Professor of Childhood Studies
Office: 405-07 Cooper – Rm. 303
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.
Robert (Bob) Atkins has spent his adulthood trying to improve the health and well-being of vulnerable children and families living in distressed, urban neighborhoods through service, scholarship, and education.
An Associate Professor at Rutgers University, Bob currently serves the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as National Program Director of its New Jersey Health Initiatives (NJHI) program. NJHI is the Foundation’s signature statewide grantmaking program.
Bob has a Bachelor’s of Arts in Political Science and American Civilizations from Brown University and Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from the University of Pennsylvania. Fresh out of nursing school, Bob moved to the city of Camden where he worked as a school nurse at East Camden Middle School and co-founded the Camden STARR Program, a non-profit youth development program dedicated to improving the life chances of youth living in Camden. Bob’s work in Camden motivated him to complete a PhD in the Department of Public Health at Temple University to better understand the factors that influence the health of children living in distressed environments.
Meredith A. Bak, PhD
Assistant Professor of Childhood Studies
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.
Sarada Balagopalan, PhD
Director of Graduate Studies
Ph.D. in International Education, Department of Teaching and Learning, New York University. 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, ethnography, globalisation and feminism. Her book, Inhabiting ‘Childhood’: Children, Labour and Schooling in Postcolonial India (Palgrave), is forthcoming in 2014.
Assistant Professor of Childhood Studies
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.
He is author of The Commodification of Childhood: The Children’s Clothing Industry and the Rise of the Child Consumer and Children’s Consumer Culture (2004, Duke), editor of Symbolic Childhood (2002, Peter Lang) and of The Lived Experiences of Public Consumption (2008, Palgrave). Dr. Cook also serves as Editor for Childhood: A Journal of Global Child Research (Sage).
Dr. Cook received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in Sociology.
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.
Dr. Hart received his B.A. from Bates College and his Ed.D. from Harvard.
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.
Associate Professor of Childhood Studies
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.
Dr. Wall is a theoretical ethicist whose research and teaching focus on the fundamental bases of moral life. He is particularly interested in moral life’s relation to poetics, narrative, culture, religion, time, gender, and age. His work falls into three intersecting areas: post-structuralist phenomenolgies of ethics; examinations of ethics’ religious horizons; and how ethical understanding should be impacted by considerations of childhood.
His most recent book is Ethics in Light of Childhood (Georgetown 2010), an argument for “childism” or enabling considerations of children’s experiences to transform fundamental moral theory. He also recently co-edited Children and Armed Conflict (Palgrave 2011). Previous books include Moral Creativity (Oxford 2005), a discussion of the creative dimensions of moral relations, and the co-edited volumes Marriage, Health, and the Professions (Eerdmans 2002) and Paul Ricoeur and Contemporary Moral Thought (Routledge 2002). He is currently working on two further books: Being and Making, which examines the role of making or creativity in human efforts to form meaning; and Democracy and Childhood, an exploration of how children’s experiences call for revised understandings of democratic justice and representation.
Dr. Wall has taught at Rutgers University, Camden since 2000. He has chaired or read for a number of dissertations, serves on several scholarly journal editorial boards, and in 2006 helped to create the Childhood Studies doctoral program. Since 2010 he has chaired the Childhood Studies and Religion Group at the American Academy of Religion. He was awarded a 2006 Board of Trustees Research Fellowship for Scholarly Excellence and a 2005 Provost’s Award for Teaching Excellence at Rutgers University. He teaches courses in Children’s Rights,Philosophical and Religious Perspectives on Childhood, Evil, Religion and Culture, and Biomedical Ethics.
Department Secretary, Childhood Studies
Sandra Hill has worked for 21 years at Rutgers-Camden. She started at the School of Law, then the Public Policy Department. For the past 6 years, she has had the unique experience of working for the Childhood Studies Department. The Department has attracted international faculty and students with a strong commitment to “shine a light on the lives of children in the past, present and the future.” This has created a mutually respectful atmosphere in the Department between faculty, students and staff.
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Associate Faculty, Childhood Studies
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|Children’s literature, creative writing, poetry, essays|
European women’s history; Adoption law, foster care, and custody battles and dependent children in Soviet Russia
|19th/20th Cent. American Literature, Children’s Literature, Meanings that children create from literature|
|Children and Young People with life-limiting conditions and life-threatening illnesses; Medical Decision Making and Palliative Care|
Care across the lifecourse, nationalism, politics of culture, educational anthropology, West Africa
Midwives and medicalization on a Guatemalan plantation; Health of Migrant Children in Southern NJ
|Human development: spatial perception and quantitative reasoning, cognitive and social processes in cultural context, and the development of memory|
Marcia R. Gardner
Department of Nursing
|Caregivers of developmentally vulnerable infants and young children; Developmental disabilities|
|Medical History, Women’s History, Children’s History|
|Creative writing, narrative nonfiction, and English literature|
|Health Psychology, Psychology of Eating-Related Behaviors, Psychology of Adolescence, and Child Development|
|Psychopathology in children and adolescents|
|Reproductive Medicine and Technology, Reproductive Sexuality, Women’s and Gender History, the History of Medicine in the United States|
|Impact of incarceration on children; family factors in crime and delinquency|
|American Literature,Childhood Studies, Composition, Women’s Literature, and Literary Presentation of Adoption.|
|Health economics, health care services, access to health care services, health disparity, health behavior & health education, and cost benefit/effective analysis|