The Society for the History of Children and Youth Conference: June 23-25 at TC

The Society for the History of Children and Youth’s sixth biennial conference, “The State of Children:  Politics and Policies of Childhood in Global Perspective,” will take place on June 23-25, 2011 at Teachers College.  Admission for TC students and faculty is free of charge.

The conference will show how historical perspective can inform contemporary debates about autism, child abuse, international adoption, and new birth technologies. The conference will also provide historical context for current discussions of educational and child welfare policy, the psychology of learning, and children and war.

The conference is distinctive in its interdisciplinary, international, and policy-oriented approach.  Speakers include leading authorities on childhood and youth from Britain, China, Denmark, Germany, India, Israel, and Sweden, as well as the United States.  Highly interdisciplinary, the conference papers draw upon the insights and methods of anthropology, art history, biology, demography, developmental psychology, law, literature, philosophy, and sociology.

Professor Steven Mintz, SHCY President and the Director of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences Teaching Center, actively invites TC students and faculty to attend.  “Many of today’s debates about childhood rest on implicit assumptions about history,” he says.  Among the questions the conference will address are these:

  • Is imaginative, self-initiated, improvisational play disappearing from the lives of over-scheduled and over-protected 21st century kids, and, if so, is this having damaging consequences for their creativity, social skills, and resourcefulness?
  • Are aggressive marketers distorting children’s body image and material aspirations?
  • Are a heightened stress on early academic achievement and a test-drive school curriculum taking the play out of childhood?

Top sessions will include:

  • Judith Warner’s keynote address, “The Construction of the Medicated Child” on the history of childhood psychology
  • “The Disappearance of Childhood Revisted” roundtable discussion, which will address the popular notion that children are growing up too fast
  • Steven Mintz’s Presidential Address, “Why the History of Childhood Matters”

With three hundred scholars already registered, the conference will provide unparalleled opportunities for networking.

Click here for the conference program.

To attend:

Teachers College students and faculty may attend free of charge and without advance registration.  At the conference, please stop by the registration desk to sign in.

Columbia University students and faculty may also attend free of charge, but should contact Professor Mintz to register at