Conference on Childhoods and Children’s Rights in India
November 10-11, 2008
There is growing acceptance in India of the framework of rights within which to classify and ‘empower’ the lives of children. While there exists a critical awareness that the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child set in place a western-bourgeois childhood as the ‘norm’, it is also viewed as having provided a platform to engender much-needed legal reforms and state-civil society partnerships aimed at different populations of ‘vulnerable’ children.
The complexity of translation of this global discourse of children’s rights in the everyday lives of children and their communities has not been adequately explored. In relation to children’s rights, most often it is within the language of policy that the global gets locally situated. The need for ‘inclusive’ policies and the gap between these and their ‘delivery’ co-exists with a developmental anxiety about ‘saving’ the childhoods of poor children. Another way in which the local gets articulated is through ethnographic and sociological research that emphasizes the plurality of childhoods and thereby appears to circumvent the underlying ‘norm’. But often their reliance on cultural difference places these descriptions at risk of sliding into an isolating relativism, eliding the questions of historical linkages, the politics of representation, area studies and bounded cultures.
In order to move the vectors of the debate beyond the universal lens of humanitarian and developmental policies as well as the isolating relativism of cultural difference, the proposed conference seeks papers that discuss processes of mediation, engagement and contention that discourses on children’s rights encounter when situated in India. The conference invites papers that adopt different approaches including ethnographic, historical, textual etc. to address the above issues. The following list of themes helps provide an idea of the range of issues included within the above processes of translation:
• Indian state and the politics of children’s rights;
• NGOs, ‘vulnerable’ children and normative childhood;
• Pedagogies and practices on children’s rights;
• Colonial state, children and reform;
• Child labour and the universalisation of education;
• Children’s rights and changing constructions of family and parenting;
• Children’s rights in popular culture;
• Media and children’s rights;
• Children’s rights and schooling;
• Children’s fiction and shifting notions of childhood;
• Childhood, consumer cultures and children’s rights;
• Children’s ‘voice’ and the production of new subjectivities.
Interested participants should send an abstract of not more than 400 words to Sarada Balagopalan (email: email@example.com) by July 15, 2008. Please specify ‘Conference on Childhoods and Children’s Rights’ under Subject. Selected authors will be notified by August 1st and will be expected to submit a draft of their paper by October 15th, 2008.
Scholars from the United Kingdom who have undertaken comparative research on the above issues are also encouraged to apply as funding for the conference is being provided by UKERI. UK India Education Research Initiative is a five-year programme which aims to substantially improve educational links India and UK. The main focus of the initiative is higher education and within this an emphasis on research oriented links between centers of excellence.
Centre For The Study of Developing Societies (CSDS)
29 Rajpur Road
Delhi - 110054 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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