Call for Papers: Child Protection and the Rights of the Child: Transnational Perspectives

On January 27 through 29, the Centre for Human Rights and Restorative Justice, the Wilson Institute for Canadian History, McMaster Children & Youth University, and the Department of History will jointly host Child Protection and the Rights of the Child: Transnational Perspectives at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada. We are calling for papers to be submitted for this forthcoming conference.


Historically, children have been seen as serving diverse strategic and emotional interests, both those held by individual families and by states. Views about children and their welfare have changed over time and across cultures. Children ’ s changing roles and questions about their agency are significant sites of historical study today. But at this political moment, the role of the state and other institutions in overseeing children ’ s issues is increasingly under debate across varying national contexts.


The main objective of this conference is to map global patterns in discourses, politics, policies, and practices in child saving, child protection, and the rights of children. We are interested in exploring the ways that changes and (dis)continuities in the relationship and transition from child saving to rights entitlements have been framed and whether these changes indicate linear progress or something far less straightforward or far more limited in scope or applicability. We are also interested in the intersections between local approaches and transnational trends in child welfare, protection, and children ’ s rights. How have shifts in social attitudes, politics, and discourse shaped child welfare policies? What are the impacts of these changes on the wellbeing of children and, indeed, conceptions of childhood and youth?


We invite historians and scholars from related disciplines at all career stages who are interested in addressing these questions in diverse geographic spaces to submit proposals for this conference. We recognize that the language of saving children is rooted in particular countries and in the period from the late nineteenth century onwards. Nevertheless, we are also interested in submissions that consider efforts to support or protect children in different time periods and places as well as within different conceptions of childhood.


For more details and to see a list of conference subthemes, visit the Centre for Human Rights and Restorative Justice conference webpage.