Lynne Vallone, PhD
Department Chair and
Distinguished Professor of Childhood Studies
Phone: 856-225-2802
Office: 329 Cooper Street, Room 204

Dr. Vallone was the chair of the Department of Childhood Studies from 2008 until 2011 and again from 2013-2016. She is the author of Big and Small: A Cultural History of Extraordinary Bodies (2017, Yale UP), 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.  She is general editor of the Palgrave series Literary Cultures and the Child. Her current work historicizes the cultural and political identities of the fetus


Meredith A. Bak, PhD
Undergraduate Coordinator
Associate Professor of Childhood Studies
Phone: 856-225-7009
Office: 329 Cooper Street, Room 215

Dr. Bak’s research explores historical and contemporary children’s toys, film, and media. She is the author of Playful Visions: Optical Toys and the Emergence of Children’s Media Culture (MIT Press, 2020). Her work in media archaeology using visual and material culture methods investigates recurring discourses about children and media, technology, education and creativity. She has published on a range of toy and media case studies on topics including talking dolls, the Give-a-Show Projector, the D.C. Super Hero Girls franchise, and the film The Babadook. She is at work on a new project that considers the history and theory of animate toys from talking dolls to augmented reality apps.

Bak joined the faculty at Rutgers-Camden from Franklin & Marshall College, where she was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Film and Media at Studies. Since joining the faculty at Rutgers-Camden, Dr. Bak’s research has been supported by the Penn Humanities Forum, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Rutgers-Camden Digital Studies Center, and the Rutgers Center for Cultural Analysis. Dr. Bak is also a book reviews editor for H-Childhood.

saradaSarada Balagopalan, PhD 
Associate Professor of Childhood Studies
Phone: 856-225-6892
Office: 329 Cooper Street, Room 218

Broadly focused on postcolonial childhoods, Dr. Balagopalan’s inter-disciplinary research engages marginal children’s experiences with compulsory schooling, labor, gendered school-spaces, children’s rights discourses and pedagogies of ‘citizenship’. Trained in education and anthropology, her work is directed at both challenging the exclusionary logics that often underlie humanist efforts around marginal children, as well as productively drawing upon these children’s lives to decenter hegemonic assumptions around childhood. 

Dr. Balagopalan is currently engaged in two separate research projects.  The first of these is an archival exploration of various efforts undertaken to democratize schooling in India from the late nineteenth century onwards.  Her effort is to trace shifts in ideas, institutions and technologies set in place, to not only include marginal populations of children, but to also design ‘appropriate’ and ‘meaningful’ curriculum for them.  Her second research project is an ethnographic exploration of India’s much touted youthful ‘demographic dividend’ with a particular focus on urban female youth, who are first generation school goers, and the complexities that frame their transitions from schooling to skilling.

Sarada’s book Inhabiting Childhood: Children, Work and Schooling in Postcolonial India (Palgrave, 2014) 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.  Her work has been published in several journals.  Sarada’s work has also involved efforts to translate her research interests into curricular and related interventions in elementary education.  Between 2005-08, Sarada served as the Chief Advisor to the Indian government’s middle-school ‘Social and Political Life’ (earlier known as ‘civics’) textbooks.  Dr. Balagopalan is currently a Board member of Nirantar, a center for gender and education in New Delhi, and has also been a part of Eklavya, an NGO in Madhya Pradesh, engaged in pedagogic reforms in India’s public schools.  Prior to joining Rutgers University, she was an Associate Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), New Delhi .

Kate Cairns, PhD
Associate Professor of Childhood Studies
Phone: 856-225-7024
Office: 329 Cooper Street, Room 213

Dr. Kate Cairns joined the Department of Childhood Studies in 2014 after completing a postdoctoral fellowship in sociology at the University of Toronto. Her work brings a feminist perspective to the politics of childhood and explores how young people are positioned as the promise or threat of collective futures. She has investigated these dynamics across diverse sites, including neoliberal education reform, maternal foodwork, and youth urban agriculture. Dr. Cairns is a member of the Common Worlds Research Collective, and serves on the editorial boards for Gender & Society and the Critical Perspectives on Youth series with NYU Press. During 2018-2019 she is a Faculty Fellow at the Rutgers-New Brunswick Institute for Research on Women.

Dr. Cairns is the coauthor of Food and Femininity (2015, Bloomsbury) and Introducing Sociology Using the Stuff of Everyday Life (2017, Routledge). Her research on food, consumption and mothering has appeared in venues such as Gender & Society, Journal of Consumer Culture, Theory and Society, and Signs. More recently, she has studied contemporary efforts to connect children and young people with their food, with publications in Antipode, Children’s Geographies, and Harvard Educational Review. Dr. Cairns teaches courses in children’s geographies, gender and education, girlhood studies, and introduction to childhood studies.


Dr. Daniel T. Cook
Distinguished Professor of Childhood Studies
Adjunct in Sociology  
Phone: 856-225-2816
Office: 329 Cooper Street, Room 116

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 editing 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 also is co-editing, along with Spyros Spyrou (European University, Cyprus) and Rachel Rosen (University College London), Reimagining childhood Studies due to be published in 2018 with Bloomsbury Press. Ongoing research includes a study of how children’s market research professionals (e.g., marketers, market researchers, digital developers) and others in the “kids’ space” conceptualize their practices in relation to deployed notions of childhood. He is author of a number of articles and book chapters on childhood theory, consumer society, play, leisure and urban culture.

Dan HartDr. Daniel Hart
Distinguished Professor of Psychology  
Phone: 856-225-6741

Dr. Hart studies personality, moral, and civic development in context.  His most recent book, written with Jim Youniss, is entitled Renewing Democracy in Young America, and will be published by Oxford University Press in 2018.  They argue that civic development can be reinvigorated by lowering the voting age for municipal elections to sixteen and by creating opportunities for young people to contribute to community welfare through environmental activism.  

In his applied work, Dr. Hart and his colleagues are working with eleven communities across New Jersey to create opportunities for youth to become civically engaged and to develop leadership skills.  This work is funded by New Jersey Health Initiatives as part of its Next Generation Community Leaders program. 

Susan A. Miller, PhD  
Associate Professor of Childhood Studies 
Phone: 856-225-7025
Office: 329 Cooper Street, Room 211

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 several anthologies, including Scouting Frontiers: Youth and the Scout Movement’s First Century (Cambridge Scholars, 2009); Rendering Nature: Animals, Bodies, Places, Politics (UPenn, 2015); and Childhood, Youth, and Emotions in Modern History (Palgrave, 2015). She is also the author of the Oxford Online Bibliography on the History of Childhood in America. Her current research interests include children’s patriotism and nationalism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and the ways in which nineteenth-century female reformers and suffragists included younger girls in their political campaigns. Staying true to her graduate training in the history or science, she is also working on an article about Madame Curie and her daughters, Eve and Irène.

Dr. Miller teaches courses on the history of childhood and youth in America, from colonial times to the present, as well as courses on children and war, and youth sports. She is a former high school mathematics and history teacher who now spends her spare time as a volunteer tour guide at Philadelphia’s historic Laurel Hill cemetery.

Lauren J. Silver, PhD 
Director of Graduate Studies
Associate Professor of Childhood Studies
Phone: 856-225-7008
Office:  329 Cooper Street, Room 212

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.

John Wall, PhD
Professor of Religion and Childhood Studies
Phone: 856-745-6532
Office: 429 Cooper Street, Room 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 ChallengeEthics in Light of Childhood, and Moral Creativity, as well as co-editor of Children and Armed ConflictMarriage, 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.

Anthony Wright, PhD
Assistant Professor of Childhood Studies
Phone: 856-225-6648
Office: 329 Cooper Street, Room 205

Anthony Wright received his PhD in medical anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco. His research uses ethnographic methods to explore technologically mediated processes of care and communication among young people in life-threatening circumstances, from cancer treatment in the United States to political corruption and violence in Mexico. His work builds on concepts and methods from childhood studies, medical and linguistic anthropology, and science and technology studies in order to shed light on the ways in which young people affect and are affected by processes of care and communication in the midst of diverse forms of violence and harm. As an instructor, Anthony is dedicated to collaborating with students on research and civic engagement. He is particularly interested in working with students who would like to go into research or clinical work in pediatric contexts. In the future, he hopes to develop a partnership with a local children’s hospital in order to facilitate this work.  

Department Staff

Joann Schroeder
Phone: 856-225-6741
Office: 329 Cooper Street, Room 100

Associate Faculty, Childhood Studies

Bob Atkins, PhD, RN, National Program Director of New Jersey Health Initiatives of RWJF and Associate Professor
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

Holly Blackford Humes, Professor of English
19th/20th Cent. American Literature, Children’s Literature, Meanings that children create from literature

Cati Coe, Professor of Anthropology
Care across the lifecourse, nationalism, politics of culture, educational anthropology, West Africa

Charlotte N. Markey, Professor of Psychology
Health Psychology, Psychology of Eating-Related Behaviors, Psychology of Adolescence, and Child Development

Naomi Marmorstein, 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, Professor of Criminal Justice
Impact of incarceration on children; family factors in crime and delinquency

Carol J. Singley, Professor of English
American Literature, Children’s Literature, Literary & Cultural Representations of Childhood, Kinship and Adoption.