Category Archives: New Books

New Book: Children’s Literature and New York City

Children’s Literature and New York City
(Routledge, 2014), edited by Pádraic Whyte and Keith O’Sullivan

This collection explores the significance of New York City in children’s literature, stressing literary, political, and societal influences on writing for young people from the twentieth century to the present day. Contextualized in light of contemporary critical and cultural theory, the chapters examine the varying ways in which children’s literature has engaged with New York City as a city space, both in terms of (urban) realism and as an ‘idea’, such as the fantasy of the city as a place of opportunity, or other associations. The collection visits not only dominant themes, motifs, and tropes, but also the different narrative methods employed to tell readers about the history, function, physical structure, and conceptualization of New York City, acknowledging the shared or symbiotic relationship between literature and the city: just as literature can give imaginative ‘reality’ to the city, the city has the potential to shape the literary text. This book critically engages with most of the major forms and genres for children/young adults that dialogue with New York City, and considers such authors as Margaret Wise Brown, Felice Holman, E. L. Konigsburg, Maurice Sendak, J. D. Salinger, John Donovan, Shaun Tan, Elizabeth Enright, and Patti Smith.

New Book – Childhood Deployed, by Susan Shepler

Childhood Deployed: Remaking Child Soldiers in Sierra Leone
by Susan Shepler
NYU Press, 2014

“Essential reading for everyone who cares about the reintegration of young people who have associated with armed forces or groups. With the eye of a skilled anthropologist, Susan Shepler illuminates the enormity of the gap between Western understandings of childhood, recruitment, and reintegration and the lived experiences, beliefs, and values of young people as they navigate the complexities of post-conflict Sierra Leone.”
—Mike Wessells, Columbia University

E-book also available.

Childhood Deployed examines the reintegration of former child soldiers in Sierra Leone. Based on eighteen months of participant-observer ethnographic fieldwork and ten years of follow-up research, the book argues that there is a fundamental disconnect between the Western idea of the child soldier and the individual lived experiences of the child soldiers of Sierra Leone. Susan Shepler contends that the reintegration of former child soldiers is a political process having to do with changing notions of childhood as one of the central structures of society.

For most Westerners the tragedy of the idea of “child soldier” centers around perceptions of lost and violated innocence. In contrast, Shepler finds that for most Sierra Leoneans, the problem is not lost innocence but the horror of being separated from one’s family and the resulting generational break in youth education. Further, Shepler argues that Sierra Leonean former child soldiers find themselves forced to strategically perform (or refuse to perform) as the“child soldier” Western human rights initiatives expect in order to most effectively gain access to the resources available for their social reintegration. The strategies don’t always work—in some cases, Shepler finds, Western human rights initiatives do more harm than good.

While this volume focuses on the well-known case of child soldiers in Sierra Leone, it speaks to the larger concerns of childhood studies with a detailed ethnography of people struggling over the situated meaning of the categories of childhood. It offers an example of the cultural politics of childhood in action, in which the very definition of childhood is at stake and an important site of political contestation. 

 Susan Shepler is Associate Professor of International Peace and Conflict Resolution in the School of International Service at American University in Washington D.C.

‘Parenting Culture Studies’ now published

‘Parenting Culture Studies’, a new book in Palgrave’s Family, Relationships and Personal Lifeseries, has just been published. Please find a discount order form  attached.


Introduction; Ellie Lee
1. Intensive Parenting and the Expansion of Parenting; Charlotte Faircloth
2. Experts and Parenting Culture; Ellie Lee
3. The Politics of Parenting; Jan Macvarish
4. Who Cares for Children? The Problem of Intergenerational Contact; Jennie Bristow
1. Policing Pregnancy: The Pregnant Woman who Drinks; Ellie Lee
2. The Problem of ‘Attachment’: The ‘Detached’ Parent; Charlotte Faircloth
3. Babies’ Brains and Parenting Policy: The ‘Insensitive’ Mother; Jan Macvarish
4. Intensive Fatherhood? The (Un)involved Dad; Charlotte Faircloth
5. The Double Bind of Parenting Culture: Helicopter Parents and Cotton Wool Kids; Jennie Bristow
Conclusion; Ellie Lee

What reviewers are saying about Parenting Culture Studies:

“These essays represent a sophisticated and courageous examination of parenting orthodoxies that have passed too easily into fact…. Sober, trenchant, witty and important.” – Zoe Williams, The Guardian 

“The authors of this timely collection are in the forefront of analyses of contemporary parenting. The discourses and practices of parenting are rarely held up for sustained critique. Readers of this book will be challenged to question the politics and rationales of parenting cultures in this provocative and cogently argued book.” – Deborah Lupton, University of Sydney, Australia

“This terrific collection of essays probes and destroys many of the reigning orthodoxies that have turned 21st century parenting into an activity marked by cultural and individual anxiety and the over-involvement of experts and policymakers. The scholars contributing to this volume together make a profound contribution to the study of parenting culture.” – Janet Golden, Rutgers University, USA

You can also watch the authors talk about the book in these films made by Faculti Media

New book: A History of the Sociology of Childhood

A History of the Sociology of Childhood

Berry Mayall

Paper: 978 1 78277 021 3
Price:  $18.95
Published: November 2013

Publisher: IOE Press  <>
64 pp., 6 1/8″ x 9 1/5″

This concise book gives a history of how the sociology of childhood has
developed, contextualized in the history of sociology. It draws on the
authorąs own experiences, considers a wide range of published documents and
includes contributions on specific topics by some of the main players in the
field: Jens Qvortrup, Priscilla Alderson, Liesbeth de Block and Virginia

A History of the Sociology of Childhood describes how this relatively new
discipline evolved and considers its principal propositions. It looks back
to the post-war period, notably in the US, and shows how sociological ideas
about childhood arose from developmental psychology; how they began to be
formulated to act in complement to psychological ideas and how some US
psychologists began to explore variations in ideas about childhood in
varying societies. It also explores the history of sociological ideas about
childhood in both the UK and, most importantly, mainstream Europe and
considers links between sociological and rights agendas. This book concludes
with consideration of the latest developments in this field such as
globalization and media studies; work in other languages, such as French and
Portuguese and gives an account of work emerging in the majority world and
its relevance for theoretical developments.

It is essential reading for university students on all varieties of
childhood courses. It contextualizes this field
within theory and provides a clear picture of the constituents of the
discipline. It is also relevant to those working within psychological
paradigms but with an interest in considering alternative and complementary

Table of Contents:
Section 1. The importance of developmental psychology in shaping childhoods
Section 2. Precursors of sociological approaches to childhood ­ especially
in the USA
Section 3. Sociological approaches to childhood in the UK ­ early days
Section 4. Childhood sociology in (other) north European countries
Section 5. Current UK work on the sociology of childhood
Section 6. Other recent developments
Concluding discussion

Teachers – Request Exam Copy

Reviews & Endorsements:
“Berry Mayalląs history of the sociology of childhood offers succinct and
enlightening insights on the flow, movement, and interaction of ideas that
have combined to form this still-growing field of  scholarship. It is a
resource for students and scholars alike interested in the study of children
and their childhoods.”
– Daniel Thomas Cook, Co-editor, Childhood: A Journal of Global Child
Research and Professor , Rutgers University

łA Śmust-readą for any serious scholar engaging with childhood studies.˛
– Jo Moran-Ellis , University of Surrey

Black Star: Britain’s Asian Youth Movements

The Centre for Children and Young People’s Participation

Seminar Series 2013: Children and Social Justice, part 2

Wednesday 20 November 2013
4-5.30pm, Harrington Building Room 337

Black Star: Britain’s Asian Youth Movements
Lecture and book launch

Anandi Ramamurthy, Senior Lecturer, School of Journalism and Digital Communication, University of Central Lancashire

Over the last twenty years, the primary identity with which South Asians in Britain have been identified is a religious one.  In an attempt to represent different narratives and histories, this research traces the formation of political organisations of young south Asians in the 1970s and ‘80s.  The paper will explore the Black political identity with which the youth affiliated and consider the inspiration they drew from Black Power movements as well as anti-imperialist and workers’ struggles across the globe. It will analyse why these young people committed to the idea of  a united workers struggle felt compelled to develop their own independent organisations.  In analysing their motivations and strategies for action it will consider how being black was part of the process of making Britain home.  The paper will also consider why this broad based black identity and these vibrant and independent organisations disintegrated in the late 1980s as Islamaphobia changed the nature of racism and argue why retrieving this history is important for politics in Britain today.

Anandi Ramamurthy is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Journalism and Digital Communication.  Her research explores questions of ‘race’ and representation in media and culture. She is the founder of the Asian Youth Movement archive ( and author of Imperial Persuaders: Images of Africa and Asia in British Advertising (MUP 2003). Black Star: Britain’s Asian Youth Movements (Pluto 2013) is her second monograph.

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 please email; this will assist with ordering refreshments and notifying you of late changes.

New book: Disabled Children’s Childhood Studies: Critical Approaches in a Global Context, Eds: Tillie Curran and Katherine Runswick-Cole

This new book may be of interest to list members. 50% discount flyers are available – if you’d like one, please contact Tillie Curran at Tillie.Curran@UWE.AC.UK.

Disabled Children’s Childhood Studies: Critical Approaches in a Global Context

Edited By Tillie Curran and Katherine Runswick-Cole

‘This collection centres on the experiences of disabled children and young people and aims to develop theories about their childhoods. The powerful first-hand accounts by disabled children, family members and reflections by disabled adults are aimed to inspire the reader to think and, perhaps, act in positive and productive ways about all children’s lives. The authors oppose the historical global imposition of problematic views of disability and childhood and offer open discussion of responsive and ethical research approaches. New ways of thinking about disabled children’s childhoods in a global context demand poverty reduction and approaches that support families and communities to recognise the contributions disabled children make.’

Palgrave Macmillan, August 2013
ISBN: 978-1-137-00821-3, ISBN10: 1-137-00821-0

*Roundtable – Childhood Studies, American Studies, and the Humanities*

*Roundtable-Childhood Studies, American Studies, and the Humanities*
*Sponsored by the New York Metro American Studies Association*
*Friday November 8th*
*6 pm. Faculty/Staff Lounge, 8th floor of the West Building of Hunter College (695 Park Avenue, NYC). *

Join us for an interdisciplinary roundtable with the editor of and contributors to the new anthology “The Children’s Table: Childhood Studies and the Humanities” (Georgia 2013).  This book provides an overview of the innovative work being done in childhood studies-a transcript, if you will, of what they’ve been saying at the children’s table. But this event is also an argument for rethinking the seating arrangement itself. Each contribution in the volume pairs childhood studies with another field of inquiry (queer studies, archival study, or ethics to name a few) to ask how foregrounding the child reorients long-established scholarly foundations in that field. Ultimately, *The Children’s Table* addresses the theoretical and methodological consequences of rethinking the deeply entrenched binaries dividing child from adult, dependence from autonomy, education from oppression, irrationality from reason, and subject from citizen.

Participants will include:

Sarah Chinn (Hunter College) author of *Inventing Modern Adolescence*

Anna Mae Duane* *(University of Connecticut), *author of Suffering Childhood in Early America*

Karen Sánchez-Eppler* *(Amherst College*), author of Dependent States*

Carol Singley,* *(Rutgers U), *author of **Adopting America: Childhood, Kinship, and National Identity in Literature *

Lynne Vallone (Rutgers U), co-editor*, The Oxford Handbook of Children’s

*This event is free and open to the public. All are welcome.
For more information, please contact Anna Mae Duane at

Anna Mae Duane
Associate Professor, English
Director, American Studies Program
University of Connecticut