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 offers 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.

Contact Allison Giffen and Lucia Hodgson at