14.11.2017

Call for papers: Childhood and Materiality VIII Conference on Childhood Studies

May 7–9, 2018, Jyväskylä, Finland
Materiality has recently become a widely debated theme across social sciences and humanities. As developed within new realist, posthumanist and materialist discourses, materiality has challenged traditional views on the primacy of humans and language, as well as the limits of rationality, knowledge, autonomy, and identity – with implications for ontology, epistemology, and ethics. Materiality is directly connected to topics such as agency, embodiment, human-nature relationships, place and environment, sustainability, memory and identity, taste and aesthetics, technology, consumerism, and many more. 
 
In the context of interdisciplinary childhood studies, materiality has opened novel perspectives on children’s worlds. Children’s being and agency can be located in complex, intimate, and interdependent relationships to things and places that can be seen engaging in social interaction as non-human participants. Material objects condition, affect and are intertwined with relationships between children and other humans. Children’s material existence as corporeal and bodied beings lures us to explore physical activity of children, brain functioning, and children’s and young people’s perceptions of their bodies.
 
In today’s affluent societies, many children live in material abundance and within networks supported by new technologies and consumption, affecting and affected by them. Things and devices are simultaneously means for children of building identity and belonging and instruments of the adult monitoring of children’s lives, their bodies and whereabouts. In a global perspective, the picture is however more complex, for while the overall wellbeing of children has increased, many children live in poverty and even destitution. This is a major challenge for both the implementation of children’s rights and sustainable development. Ultimately, considering human and nonhuman life, environmental change and economic justice are interdependent.
 
The theme of the 2018 Conference of Childhood Studies is deliberately wide-ranging and designed to invite scholars to explore materiality and childhood across a broad spectrum. We hope to inspire lively debates from different disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives about the many aspects of childhood and materiality.
 
Topics include but are not limited to:
• Materialist methodologies, ontologies, ethics
• Historical perspectives on materiality and childhood
• Nature, animals, humans
• Sustainable development, mobility, migration 
• Economies, consumption, wealth, poverty
• Materiality in institutions 
• Policies and politics of materiality and childhood
• Embodiment, expressive bodies, normativity, and child bodies  
• Material cultures in everyday life 
• Aesthetic matters, dis/orders of tastes and things
• Materiality in play and imagination
• Digital technologies and environments 
 
Both individual abstract submissions and proposal for self-organized symposia are welcome. The maximum word count for an abstract is 350. Abstract submission opens on November 1, 2017 and closes on January 15, 2018.