CFP – Ethical Practice & the Study of Girlhood

jnl_cover_ghsSpecial Issue of
Girlhood Studies:
An Interdisciplinary Journal

For this themed issue of Girlhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal“Ethical Practice and the Study of Girlhood,” we invite submissions from transnational and transdisciplinary perspectives that investigate how the constructs of girlhood and ethics might inform each other. We are interested in work that explores, disrupts, or otherwise complicates the notion of girlhood studies as an ethical space. As of yet, the relationship between girlhood studies and the field of ethics remains under-articulated and under-researched.While there is a range of research that takes up questions of feminist ethics, childhood ethics, and to a lesser extent feminist girl-centred interventions, ethics in girlhood studies is a new nexus of inquiry. Persistent forms of marginalization and ongoing concerns about the physical and mental wellbeing of girls around the world necessitate the development of girl-responsive ethical frameworks. Ethical considerations may also allow probing into the taken-for-granted aspects of what it means to be a girl. The aim of this themed issue is to produce new imaginings and understandings of ethical being, rights, otherness, power, agency, and responsibility in relation to the study of girlhoods.

We ask: What does an ethics of girlhood studies look like? Are there unique features of a girlhood studies ethics? Feminist, postcolonial, and childhood studies have troubled adult-centric views on girls’ and young peoples’ visibility, citizenship, and capabilities. How might ethics in girlhood studies be connected to such examinations of girlhood? How may new understandings of the relationship between ethics and girlhood complicate these existing fields of scholarship? Research with girls, for girls, and by girls aims to draw attention to the absence of girls’ voices in initiatives that affect their lives. Given that this is the starting point of Girlhood Studies, what would that mean for an ethics of research in such studies? Research with girls necessarily invokes a range of legal and moral obligations. How might the changing socio-political forms of girls’ lived experiences and the representation of these inform the meaning of constructs such as “in the best interest of the (girl)-child” and “doing the most good and least harm”? This questioning extends to research into practice, policy, and theory.

Articles may approach ethics and girlhood studies from a number of perspectives that reflect shifting understandings. We position ethics as a multifaceted entity that encompasses systems of socialization, morality, norms, prescriptive rules of conduct, and personal transformative practices and discourses. We seek submissions that draw on the perspectives of girls themselves and subjective, embodied experiences of  girlhood. A range of research approaches is encouraged including memory work, ethnographic, artistic, poetic, narrative and other forms of qualitative or quantitative inquiry.

Contributions to this themed issue may address the following topics:

  • The ethics of research into health as it relates to girls, and issues of participation in medical research, treatment, and care
  • The ethics of research into girls’ work and labour
  • The ethics of research into girls’ experiences with and use of social media, online communications, and digital networking platforms
  • The ethics of doing visual work with girls
  • Girls’ agency in the context of research into family dynamics and parental rights, as in cases of abuse, incest, or exploitation
  • Building global ethical practices and transnational solidarity in international research with girls
  • Discourses of institutional ethics and the construction of girls in relation to concepts such as vulnerability, informed consent, assent, and beneficence
  • Ethical responses to gender-based violence and institutional violence against girls
  • The ethics of work on LGBTTQQIA girlhoods and normative belonging, identity, categorizations of difference, and the meaning and boundaries of the body
  • The ethics of research into indigenous girlhoods, self-governance, and responses to colonial gendered-based violence including the connections between colonial gender constructs and violence against indigenous girls and the land
  • The ethics of girlhood studies in the context of histories, colonialism, and the neoliberal moment
  • The ethics of research into girl-led movements, activism, and creative practices of resistance (for example, instances of girls as producers of their own culture and girl-implemented social change)

Suggested Bibliography

Calhoun, Cheshire. 2004. Setting the Moral Compass: Essays by Women Philosophers. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

DesAutels, Peggy, and Waugh, Joanne. 2001. Feminists Doing Ethics. New York: Rowman and Littlefield.

Moletsane, Relebohile, Claudia Mitchell, Ann Smith, and Linda Chisholm. 2008. “Do Least Harm: Ethical Considerations in Southern African Girlhoods in the Context of Gender-Based Violence and HIV.” Pp 105-114 in Methodologies for Mapping a Southern African Girlhood in the Age of AIDS. New York: Sense.

Mupotsa, Danai. 2010. “If I Could Write This in Fire/African Feminist Ethics for Research in Africa.” Agenda Africa 6, no. 1: n.p..

Wall, John. 2010. Ethics in Light of Childhood. Washington: Georgetown University Press.

Guest Editor

April R. Mandrona is currently a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Integrated Studies of Education at McGill University. Her doctoral research involved the creation of art groups with young people in rural South Africa and focused on the development of ethical practices as a researcher, teacher, and artist. Dr Mandrona’s current research explores the building of intergenerational digital networks to help youth art communities grow and develop.

Article Submission

Manuscripts may be no longer than 6,500 words including abstract (150 words), keywords (6 to 8), article, bio (100 words), references, and notes, captions, tables, and acknowledgments (if any). Girlhood Studies, following Berghahn’s preferred house style, uses a modified Chicago Style. Please refer to the Style Guide on the website. If images are used, authors are expected to secure the copyright themselves.

Inquiries and submissions may be sent to: April R. Mandrona (

Please send expressions of interest and abstracts to the Guest Editor by 1 September 2015.

Date for Submissions of Full Manuscripts: 1 January 2016