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.

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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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. 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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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:

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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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 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 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.

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.

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:  Jim will be available to talk to prospective authors at the Society for the History of Childhood and Youth conference in Vancouver.

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:

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 If you have any question, please email:
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

Paper proposals (max 300 words) should be sent to by the 17th of August 2015.

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 (, Zsuzsa Millei (, Olena Aydarova (

Full details are available in a downloadable PDF of the Call for Chapters.

SHCY Outreach Grant: Child’s Play: Multi-Sensory Histories of Children and Childhood in Japan and Beyond

The SHCY is proud to be a co-sponsor of the interdisciplinary workshop CHILD’S PLAY: MULTI-SENSORY HISTORIES OF CHILDREN AND CHILDHOOD IN JAPAN AND BEYOND, to be held at the University of California, Santa Barbara, February 27-28, 2015. The workshop is partly funded by a SHCY Outreach Grant.
Workshop website:​

Guest Post: José Pacheco dos Santos Júnior on the Documents of the Labor Court in Brazil

José Pacheco dos Santos Jr. is graduate student (master’s degree) in Economic History at University of São Paulo (USP-Brazil) and researcher at the Laboratory of Social History of Labor in the State University of Southwest Bahia (LHIST / UESB). His research interests are: History of Childhood and Youth, History of Law, Economic History and Social History of Labor, with an emphasis on child labor in the twentieth century, labor laws and Labor Court in Brazil at the time of the civil-military dictatorship. He has a research grant from Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES).

On October 9th, 1967, Uady Bulos, lawyer and representative of Roberto Ramos, a Brazilian single minor boy, visited the office of the Labor Court in Vitória da Conquista (Bahia, Brazil), and recorded a labor complaint against his customer’s workplace, a Regional Radio Station. Bulos claimed that the young man was unjustly suspended services for five days, under the allegation that he had gone to the company in a condition of drunkenness on a Sunday. The failure of the employer to comply with the Consolidation of Labor Laws (CLT), that guaranteed the payment of minimum wage for workers, was also recorded in the initial papers of the lawsuit by the young worker’s lawyer.

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Fun with Dick and Jane: Gender and Childhood

“Fun with Dick and Jane: Gender and Childhood”: A Gender Studies Conference at the University of Notre Dame
South Bend, Indiana
December 4-6, 2014

In recent years, there has been great interest in questions of gender and childhood, ranging from issues around boys wearing princess costumes to school; to Disney princess culture; to parents refusing to announce a baby’s biological sex; to pre-teen children coming out as gay, lesbian, and queer; to toy companies marketing toys by gender; to gender-related bullying, and more.

How are children gendered? How do we account for transgender children? How have ideas about girls and boys changed historically? How are children hailed as gendered consumers? How do schools inculcate ideas about gender? How do children’s books promote ideas about gender? How do changing ideas about parenting relate to children’s gendering?

This conference seeks to explore issues of gender and childhood through multiple lenses and from a wide range of disciplines. We welcome papers on gender and childhood in media, literature, history, anthropology, biology, architecture, philosophy, art history, sociology, education, and more. We are especially open to interdisciplinary approaches.

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Theorizing Childhood: Citizenship, Rights, Participation

Call for Papers
Sociology of Childhood – Theorizing Childhood: Citizenship, Rights, Participation

The Research Network, Sociology of Children and Childhood hereby announces the mid-term symposium which will take place in Modena (Italy) from 21st to 23rd May, 2014. The organisation of the symposium will be undertaken at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia.

The focus of the symposium will be on theorizing childhood, in particular the areas of citizenship, rights and participation, exploring the different and various perspectives that can include these topics in the broader field of childhood studies and Sociology.

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Childhood and Gender in Time

CALL FOR PAPERS: Genesis on Childhood and Gender in Time

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

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

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Representations of Childhood in Comics

CFP: Representations of Childhood in Comics

Childhood is now widely recognized as a social construct (Fass, Jenks, Mintz). As the artifice behind the construction of childhood has been revealed, there has been a marked increase in the analysis of children and childhood in contemporary culture (Demarr and Bakermann, Edelman, Latham, McLennan, Renner, Stockton). Despite the increase in scholarly attention, depictions of childhood in comics and other forms of comic art are ripe for further study. The forthcoming issue of the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, focusing on comics, picturebooks, and childhood, should provide interesting insights into these depictions. Yet there remains plenty of room for consideration regarding how different comics construct childhood. This is an especially interesting area of inquiry given the somewhat vexed association comic books have traditionally maintained with childhood. In an attempt to continue developing the scholarly focus on childhood, as well as comics, we seek proposals for
scholarly articles that analyze, explore and interrogate depictions of childhood in comics or comic art for inclusion in a book-length anthology.

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Guest Post: Adam Golub on Teaching Childhood Through Myth and Counter-Memory

Adam Golub is an associate professor of American Studies at California State University, Fullerton. His syllabus for AMST 420, “Childhood and Family in American Culture,” can be found on his faculty web page.

This semester marks the fourth time I will teach an upper-division American Studies elective called “Childhood and Family in American Culture.” One of my main goals in teaching the course is to help students engage critically with the deep nostalgia and powerful mythology that surrounds childhood in the United States. I want students to reflect on the ways in which the sentimental stories we tell ourselves about childhood—stories of innocence, happiness, comfort, and coming-of-age—tend to obscure the diverse experiences of actual children. One way I teach this disconnect between myth and experience is to start the course by pairing two childhood narratives: one that reinforces the American mythology of childhood, and one that exposes the margins and silences in that mythology.

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Race, Crime, and Children

CFP: Race, Crime, and Children. Special Winter Issue: Red Feather Journal

In the wake of the tragic murder of Trayvon Martin, the young African American teenager killed as he was walking home in suburban Florida, the intersections of youth, crime and race have been brought to the forefront of public discourse and media scrutiny. In this discourse, American youth, and particularly young people of color, are frequently romanticized, demonized and/or criminalized. Red Feather Journal seeks to provide a forum for dialogue among scholars about the intersections of race, crime, children, and the media. How do cultural junctures like Trayvon Martin’s murder and racial profiling bring to the fore popular notions about childhood itself? What part does race play in constructions of, and cultural discourse about, childhood in a global context? Red Feather Journal invites the submission of scholarly articles from a variety of disciplines that explore these issues.

International submissions are encouraged.

Red Feather Journal adheres to the MLA citation system. Authors are welcome to submit articles in other citations systems, with the understanding that, upon acceptance, conversion to MLA is a condition of publication. Red Feather Journal is indexed through EBSCO host and MLA bibliography.

Interested contributors please submit the paper, an abstract, and a brief biography (with full contact information) as attachments in Word to

Deadline for submissions for the Special Winter issue is November 30, 2013.

Interview with Colin Heywood (Univ. of Nottingham)

Colin Heywood on the recent SHCY conference at the University of Nottingham – June, 2013

Professor Colin Heywood of the University of Nottingham is the author of four books, two of which are particularly important for the history of childhood: A History of Childhood: Children and Childhood in the West from Medieval to Modern Times (Polity, 2001); Growing up in France: from the Ancien Régime to the Third Republic (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2007). He served SHCY as host for the 2013 conference in June. On July 22, Patrick Ryan of Kings University College in London, Ontario recorded this interviewed with Professor Heywood about his reflections upon the conference, and for his thoughts about the state of historical research about childhood.

Prof. Heywood Podcast

Children and Globalization: Issues, Policies and Initiatives

Call for Papers:
The 10th Joint Area Centers Symposium: Children and Globalization: Issues, Policies and Initiatives
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
April 10-12, 2014

Keynote Speaker: David Oswell, Department of Sociology, University of London
“After Our Children’s Image: Human Rights, Capital and the Common”

Papers are solicited for the following panels:

* Cross-cultural and historical perspectives on childhood and children
* Children and migration
* Child labor
* International adoption
* Homeless/street children
* Children and sexuality: child marriages, sexual abuse, sex slavery
* Children and war: victims, refugees, child soldiers; children and peacebuilding/conflict resolution
* Children’s rights

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CFP: Journal of Childhood and Religion

The Journal of Childhood and Religion, a peer-reviewed on-line publication of Sopher Press, provides an interdisciplinary forum for scholars representing a wide range of research fields, interests, and perspectives that relate to children and religion. Such fields may include but are not limited to religious studies, biblical studies, the range of human sciences, pastoral psychology, practical theology, pastoral theology, religious education, psychology of religion, sociology of religion, counseling psychology, social work, and cultural studies.

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Podcast: Writing the History of Childhood and Youth in Canada

Here is the audio recording of the HCYG roundtable at the University of Victoria in June 2013: Unraveling Common and Uncommon Threads: Writing the History of Childhood and Youth in Canada / Dénouer les dénominateurs communs et moins communs: Écrire l’histoire de l’enfance et de la jeunesse au Canada.

Listen Here

1. Cynthia Comacchio, Wilfrid Laurier “Chronology, Biology and History: Why Age Matters.” (0:00-12:19)

2. Mona Gleason, UBC: “Beyond the Fetish of ‘Voice’: Theoretical and Methodological Innovation in the History of Children in Canada.” (12:20-27:02)

3. Dominique Marshall, Carleton: “L’action politique des enfants canadiens: Dimensions transnationales, découvertes et suggestions.” (27:03-43:33).

4. Jonathan Anuik, Alberta: “The Futility of the Hypothetical in Canadian Childhood and Youth: Practical Considerations from Education.” (43:34-1:00)

Children and Slavery, Past and Present

Contributions are invited for a forthcoming volume, Small Bonds: Enslaved Children from 1607-2014, currently slated for inclusion in Cambridge’s new series, Slavery Since Emancipation. The essays in this volume will collectively ask how placing children in the forefront of our thinking can change our understanding of how slavery functions in both the past and the present.

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SHCY 2013: Plenary Session

Annmarie Valdes, 3rd year PhD Student at Loyola University recaps the Plenary Session on Day 1 of the conference. This session dealt with the ideas of spaces of childhood.

Plenary June 25, 2013: The Spaces of Childhood: A conversation on rooms as evidence

First I would say that a small blog post cannot fully address the many conversations this plenary will no doubt inspire—including conversations that will occur after the conference.

The presenters of this Plenary each gave a small talk on four key spaces of Childhood: the Library, Museum, School and Orphanage. Each of these spaces included a contextualized account of the arrangement of the space, both as physical space and how this space was a reflection of the cultural, social and economic reality of the world that each of these spaces were conceptualized and used. Although the presenters are careful to distinguish that how spaces are used may not follow the original intention of the space, as it was intended by architects/builders. They also underscore the interplay of power by local and/or regional actors in different regions that these spaces were found. How a particular community or particular individuals appropriate space is an interesting question and can be addressed in part by these micro-histories about space.

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SHCY 2013 recap: Spaces of Integration and Education

Annmarie Valdes, 3rd year PhD Student at Loyola University provides this summary of Session 3 on Spaces of Integration and Education

First Presenter: Francoise Hamlin

Anne Moody and her book Coming of Age in Mississippi. Ms. Hamlin presents an overview of Moody’s life and the personal conflicts about her own activism in her life. Specifically Ms. Hamlin situates Moody and her inner conflicts within the Civil Rights movement. The presenter gave a good account of her fame and her downward spiral—from activism and authorship—then the mental price she paid for her Civil Rights activism, but her trauma from Jim Crow was never repaired. By using the lens of trauma—one gains a nuanced understanding of the personal cost of the Civil Rights movement.

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CFP: Early African American Children’s Literature

Early African American Children’s Literature: An anthology of original essays

African American childhood in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was a fraught proposition. On one hand, African Americans of all ages were infantilized by those in power. On the other hand, evolving constructions of childhood explicitly excluded African Americans: they were not cherubs dependent on motherly love, and they weren’t part of a private domestic sphere, and, the argument ran, they were never going to grow into self-sufficient adulthood. Perhaps it’s no surprise that we have not really thought about African American children’s literature in the years before 1900. Yet as scholars such as Caroline Lavender, Karen Sanchez-Eppler, Courtney Wiekle-Mills, Robin Bernstein and others have shown, literature about childhood and aimed at children were rich sites for conveying—and rejecting—vital concepts of personal and national development that would translate into ideologies of race, class, gender, sexuality and citizenship.

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Job: Research Position at University of Manchester

University of Manchester, Humanities Research Associate
Institution Type: College / University
Location: United Kingdom
Position: Research Professional
Closing date: 4 June 2013
Reference: HUM-02695
Faculty / organisational unit: Humanities
School / Directorate: Arts, Languages and Cultures
Division: History
Salary: 29,541-36,298
Employment type: Fixed term (start date 1st August 2013 for a period of 24 months)
Hours per week: 1 FTE
Location: Oxford Road, Manchester

This post is attached to the AHRC-funded research project, coordinated at The University of Manchester by Dr Peter Cave and Dr Aaron Moore.
This project investigates the experience of childhood, education, and youth in Japan between 1925 and 1945. It will record the memories of about 100 people who lived through this momentous period as children and adolescents, as well as examining surviving diaries of juveniles and other contemporary documents. These oral history and documentary records will be used to build up a picture of juvenile life and education in the period as experienced and remembered. The project examines: social and personal relationships of juveniles; the aims, content, and style of learning in schools; the development of consciousness (especially national consciousness) in juveniles; and the relationship of historical memory and consciousness to ideology and historical discourses.

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Member News: Children, Adults, and Shared Responsibilities

Children, Adults, and Shared Responsibilities: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Perspectives, Cambridge University Press, November 2012.

The book is a collection of essays by Jewish, Christian, and Muslim scholars that underscores the significance of sustained and serious ethical, inter-religious, and inter-disciplinary reflection on children.

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The Child in the World

The Child in the World will be a one day conference on 9 November 2013 held at the V&A Museum of Childhood in London. Dr Karen Wells will be the keynote speaker.

The deadline for paper submissions has been extended to 13 March 2013.

• How have children’s lives been shaped by global processes and events, both past and present?
• How do children understand their place within the world and how has this sense of place changed or remained the same?
• How have children’s lives been shaped by experiences of global travel, of migration and displacement?

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Grace Abbott Best Book Award

Call for Nominations: Best Book on the History of Children and Youth
Grace Abbott Best Book Award Published in Calendar Years 2011 or 2012

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 calendar years 2011 or 2012.
The award of a plaque and a check for $500 US will be presented at the 2013 SHCY Biennial Conference (June 25-27) at Nottingham University, United Kingdom.

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Young People’s Materials and Culture

Call for Papers: Journal of Graduate Research in Young People’s Materials and Culture (JGR)

Based at the University of British Columbia the Journal of Graduate Research in Young People’s Materials and Culture (JGR) is a peer-reviewed open-access e-journal publishing graduate student research in the areas of children’s and young adult literature, childhood studies, and cultural studies related to children and young people.
We are currently selecting manuscripts for our winter 2013 issue. Papers on any children’s or young adult genres are welcome as are papers that discuss other children’s materials such as film, virtual texts, or graphic novels.

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