4th Global Conference: Childhood (July 2014: Oxford, United Kingdom)

full name / name of organization: 
Dr. Rob Fisher/ Inter-Disciplinary.Net

4th Global Conference

Thursday 17th July – Saturday 19th July 2014
Mansfield College, Oxford, United Kingdom

Call for Presentations:

This inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary conference project seeks to investigate and explore all aspects of childhood. The nature of childhood and its significance as a separate phase of life is viewed quite differently in different cultures and in different historical eras. This conference will look at all aspects of the experience of childhood as well as the social, cultural, historical and psychological perceptions of children and childhood. We encourage submissions on any theme to do with the nature of childhood, including, but not limited to the ones listed below.

1. Definitions of Childhood
-How has the concept of childhood and the discourse on childhood developed over time?
-How is childhood viewed differently across different cultures and eras? Is childhood socially constructed?
-How are the boundaries of childhood defined and implemented and what are the effects on children and adults?
-Is 'childhood' a singular category or is it composed of quite distinct multiple categories? How does defining childhood also define adulthood and vice versa?

2. Childhood and Development
-How do we identify aspects of development in childhood (physical, psychological, emotional, intellectual, moral, social, etc.)?
-How do institutions effectively nurture the unique developmental needs of children in schools, medical centres, legal systems, etc.?

3. Children and Relationships
-What are the dynamics of children's relationships with their family, peers, community and social institutions?
-How are children's social relationships either experienced positively or negatively?
-What types of relationships do children establish with animals and nature?

4. Perceptions and Depictions of Childhood

Adults on Children:
-How do adults perceive children and childhood?
-How do they perceive their own experiences of childhood? (With nostalgia? embarrassment? amusement?)

Children on Children:
-How do children perceive themselves?
-How can children participate in research on children?

Culture on Children:
-How are children depicted in academia, in the media, in the visual arts, or in myths, folk tales, folk songs, graffiti?
-Children and literature: what are the characteristics of literature that is "for children?' How did "children's literature" develop? What role does it play in children's lives?
-How does literature contribute to defining the boundaries of childhood?

5. Children and society: the larger world
-Children and education: What issues concern how children are educated?
Children and leisure: How is involvement in recreational activities (including sports) either beneficial or harmful to children?
-Children and the law: Does the criminal justice system effectively deal with children both as victims of crime and as perpetrators of crime?
-Children and rights: What rights do children have in virtue of being children? To what extent must the choices of children be respected? How do rights perspectives view children?
-Children and gender: How are children socialized into gender-specific roles? What are the issues and concerns connected to how children form gender and sexual identities?
-What is the nature of children's relationship to the world of work?
-Children and technology: how does the constantly evolving landscape of technology impact the lives and experiences of children?
-Childhood in transition: how does adolescence bridge the child/adult world and to what extent are adolescents caught in a double-bind of being children and being adults?

6. Children as Consumers: Objects and materialism
-How are globalisation and the spread of capitalism (consumerism) affecting childhood?
-What issues are raised by children's consumerism?
-How do advertisements depict children and what are children's responses to them/ what is children's reading of them?
-What do objects made specifically for children tell us about our perception of childhood?
-How has the toy industry evolved with changing conceptions of childhood? Is it addressed only to children?
-How are adult objects adapted to children?
-How do children modify object's uses to create new meanings?

7. Childishness
-What is "Childishness"?
-How do we distinguish among childishness, child-likeness, and infantilism? Are there gender differences in relation to these concepts?
-How have these concepts developed in different cultures and eras?
-What distinctions do we draw between a child's and adult's childishness or between male and female childishness?

8. The values of Childhood
-How do adults perceive children's values?
-What are children's values in different societies and cultures?
-How has the perception of gender affected children in different cultures and over time?
-How do we distinguish between collective and individual children's values?
-How can children's values help us better understand the role of children in a family and society?

In addition to individual submissions the Steering Group also welcomes the submission of pre-formed panel proposals.

In order to support and encourage interdisciplinarity engagement, it is our intention to create the possibility of starting dialogues between the parallel events running during this conference. Delegates are welcome to attend up to two sessions in each of the concurrent conferences. We also propose to produce cross-over sessions between these groups – and we welcome proposals which deal with the relationship between Deception and Childhood and Videogame Cultures.

What to Send
Proposals will also be considered on any related theme. 300 word proposals should be submitted by Friday 14th February 2014. If a proposal is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper of no more than 3000 words should be submitted by Friday 16th May 2014. Proposals should be submitted simultaneously to both Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word or RTF formats with the following information and in this order:

a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in programme, c) email address, d) title of proposal, e) body of proposal, f) up to 10 keywords.
E-mails should be entitled: CHILD4 Proposal Submission.

Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using footnotes and any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold, italics or underline). We acknowledge receipt and answer to all proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you should assume we did not receive your proposal; it might be lost in cyberspace! We suggest, then, to look for an alternative electronic route or resend.

Joint Organising Chairs:

Wendy Turgeon: turgeon@optonline.net
Rob Fisher: child4@inter-disciplinary.net

The conference is part of the Probing the Boundaries programme of research projects. It aims to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore various discussions which are innovative and exciting. All proposals accepted for and presented at the conference must be in English and will be eligible for publication in an ISBN eBook. Selected proposals may be developed for publication in a themed hard copy volume(s). All publications from the conference will require editors, to be chosen from interested delegates from the conference.

Inter-Disciplinary.Net believes it is a mark of personal courtesy and professional respect to your colleagues that all delegates should attend for the full duration of the meeting. If you are unable to make this commitment, please do not submit an abstract for presentation.

For further details of the conference, please visit:

Please note: Inter-Disciplinary.Net is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence