Dr Kristine Alexander, University of Lethbridge, Canada
Dr Sarah Duff, Colby College, USA
Prof Mischa Honeck, Universität Kassel, Germany
Dr Susan Miller, Rutgers University, Camden, USA
Dr Ishita Pande, Queen’s University
Dr Simon Sleight, King’s College, London, England
Dr Karen Vallgårda, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Dr Ville Vuolanto, Tampere University
Chair: Dr Stephanie Olsen, Senior Research Fellow, Tampere University/HEX
The history of childhood and youth is a key field where questions of agency should play out. After all, children and youth are among the most marginalized actors because of their minority, and also because of various intersecting categories – class, race, gender, sexuality – which often leave them without a strong say in their own lives. Yet, historians of childhood and youth have been some of the most vocal in articulating a discomfort with the concept of agency. Several key interventions by historians of childhood, including Mona Gleason and Susan Miller, have suggested that agency needs redefining or replacing. This work has built on seminal interventions by historians of race, slavery and gender in particular.
This roundtable features leading scholars in the field, all of whom have problematized agency in their written work from different angles and national and colonial perspectives. We will point to potential pitfalls of agency from various theoretical, methodological and political perspectives and discuss potential alternative routes out of the “agency trap.” The novel category of experience will figure prominently in theorizing these alternatives.
To read the panelists’ bios, please click on the names below:
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