Call for Papers: Children and Youth on the Move
University of Greenwich, London, 21-23 June 2018
In 2015, a shocking photograph of Alan Kurdi – one of the many Syrian child refugees drowned whilst crossing the Mediterranean – seared public and political consciousness around the world. Outside London’s Liverpool Street Station, as well as at transport hubs in Berlin, Gdańsk, Hamburg and Rotterdam, commuters collected newspapers detailing the toddler’s terrible fate from stands located near bronze statues of children hauling suitcases and clutching teddy bears, public memorials recalling the years of the kindertransport and an earlier phase of traumatic displacement. Such global uprooting composes a tough and longstanding feature of the experience of childhood and youth. From the Dust Bowl to the Great Trek; from slave ship voyages to the passages of child convict transportees; from border journeys from Afghanistan to Pakistan, or South to North America; from the more contemporary era backwards in time to the great migrations of the pre-modern world: trails of youthful footprints criss-cross the globe.
Albeit deeply significant, however, the practice and concept of youthful movement encompasses more than transnational journeying and displacement. The related concept of mobility – described by geographers as a ‘hallmark of modern times’ (Uteng and Creswell, 2008) – requires interrogation for all historical settings and eras. Children and Youth on the Move, the second biennial conference of The Children’s History Society, seeks to expand understandings of young people’s historical movements in all their forms. In addition to considerations of movements across borders or thresholds, we welcome assessments of movements big and small, individual and collective, localised and global, permanent and temporary, desired and feared, acted out by and acted upon. We will reflect on movement in relation to individual development (intellectual, emotional, spiritual and physical), as well as associated cross-cultural implications. Offering a forum for historical reflections from established and upcoming historians of children, childhood and youth, we also anticipate that our conference will again offer a platform for school-age scholars to reflect on the ways they respond to history.
We invite panel contributions (especially long chronological and/or geographically diverse in collective scope) as well as individual papers on topics related to the conference theme. These might include:
- Forced and voluntary migrations and removals
- Kinetic abilities and impairments
- Young people’s independent mobilities
- Skills in movement and their social function: dance; running; gymnastics, and more
- Sociability and popular culture
- Altered emotional or spiritual states (‘being moved’)
- Ritual movement in religious communities
- Social mobility in history
- Youthful holidays/vacations
- Mobilisations of youthful discourse
- Child evacuees, refugees and soldiers
- Mobile young workers, and associated fears of idleness
- Engagement with modes of transportation: animals; sail; rowing; bicycles, and more
- Disease and its impact: quarantine; fleeing infection
- Moving images of and/or by youth
- Constructions of ‘natural’ youthful energy, and associated conflicts
- Young people’s physical engagements with heritage sites and museums
- Literary representations of movement including narrative arcs and bildungsroman
- Correspondence and shared cultures
- Movement, lifestyle and economic wellbeing: nomads; ‘moving house’; temporary accommodation; homelessness
- Marching and demonstration
- Transnational childhoods and ‘third culture kids’
- Migration for education: boarding school and its rituals
- Escapes and pursuit: slavery; prison and institutional breakouts
- Welfare: settlement, resettlement and entitlement
- Intellectual and cultural movements and their impact
- Future trajectories for researching the histories of young people
For individual papers, please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words, together with a 2-page CV, to both M.C.H.Martin@greenwich.ac.uk and firstname.lastname@example.org by 1 November 2017. Panel submissions featuring three papers of 15-20 minutes apiece are also encouraged, and should be submitted collectively by the panel organiser. Please state your contact email address on the abstract. Applicants will be notified of the outcome in January 2018.
Please note that our definitions of children and youth are flexible, reflecting the multiple constructions through time of these social categories. We expect the selection process to be competitive, and hence we will prioritise papers directly addressing the overall conference theme as well as one or more sub-themes.
We are delighted to announce that the conference will be hosted at the spectacular riverside campus of the University of Greenwich, a world heritage site. Further details will follow regarding accommodation options, travel arrangements and conference-related activities. If you are based in or around London and would like to join the conference organising committee, or volunteer during the conference itself, please email M.C.H.Martin@greenwich.ac.uk and email@example.com to express your interest.
In the meantime, keep up to date with the activities of The Children’s History Society and developments within the field on Twitter and Facebook:
Co-Directors Dr Mary Clare Martin (University of Greenwich), Dr Simon Sleight (King’s College London), and members of the conference organising committee