Seminar: Children’s rights, citizenship and critical realism

Please join us for the second seminar in the series ‘Childhood, rights, research ethics and critical realism: New ways to research childhood’ with Priscilla Alderson, Professor Emerita of Childhood Studies, Institute of Education

Children’s rights, citizenship and critical realism 

11th February 2014 (NB. Date has changed from original announcement), 5.30-7.30

Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way, London

Do universal rights really exist, or are rights simply local ideas that vary in time and place? When do ‘human’ rights begin in life? Do they gradually develop up towards adulthood, or can babies have human rights and be citizens? How can critical realist concepts of being and knowing, and of the four planes of social being, inform research about rights and citizenship?

To register for the seminar and for more information contact Rachel Rosen:

CFP: Exploring change and continuity: readjustment, identity and child mobility in an interconnected world

Call for Papers

European Association of Social Anthropologists Conference (EASA)

Panel: Exploring change and continuity: readjustment, identity and child mobility in an interconnected world.


Jorge Grau Rebollo (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) email
Julia Vich Bertran (Maastricht University)  email

Short Abstract
This panel aims to analyze old and new forms of child mobility (International adoption, informal circulation…) in today’s interconnected world. We will discuss case studies that pose intellectual and political challenges concerning readjustment and the re-shaping of identities at different levels.
Long Abstract
Within the last decades, International Adoption has become a major issue in academic and political agendas. Not only due to the increasingly numbers of formalized adoption transfers between different countries, but also because of related geopolitical, intellectual and ethical implications. Thus, Transnational Adoptive Programs (TAPs) should not be analyzed just as linear chains that transfer children from a sending country to a receiving one, while transferring ideas/economic resources in the other direction as Howell (2006) proposes. Rather, specific sets of meanings, material and affective resources, and social practices circulate in both directions between sending and receiving countries, generating social and cultural change. This ongoing process of mutual readjustment does not just impact on particular individuals, but has much wider social and cultural repercussions such as the unique net of socio-cultural constructions that shape, consolidate, promote and transform a concrete TAP, or the impact that all those images have on the identity formation of young adoptees (Vich-Bertran, 2010).
This panel wishes to debate such connections, challenges and innovative ways by addressing questions as the role of representation and new digital media in conforming extended communities, Internet-based dual / group communication facilitating contacts over the distance, or the centrality of child mobility as a part of transnational relationships between countries and individuals.

Please, find all the call for papers info here:

CFP: International Journal of Play: Special Issue, Lifework and Legacy: Reviewing Iona and Peter Opie’s Contribution to the Study of Play

International Journal of Play: Call for papers for forthcoming Special Issue
Lifework and Legacy
Reviewing Iona and Peter Opie’s Contribution to the Study of Play

The work of Iona (1923– ) and Peter Opie (1918–1982) on the play and games of school-aged children will be familiar to many who study the social and cultural aspects of children’s lives. Working as independent and unfunded scholars, the Opies published five books on this topic: The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren (1959), Children’s Games in Street and Playground (1969),The Singing Game (1985), Children’s Games with Things (1997), and Iona Opie’s solo volume, The People in the Playground (1993). Distilled from data collected principally from schoolchildren during the period 1950–80 (now held at the British Library Sound Archive, the Folklore Society Archives, and the Bodleian Libraries), as well as pioneering historical research, these publications have been widely read and extremely influential.
2013 marks the year of Iona Opie’s 90th birthday and what would have been Peter Opie’s 95th. To mark this event, a special issue of the International Journal of Play in 2014 is planned, devoted to the Opies, their research and their spheres of influence. The guest editors of this special issue (no. 3 in 2014) will be June Factor and Julia Bishop who warmly encourage contributions. Possible topics include (but are not restricted to):
·      Critical evaluations of Iona and Peter Opie’s lives and work, collaborations with others, scholarly influences, predecessors, contemporaries.
·      Critical considerations of the Opies’ data, such as its wider social and demographic context, the relationship between their archival data and their books.
·      The extent and nature of the Opies’ influence in the UK and in other countries among those interested in children’s folklore, especially play.
·      Forms of play; classification of games.
·      The historical and comparative study of play.
·      The ethnographic study of play, including research methods.
·      Themes and issues exemplified in the Opies’ work, such as the relationships between media, commerce and play; risk; place, space and play.
Submissions of up to 7000 words are welcomed, as well as shorter articles (up to 2000 words) of memoir and reflection.  Please check the International Journal of Play website for details regarding presentation of material.
Deadline:  1 April, 2014
Email contact:

June Factor:

Julia Bishop:

The Centre for Children and Young People’s Participation – March 5 Seminar

Wednesday 5 March 2014

4-5.30pm, Harrington Building room 338

A Story of Failure: The mirroring of social and psychic exclusion among young men in a provincial English inner city

Presented by Simon Newitt, Chief Executive, Off the Record

The seminar is free and refreshments are provided.  Seminars usually finish by 5.30pm and are followed by an informal meeting of The Centre, at which all are welcome.


To reserve a place go to EventBrite at http:  This will assist with ordering refreshments and notifying you of late changes.  For other queries email

CFP: Childhood and Gender in Time

CALL FOR PAPERS: Childhood and Gender in Time, a special issue of the journal «Genesis. Rivista della Società Italiana delle Storiche»

The journal «Genesis. Rivista della Società Italiana delle Storiche» calls for papers for a special issue dedicated to “childhood and gender in time”. The nature of childhood and its significance as a separate phase of life are at the centre of a process of critical rethinking, which is generating new and challenging interdisciplinary research. We would like to explore the social construction of gender in childhood, from a transnational and interdisciplinary perspective, giving particular attention to the role of play, toys, and children’s literature. Our aim is to examine how gender norms and gender models have been formulated and propagated in different historical, geographical and cultural contexts, but also how those models have been appropriated, contested and possibly subverted. We are interested in the relationship between the effort of regulating children and the “agency” that children are able to express, particularly in the context of a children’s peer culture, in which play (broadly understood) has a central role.

The main questions explored in the issue are:

  • How have ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ been understood and socially constructed through time?
  • How have toys, games, and children’s books contributed to construct specific gender roles for children?
  • What role have they played in different pedagogical approaches and in political interventions towards children?
  • How have gender models been played out, appropriated and resisted in different social and historical contexts?

We are also interested in exploring historiographical and methodological questions related to the topic. Is it possible to identify continuities and fractures, contaminations and cultural transfers in the way notions of gender have informed approaches to childhood and education through time? What kind of sources and approaches are most suitable to the investigation of the role of play, toys and games in the construction of gender in childhood? What kinds of sources allow studying how children have appropriated and transformed (perhaps even subverted) gender norms through play? (What is, for instance, the role of oral history, ego-history and ethnological approaches in the study of childhood and gender?) We encourage proposals exploring childhood and gender in history, through the perspective of play, toys and children’s books. We welcome proposals, which will allow us to adopt a long historical perspective, to explore different historical contexts and to discuss diverse approaches to sources.

Proposals should include: title of the article, abstract (300 words maximum) and a short biographical profile of the author. Submissions must be received by the 20th of January 2014; all proposals should be sent by email to the editors of the special issue, Stefania Bernini ( and Adelisa Malena ( The articles selected for publications (up to 50,000 characters, including spaces and notes) must be submitted in final form by the 15th of May 2014. All articles will be subject to double-blind review prior to publication. Will be considered for publication articles in Italian, French, English and Spanish.

CFP: SSHA 2014

Call for Papers for the Children and Childhood Network of the Social Science History Association

We invite you to participate in the 39th annual meeting of the Social Science History Association by submitting a paper or session proposal to the Children and Childhood Network of the SSHA.  The conference will take place November 6-9, 2014 in Toronto.  For more information on the conference as well as the general call for proposals, please refer to the SSHA website: <> . The deadline for full panel or individual paper proposals is February 14, 2014.  

The association particularly emphasizes interdisciplinary and transnational research, and the annual meeting provides a very supportive environment in which to present new work. The theme of the 2014 conference is “Inequalities: Politics, Policy and the Past,” though papers on other aspects of the history of children and childhood are also welcome. Complete panels must include at least 4 papers and presenters from more than one academic institution. Other formats, including roundtable discussions and book sessions, are also possible. Please do get in touch with the network chairs if you have an idea for a session but need help gathering presenters. Among the topics we are especially interested in exploring are children as migrants; children and revolutions; indigenous children & youth, child labor and globalization; gendered experiences of childhood; and inequalities in children’s literature.

Proposals can be submitted through the web conference management system at <> . If you haven’t used the system previously you will need to create an account, which is a very simple process. Graduate students presenting at the conference may apply for a travel grant from the SSHA (<> ).

Let us know if you need any help making a submission or advice about a proposal. If you have any questions, please contact the Children and Childhood network co-chairs:

Emily Bruce: <>
Michelle Mouton: <>
Birgitte Søland: <>

Sexual Violence and Sexual Identity in Africa

Forthcoming Events Organised by
The Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth &

The Centre for Gender Research
The University of Sheffield

The Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth (CSCY) and the Centre for Gender Research are pleased to announce the visit, to Sheffield, of Professor Mansah Prah of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana.
This visit is part of a British Academy International Partnership and Mobility project which seeks to explore, through capacity building workshops, seminars and a research study, the construction of sexual identities amongst children and young adults in Ghana and the implications this has for, not only their experience of sexual violence and power and oppression in relationships, but also for their own understanding and meaning-making of these issues.

During her stay in Sheffield Professor Prah will be sharing her work with students, academics and practitioners. Specifically, she will:

1.      Present a researcher paper at a seminar entitled: Tune your Mind to Something Else: Insights from a Comparative Study of Ghanaian and Burkinabe Female Students’ Perspectives on Sexuality and Schooling

Abstract of Presentation:

This seminar will report on the research process and findings from the above study. The frustrations involved in conducting a comparative study of two countries that are culturally similar but divided by language will be discussed. The findings from the main clusters of questions the participants discussed (girls’ educational dreams; how schooling shapes girls’ sexuality; intimate relationships and sexuality; how girls react and act on their desires and sexual impulses; and their conception of what constitutes good/safe sex and bad/dangerous sex) will be presented. All this will be located in a discussion of the official and hidden discourses on sex and sexuality found in the schools. Finally, comparisons between Ghana and Burkina Faso and the recommendations that came out of the research will be presented.

Date: Tuesday 11th March 2014
Time: 12.30-3.30 including lunch.
Venue: Conference Room, Interdisciplinary Centre of the Social Sciences (ICOSS)
219 Portobello Sheffield S1 4DP 

All our welcome to attend this seminar.  

2.      Facilitate a one-day workshop entitled Researching Sexual Identities and Sexual Violence in Africa: Challenges and Issues.

Workshop Abstract

This will be an interactive workshop that will present and discuss key issues that may crop up in researching sexual identity and sexual violence in an African context. It will begin by addressing the need to consider research in other cultural contexts. Then it will examine methodological approaches that are suitable in contexts where discussing sexual matters is considered very private and even a taboo, as well as ethical issues and effects of the research process on the researcher and the participants. The cultural assumptions that underlie and dominate attitudes towards general violence, and sexual and gender-based violence will be presented and discussed. Excerpts from a film will be utilised to show how tradition is invoked to perpetrate violence of all kinds, and questions regarding how the researcher navigates such issues discussed.

Date: Thursday 13th March 2014 Time: 10-4pm Venue: Conference Room, Interdisciplinary Centre of the Social Sciences (ICOSS), 219 Portobello Sheffield S1 4DP Please note that this workshop is specifically aimed at postgraduate research students and early career academicsPlaces are limited so bookings will be accepted on a first come basis.

Please RSVP by Tuesday 4th March 2014 (for both events) to:
Mrs. Dawn Lessels, Administrator of the Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth (

If you would like more information about these events or about Professor Prah’s visit please contact Dr. Afua Twum-Danso Imoh at the University of Sheffield


  Profile of Professor Mansah Prah Born and raised in Accra, Ghana, Mansah Prah received a German government scholarship which took her to the University of Heidelberg in 1973 to study Sociology and Anthropology. There, she experienced the tail end of the student protest movement, which greatly influenced her world view, introducing her to feminism and other paradigms. She graduated in 1977 with an MA in Sociology and continued her studies at the University of Frankfurt, graduating with a Ph. D in 1984. She returned to Ghana in 1985 and joined the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Cape Coast. Over the years, Prah has taught a wide range of courses, including Sociology of Religion, Witchcraft, Magic and Religion, Gender and Society, Gender and Sexuality, and Gender and Development. Mansah Prah was twice a Fulbright Scholar and has taught and researched in a number of US colleges including Randolph College, the College of Wooster, and the Wellesley Centers for Research on Women. She has also taught at the National University of Lesotho and has served as External Examiner for graduate programmes in Gender Studies at the Kigali Institute for Education (Rwanda) and the University of Botswana. She has been an Associate of the African Gender Institute at the University of Cape Town, and is now a Professor at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. She is the author of ‘Ghana’s Feminist Movement: Aspirations, Challenges, Achievements’ (2007) and is the editor of ‘Insights into Gender Equity, Equality and Power Relations in Sub-SaharanAfrica”(2013).

These events are funded by the British Academy


Call for Papers: Special Issue on The Rise of Developmental Science

Guest Editors
Dominique P Béhague, Vanderbilt University & King’s College London
Samuel Lézé, École Normale Supérieure de Lyon

Social Science & Medicine is soliciting papers for a Special Interdisciplinary Issue on the unique challenges arising in the creation of child/adolescent developmental expertise throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. Since the Enlightenment, the child’s developmental journey to adulthood has served as a prism for philosophical and scientific formulations of what it means to be healthy, normal, and human. Relative to other subfields in psychiatry and psychology, however, the focus on child/adolescent development and mental illness is both new and increasingly contested. As clinicians begin to work with an ever younger patient-population, critics from both outside and within relevant fields have begun sounding warning bells, since much of the evidence about early intervention, “normal/abnormal” development and treatment is uncertain and prone to undue pathologisation. Thus, experts are also calling for increased interdisciplinarity to better account for the unpredictability of development and the socio-cultural, economic, and biological heterogeneity in which normal/abnormal development and mental illness unfold.

Taking child/adolescent developmental expertise as an object of socio-cultural analysis, this special issue aims to explore how normative and marginal trends in this scientific subfield evolve in diverse socio-cultural and geopolitical contexts. The call builds on an existing set of manuscripts drawn from a workshop co-sponsored by Brunel University and the Royal Anthropological Institute entitled “The Rise of Child Science and Psy-expertise” (London, May 29-30, 2012). We welcome submissions that consider the institutionalized worlds of science, medicine and education alongside the everyday lives of children and youth from historical and/or contemporary perspectives. Papers should be both empirically-based and theoretically informed. As we aim to influence core practices in science, medicine and policy, authors are also invited, though not required, to consider how the critical study of expert knowledge – and the diversity that exists therein — can inform constructive debate on how best to produce and apply this knowledge.

Paper topics may include:

  • Comparative analysis of distinct ethno-psychiatric/psychological traditions and of normative and marginal research trends in child/adolescent science and clinical practice, including their institutionalized and increasingly globalized applications
  • Intersection of child/adolescent science and policy-development; e.g. growing interest in prevention and early intervention; emerging work on adolescent brain plasticity and implications for public policy and juridical practice
  • Implications of diverse trends in developmental science and child psychiatry for pedagogy, including psychologization of learning and school life through specific diagnoses (ADHD) and broader concepts (well-being, self-esteem, mindfulness)
  • Social vulnerability, ethnicity, inequity and minority status in child development research and clinical practice; global humanitarianism and medicalization of traumatic experience in children and youth
  • Popular uses and interpretations of emerging models of child development by advocacy groups, with special attention to the recent turn towards “child-centric” research and constructs of child agency
  • Interaction between “child” and “adult” categories in science, e.g. the methodological and conceptual tensions that research on child/adolescent development injects into mainstream adult psychiatry/psychology
  • Biologization of the child/adolescent in biopsychiatry and neuroscience, e.g. the adolescent brain; mother-infant bonding; geneticization; pharmaceuticalization

Authors can submit their papers any time after October 1st and up until the18th February 2014. Online submission can be found at: <> . When asked to choose article type, please stipulate ‘Special Issue: Debates on Humanity/Child-development.’ In the ‘Enter Comments’ box, the title of the Special Issue, along with any further acknowledgements, should be inserted. All submissions should meet Social Science & Medicine author guidelines ( Please contact and for further questions.