The idea of the child as innocent, as pure, the ‘little angel’ in need of protection from the harsh realities of life and the corrupting influences of the world around us has come to dominate our thinking, language, values, social policies and educational philosophies in the past few decades. Children are seen as ‘little people’, ‘blank slates’, works in progress who are loved, nurtured and guided as they grow to become mature, rational and responsible adults.
Yet we are also aware of the mischievous ‘little monsters’, the ‘little devils’ who run exasperated parents ragged. The toddlers who chase pigeons; kick cats; pull the wings off flies and the legs off spiders. Children of whom we become afraid; who abuse other children; who assault each other, strangers, parents, the elderly. Children who ‘roam’ and ‘own’ the streets, individually or ‘in packs’; who are put ‘into care’; who commit crimes; who smoke, drink, and take drugs. Feral children. Children who rape. Children who torture. Children who kill. Children who are possessed: demonic children, evil children who do evil things.
This inclusive interdisciplinary conference will begin to examine, explore and undermine issues surrounding the general idea of the child as innocent and explore all aspects of evil children and the relationship between children and evil.
We invite people from all disciplines, professions and vocations to come together in dialogue, to provide a space and a level of legitimacy for a subject, or subjects that is traditionally seen as unimaginable, a socially taboo and even associated with pathology, by providing a forum for ideas and arguments that might otherwise not receive adequate attention and discussion. The ultimate goal is in a sense to expose the current topic to the light of day for examination of the intellectual, the emotional and the personal.