England, see:  Amy T. Linch, “Community and Contention in Early Modern England,” Ph.D. diss., Rutgers, 2009.

    [2] Part 2 – CHC Ep15 will explore corporal punishment of children more fully.  An extremely helpful, well maintained site for obtaining global information on these practices is http://www.corpun.com/. In addition to the many citations below and in CHC Ep15, for the English-speaking world see, Murray Strauss and Julie H. Stewart, “Corporal Punishment by American Parents: National Data on Prevalence, Chronicity, Severity, and Duration, in Relation to Child and Family Characteristics,” Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review vol. 2, iss. 2 (June 1999): 55-70; Anne McGillivray, “Childhood in the Shadow of Parens Patriae” Multiple Lenses, Multiple Images: Perspectives on the Child Across Time, Space and Disciplines edited by in Hillel Goelman, Sheila Marshall and Sally Ross (University of Toronto Press, 2004): 38-72; Bernadette J. Saunders and Chris Goddard, Physical Punishment in Childhood: the rights of the child (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010). On the global prevalence and institutionalization of corporal punishment of children and youth in Spain, Ghana, South Africa, Romania,  Israel, China, Japan, India (respectively), and in world-South see: Enrique Gracia and Juan Herrero, “Beliefs in the Necessity of Corporal Punishment of Children and Public Perceptions of Child Physical Abuse as a Social Problem,” Child Abuse and Neglect v. 32 (2008): 1058-1062; Frances Hunt, “Policy in Practice: Teacher-Student Conflict in South African Schools,” in Education, Conflict and Reconciliation: International Perspectives edited by F. Leach and M. Dunne (Peter Lang, 2007); Vusi Mncube and Tshilidzi Netshitangani, “Can Violence Reduce Violence in Schools?  The Case of Corporal Punishment,” Journal of Sociology and Social Anthropology vol. 5, no. 1 (2014): 1-9; Afua Twum-Danso Imoh, “Children’s Perceptions of Physical Punishment in Ghana and the implications for Children’s Rights,” Childhood: a journal of global research v. 20, n. 4 (2013): 472-486; Adrian V. Rus et al, “Severe Punishment of Children by  Staff in Romanian Placement Centers for School-Aged Children: Effects of Children and Institutional Characteristics,” Child Abuse & Neglect v. 37 (2013): 1152-1162; Zeev Winstok, “Israeli Mothers’ Willingness to Use Corporal Punishment to Correct the Misbehavior of Their Elementary School Children,” Journal of Interpersonal Violence v. 29, no. 1 (Jan 2014): 44-65; Meifang Wang and Li Lui, “Parental Harsh Discipline in Mainland China:  Prevalence, Frequency, and Coexistence,” Child Abuse & Neglect vol. 38, no. 6 (June 2014) 1128–1137; Aaron L. Miller, Discourses of Discipline: An Anthropology in Japan’s Schools and Sports (Institute of East Asian Studies, 2013); N.S. Mumthas, Jouhar Munavvir, and K. Abdul Gaffor, “Student and Teacher Perceptions of Disciplinary Practices:  Types, Reasons, Consequences and Alternatives,” Guru Journal of Behavioral and Social Sciences vol. 2 iss. 4 (Oct – Dec, 2014); Jennifer E. Lansford et al, “Attitudes Justifying Domestic Violence Predict Endorsement of Corporal Punishment and Physical and Psychological Aggression towards Children:  A study of 25 Low- and Middle-Income Countries,” Journal of Pediatrics v. 164 n. 5 (May 2014): 1208-1213.
    [3] The comments provided here can only be cursory.  A fuller understanding of the Foucauldian perspective requires sustained effort (see notes 4, 8, and 9).  Students might begin with two accessible guides:  Alec McHoul and Wendy Grace, A Foucault Primer:  discourse, power, and the subject (Carlton, Victoria: Melbourne University, 1993); Todd May, The Philosophy of Foucault (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 2006).
    [4] Here I am following a few closely related attempts to reconstruct the history of sovereign violence and its modern transformation into biopolitics.  See Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life trans. Daniel Heller-Roazen (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1998);  State of Exception trans. Kevin Attell (Chicago:  University of Chicago Press, 2005).  Agamben’s work in the Homo Sacer series builds upon the fragmentary efforts by Foucault in the late 1970s and early 1980s.  See especially lectures 9-12 in Michel Foucault, Security, Territory, Population:  Lectures at the College de France, 1977-1978 edited by Michel Senellart, Trans. by Graham Burchell (New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007): 227-332;  The Birth of Biopolitics:  Lectures at the College de France, 1978-1979 edited by Michel Senellart, Trans. by Graham Burchell (New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008).  A helpful summary of governmental rationality is provided by Mitchell Dean, Governmentality: Power and Rule in Modern Society 2nd edition (London: Sage, 2010): 101-115.
    [5] Susan H. Bitensky, “Spare the Rod, Embrace Human Rights: International Law’s Mandate Against All Corporal Punishment of Children,” Whittier Law Review  v. 21 (1999): 161.  Special thanks to an unpublished paper by James E. Radford, Jr.  “Perfecting the Paddle,” for drawing my attention to Bitensky’s article and making a similar point.  Also see, Susan H. Bitensky, Corporal Punishment of Children: a human rights violation (Ardsley, NY: Transnational Publishers, 2006).
    [6] On the romantic poets see Judith Plotz’s brilliant essay, “The Perpetual Messiah:  Romanticism, Childhood, and the Paradoxes of Human Development,” in Regulated Children/Liberated Children: Education in Psychohistorical Perspective edited by Barbara Finkelstein (New York: Psychohistory Press, 1979): 63-95; and her book  Romanticism and the vocation of Childhood (New York: Palgrave Press, 2001).
    [7] The starting point remains Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: the birth of the prison trans. Alan Sheridan (New York: Pantheon Books, 1977).   Other ‘must reads’ in the history of child science include,  Nikolas Rose, Governing the Soul:  The Shaping of the Private Self (New York: Routledge, 1990);  Andre Turmel, A Historical Sociology of Childhood: developmental thinking, categorization, and graphic visualization (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008).
    [8] The research on disciplinary and bio-political structures of childhood is extensive; also see, Majia Holmer Nadesan, Governing Childhood into the 21st Century: Biopolitical Technologies of Childhood Management and Education (New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010); Michael A. Peters et al ed. Governmentality Studies in Education (Rotterdam, Netherlands: Sense Publishers, 2009); Roger Deacon, Fabricating Foucault: rationalising the management of individuals (Milwaukee, WI: Marquette University Press, 2003); Kenneth Hultqvist and Gunilla Dahlberg, eds. Governing the Child in the New Millennium (New York, NY: Routledge Falmer, 2001);  Anne McGillivray ed., Governing Childhood (Aldershot, UK: Dartmouth, 1997); Ian Hunter, Rethinking the School: subjectivity, bureaucracy, criticism (St. Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 1994).
    [9] Tom Ritchey, Wicked Problems – Social Messes:  Decision Support Modeling with Morphological Analysis (Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 2011); Peter Kelly, “Wild and Tame Zones: Regulating the Transitions of Youth at Risk,” Journal of Youth Studies vol. 2, no. 2 (1999): 193-219.   Also see, Zygmunt Bauman, Modernity and Ambivalence (Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 1991); Ian Hacking, The Taming of Chance (NY: Cambridge University Press, 1990).
    [10] David Hench, “Prison Captain Fired, but later Reinstated after Pepper Spraying Inmate,” Portland Press Herald March 16, 2013.
    [11] David Ansen, “Is Anybody Making Movies We’ll Actually Watch In 50 Years?” Newsweek July 11, 2005.
    [12] Frank Hammond, SOC: Welcome to the Cage (Bloomington, IN: Iuniverse Inc., 2011) provides a tell-all account of the sexual illegalities, transcript fraud, grade-fixing, and other fraudulent actions of South Oak Cliff High School’s staff and administrators.  Unfortunately, it offers little insight into student discipline or the Cage.
    [13] Giroux outlined his larger thesis on youth culture and the decline of public life in Fugitive Cultures: race, violence, and youth (NY: Routledge, 1996): 38.  For an important critique of Fight Club (the movie) for failing to identify the destruction of the public sphere under neo-liberalism as the cause of young men’s sense of powerlessness and anomie, see Henry A. Giroux, “Private Satisfactions and Public Disorders:  “Fight Club”, Patriarchy, and the Politics of Masculine Violence,”  JAC  vol. 21, no. 1 (Winter 2001): 1-31.
    [14] Henry Giroux, “Resisting Youth and the Crushing State Violence of Neoliberalism,” in A Critical Youth Studies for the 21st Century edited by Peter Kelly and Annelies Kamp (Leiden: Brill, 2014): 225, 228.
    [15] Agamben, State of Exception, 70.
    [16] Agamben, Homo Sacer, 9; 31-32; 82-86.
    [17] Giorgio Agamben, “What is a Dispositif?” at http://www.egs.edu/faculty/giorgio-agamben/articles/what-is-a-dispositif/part-1/

    [wp_biographia user=”pryan”]

    Outreach Grant Conference Report: “Child’s Play: Multi-Sensory Histories of Children and Childhood in Japan and Beyond”

    From Sabine Frühstück (University of California at Santa Barbara), who organized the workshop:

    On February 27-28, 2015, SHCY helped to sponsor an international workshop on “Child’s Play: Multi-Sensory Histories of Children and Childhood in Japan and Beyond” at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Organized by Sabine Frühstück, the workshop brought together scholars from History, Anthropology, Sociology, and Cultural Studies from Europe, Japan, and the United States. The ten papers were organized in several sessions on Playing + Games, Visual + Writing Cultures, and Visual Cultures, and covered the period from medieval to contemporary Japan.

    A number of papers explored such questions as how the boundaries between adulthood and childhood have been historically drawn, what the place of play and games have been in education, and how children have been sexed and gendered in different settings. Koresawa Hiroaki (Otsuma Women’s University) and Jinno Yuki (Kanto Gakuin University), both expert of the history of toys and the commercialization of childhood, for instance, examined how the proliferation of certain toys might serve as an indication for the changes of attitudes towards children and childhood. Lizbeth Halliday Piel (University of Manchester), Elise Edwards (Butler University), and Aaron Moore (Manchester University) explored the role of play for children’s self-determination from outside play during wartime Japan to contemporary children’s soccer. In papers on the visual culture of childhood, Harald Salomon (Humboldt University) analyzed the subversive potential of films that featured children in the 1920s and 1930s, Sabine Frühstück (University of California at Santa Barbara) presented a paper about the rhetorical and visual mobilization of child innocence in twentieth century publications, and Noriko Manabe (Princeton University) addressed the role of children’s culture in anti-nuclear protest in the aftermath of the 2011 triple disaster in Northeastern Japan. Papers by Kathryn Goldfarb (McMaster University) and Teruyama Junko (Tsukuba University) took up socio-medical questions regarding children who are institutionalized in child welfare facilities and treatment centers for autistic children. A panel discussion with artist Machida Kumi, cultural studies expert Dick Hebdige and anthropologist Jennifer Robertson about the place of children in contemporary Japanese art constituted the final component of the conference.

    Over the course of two days about 200 audience members, including students, scholars, and community members, joined the presenters and engaged in lively discussions. In addition to SHCY, the following institutions and university units provided co-sponsorship: the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts, the Division of Letters and Science, the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, the East Asian Center, and the departments of Art, East Asian Languages & Cultural Studies, History, Sociology, and Anthropology at the University of California at Santa Barbara. For more information about the conference see: http://www.eastasian.ucsb.edu/projects/childs-play/.

    Nation and Childhood(s): The Cultural Politics of the Borders of Childhood

    BORDERS -­‐ VIII Conference on Cultural Studies
    December 3−4, 2015, University of Oulu, Finland

    Nation and Childhood(s): The Cultural Politics of the Borders of Childhood

    Zsuzsa Millei: SPARG, University of Tampere, Finland and The University of Newcastle Australia
    Robert Imre: SPARG, University of Tampere, Finland and The University of Newcastle Australia
    Kirsi Paullina Kallio: SPARG, University of Tampere, Finland

    In this workshop we are examining the limits and possibilities of nationhood and what those limits and possibilities mean for childhood and the experiences of childhood.

    Agency, choice, citizenship, independence, safety, security, precarity, relationality and the myriad of categories that we assume we can deploy to understand childhood and experiences of childhood are all bound by the “realities,” spatiality, sociality and politics of the nation. Childhood as we know it today emerged at the same time as modern nation states were created (Therborn, 1996). Since childhood was not only instrumentalized for continuous nation-­‐building projects but due to its futurity (Jenks, 2006) it became intimately intertwined with the future of the nation. These developments in turn shaped how children experienced their childhoods.

    Their progenitor disciplines are rarely influenced by explorations of conceptions of childhood and experiences of childhood despite the fact that these could also be “suppliers of knowledge” about the social and political (Alanen, 2014, p. 3, Skelton, 2015). Researching childhood and nation therefore could be “a key to a more comprehensive understanding of society at large” (Strandell, 2010, p. 179) and could serve as a diagnostic tool for testing and grappling with how larger socio-­political processes are taking shape and continue to operate (Stephens, 1995).

    We invite critical analyses of the ways that this nexus between concepts of nation and childhood, the categories surrounding childhood and the experiences of childhood operate in the contemporary world, and have operated in the past. The workshop focuses on any aspect of the cultural politics of shifting borders of childhood and the nation.

    Paper proposals (max 300 words) should be sent to rajat@oulu.fi If you have any question, please email: Zsuzsa.Millei@uta.fi
    The deadline for the Call for Papers is 17 August 2015.

    A workshop of two hours could contain four papers max. This way each presenter will get at least 30 min of time (out of which 15-­20 min are reserved for the actual presentation.
    If you have any inquiries please address to Zsuzsa.Millei@uta.fi

    Paper proposals (max 300 words) should be sent to rajat@oulu.fi by the 17th of August 2015.

    Unheard Learners: Children and Youth Experiences in Neoliberal Schools

    Call for Manuscripts

    The Journal of Critical Education Policy Studies 
    Special Issue: December 2015

    Guest Editors: Debbie Sonu, Hunter College, City University of New York and Julie Gorlewski, State University of New York at New Paltz.

    Chief and Managing Editor: Professor Dave Hill, Research Professor of Education at Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford, England

    The Journal of Critical Education Policy Studies (JCEPS) and guest editors Debbie Sonu and Julie Gorlewski are seeking manuscripts for a special issue that is scheduled for publication in December 2015.

    This special issue, entitled “Unheard Learners: Children and Youth Experiences in Neoliberal Schools,” aims to feature the work of established and emerging scholars from a variety of disciplines who explore school reform and schooling experiences from the standpoint of children and youth in public and private K-12 institutions from any socio-economic, cultural, or geographic location within the United States.

    We invite research articles that draw from empirical work, as well as conceptual or theoretical papers that use in some form the direct perspectives of children and youth as learners in the current context of neoliberal school cultures, including but not limited to issues of testing, discipline, relationships, authority, states of being, curriculum, and pedagogy. Contributors may take up a wide range of theoretical frameworks, including feminist, Marxist, postcolonial, poststructural, psychoanalytic, critical, and historical lenses to present divergent perspectives that link children and youth with the urgent and immediate changes that are impacting schools today.

    Full manuscripts of 6000-8000 words are expected for submission.


    Submission Deadline: October 1, 2015
    Notification by: October 15
    Reviews returned by: October 15
    Final Revisions due: November 1
    Publication date: December 7

    All submissions must strictly adhere to JCEPS style guidelines:www.jceps.com/submissions. Manuscripts must have a title, name of author(s), university/institutional affiliation including city, state (if USA), country, abstract (150 words), key words (5-7), main document, references, and at the end of the manuscript, author/writer details, and correspondence information.

    All inquiries can be made to either dsonu@hunter.cuny.edu orgorlewsj@newpaltz.edu.

    2015 Grace Abbott Book Award Winner Announced

    The recipient of the Grace Abbott Book Award for the best book published in the history of children and youth in 2014 is Ellen Boucher’s, Empire’s Children: Child Emigration, Welfare, and the Decline of the British World, 1869–1967 (Cambridge, 2014).

    The committee was deeply impressed by Prof. Boucher’s study of how deep cultural understandings of preserving a “greater Britain” were at the center of the emigration of poor children from England to settler communities in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Rhodesia and South Africa between the late 1860s and the late 1960s. The idea that a “civilized” people would countenance the removal of children from their immediate families (even with parental consent) goes dramatically against contemporary understandings about child nurture and family well-being. Yet Boucher’s research painstakingly reconstructs why such an initiative was once considered benevolent, enlightened, and progressive. In addition to giving us a close account of how public officials and other self-appointed “child savers” implemented this vision, oral histories with the adults whose formative years were spent on the last frontiers of the British empire add nuance and complexity to our understanding of how children responded to such enterprises, undertaken without their permission and with a benevolence that had mixed within it the more obviously self-interested motives of adults in London and in the dominion lands. Finally, in accounting for why such efforts came to an end, Empire’s Children adds significantly to our understanding of twentieth century nationalisms, the decolonization process and the evolution of social policy across national borders.

    The members of the selection committee were Ben Keppel (chair), Kristine Alexander, and Luke Springman. Prof. Boucher will receive $500 and a plaque.​

    2nd Childhood Studies Colloquium

    The 2nd Childhood Studies Colloquium will be held in Dunedin on 20th and 21st October 2015 on the theme: What does Childhood Studies mean for research, policy and practice?

    Children and young people deal with a vast range of widening inequalities in their social and physical environments. Researchers from many disciplines, practitioners, policy makers and activists often work individually to improve the life of our young citizens. While children and young people’s economic, social, cultural and physical wellbeing lie at the heart of such efforts, debates continue about what working under the umbrella term of “Childhood Studies” actually means theoretically and practically to address the pressing issues facing children and young people in the 21st century.

    This colloquium will provide an opportunity reflect on how we conceptualise and put childhood studies into diverse practices. Critical reflections on, and discussions about, the ways forward to improve and contribute to all aspects of children and young people’s wellbeing here in Aotearoa and across the globe lie at the heart of the colloquium.

    This interdisciplinary colloquium will be of relevance and interest to a wide range of participants including academics, researchers, students, advocates, policy makers and practitioners.

    The colloquium follows on from the very successful 1st Childhood Studies Colloquium held in Auckland in November last year. The 2015 Colloquium is being co-hosted by the University of Otago Children and Young People as Social Actors Research Cluster, the Children’s Issues Centre and the organisers of the 1st Colloquium. We are grateful to the University of Otago Humanities Divison for their generous financial support for this event. The 20th anniversary of the Children’s Issues Centre will also be celebrated at the Colloquium.

    Our three keynote speakers will be making the following presentations:

    · Professor Nigel Thomas, Professor of Childhood and Youth Research, School of Social Work, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, England: Recognition, capability and children’s participation in society: A new move in childhood studies?
    · Associate Professor Affrica Taylor, Geographies of Education and Childhood, University of Canberra, Australia: What does the more-than-human turn mean for childhood studies research?
    · Alison Cleland, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law, University of Auckland; Chair, Action for Children and Youth Aotearoa: Social justice for Aotearoa’s children: A child rights framework.

    Abstracts are due by 3 July to 2015csc@otago.ac.nz. Any inquiries should be directed to the Children’s Issues Centre – Ph: (03) 479 5038. Email: 2015csc@otago.ac.nz.

    2015 Fass-Sandin Award Winners Announced!

    Congratulations to the following winners for articles published in Scandinavian languages:

    Karin Zetterqvist Nelson, “From children of the Nation to individuals in their own right,” Scandia (2012: 2). Scandia is a peer-reviewed journal for historical research that was founded in 1928 in Lund and publishes Swedish and Nordic research (sometimes also in English). It was founded to promote historical analyses in the Annales School tradition based on critical analyses of primary sources.

    Olle Widhe, “’The Battle Is Ours!’ A Study of Olof Fryxell’s Snow Castle: a Tale for Countryside Boys and the Revival of Gothicism in 19th Century Swedish Children’s Literature” (Samlaren 2013). Samlaren is the oldest peer-reviewed, literary journal in Sweden. Published by the Swedish Society for Literature in Uppsala ince 1880, it publishes studies on Swedish and Nordic literature.

    Each author will receive a plaque and $250. The selection committee was comprised of Bengt Sandin, Ning de Coninck-Smith, Eva Österberg, and Niels Finn Christiansen.

    CHC Episode 13: Becoming An Historian of Childhood

    CHILDHOOD: History and Critique (CHC) is a series of interviews, commentary, and happenings in historical studies of childhood presented by Dr. Patrick J. Ryan, Kings University College at Western University, Canada.

    [gn_spoiler title=”Audio of Patrick J. Ryan’s Conversation with Stephanie McBride-Schreiner and Kristen McCabe Lashua ” open=”1″ style=”2″]
    audio-file-16Patrick J. Ryan’s conversation with Stephanie McBride-Schreiner and Kristen McCabe Lashua, part 1 (.mp3)
    audio-file-16Patrick J. Ryan, Stephanie McBride-Schreiner, and Kristen McCabe Lashua, part 2 (.mp3)


    [gn_spoiler title=”Conversation Transcript” open=”0″ style=”2″]
    Transcript coming soon!

    [gn_spoiler title=”Commentary by Patrick J. Ryan” open=”1″ style=”2″]
    Click to download CHC Episode 13
    In 2014, I chaired a search committee for a tenure-track position.  We received 112 complete applications.  Of these about 100 fit the formal qualifications, and over 30 presented profiles that included prizes, awards, and peer-reviewed publications.  My records indicate that 49 candidates were ranked by at least one committee member in the top-12 (while 21 were so ranked by two or more members).

    In hyper-competitive situations, decision-making begins to feel arbitrary; at best, delicate phrases like “departmental fit” gain a stronger foothold. 

    Rejection_Letter_1998I recall the predictions of the early 1990s.  A wave of faculty retirements would open-up career opportunities for younger academics.  Things would get better.  How long could they remain as they were in 1998 when Columbia’s Alan Brinkley kindly explained to me that their job-search had been swamped with over 400 applicants?[1]  Since then, many have come to the conclusion that the difficulties facing new PhDs will persist as long as scholarly labour is organized as a pyramid of excellence supplied according to an ethos of educational opportunity.

    Though varying by state or province, North American funding formulas historically encouraged institutions to increase graduate enrolment or rewarded them for producing advanced degrees.[2]  Student choice, bolstered by various government assistance programs, informed by free, independent information about costs and quality remains the American way to regulate enrolment and program quality.  Alternatives to this are not obviously better – at least to me.  If we impose limits upon the production of graduate degrees by projecting demands for workers with a given level of training other questions arise.[3]  Would such a system respond to change well?  Do we want the university be an instrument of the labour market as determined by governmental rationality?  How would over-arching metrics value basic (non-instrumental), subversive, or unpopular research programmes in the arts, humanities, and social sciences?


    If solutions are not immediately available, there has been a general recognition that graduate education in the humanities deserves re-examination.[4]  Completing the doctorate in history usually takes 7 or 8 years.  But only half of American graduate students who pursue it succeed; and, this seems to be an historically high rate of success.  For every two new PhDs in history, each year American universities advertise less than one academic position.  Unfortunately, it appears that many (about a third) of these full-time positions are limited-term and/or non-tenure-track.[5]

    A clear statistical picture has been difficult to assemble, but my guess is that perhaps two or three full-time, tenure-track positions are available for each class of sixteen doctoral students in history.[6]  The odds are lower for the majority of them, because the appointment rate is skewed in favour of the most prestigious programs.  There is also tremendous variation by specialization and period.  This daunting portrait of full-time and tenure-track employment scarcity frames a set of labour disputes and debates.

    Since 1975 the proportion of persons working part-time in American faculties of higher education has swelled from about 23% to about 42%.[7]  According to the U.S. Department of Education, in 2009 three-quarters of the U.S. instructional workforce in higher education was employed in contingent, non-tenure track, often part-time teaching positions.  This second figure, lumps everyone together – from graduate students marking papers to emeriti teaching a single class.  Statistical snapshots of this messy business make it appear cleaner and more transparent than it is.  Those who have worked as a ‘part-timer’ or hired them (I have done both) know the underbelly of a system where ABD and new PhDs teach for years while they attempt to complete their dissertations or book projects with a piecemeal combination of small grants and short-term teaching contracts.  For these people class size is large, instructional support is weak, and benefits are scarce.  In 2009, about 40% of them reported having no health insurance.[8]


    In a recent report to the AHA, Wood and Townsend emphasized that general unemployment for those who earn doctorates in history is very low – as it is throughout the social sciences and humanities.[9]  Yet, the primary questions are not about whether someone who holds a masters or doctoral degree in literature, sociology, philosophy, or history can find any job.  They are about the teaching load, pay, benefits, security, and likelihood of progression for those occupying the lower levels of the academic hierarchy in the Universities and Colleges where most of us work.

    Should students accept a merry-go-round of insecurity to take a stab at the brass ring?

    This question underlies the dissatisfaction across North American campuses, and fuels events such as National Adjunct Walkout Day (Feb. 25, 2015), the NLRB’s recent decision to review the rights of graduate assistants to unionize, and a long line of disputes and organizing efforts at places as different as Yale, Southern Illinois University – Carbondale, NYU, Bentley University (Boston), UC-Berkeley, and the University of Toronto.

    While union activity, professional organization, and public policy are the means for improving the conditions described above, I wonder how students completing their doctorates in history today view the situation.  What implications do these pressures have for an emergent field like the history of childhood and youth?  To explore these questions, in March of 2015 I interviewed two students whose academic work seemed strong to me – but with whom I had no previous connection.

    Stephanie McBride-Schreiner is a student of Rachel Fuchs and earned her PhD in November of 2014 from Arizona State University’s school of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious studies.  Her dissertation was entitled, “Medicalizing Childhood: Pediatrics, Public Health, and Children’s Hospitals in Nineteenth-Century Paris and London.”  She is pursuing a career in academic publishing and public education.

    Kristen McCabe Lashua will defend her dissertation in April 2015 at the University of Virginia’s Corcoran Department of History.  She is working with legal historian Paul Holliday and her dissertation is entitled, “Children at the Birth of Empire, 1600-1760.”  She has recently landed a tenure-track position at a small liberal arts college in southern California.

    I asked them to situate their doctoral research; I was especially interested in why they came to explore the history of childhood.  The stories they tell (of course) are particular, but they share characteristics with other scholars who have appeared on CHC.  They emphasized that the “sources” and the experience of archival research was the primary reason why historical questions about children became significant for them.

    Stephanie described a movement from a career in organizations advocating for and helping children toward an historical interest in these social policies.  Along the way, her focus began to shift toward the people utilizing institutions – including the children.   Kristen described having an interest in empire and the Atlantic world, but she found something unexpected:  the program of the Virginia Company to bind-out pauper children and youths to colonial households.  Paying attention to childhood opened up a set of questions about American settlement, labour, and philanthropy that she had not previously considered.

    Stephanie and Kristen do not speak about their research instrumentally – as a career.  Nor, did they say their interest in childhood flowed from established structures, programs, or organizations.  It was a “journey of discovery” to borrow Stephanie’s phrase.  Their work became meaningful as it helped them make sense of the world.  It seems to me that narrating our efforts in this way lies at the heart of modern scholarly, artistic, and scientific ethos.  Academics might be alienated from some aspects of the educational system, but we personally identify with our research.  We are supposed to be icons of DWYL mantra (do what you love) despite the state of things.

    Some have argued that these scholarly sensibilities explain why adjuncts and part-timers remain in unfavourable relations of labour.  It is like being in a bad marriage.  By the time new PhDs arrive at the limited-term or part-time teaching juncture, they have invested so much energy, time, and resources in their journey that heading in a new direction would be like abandoning who they have become.

    There is merit to this argument, but it seems a bit over the top to position graduate students and new PhDs as “indentured servants” labouring under a false consciousness.  Some portray them as victims of an “academic cult”  who need “de-programming.”  If this is a fair way to frame the problem – I must be brain-washed too.  Is it foolish to seek a critical distance from a  world of governmental techniques and market measures – or – to value the pursuit of knowledge more than material wealth?  I know – it is easy for tenured faculty to mouth such lofty thoughts.  But, should we attack these ideals as if they merely justified relations of domination?[10]  If seeking work as a labour of love makes one vulnerable to inequity and more willing to endure insecurity, it seems perverse to locate the fault in the bonds of our affections.  Are they not the angels of our better natures?

    Admittedly, the academy should not be painted as a peaceable kingdom.  Stephanie and Kristen have not been hoodwinked by any such imagery.  Stephanie indicated that her research experience had a transformative quality, but the University never became a limit to her horizons.  This might be partly due to her experience prior to graduate studies, but she credits the public history program at ASU with helping her develop alternative career paths.  She initially thought of these courses as a “safety valve,” but she found the work in museums and in academic publishing stimulating and rewarding.

    Kristen addressed the campus conflict and job scarcity directly.  It is an emotional trap, she explained, to wear a stigma of failure if you never gain a tenure-track job at a “Research-I” university.  These opportunities simply are too few.  She also rejected the argument (with its legal implications) that graduate studies is an apprenticeship that justifies current conditions.  Since future returns are unlikely or significantly limited, the demand for programs and institutions to treat students as rights-bearing workers becomes compelling.

    Professional associations, universities, and graduate programs are trying to respond to the larger structural problems.  Kristen indicated in the years she has been at the University of Virginia, the graduate program substantially reduced enrolment (from the low twenties to around ten per class).  Similar reductions have been announced at other schools since the economic collapse of 2008.

    For a long time I have hoped for more positive alternatives.  Might developing masters programs in history that include teacher certification, broaden the career options for PhD students who find themselves at a dead-end?  Unfortunately, the requirements of teacher certification currently have very little to do with academic training in the scholarly disciplines.  A lot rests on the wall separating the two.  Even if this changed, a colleague recently reminded me that secondary schools are not exactly begging for more applicants.

    These issues do not have easy solutions.  Perhaps this is partly because of the complacency of the professoriate.  Yet – government spending priorities and demographically-driven enrolment patterns frame the situation too.  We also have conflicting ideas about what the University is supposed to do for people.  If you think the global expansion of opportunity in higher education (for which the U.S. provided the model after WWII) remains a praiseworthy project, it will be difficult to celebrate a massive reduction in access to graduate programs in the social sciences and humanities.  Some may respond to the crisis by writing blogs listing “100 reasons not to go to graduate school.”  For others, it will remain difficult to imagine who we might have become, had we not.
    [i] Between 1998-02, I conducted an aggressive search for positions in American history, social policy, and education — applying for about 50 positions in each annual cycle.  Reviewing my records, many the responses I received indicated that the search committee had received over 100 applications – the high was 1,200 reported by the University of Minnesota.
    [ii] See Michael S. Teitelbaum, Falling Behind?:  Boom, Bust, and the Global Race for Scientific Talent (PA:  Princeton University Press, 2014): 155-171.
    [iii] These issues are complex.  See Maresi Nerad and Barbara Evans, eds., Globalization and Its Impacts on the Quality of PhD Education:  Forces and Forms in Doctoral Education Worldwide (Sense Publishers, 2014).
    [iv] Ronald G. Ehrenberg et al, Educating Scholars: Doctoral Education in the Humantities  (Princeton, 2010).
    [v] A slightly more favourable estimate is offered by L. Maren Wood and Robert B. Townsend, “The Many Careers of History PhDs:  A Study of Job Outcomes, Spring 2013,”.   Even according to them, if around 75% of Ph.D.s land some sort of academic position, only two-thirds of these are in tenure-track 4-year schools.  And these figures seem difficult to explain if the production of doctoral degrees in history is double all academic positions in the discipline (including the limited-term appointments).  See:  http://www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/january-2014/the-2013-jobs-report-number-of-aha-ads-dip-new-experiment-offers-expanded-view

    [vi] You will find vastly varying estimates based upon slight different ways to pose this question.  I followed this logic:  (1) half of the doctoral students in history never complete the degree; (2) universities provide teaching/research positions for less than half of these; (3) and about 1/3 of these positions are non-tenure track.
    [vii] See John W. Curtis and Saranna Thornton, “Here’s the News: Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, 2012-13,” Academe (March-April, 2013): 7.
    [viii]According to Coalition on the Academic Workforce, “A Portrait of Part-Time Faculty Members” (June 2012) four out of five part-time temporary faculty had been in this situation for three or more years (over half for six or more years).  Also see Robert Townsend, “Underpaid and Underappreciated: A Portrait of Part-Time Faculty” Perspectives on History (Sept 2012).
    [ix] I respect Townsend’s and Wood’s expertise in this area, but I have several concerns about “The Many Careers.”  First, it is not clear how we should interpret high rates of employment in diverse careers for those who hold the doctorate in history.  One might think that a general weakness in the profession creates an environment where many who earn the highest academic qualifications in our discipline have to do whatever they can to get along.  We end-up everywhere.  Second, I have questions about their data collection methods.  A reliance on the AHA directory and social networks online for professional data might bias the sample toward those who are successful and/or trying to stay in the game.  Third, the report avoids critical comparative questions about differential economic outcomes or labour conditions.  For talented middle-class young people in affluent societies there is a choice: sales, business, management, law, social work, medicine, science, scholarship, the arts?  U.S. labour statistics suggest that post-secondary teachers face substantially higher levels of insecurity and lower returns than those who hold comparably advanced credentials.  For example, in the years following 2008 the National Association for Law Placement in the U.S.  wrote a series of alarming reports because “1st-year-out” employment requiring the Bar began a multi-year decline from 75-65 percent.  A direct comparison for historians isn’t possible, but one could read Wood’s and Townsend’s data as suggesting that the odds of landing a position practicing law after passing the Bar (even after the ‘collapse’) remain 30-50% higher in the first year out than they are for the first 10 years out pursuing a secure academic position in History.  The defense that historians have many options outside the academy doesn’t hold water, because the same applies to many professions – especially those holding the JD who have passed the Bar.
    [x] Maresi Nerad and Joseph Cerny, “From Rumors to Facts: Career Outcomes of English Ph.D.s,” Communicator v. 32 (Fall 1999): 1-11;


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    CHC Episode 12: Governmentality

    CHILDHOOD: History and Critique (CHC) is a series of interviews, commentary, and happenings in historical studies of childhood presented by Dr. Patrick J. Ryan, Kings University College at Western University, Canada.

    [gn_spoiler title=”Audio of Patrick J. Ryan’s Conversation with Karen Smith” open=”1″ style=”2″]
    audio-file-16Audio of Patrick J. Ryan’s conversation with Karen Smith

    [gn_spoiler title=”Conversation Transcript” open=”0″ style=”2″]
    Transcript coming soon!

    [gn_spoiler title=”Commentary by Patrick J. Ryan” open=”1″ style=”2″]
    Click to download a PDF of CHC Episode 12
    Karen Smith’s The Government of Childhood: Discourse Power, and Subjectivity (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) provides a synthesis of three major bodies of literature: (1) the governmentality studies inspired by the later works of Michel Foucault [1]; (2) the sociology of childhood – utilizing Christ Jenks’ distinction between the Dionysian and Apollonian images of the child [2]; (3) and vast range of works in the history of ideas and politics – with a particular debt to the work of Michael Allen Gillespie. [3] I was struck by the range of Karen’s competencies and her ability to forge links between distinct – sometime difficult – fields of study. Her notes alone (over 1,600 of them) should be useful for anyone interested in the many intersections between the history of childhood, the sociology of childhood, governmentality studies, political theology, social policy & legal studies, and related fields.

    Cover art for Government of ChildhoodThe central claim of The Government of Childhood is historical: contemporary childhood can not be adequately grasped without an appreciation of the rise of biopower and the “governmentalized” state during the early modern period. Here, Karen sees herself following a “well-trodden” path. This is true, but she does so by navigating existing research in interesting ways. Her synthesis utilizes an impressive range of existing historical literature on childhood, families, and the state to outline what the concept of governmentality implies for childhood. In doing this, she draws upon Gillespie’s Theological Origins of Modernity (which might be read along side other important synthetic works, such as Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age or Stephen Greenblatt’s The Swerve). Her efforts carry two important implications: (1) secular modernity can not longer be imagined simplistically as the death of God. By extension contemporary childhood is recognizable only if one has a better understanding of the theological politics of modernity; (2) the history of ideas and discursive practices is indispensable when we address larger questions about the shape of modern childhood as a whole. [4]

    The book recounts the ways renaissance humanism, the Protestant reformation, and enlightenment science contributed to an increasingly intense concern with childhood socialization. These movements arose as part of a shift in pastoral religious forms and state sovereignty and produced novel disciplinary armaments. These disciplinary techniques thrived most notably within changes to schools and families between the 15th and 18th centuries. Drawing on Foucault, she writes about the movement of the family serving as a “model” corresponding to the state’s sovereign power toward it becoming a “tool” in the state’s package of governmental regulations.

    The Government of Childhood argues that the increasing disciplinary sophistication of early modern schools and families strengthened and drew upon an image of children as wilful, pleasure seeking, and irrational. Karen uses terms first advanced by Chris Jenks to name this image, the Dionysian child. In my own view, there was an ancient association between the child and irrational folly. What seems more novel and disruptive is the early-modern confrontation between the rationalist/reformer Dionysian images of childhood and their Apollonian opposites: the romantic pictures of children innocent of passion and jealousy, authentic, and well-ordered from birth. Be this as it may, the book persuasively situates Jenks’ Dionysian-Appollonian contrast historically. The Dionysian image of childhood becomes intensified during the 16th- and 17th-centuries, before the development of a Apollonian response in 18th- and 19th-century childhood thought and practice. The well-known contrast between rationalism and romanticism would be a sensible way capture the timeline. The book’s description of the opening-up of a Dionysian-Apollonian opposition suggests that it has been a point of long-term continuity working itself into the present. The two might be thought of as part of a conditioning-authenticity couplet. [5]

    In the last chapter of the book, “Governing the Responsible Child,” Smith argues that a late-20th-century shift toward seeing children as competent agents who participate in their own representation altered and partially displaced the structure of discourse framed by the Dionysian-Apollonian dialectic. Indeed, some have hailed that a “paradigm shift” as happened when we see children as social subjects. And they tie this shift to a ‘new sociology of childhood.’ [6] To capture this movement, Smith names the agentive child, the child as a social actor, an Athenian child.

    I asked her why she chose the term “Athenian.” If the Dionysian-Apollonian childhood opposition developed from the early-modern shift within Christian pastoralism which produced disciplinary forms of power, I wonder if she might be suggesting that the contemporary agentive child has a family resemblance to what Foucault called the games of citizenship rooted in the ancient polis – Athens primary among them? [7] Karen did not have that connection in mind; she was thinking of the story of Athena – a god who emerged fully formed from the forehead of her father – Zeus. The Athenian child is a figure who has little use for growing up.

    It seems to me that by casting a major theme within contemporary childhood research as a pre-figuring category of a child born fully formed, Smith has presented an important opportunity for researchers to rethink their assumptions. While reading the book, I thought there might be a potential bite to this concept that was not fully delivered. Implicitly the Athenian child historicises the promises of progress that are advanced when social scientists say they offer a new and improved (or post-whatever) way to explore childhood.

    This is only my reading of what the Athenian child might do, and I am not neutral on these matters. When I asked Karen Smith about this, she wished to specify the target carefully. Calling attention to the uncritical ways that the idea of the agentive child can be utilized, she said:

    “It’s really easy for discourses around children’s agency to get colonized and… taken-up within discursive strategies that are rooted in salvation and malleability and potentiality. So [the Athenian child] is not necessarily a critique of the new sociology of childhood (which I find very stimulating and interesting) but perhaps I suppose there’s a neglect in some of the childhood literature in terms of the link between freedom and agency and the exercise of power… I think there’s probably a political naiveté in some of this literature… [but] it is incredibly difficult to untangle ourselves from relations of power-knowledge at any point in time.”

    She continued by pointing-out that the governmentality literature casts a light upon the links between an essentialist understanding of human agency and neo-liberal politics. In the United States, and increasingly in Europe, she emphasized that social policy “…is very much rooted in activation, and individual responsibility for self-improvement.” Whatever merits these ideas have, they occlude the operation of power-knowledge under modernity. In Smith’s words, “…what the new sociology of the child hasn’t done is help us escape very far from the liberal model of subjectivity… it’s challenging it, but it doesn’t represent a serious enough challenge to it.”

    In sum, The Government of Childhood takes on a wide range of ideas across multiple disciplinary concerns. The scope of reading required to compose such a book is impressive. From my perspective, the result draws forth a couple of significant themes. It advances the notion that a serious engagement with the history of ideas is a fruitful avenue for the critical interdisciplinary study of childhood.   In the process, it also calls childhood scholars to reconsider the liberal maxim that research should proceed around the circle that children are best understood as competent agents who make their own worlds.

    Recent articles and chapters by Karen Smith:

    Smith, K. “Producing Governable Subjects: Images of Childhood Old and New” Childhood: a journal of global research vol. 19, no. 1 (2012):24-37.

    Smith, K. “Sociological Perspectives on Childhood” in Early Childhood Education and Care: An Introduction for Students in Ireland edited by M. Mhic Mhathúna and M. Taylor (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 2012).


    [1] In addition to leading interpretations and applications provided by Mitchell Dean, Colin Gordon, and Nikolas Rose, those interested in governmentality should see Picador’s excellent series that reconstructs and translates the lectures given by Foucault at The Collège de France from 1972-1984. Several of these books are of acutely important here, including: Society Must Be Defended (1975-76); Security, Territory, Population (1977-78); The Birth of Biopolitics (1978-79).
    [2] Chris Jenks, Childhood second edition (New York, NY: Routledge, 2005).
    [3] Michael Allen Gillespie, The Theological Origins of Modernity (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2008).
    [4] Gillespie’s work is utilized conceptually throughout, but see especially The Government of Childhood, 76-101.
    [5] See Patrick J. Ryan, “Discursive Tensions on the Landscape of Modern Childhood,” Educare Vetenskapliga Skrifter (2011: 2): 11-37.
    [6] For a review see, Patrick J. Ryan, “How New is the ‘New’ Social Studies of Childhood? The Myth of a Paradigm Shift,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History, vol. 38, no. 4 (Spring, 2008): 553-576.
    [7] Foucault formulates the contrast between pastoral power (shepherd-flock game) and the polis (city-citizenship game) in Security, Territory, and Populations edited by Michel Senelbart, trans. Graham Burchell (New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007).

    [wp_biographia user=”pryan”]

    CFP: Memories of (post) Socialist Childhood and Schooling

    This book aims to bring together those who had first-hand experiences with and accounts of (post)socialist schooling and childhood as cultural insiders to engage in remembering and (re)narrating their experiences. We understand —memory not as history but as “a lived process of making sense of time and the experience of it” to explore “relations between public and private life, agency and power, and the past, present and future” (Keightley, 2010, p. 55-56). The focus is on the exploration of how childhood and schooling were constituted and experienced in (post)socialist contexts and (re)narrated at the present. Childhood as a socio-historical construct provides an analytical incision into the social issues and concerns regarding historical socialism, cultural/ideological changes, and subject formation. As Gonick & Gannon (2014, p.6) argue, “rather than truth of particular lives, … we are interested in using memory stories to examine the ways in which individuals are made social, how we are discursively, affectively, materially constituted in particular moments that are inherently unstable” and to open up ways to explore “how things come to matter in the ways they do” (Davies et al., 2013).

    For more information or to express your interest to participate in this book project, please contact Iveta Silova (isilova@gmail.com), Zsuzsa Millei (zsuzsa.millei@uta.fi), Olena Aydarova (aydarova@msu.edu).

    Full details are available in a downloadable PDF of the Call for Chapters.