Category Archives: Thinking Through Childhood

“After Developmentalism: Toward a Theory of the Human”

Gabrielle Owen
This form of exploitation, the use of the child to meet adult needs, is built into the social conception of what a child is in the first place. If such a relation appears “natural” according to the definitional bounds of what a child is, then we must reckon with the degree to which exploitation is foundational to the Western idea of childhood itself. Read More



Read more

“Sentimental Origins: Queer Friendship and the Bildungsroman”

Kristen Proehl
Queer friendships challenge the devaluation of platonic relationships in contrast to romantic, familial, and/or biological relationships. Queer friendships, I argue, are a pervasive convention of YA literature and play a crucial role in many adolescent protagonists’ understanding of their identities and relation to the world. Read More


Read more

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

Allison Giffen, Lucia Hodgson
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. Read More

Read more

Book Review: Contested Bodies: Pregnancy, Childrearing, and Slavery in Jamaica by Sasha Turner

Lucia Hodgson
Turner makes the more Foucauldian argument that increased attention to slave children as children led to new forms of surveillance, regulation and subjugation. She illustrates how planters accommodated children’s developmental stages in order to increase their capacity for labor over the course of their lifetimes. Read More

Read more