Keynote Speakers

Amy L. Best is Professor of Sociology and Chair in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at George Mason University. Her research focuses on the study of youth, identity formation, culture, and social inequalities, with a particular interest in how gender, ethnicity, sexuality, race and class differently shape the social experiences of contemporary American youth. She is interested in qualitative and feminist approaches to social research and program evaluation. Best is author of Prom Night: Youth, Schools and Popular Culture (2000 Routledge), which was selected for the 2002 American Educational Studies Association Critics’ Choice Award and Fast Cars: Cool Rides: The Accelerating World of Youth and Their Cars (NYU Press 2006), and editor of Representing Youth: Methodological Issues in Critical Youth Studies. (NYU Press, 2007). Her most recent book is Fast Food Kids: French Fries, Lunch Lines and Social Ties (NYU Press, 2017), which was selected for a 2018 Morris Rosenberg Award by the DC Sociological Society.


Helle Strandgaard Jensen is associate professor at Department of History and Classical Studies, Aarhus University, Denmark. She holds a PhD from the European University Institute. Jensen’s work focuses on contemporary childhood and media history in Scandinavia, Western Europe and the US after 1945. She combines historical methods with theoretical approaches from cultural studies and media studies. One part of her research has media as the historical object of study. The other looks at how digital media – in particular digital archives, sources, and research tools – influence the discipline of history. Jensen currently works on a project financed by the Danish Research Council and the European Commissions’ Marie Curie actions about the American children’s programme Sesame Street and its reception and demarcation in the US, UK, Italy, Scandinavia and Germany during the 1970s. A second project investigates digital archives as historiographical agents by looking at the production, content, and use of these from the perspective of professional historians. Since 2015 Jensen has been the co-chair of the working group ‘Digital literacy in homes and communities’ in the EU-funded research network DigiLitEY. She is the author of From Superman to Social Realism: Children’s Media and Scandinavian Childhood (John Benjamins 2017) as well as a number of articles on childhood history, children’s media culture, and digital archives’ impact on historiography.


Fikile Nxumalo is an assistant professor in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto. Her work is centered on environmental and place-attuned early childhood education that is situated within and responsive to children’s inheritances of settler colonialism, anti-blackness and environmental precarity. Her most recent book, Decolonizing Place in Early Childhood Education (Routledge, 2019) examines the entanglements of place, environmental education, childhood, race, and settler colonialism in early learning contexts