Call for Papers

Visions of Racial Justice and Childhood: Inequalities, Identities, Politics, Relationalities and Representations

Deadline for submissions: October 15, 2023

Full name / name of organization: 
Department of Childhood Studies, Rutgers University-Camden
Contact email: 

The Department of Childhood Studies at Rutgers University-Camden seeks proposals for a multidisciplinary conference on Visions of Racial Justice and Childhood to be held in Camden, NJ, USA, on June 6 to June 8, 2024. This conference invites presentations that consider how different social actors and entities, including (but not limited to) governments, corporations, non- governmental organizations, and activist groups, have envisioned racial justice in relation to childhood and youth. What visions of racial justice are sustained, contested, and otherwise engaged across children’s literature, media, and popular culture? What roles have imagined and actual children played in constructing the politics of racial justice, and how have various inequalities, identities, and relationalities shaped this process across time and space? In what ways has the concept of “racial justice” been mobilized by various actors across the political spectrum? How are the notions of racial justice and childhood enacted in complementary and/or contradictory ways?

Possible topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Rethinking racialized inequalities through Abolitionist, decolonial and postcolonial epistemologies;
  • Histories of racial capitalism and colonialism;
  • Indigenous childhoods and racial difference;
  • Multiple notions of race, including caste;
  • Visual, textual and media representations of race and childhood; Racism, ableism and disability
  • Racial justice and environmental movements;
  • Political violence and racial populism;
  • Structural racism and children’s rights discourses;
  • Racial justice, childhoods, and time;
  • Visions of childhood and race at varying scales;

We invite proposals for individual papers, pre-constituted panels, and pre- constituted roundtable discussions from graduate students and scholars in all areas of the humanities and humanistic social sciences. We also welcome proposals for presentations from youth organizers, artists, and adult community organizers.

This conference is funded by a grant on Rethinking Race and Justice Through Childhood Studies from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The Department of Childhood Studies at Rutgers University-Camden is the nation’s first doctoral degree-granting program in Childhood Studies. Its faculty members come from a wide spectrum of scholarly disciplines. The Rutgers-Camden Campus is in Camden, NJ, just across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, PA, and about two hours south of New York City.

Submission Guidelines

The deadline for submissions is 11:59 pm (US Eastern Daylight Time) on October 15, 2023.

Please submit via this google form:

Successful applicants will be informed in early November.

Proposal Guidelines

To support the maximum number of participants, each prospective participant may submit a proposal in one of the following formats. Panel and roundtable chairs may also present a paper on their panel/roundtable:

Individual Papers: Individuals submitting paper proposals should provide an abstract of 250 words, a short bio, and contact information. Co-authored papers are also accepted.

Pre-Constituted Panels: Panel coordinators should submit a 250-word rationale for the pre-constituted panel overall and a 250-word abstract, a short bio, and contact information for each panel participant. Panels may include 3-4 papers and co-authored papers are welcome. Panels that include a diversity of panelist affiliations and levels of experience are especially encouraged.

Roundtable Discussions: Pre-constituted roundtables should focus either on key issues or questions applicable to scholars and/or practitioners working on topics related to childhood and race across disciplines. We are especially interested in roundtables that are likely to engage wide participation by conference attendees and which reflect our field’s diversity of cultural identities, institutions, methodologies, and professional rank or employment status. Proposals should be submitted by a convener, who will include a unifying question (up to 150 words) and brief responses (up to 250 words) from 4-6 respondents. Proposals should also include a brief bio and contact information for the convener and each participant.

Please direct any questions about the conference and/or the submission process to the conference co-conveners Meredith Bak, Sarada Balagopalan, and Anthony Wright at:

Registration fees will be collected on a scale based on income:

< $50,000 USD – $50.00

> $50,000 USD – $100.00

You may use your best guess to gauge income level.