Designing Modern Childhoods: Landscapes, Buildings, and Material Culture
An International, Interdisciplinary Conference
University of California, Berkeley, USA
Dates: May 2-3, 2002
Proposals due: October 1, 2001
Keynote speakers: Gary Cross, Pennsylvania State University, Anne-Marie Châtelet, Ecole d’architecture de Versailles, others to be announced
What are the cultural meanings and social effects of buildings and other settings designed for and used by children? Is there such a thing as a child’s space or a children’s landscape? What makes it so in the eyes of a child or an adult, and what are its salient physical characteristics? How do landscapes, objects, and buildings mark boys and girls as different from one another, other generations, and children in other places, classes, and cultures? What ties do settings made for children have to larger cultural, political, and urban landscapes and what consequences do these spaces and ties hold for public and private life in modern societies? How and why do places and objects made for children change over time, making visible new practices among children? What do we learn about adults from such changes?
With these kinds of questions in mind, we are organizing an international, two-day conference to encourage and provoke interdisciplinary, comparative inquiry in a field rapidly emerging in childhood studies — the architecture and material culture of children. By framing modern childhood as a material matter, as well as a social relationship, we are able to probe the everyday, lived experiences and spaces of children as well as the political beliefs, ideologies, rituals, and myths that frame them. Children’s toys, clothing, and furniture, we suggest, belong to larger cultural landscapes, as do buildings and spaces made for and used by boys and girls. The stroller (or pram) can be analyzed as an industrial product; it also needs to be considered in relation to concepts of care, domesticity, and motherhood, consumerism and status, urbanism, public health, and park planning in the Victorian era, and changes in the ideology of childhood that emphasize the benefits of leisure and fresh air in a child’s daily life.
We welcome proposals for papers about 20 minutes long from scholars in the humanities and social sciences, architects, planners, educators, and other parties who take (or see the benefit in developing) a tangible perspective on the history of childhood and the lives of children in the past, present, and future. We seek papers that incorporate comparative, cross-cultural research, use new analytical tools to scrutinize the place that schools, parks, libraries, playgrounds, and other settings take in children’s daily life, historically and in the present day, and research that brings to light children’s points of view about the spaces, buildings, and things they use and create in cities and other places, during times of peace and war. Sessions will focus on the following key themes — "Children as Citizens," "Children and Family Life," "At Work and at Play," "Towards a Tangible History of Childhood" — and other aspects of the subject at hand. Visit the "Call for Papers" at http://workingfamilies.berkeley.edu/ for more information.
Contact Information: Send a 300-word abstract, with the paper title, your name, address and affiliation, and a 1-2 pg. c.v. to the organizers, below. E-mail submissions are encouraged, using "MS WORD" attachments.
Ning de Coninck-Smith, Ph.D., Department of Contemporary Cultural Studies, Southern Denmark University, Campusvej 55, 5230 Odense M., Denmark; p: 45-65-50 3419/3430, e: firstname.lastname@example.org
Marta Gutman, R.A., Ph.D., Center for Working Families, University of California, 2420 Bowditch Street, MC5670, Berkeley, CA, USA 94720-5670; p: 1, 510-642-4867; f: 1, 510 642-7902; e: email@example.com
Paper proposals due: October 1, 2001
Notification of accepted papers: November 1, 2001
Paper drafts due to session chairs: March 1, 2002
Late submissions will not be considered.
The conference is sponsored by the Center for Working Families, the Center for Childhood and Youth Policy, and other groups at UC Berkeley. It will be free and open to the public, and we hope to offer a limited number of fellowships to offset the cost of international travel, based on need.
Ning de Coninck-Smith, Ph.D.
Department of Contemporary Cultural Studies
Southern Denmark University
5230 Odense M., Denmark
p: 45-65-50 3419/3430, e: firstname.lastname@example.org
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