Multiple Childhoods/Multidisciplinary Perspectives: Interrogating Normativity in Childhood Studies

full name / name of organization: 
Department of Childhood Studies, Rutgers University-Camden

We invite submissions for participation in a conference hosted by the Department of Childhood Studies of Rutgers University in Camden, New Jersey, USA on Multiple Childhoods/ Multidisciplinary Perspectives. As a field, childhood studies has flourished in large part because scholars have recognized the necessity of moving between and beyond traditional academic disciplines and have resisted the idea that there exists one, normative version of childhood common to all. Indeed, Multiple Childhoods/Multidisciplinary Perspectives seeks participation from those who work to counter the presumption or invocation of an unproblematically normative childhood by making visible how varied material and institutional circumstances, ideologies, beliefs and daily practices serve to shape the unfolding lives and experiences of children.

In this spirit, participants are encouraged to interrogate practices and discourses surrounding childhood and childhood studies, asking, for instance: What forms do childhoods take in various social arrangements? How do the dynamics of social class, ethnicity, race, nationality, gender, sexuality, sexual orientation and religion configure notions of "appropriate" and "inappropriate" childhoods? How do children understand various kinds of social difference and inequalities? What about the understandings of researchers, and those who care for or otherwise attend to children? In what ways do conceptualizations of "the child" and of presumed normative childhoods—in research, in the commercial world, in institutional and everyday settings, in literature and discourse—inform the kinds of actions undertaken by and on behalf of children?