CFP: Mapping the Landscapes of Childhood II

Mapping the Landscapes of Childhood II
A Conference Sponsored by the University of Lethbridge’s Institute for Child and Youth Studies (I-CYS)

Venue: The University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada

Date: May 8-10, 2015

We take great pleasure in announcing the second Mapping the Landscapes of Childhood conference, and look forward to continuing the conversations begun at the first conference in 2011, which drew together an international group of 125 scholars. We aim to build on the success of our first conference, and to exploit the synergies within the U of L’s newly established multidisciplinary Institute for Child and Youth Studies (I-CYS). We therefore invite scholars and practitioners from a wide variety of academic disciplines (including the sciences, arts, humanities, social sciences, policy studies, social work, and education) to consider the state of child and youth studies, a vibrant and rapidly evolving field of inquiry.

Conference Format: Three days of multidisciplinary panels with scholarly presentations on conference themes; poster sessions; several keynote events; practitioner sessions; and a film screening.

Conference Themes and Questions:

  1. Appropriations of childhood

Recent concerns about cultural appropriation raise questions of identity, authenticity, power, and categorical integrity. Do these issues apply to studying and working with the young? How are children and adolescents appropriated for other projects? This theme asks fundamental questions about what young people are, what childhood and youth are, and what we think childhood, children, and youth ought to be.

  1. Is work the opposite of play?

Concern about the role of play in childhood and about the dangers of child labour are longstanding. Do they rest on unquestioned assumptions about what constitutes these categories of practice and experience? Do research and analysis reproduce these categories as two political, social, and experiential poles in the lives of the young? Is this useful or is it simply limiting? In addition, this theme also raises questions about what constitutes a ‘good’ or ‘natural’ childhood and adolescence, and how this relates to our understanding of what different life stages are ‘for’ across cultures, historical periods and evolutionary time.

  1. Does humanitarian aid help or harm children?

The welfare of the young is one of the most powerful motivators for intervention, whether national or international. How does humanitarian aid shape a global order and reproduce particular categories of young people? This theme links to our other themes by bringing into focus the ways that particular definitions are employed to assess the welfare of children and adolescents in (among others) demographic and health surveys, epidemiological studies, and public health initiatives. Could such strategies and interventions be improved by incorporating insights from basic research in areas such as anthropology, sociology and evolutionary demography, behavioural ecology, and comparative psychology and neurobiology?

Proposals for papers on additional themes also are welcome.

Keynote Speakers: 

  • Tim Gill,
  • Katie Hinde, Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University
  • Jane Humphries, Professor of Economic History, All Souls College, Oxford
  • Karen Wells, Department of Geography, Environment and Development Studies, Birkbeck University of London

Submission Guidelines: 

We encourage single paper submissions to facilitate the construction of multidisciplinary panels. Proposals for multidisciplinary panels are also welcome. Graduate students are especially encouraged to contribute posters on their current research. A prize will be awarded for the best student poster.

Abstracts of 300 words for single papers and posters and of 500 words for panels can be uploaded to the conference website after September 1, 2014. The deadline for abstract submission is October 31, 2014. 

Please note presentations should be a maximum of 20 minutes in length.