CFP Due 15 Jan 2020

Unchilding in MENA (MESA 2020)

CFP: Unchilding in MENA Panel @ MESA Conference 2020. 
Heidi Morrison Associate Professor, History | UW-La Crosse

Global political violence, be it in India, Mexico, Australia, Europe, US, Canada, the MENA area and elsewhere, maintain children and the dispossession of childhood to craft their governance. Global and state’s power depend–among other sources–on the domination and exploitation of childhood to fuel and mobilize their function. However, until recently, there has not been an all-encompassing term to describe the process by which children serve as political capital, i.e. expendable currency to affirm regimes of control, and achieve government goals.  Terminology is crucial for drawing attention to important matters, as well as elaborating on nuances.

Thanks to the newly published and groundbreaking work of Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, this lacuna has now been filled. “Unchilding” refers to the authorized eviction of children from childhood, maintained by a violent ethicized, gendered, and class-based machinery that exists everywhere and always. Shalhoub-Kevorkian crafted this term in the context of Israel’s treatment of Palestinian children as both nobodies who are unworthy of global children’s rights and as dangerous and killable bodies needing to be caged and dismembered (physically and mentally). The infrastructure of unchilding operates through a dynamic and cyclical ideological assertion, socio-legal claims, economic and securitized profit, the language of the sacred, and spacio-temporal control.  

In light of the gross and increasing atrocities occurring to Middle Eastern children from Yemen to Syria to Iraq and beyond (including Europe), there is an urgent need for scholars to discuss Shalhoub-Kevorkian’s new model for analysis in multi-varied contexts. The goal of the panel is to advance our understanding, through comparative analysis, of the process of unchilding in Palestine and beyond. The goal is also to make space for scholars to discuss how best to employ this new methodological framework in their existing and future projects.  This panel will pay attention to children’s various forms of agency in the face of unchilding. Please submit paper proposals on any aspect of unchilding in any time/space of MENA.