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Contact Information

405-7 Cooper Street
Camden, NJ 08102
(856) 225-6741

Department Chair
Dr. Daniel T. Cook

Director of Graduate Studies
Dr. Sarada Balagopalan

Undergraduate Program Coordinator
Dr. Susan Miller

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Spring 2016 Newsletters

Home » Faculty


Dr. Daniel T. Cook

Department Chair
Professor of Childhood Studies
Adjunct in Sociology  
Office:  405-07 Cooper – Rm. 306


Dr. Cook’s work focuses on moral configurations of childhood and the child vis-à-vis commercial and economic cultural fields. In particular, he explores the various ways in which tensions between “the child” and “the market” play themselves out in various sites of children’s consumer culture, such as advertising, food, rituals, clothing and media. He is the author of The Commodification of Childhood: The Children’s Clothing Industry and the Rise of the Child Consumer (2004, Duke University Press) and an Editor of Childhood, A Journal of Global Child Research. Along with John Wall, Cook is editor of Children and Armed Conflict (2011, Palgrave) and is sole editor of Symbolic Childhood (2002, Peter Lang) and The Lived Experiences of Public Consumption (2008, Palgrave).  He is also the founding Chair of the Section on the Sociology of Consumers and Consumption of the American Sociological Association and serves on numerous editorial boards of journal and scientific committees of international scholarly organizations.

Currently, Cook is co-editing, with Dr. Erica Burman of University of Manchester (UK). the SAGE Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood Studies, a proposed five-volume, linked reference resource which will bring together, under one cover, an impressive array of topics, methods and perspectives definitive of contemporary approaches to the study of children and their childhoods. He is author of a number of articles and book chapters on childhood theory, consumer society, play, leisure and urban culture.

Bob Atkins, PhD, RN

Director of New Jersey Health Initiatives of RWJF
Associate Professor
Phone:  856-225-6734
Office: 323 Cooper Street


Dr. Atkins has conducted research with nationally representative longitudinal survey data and qualitative data collected in Camden explores the effects of urban poverty on child and adolescent health and development. Atkins’ work explored three questions about the health and development of youth living in high-poverty neighborhoods: 1) What social and institutional processes mediate the relationship of high-poverty neighborhoods to the health and well-being of youth living in those neighborhoods? 2)  How does childhood personality influence the emergence of health-damaging behaviors in adolescence? 3) What do youth in high-poverty neighborhoods do to promote, maintain, or restore their own health?

Dr. Atkins is the co-founder and president of the Camden STARR Program, a non-profit youth development program which sought to improve the life chances of youth living in Camden

Meredith Bak

Meredith A. Bak, PhD 

Assistant Professor of Childhood Studies
Phone: 1-(856)-225-2808
Office: 405-07 Cooper – Rm. 302

Dr. Bak joined the Rutgers-Camden Department of Childhood Studies in 2014 from Franklin & Marshall College, where she was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Film and Media Studies. Her research and teaching interests focus on children’s media, visual, and material cultures from the nineteenth century to the present. She writes on both historical and contemporary children’s media and material culture and is at work on a book manuscript about the role of pre-cinematic visual media from optical toys to early pop-up books in shaping children as media spectators. A second project in development considers the history and theory of animate toys from talking dolls to augmented reality apps. She has conducted archival research related to nineteenth- and twentieth-century childhood at institutions across the U.S. and in Europe. She is currently a book reviews editor for H-Childhood. During the 2015-16 academic year, she is a Digital Studies Fellow at the Rutgers-Camden Digital Studies Center.

saradaSarada Balagopalan, PhD

Director of Graduate Studies
Associate Professor of Childhood Studies
Phone:  856-225-6892


Dr. Balagopalan joins the department as Associate Professor from the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in New Delhi. Her work on postcolonial childhoods foregrounds the tension between children’s work and schooling as a key site where discourses of colonial modernity, the ‘developmental’ nation-state, late capitalism and current transnational efforts around children’s rights play out. One of the founding editors of  Contemporary Education Dialogue, Dr. Balagopalan has published widely on pedagogy, the democratization of elementary education and children’s rights. She is the author of the 2014 book, Inhabiting ‘Childhood’: Children, Labour and Schooling in Postcolonial India (Palgrave) .

Kate CairnsKate Cairns, PhD

Assistant Professor of Childhood Studies
Phone: 1-(856)-225-6891
Office: 405-7 Cooper – Rm. 305

Dr. Kate Cairns joined the Department of Childhood Studies in 2014 after completing a postdoctoral fellowship in sociology at the University of Toronto. Her research investigates dynamics of gender, culture and inequality, with particular focus on the construction of children and youth as the promise of collective futures. She has explored these dynamics across diverse sites — from schooling and subjectivity to food and consumption — engaging feminist and critical social theory in dialogue with qualitative research.

Dr. Cairns is the coauthor of Food and Femininity (2015, Bloomsbury). Her research on food, consumption and mothering has appeared in venues such as Gender & Society, Journal of Consumer Culture, Antipode, and Theory and Society. Past projects include a study of how rural Canadian youth imagine their futures in the context of neoliberalism, with publications in Ethnography and Education, Gender and Education, The Canadian Journal of Sociology, and The Canadian Geographer. In her current research, Dr. Cairns is investigating contemporary efforts to connect children to their food, from school gardens to children’s cookbooks. She teaches in the areas of children’s geographies, girlhood studies, and gender and education. 

Dan HartDr. Daniel Hart

Distinguished Professor of Psychology  


Dr. Hart tries to understand what the components of personality are, the ways in which personality influences successful adjustment to different social contexts, and how the components of personality are acquired over the course of development.

He has written or edited six books, including Hart, Atkins, & Fegley, Personality and development in childhood: A person-centered approach, Colby & Hart, Character and Competence: Developmental Pathways and Killen & Hart, Morality in everyday life: Developmental Perspectives.

Wenhau Lu

Wenhua Lu, PhD

Assistant Professor of Childhood Studies
Phone: 1-(856) 225-6083
Office:  405-7 Cooper – Rm. 209


Dr. Lu joined the Rutgers-Camden Department of Childhood Studies in 2016 from the Silver School of Social Work at New York University, where she was a research assistant professor.  Dr. Lu’s research and teaching interests include child health disparities among under-represented populations, childhood obesity, adolescent mental healthcare disparities, active living and environment, and quantitative methods in childhood research. Dr. Lu’s published research has appeared in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, American Journal of Health Behavior, Journal of School Health, American Journal of Health Education, among others.

Susan A. Miller, PhD  Susan Miller

Associate Professor of Childhood Studies 


Dr. Miller joined the Rutgers-Camden Department of Childhood Studies in September 2009.

She is the author of Growing Girls: The Natural Origins of Girls’ Organizations in America (Rutgers, 2007) and a contributor to Scouting Frontiers: Youth and the Scout Movement’s First Century (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009) Dr. Miller’s research and teaching interests include athletics and physical culture, science and sexuality, and Progressive Era youth culture and organizations. She is a former high school mathematics and history teacher.

Dr. Miller received her BA from the University of Pennsylvania, MS from UPenn Graduate School of Education, MA from Women’s Studies, University of York, England, and her PhD in History & Sociology of Science from the University of Pennsylvania.

Lauren Silver

Lauren J. Silver, PhD 

Associate Professor of Childhood Studies
Phone:  1-(856)-225-2354
Office:  405-407 Cooper – Rm. 313

Lauren J. Silver is Associate Professor of Childhood Studies at Rutgers University in Camden, NJ. Dr. Silver joined the Rutgers-Camden Department of Childhood Studies in 2009 and is also an Affiliate Scholar of the Center for Urban Research and Education. She is a critical ethnographer whose work lies at the intersection of the sociology and anthropology of youth, feminist methodologies, and analyses of urban systems. Her scholarship centers on the lives of young people who experience structural violence through poverty and social constructions of race, gender, and sexuality; it is deeply connected to the urban places where she lives and works.

Dr. Silver’s book, System Kids: Adolescent Mothers and the Politics of Regulation (2015, University of North Carolina Press) is based on two years of ethnographic research with youth of color and explores their identity work and service negotiations in a large, urban child welfare system. She is currently completing fieldwork for her next project: Youth Pathways Across Camden: Narratives in Urban Schooling. Dr. Silver’s research and teaching interests include: youth identities, urban education, gender & education, child welfare, and comparative urban ethnography.

Lynne ValloneLynne Vallone, PhD (on leave Fall 2016)

Professor of Childhood Studies
Phone: 1-(856)-225-2802
Office: 405-07 Cooper – Rm. 306

Dr. Vallone was the chair of the Department of Childhood Studies from 2008 until 2011 and returned to the position in the summer of 2013. She is the author of Disciplines of Virtue: Girls’ Culture in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries (1995, Yale UP) and Becoming Victoria (2001, Yale; a cultural biography of the young Queen Victoria) and the co-editor of The Norton Anthology of Children’s Literature (2005, Norton), Virtual Gender: Fantasies of Subjectivity and Embodiment (U of Georgia P)The Girl’s Own: Cultural Histories of the Anglo-American Girl, 1830-1915 (1994, U of Georgia P), and The Oxford Handbook of Children’s Literature (2011, Oxford UP). In 2011, The Oxford Handbook of Children’s Literature was awarded the Children’s Literature Association’s best edited book prize.  Dr. Vallone has recently completed a book manuscript tentatively titled Dwarf, Giant, Pygmy, Child:  A Cultural History of Big and Small Bodies (under review). This book historicizes the idea that size and scale help to organize the ways that we behave and look at the world.  She is currently general editor of the Palgrave series Literary Cultures and the Child.

John Wall, PhD

Professor of Religion and Childhood Studies
Phone:  856-745-6532
Office: 429 Cooper — Rm. 306

John Wall is Professor of Philosophy and Religion, as well as Childhood Studies, at Rutgers University Camden. He is the author of Children’s Rights: Today’s Global Challenge, Ethics in Light of Childhood, and Moral Creativity, as well as co-editor of Children and Armed Conflict, Marriage, Health, and the Professions, and Paul Ricoeur and Contemporary Moral Thought. He is an internationally recognized expert on post-structuralist ethical theory as well as philosophies of childhood and children’s rights. He co-wrote the proposal that created the first Ph.D. program in Childhood Studies in the United States and was co-founder and chair of the American Academy of Religion’s Childhood Studies and Religion Group. He has taught at Rutgers University Camden since 2000, including courses in Children’s Rights, Philosophical and Religious Perspectives on Childhood, Religion and Contemporary Culture, Biomedical Ethics, and Evil. He was awarded a Board of Trustees Research Fellowship for Scholarly Excellence and a Provost’s Award for Teaching Excellence. He grew up in England, earned his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. at the University of Chicago, and now lives in Philadelphia.

Department Secretary, Childhood Studies

Joann Schroeder, Department Secretary
856-225-6741, Room 304

Associate Faculty, Childhood Studies

Name Research Interests
(Click on the faculty’s name for biographical information)
Joseph Barbarese
Associate Professor of English & Creative Writing
Children’s literature, creative writing, poetry, essays
Laurie Bernstein
Associate Professor of History
European women’s history; Adoption law, foster care, and custody battles and dependent children in Soviet Russia
Holly Blackford
Assistant Professor of English
19th/20th Cent. American Literature, Children’s Literature, Meanings that children create from literature
Cati Coe
Associate Professor of Anthropology
Care across the lifecourse, nationalism, politics of culture, educational anthropology, West Africa
Sean Duffy
Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
Human development: spatial perception and quantitative reasoning, cognitive and social processes in cultural context, and the development of memory
Janet Golden
Professor of History
Medical History, Women’s History, Children’s History
Lauren Grodstein
Associate Professor of English
Creative writing, narrative nonfiction, and English literature
Charlotte N. Markey
Assistant Professor of Psychology
Health Psychology, Psychology of Eating-Related Behaviors, Psychology of Adolescence, and Child Development
Naomi Marmorstein
Associate Professor of Psychology
Psychopathology in children and adolescents
Margaret Marsh
University Professor of History
Reproductive Medicine and Technology, Reproductive Sexuality, Women’s and Gender History, the History of Medicine in the United States
Jane A. Siegel
Associate Professor of Criminal Justice
Impact of incarceration on children; family factors in crime and delinquency
American Literature, Children’s Literature, Literary & Cultural Representations of Childhood, Kinship and Adoption.
Health economics, health care services, access to health care services, health disparity, health behavior & health education, and cost benefit/effective analysis