CFP – Children and Youth in a Global Age

Call for Papers – Children and Youth in a Global Age
International Conference on the History of Youth and Childhood
25-26 May 2018
The University of Hong Kong

This two-day conference explores the rich potential of making children and youth the focal point of historical research. At a time when historians are placing greater emphasis upon the global and the trans-national this conference asks what roles children and youth played in “intimate” histories and how these connected with larger networks such as those of empire. How, were ideas about childhood and youth instrumentalised and institutionalised in ways intended to underpin authority, nationhood, or different genres of imperialism? How did everyday practices, objects and ties of intimacy inform ideas, practices and structures of youth and childhood shaped in circulation? In what ways did mobility, transfer and exchange shape modern concepts and experiences of being young? The conference provides a forum for the discussion of youthful practices and border-crossing mobilities that produced metropolitan and trans-imperial connections in modern times.

The conference will bring together scholars working across geographical and methodological lines to reexamine histories of childhood and youth from the mid/late nineteenth to the twentieth centuries, acknowledging young people as active co-participants in the shaping of history. We welcome different disciplinary approaches to children, childhood and youth, enabling the exploration of convergences, conflicts, and omissions, new methodologies and theoretical positions. The conference location in Hong Kong offers an ideal site to reflect on the historical reach and limitations of overlapping imperialisms, emerging nationalisms, postcolonial tensions and for the foregrounding of young people and their experiences in global, (post)colonial, trans-national and trans-imperial contexts.

Specific conference themes to be explored may include:

  • child and youth mobility (and lack of mobility), cultural transfer
  • war, disaster, refugees and asylum seekers, displacement and resettlement
  • violence (domestic, communal and state), forced or voluntary labour
  • age categories (child, adolescent, youth) in relation to (unspoken) categories of mid-life
  • sentiment, and histories of emotion
  • education, law, crime and consumption
  • medicine, understandings and experiences of illness and health
  • cultures of children and youth, play and friendship, sexuality
  • young people, the family and home
  • representations in literature and art
  • questions of theory and methodology
  • youthful masculinities and femininities, gendering of “girlhoods” and “boyhoods”
  • institutions, including schools, clubs, welfare centers, orphanages

Proposals are invited for individual papers of about 20 minutes, or for panels including three such papers. Please address questions to To submit a proposal for consideration, send abstract of 300 words (maximum) and one-page c.v. by 1 December 2017 to Applicants will be notified in January 2018.

There will be no charge for registration.