CFP | Due 15 Apr 2023 | The Biopolitics of Childhood | Routledge

CFP: The Biopolitics of Childhood edited by Lucia Hodgson and Allison Giffen

Deadline for abstracts: April 15, 2023

We are seeking 2-3 essays to round out our collection The Biopolitics of Childhood, currently under contract with Routledge for the Children’s Literature and Culture series. Essays should focus on the long U.S. 19th-century and be approximately 6,000 words.

This edited collection contends that the figure of the child is foundational to the workings of biopolitical power yet remains undertheorized. The study of nineteenth-century biopolitics offers a theoretical framework that promises to increase our understanding of how modern democracies manage their subjects. Recent scholarship such as Kyla Schuller’s The Biopolitics of Feeling: Race, Sex, and Science in the Nineteenth Century (Duke UP, 2017) and Jenifer L. Barclay’s The Mark of Slavery: Disability, Race, and Gender in Antebellum America (U of Illinois P, 2021) has invigorated interrogations into forms of state governance that operate at the level of population, a biological phenomenon defined as a group of individuals linked by racialized fictions of biological commonality. Our collection seeks to recognize and position critical childhood studies as essential to these interrogations.

We are asking contributors to theorize the role of children and childhood as tools of biopolitical governance in the United States in the long nineteenth century. Essays might develop this line of inquiry by exploring how the interrelated and overlapping qualities integral to our understandings of the child and childhood, particularly malleability, growth, and symbolic power, are readily deployed by biopolitical power. We are especially interested in work that engages Indigenous, Pacific, Asian-American, and Latinx/Chicanx Studies, and well as Critical Disability Studies and Queer Studies.

Please send a 250-word abstract and CV to Lucia Hodgson ( and Allison Giffen ( no later than April 15th. Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.
Best wishes,Lucia and Allison

Lucia Hodgson (she/her)
American Scandinavian Foundation Fellow, 2022-2023
Guest Researcher
Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies
Linnaeus University, Sweden

Allison Giffen (she/her)
English Department
Western Washington University
516 High Street, MS 9055
Bellingham WA 98225

Co-Editors, Critical Childhood Studies: A Long 19C Digital Humanities Project