Welcome to Critical Childhood Studies: A Long 19c Digital Humanities Project

by Allison Giffen and Lucia Hodgson

We are delighted to welcome you to Critical Childhood Studies: A Long 19C Digital Humanities Project.

This website is committed to gathering and nurturing the growing community of critical childhood studies scholars; to advancing teaching and scholarship in the field; and to encouraging the professional development of scholars at all stages of their careers, including graduate students, contingent faculty, instructors, and independent scholars. We seek to build an inclusive community where we can support each other.

This project was born at the 2018 C19 conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico where we participated in  the seminar “Childhood Teleologies: Climates of Growth,” organized and chaired by Anna Mae Duane and Karen Sánchez-Eppler. “Childhood Teleologies” kindled a great deal of intellectual excitement and represents a significant milestone in the field of critical childhood studies. It prompted so much interest that its organizers created two sessions that brought together more than twenty scholars with a range of interests in childhood studies. Critical Childhood Studies continues and extends the compelling conversations begun at the C19 conference. 

Critical Childhood Studies
The past two decades have seen the publication of a rich body of critical work on childhood. This scholarship has established the foundation of a thriving field that explores, among other topics, the history and construction of childhood, textual and visual representations of childhood, childhood as metaphor, and children, themselves, as agents of cultural production. We have chosen to use the word “critical” as a way to signal a methodology that is grounded in the humanities and takes the “child” and “childhood” as overdetermined and multivalent  terms. 

Characterized by its intersections with such fields as gender studies, disability studies, race studies, queer studies, and animal studies, the field of critical childhood studies provides scholars a rich interpretive methodology to explore questions related to difference, power, affect, and subjectivity. Scholars recognize childhood as a generative site of often competing or contradictory ideological commitments: while it can serve to justify and naturalize hierarchies of power, childhood is also understood as a locus of resistance, play, and queerness.

The CCS Project
Along with an array of scholarly and professional resources, our site features two blogs:

“Thinking Through Childhood” creates an opportunity for scholars to share their work with an informed community. These moderated posts and comments will offer an exciting prospect of the field, mapping new lines of inquiry, illuminating trends, and highlighting new methodologies. “Thinking Through Childhood” provides scholars with an opportunity to think out loud about some of the pressing questions driving their current work. Posts can take a variety of forms and come from different stages of the research process. Contributors might think broadly and theoretically. For example, posts might explore some of the assumptions that undergird the discipline or how childhood studies intersects productively with other critical approaches. Or, posts might take on more specific projects, such as offering insights into overlooked writers, texts, or archives. Length is flexible, though posts are typically about 1000 words.

As part of “Thinking Through Childhood,” we also present “The BUZZ: New Essays in Critical Childhood Studies,” which alerts scholars to recent essays in critical childhood studies appearing in journals with a broader scope, such as J19 and American Literature, or journals with an intersecting focus like Disability Studies Quarterly and Legacy. Authors post brief descriptions of their work in which they present the essay’s important claims, highlight relevant scholarly conversations, and/or suggest avenues for future inquiry. Look for our first “BUZZ” post this October!

The second blog, “CCS Chronicle,” offers reviews of new scholarship in the field. Authored by Lucia Hodgson, this blog will also highlight notable panels and conference papers, new archives and collections, and current political events relevant to critical childhood studies.

You will also find a discussion forum dedicated to pedagogy. “CCS Forum: In the Classroom” provides a platform for the exchange of questions and ideas related to teaching childhood studies in the college classroom. A community-building project, this moderated discussion forum provides a space where we can support each other in our teaching and where we can share and respond to the particular challenges and opportunities of childhood studies in the classroom.

Our “Resources” feature offers exciting possibilities for collaborative work including building bibliography and identifying pertinent archives and repositories. Supporting graduate students is essential to this scholarly community, and this feature also provides a space, “For Graduate Students,” dedicated to their professional development. We envision this space growing through collaboration, where our community of scholars can share ideas that will best serve the professional and intellectual growth of graduate students.

Finally, CCS Project provides a wealth of information about current “Professional Opportunities” where scholars can find and post CFP’s, grants and fellowships, jobs, as well as announcements about upcoming events, such as panels or talks of interest to childhood studies scholars.

Here’s how you can get involved:

  • Submit a post for “Thinking Through Childhood” or for “The BUZZ”
  • Like or comment on a post
  • Subscribe to get email notifications about new posts
  • Participate in “CCS Forum: In the Classroom” by posting a question, idea, or teaching resource 
  • Share on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms
  • Use our hashtag: #CritChildStudies

We’d love to hear from you!

For queries and submissions contact Allison Giffen and Lucia Hodgson at contact@ccsproject.org


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