CfP – Evil Children: Children and Evil, Portugal 2017

We invite people from all disciplines, professions and vocations to come together in dialogue, to provide a space and a level of legitimacy for a subject, or subjects that is traditionally seen as unimaginable, a socially taboo and even associated with pathology, by providing a forum for ideas and arguments that might otherwise not receive adequate attention and discussion. The ultimate goal is in a sense to expose the current topic to the light of day for examination of the intellectual, the emotional and the personal.

Friday April 7th – Sunday April 9th 2017
1st Global Conference
Lisbon, Portugal

The idea of the child as innocent, as pure, the ‘little angel’ in need of protection from the harsh realities of life and the corrupting influences of the world around us has come to dominate our thinking, language, values, social policies and educational philosophies in the past few decades. Children are seen as ‘little people’, ‘blank slates’, works in progress who are loved, nurtured and guided as they grow to become mature, rational and responsible adults.

Yet we are also aware of the mischievous ‘little monsters’, the ‘little devils’ who run exasperated parents ragged. The toddlers who chase pigeons; kick cats; pull the wings off flies and the legs off spiders. Children of whom we become afraid; who abuse other children; who assault each other, strangers, parents, the elderly. Children who ‘roam’ and ‘own’ the streets, individually or ‘in packs’; who are put ‘into care’; who commit crimes; who smoke, drink, and take drugs. Feral children. Children who rape. Children who torture. Children who kill. Children who are ‘possessed’: demonic children, evil children who do evil things.

This research stream will juggle with two competing approaches to children and evil. The first concerns itself with how (certain) children have been presented as evil and considers the nature of evil children as a social and cultural construct. The second approach considers the question of whether children can be evil and involves wrestling with the nature of evil, what we mean by free will and responsibility and, if responsibility exists, at what point does one assume responsibility for one’s acts? What is the special status of ‘childhood’ that makes it different?

The inaugural launch of this inclusive interdisciplinary conference will begin to examine, explore and undermine issues surrounding the general idea of the child as innocent and explore all aspects of evil children and the relationship between children and evil. It will probe the dichotomies and ambiguities of our understanding and constructs of children, childhood, the passage through childhood to adulthood and the relationship with personal and social values, morals and responsibilities. It will map the ways in which children could or should be held accountable for the things they do and the contexts in which they are subject to influencing factors and
conditions. And it will assess the use of ‘evil‘ in relation to children and childhood in the historical and contemporary cultures.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Innocence and evil; innocent evil
  • Evil and age; does age matter?
  • Children: mad, bad or something else?
  • Children, evil and empathy
  • The child as perpetrator
  • Normal children; aberrant children
  • The vilification of children
  • Evil, children and/in Fairy Tales: Folk Lore and evil children
  • Evil, children and the supernatural
  • Evil and the end of childhood
  • Legal perspectives
  • Forensic and Clinical/Biological perspectives
  • Child murderers; children who kill
  • Evil, children and the military. Children and war. Child soldiers
  • Infanticide
  • Evil in the playground
  • Evil, children and/in literature (e.g., Jack Merridew, Lord of the Flies; Frank Cauldhame, The Wasp Factory)
  • Evil, children and/in films (e.g., “Chuckie,” “Ben,” Damien Torne,
    Henry Evans, Isaac Chroner, Regan MacNeill)
  • Evil, children and tv (e.g., Joffrey Baratheon, Kevin Katchadourian, Stewie Griffin)
  • Children in Horror Literature (“Carrie”)
  • “Protecting” children from evil (film ratings, etc.)
  • “Original Sin” and evil children
  • Children in Victorian drama or literature: victims and perpetrators
  • Children, disability and evil.
  • Bastard children (e.g., Shakespeare)
  • The psychology and psychopathology of evil children
  • Economics of children and evil
  • Cross-cultural perspectives of children and evil
  • Children, evil and social policies
  • Children, education and evil
  • Inherited evils: the sins of the parents; children, evil and family
  • Children who become evil adults

Currently, the significant areas of interest include literature, sociology, communications, art, psychology, politics, philosophy, history, anthropology, and other social sciences and humanities. Yet the scope of the conference is not limited to these fields or studies as it does not strike to narrowly define, or define at all, what areas constitute the significant not to eliminate the spirit of interdisciplinary efforts. The meeting is also open to other fields such as biology, biochemistry, political sciences, economics, etc. This kind of interdisciplinary engagement is always enjoyable and fruitful and makes for good networking and collaborative possibilities. Activists, anthropologists, archaeologies, archivists, artists and other creative professionals, civil servants, members of the clergy, clinicians, correctional authorities, historians, journalists, jurists and other legal professionals, military personnel, researchers, writers and others with an interest in the project are encouraged to submit proposals.

Further details and information can be found on the conference website.

Details about our reviewing policy can be found online.

What to Send

300 word abstracts, proposals and other forms of contribution should be submitted by Friday 28th October 2016.

All submissions be minimally double reviewed, under anonymous (blind) conditions, by a global panel drawn from members of the Project Team and the Advisory Board. In practice our procedures usually entail that by the time a proposal is accepted, it will have been triple and quadruple reviewed.

You will be notified of the panel’s decision by Friday 11th November 2016.

If your submission is accepted for the conference, a full draft of your
contribution should be submitted by Friday 3rd March 2017.

Abstracts may be in Word, RTF or Notepad 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: Evil Children Abstract Submission

Where to Send
Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to both Organising Chairs:

  1. Natalia Kaloh Vid (nkv@inter-disciplinary.net)
  2. Rob Fisher ([email protected])

This event is an inclusive interdisciplinary research and publishing
project. It aims to bring together people from different areas and
interests to share ideas and explore various discussions which are
innovative and exciting.

All papers accepted for and presented at the conference must be in English. Selected papers will 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.

All accepted papers presented at the conference are eligible to be selected for publication in a hard copy paperback volume (the structure of which is to be determined post conference and subject to certain criteria). The selection and review process is outlined in the conference materials. Other publishing options may also become available. Potential editors will be chosen from interested conference delegates.