Childhood

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This inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary conference project seeks to investigate and explore all aspects of childhood. The period of life prior to adulthood is one of dramatic change and development of physical, intellectual, psychological, and many other types of characteristics. The nature of childhood and its significance as a separate phase of live, however, is viewed quite differently in different cultures and in different historical eras. This conference will look at all aspects of the experience of childhood as well as the social and cultural perceptions of children and childhood.

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The project will assess and explore a number of core themes.

1. Definitions of Childhood
How has the concept of childhood developed over time? How is childhood viewed differently across different cultures and eras? What are the boundaries of childhood?

2. Childhood and Development
What are the important aspects of physical, psychological, emotional, intellectual, moral, social, etc. development in childhood? How do institutions effectively nurture the unique developmental needs of children? How has our understanding of childhood as a period of development changed over time? Are there ways we are still getting it significantly wrong?

3. Children and Relationships
What are the dynamics of children’s relationships with their family, peers, and their community? How are children’s social relationships either experienced positively or negatively? What are the dynamics of children’s relationships with social institutions? What is the nature of children’s relationships with animals?

4. Perceptions and Depictions of Childhood
How do adults perceive children and childhood? How do they perceive the capabilities, responsibilities, and privileges of childhood? How do they perceive their own experiences of childhood? How do children perceive themselves? How are children and childhood depicted in media such as art, literature, film, television, advertising, etc.?

5. Other Issues of ChildhoodChildren and education: What issues are the concerning how children are educated?
Children and leisure: children and the law:  children and rights children and gender

Related themes will also be identified for development and exploration. Out of our deliberations it is anticipated that a series of related cross context research projects will develop.