Critical Childhood Studies Cluster



The C19 Critical Childhood Studies Cluster brings together scholars who are interested in foregrounding the child in their interrogation of American literature and culture. With roots in the study of children’s literature, women’s literature, and popular literature and culture, critical childhood studies has emerged as a thriving field in its own right, exploring, among other topics, the history and construction of childhood, textual and visual representations of childhood, and children, themselves, as agents of cultural production. Characterized by its intersectionality with such fields as gender studies, disability studies, race studies, queer studies, and animal studies, critical childhood studies offers scholars a rich interpretive methodology to explore questions related to difference, power, and identity, as well as to nation and family formation.


Scholars recognize childhood as a generative site of often competing or contradictory ideological commitments: while it can serve to justify and naturalize hierarchies of power, childhood is also understood as a locus of resistance, play, or queerness. The CCS Cluster is committed to building a supportive intellectual community and to advancing scholarship in the field. It offers the website Critical Childhood Studies Forum, where scholars have access to such resources as discussion forums, bibliographies, CFPs, digital archives, reviews of recent and foundational scholarship, and a blog about the state and future of the field.



Allison Giffen

Lucia Hodgson


Image: "Drinking out of a Hot Tea Pot." Chapter of Accidents, New York: Mahlon Day, 1828. 

Courtesy, American Antiquarian Society