childhood-children-conferenceInter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary conference project seeks to investigate and explore all aspects of childhood.

  • Thursday 18th July – Saturday 20th July 2013
  • Mansfield College, Oxford, United Kingdom

Call for Presentations:

This inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary conference project seeks to investigate and explore all aspects of childhood. The period of life prior to adulthood is one of dramatic change and development of physical, intellectual, psychological, and many other types of characteristics. The nature of childhood and its significance as a separate phase of life, however, is viewed quite differently in different cultures and in different historical eras. This conference will look at all aspects of the experience of childhood as well as the social and cultural perceptions of children and childhood. We encourage submissions on any theme to do with the nature of childhood, including, but not limited to the ones listed below.

1. Definitions of Childhood

  • How has the concept of childhood developed over time?
  • How is childhood viewed differently across different cultures and eras? Is childhood socially constructed?
  • What are the boundaries of childhood? (Are children made to grow up too fast? Are mature people infantilized by definitions of the boundaries of childhood?)
  • Is ‘childhood’ a singular category or is it composed of quite distinct multiple categories? How does defining childhood also define adulthood and vice versa?

2. Childhood and Development

  • What are the important aspects of physical, psychological, emotional, intellectual, moral, social, etc. development in childhood?
  • How do institutions (like schools, medical centres, and even legal systems) effectively nurture the unique developmental needs of children?
  • How has our understanding of childhood as a period of development changed over time? Are there ways we are still getting it significantly wrong?

3. Children and Relationships

  • What are the dynamics of children’s relationships with their family, peers, and their community?
  • How are children’s social relationships either experienced positively or negatively?
  • What are the dynamics of children’s relationships with social institutions (like schools and religious organizations)?
  • What is the nature of children’s relationships with animals and nature?

4. Perceptions and Depictions of Childhood

  • How do adults perceive children and childhood?
  • How do they perceive the capabilities, responsibilities, and privileges of childhood?
  • How do they perceive their own experiences of childhood? (With nostalgia? embarrassment? amusement?)
  • How do children perceive themselves?
  • How are children and childhood depicted in academia and in the media such as art, literature, film, television, advertising, etc.?
  • Children and literature: what are the characteristics of literature that is “for children?” How did “children’s literature” develop? What role does it play in children’s lives?

5. Children and Society: The Larger World

  • Children and education: What issues are the concerning how children are educated?
  • Children and leisure: How is involvement in recreational activities (including sports) either beneficial or harmful to children?
  • Children and the law: Does the criminal justice system effectively deal with children both as victims of crime and as perpetrators of crime?
  • Children and rights: What rights do children have in virtue of being children? To what extent must the choices of children be respected?
  • Children and gender: How are children socialized into gender-specific roles? What are the issues and concerns connected to how children form gender and sexual identities?
  • What is the nature of children’s relationship to the world of work?
  • Children and technology: how does the constantly evolving landscape of technology impact the lives and experiences of children?
  • Childhood in transition: how does adolescence bridge the child/adult world and to what extent are adolescents caught in a double-bind of being children and being adults?

The Steering Group welcomes the submission of pre-formed panel proposals. 300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 8th February 2013. If an abstract is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper should be submitted by Friday 11th May 2012.

300 word abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to both Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word, WordPerfect, or RTF formats with the following information and in this order:

a) author(s), b) affiliation, c) email address, d) title of abstract, e) body of abstract, f) up to 10 key words

E-mails should be entitled: CHILD3 Abstract Submission.

Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using footnotes and any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold, italics or underline). Please note that a Book of Abstracts is planned for the end of the year. All accepted abstracts will be included in this publication. We acknowledge receipt and answer to all paper proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you should assume we did not receive your proposal; it might be lost in cyberspace! We suggest, then, to look for an alternative electronic route or resend.

Joint Organising Chairs:

The conference is part of the Probing the Boundaries programme of research projects. It aims to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore various discussions which are innovative and exciting.

For further details of the conference, please visit:

Please note: Inter-Disciplinary.Net is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence.

Source: Inter-Disciplinary.Net