CFP | Due 31 Oct 2020 | Histories of Childhood and Medicine (ACLA 2021 Virtual)

CFP: Histories of Childhood and Medicine Seminar at ACLA 2021 (Virtual Conference)

Please consider submitting an abstract to a panel on the Histories of Childhood and Medicine at ACLA 2021 (which will be held virtually). See CFP and link to submit below:

Histories of Childhood and Medicine

This seminar investigates the centrality of childhood to the changing medical and scientific landscape of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, an era that saw the development of Darwin’s theories of evolution, the creation of eugenics, and the medicalization of gender. We will interrogate how scientific/medical discourse used children (and the concept of childhood) as subjects, as justification for its goals, and as evidence for its claims. While we welcome papers on any aspect of this subject, a particular goal of this seminar is to expose the centrality of childhood to the validation of medical efforts which were, at their core, invested in the propagation of white supremacy. How were specific, racialized, teleological narratives first established by scientific/medical discourse as typical of “normative” child development? What role did white supremacist thought play in the creation of these norms? How have these narratives of childhood development been used to naturalize gender norms, neurological norms, and white supremacist notions of development in the present day? We welcome papers that add to this intersectional conversation from various subjects, fields, and media.

Possible topics include:

  • Medicalization of intersexuality
  • Childhood and eugenics
  • Medicalization of trans childhood
  • Phrenology and the depiction of non-white races as “childish”
  • Discourses of science/medicine in literature/media for children
  • Global histories of connections between science and childhood

Please submit proposals through the ACLA website by Oct. 31, 2020:

Feel free to contact Mary Gryctko ( or Shawna McDermott ( with questions.