College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences > Academics > Anthropology > About > 2015 SSCIP Conference

The Society for the Study of Childhood in the Past 8th International Conference

September 11-13, 2015
DePaul University
Chicago, Illinois

Conference Organizer: Jane Eva Baxter

The annual conference of the Society for the Study of Childhood in the Past (SSCIP) brings together scholars from a wide range of academic disciplines including History, Archaeology, Literature, Art History, Sociology, Religious Studies, Anthropology and Architecture to facilitate interdisciplinary dialogs about childhood in the past.

The 8th International SSCIP Conference was held at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois, USA from Friday, September 11 to Sunday, September 13, 2015. The theme wass The Ideal Child: Presentation, Representation, and Commemoration. The conference includes sessions and presentations that address the conference theme, as well as others that focus on aspects of recent research into children and childhood in the past.

View alphabetized list of abstracts.

The Ideal Child: Presentation, Representation, and Commemoration

Most societies have particular ideals of who and what a child should be, and what an ideal childhood should entail. Social constructions of ideal children and idealized childhoods are evidenced in artistic and literary depictions of children, in guides for raising children, in the institutions created for children, in the objects made for children’s use, and in the commemorative practices for individuals who died as children.

Similarly, childhood and children also may be used as powerful symbols in art and literature to convey particular virtues, vices, or other aspects of the human condition. Ideals of childhood often overlap with other types of cultural identities including gender, socio-economic status, ethnic affiliation, religious affiliation, and national identity. Many of our sources for the study of childhood in the past offer clear depictions of idealized childhoods, while other sources more vividly engage tensions between the ideal child and the real lived experiences of children in the past.

This conference offers the opportunity for scholars from a variety of disciplines to explore how children are idealized cultural subjects and how ideal childhoods are defined in different times and places.

Potential Topics:
  • Children and the embodiment of cultural ideals
  • Cultural ideals of biological development and life-stages
  • Children as cultural symbols
  • Idealized views of children in literature, art, and image
  • Artifacts, objects, and socialization
  • Ideals of childhood and gender
  • Commemorative practices and idealized childhood
  • Children as representatives of families, communities, and/or nations