Anthropology of Childhood and Youth Interest Group (ACYIG) Biennial Conference  

March 7-9, 2019 

Rutgers University—Camden, NJ

For conference website and details click here.

Registration now open!

Co-Sponsored by: AAA Anthropology of Children and Youth Interest Group, Department of Childhood Studies (Rutgers-Camden), Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice (Rutgers-Camden), and The Graduate School (Rutgers-Camden)

In a world centered on adults, ‘childhood’ as a social category is marginal. Such marginality makes complex tracks on child and youth bodies, psyches, relationships, and spaces. Existing research on children and youth has expanded our understanding beyond a binary and static reading of their lives by framing the multiple sources of marginality as active sociocultural processes that are embedded in—but are not overdetermined by—enduring effects like structural violence, capitalism, racism, homophobia, and nationalism. This scholarship compels us to pay attention to the movements, narratives, and exchanges that mark these processes of making, breaking, and negotiating marginalities.  This conference aims to rethink child and youth marginalities in generative and creative ways that situate young people at the center, and that resist their dehumanization, whether through criminalization or romanticization.

The questions that this conference seeks to explore include, but are not limited to, the following: What are the different ways in which children and youth experience marginalization? To what extent do young people identify and engage with categories produced by the state and civil society around their marginalization?  How critical is biological age to the construction of marginality, particularly given the tendency to fetishize the ‘neglected’ child while pathologizing the ‘juvenile’?  How does increased state surveillance along with reduced social protection affect the kin and domestic households of children and youth, including their roles and relationships in these domains?  How do global efforts to improve the lives of marginal children represent marginality as an ahistorical and universal condition?  How do youth create counter-narratives within projects of improvement directed by the state and civil society?  By documenting the tensions between young people’s economic and social precarity and their desire for a more equitable future, how does scholarship and advocacy on or with marginal youth reconceptualize marginalities?

This conference seeks to bring together emerging and established scholars and practitioners across the fields of anthropology, sociology, geography, education, urban studies, and social work to understand, rethink, and transform child and youth marginalities. In addition, we will consider conference submissions on a full range of themes connected to the anthropology of children and childhood.

Aimee Meredith Cox, Associate Professor in Anthropology and African American Studies at Yale University (, will give our keynote address. Dr. Cox’s award-winning book, Shapeshifters: Black Girls and the Choreography of Citizenship (Duke University Press, 2015) explores how Black girls in a Detroit homeless shelter develop creative strategies through performance, protest, and the politics of respectability that resist the binds of poverty, racism, and sexual & gendered violence.  Their narratives speak to broad conditions of deindustrialization and urban change and reclaim Black life in the urban United States.




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