The idea of the child as innocent, as pure, the ‘little angel’ in need of protection from the harsh realities of life and the corrupting influences of the world around us has come to dominate our thinking, language, values, social policies and educational philosophies. Children are seen as ‘little people’, ‘blank slates’, works in progress who are loved, nurtured and guided as they grow to become mature, rational and responsible adults.
Yet we are also aware of the mischievous ‘little monsters’, the ‘little devils’ who run exasperated parents ragged. The toddlers who chase pigeons; kick cats; pull the wings off flies and the legs off spiders. Children of whom we become afraid; who abuse other children; who assault each other, strangers, parents, the elderly. Children who ‘roam’ and ‘own’ the streets, individually or ‘in packs’; who are put ‘into care’; who commit crimes; who smoke, drink, and take drugs. Feral children. Children who rape. Children who torture. Children who kill. Children who are ‘possessed’: demonic children, ‘evil’ children who do evil things.
This research stream will juggle with three competing approaches to children and evil. The first asks what is meant by ‘innocence’ – in all contexts – and then particularly the ‘innocence of a child’ as an ideal by which the second concern is measured: whether and, if so, in what ways children can be evil. Are children wicked? Are children malicious? What does it mean to be personally, socially, legally and morally responsible? And, if responsibility exists, at what point does one assume responsibility for one’s acts? What is it about the special status of ‘childhood’ that somehow makes it different? This is intertwined with the third approach: how (certain) children have been, and continue to be, presented as evil and considers the nature of evil children as a social and cultural construct and how this may differ or intersect in various communities, disciplines, and contexts.
The second instalment of this inclusive interdisciplinary conference will begin to examine, explore and undermine issues surrounding the general idea of the child as innocent. It will start unpacking all aspects of evil children and the relationship between children and evil with a view to forming a publication to engender further collaboration and discussion. It will probe the dichotomies and ambiguities of our understanding and constructs of children, childhood, the passage through childhood to adulthood and the relationship with personal and social values, morals and responsibilities. It will map the ways in which children could or should be held accountable for the things they do and the contexts in which they are subject to influencing factors and conditions. And it will assess the use of ‘evil’ in relation to children and childhood in historical and contemporary cultures.
Key topics, themes and issues for discussion may include, but are definitely not limited to:
~ Perceived binaries of innocence and evil; innocent evil
~ Evil and age; does age matter? (age of responsibility, legal vs. biological markers)
~ Children, evil and empathy
~ The child as perpetrator and/or victim
~ Class, racial, ethnic, physical “Others”
~ Evil, children and/in Fairy Tales: Folk Lore and evil children
~ Evil, children and the supernatural
~ Evil and the end of childhood (teenagers, adulthood)
~ Legal perspectives (social work, prison, law)
~ Forensic and Clinical/Biological perspectives
~ Child murderers; children who kill (Mary Bell, Thomson and Venables, school shootings)
~ Evil, children and the military. Children and war. Child soldiers
~ Topographies (e.g. evil in the playground, the child and nature)
~ Evil, children and/in literature (e.g., Lord of the Flies; The Wasp Factory, The Bad Seed, Carrie, We Need to Talk About Kevin)
~ Evil, children and/in films and television (e.g., “Chuckie,” Damien Thorne, Regan MacNeill, Joffrey Baratheon, Stewie Griffin)
~ “Protecting” children from evil (film ratings, Satanic Panics etc.)
~ “Original Sin” and evil children (philosophy, theology)
~ Bastard children (e.g., Shakespeare)
~ The psychology and psychopathology of evil children
~ Economics of children and evil
~ Children, evil and social policies
~ Children, education and evil
~ Inherited evils: the sins of the parents; children, evil and family
~ Children who become evil adults
~ Children in Ancient Rituals and burial practices
We invite people from all disciplines, professions and vocations to come together in dialogue, to provide a space and a level of legitimacy for a subject, or subjects that is traditionally seen as unimaginable, a socially taboo and even associated with pathology, by providing a forum for ideas and arguments that might otherwise not receive adequate attention and discussion. The ultimate goal is in a sense to expose the current topic to the light of day for examination of the intellectual, the emotional and the personal.
Currently, the significant areas of interest include literature, sociology, communications, art, psychology, politics, philosophy, history, anthropology, and other social sciences and humanities. Yet the scope of the conference is not limited to these fields or studies as it does not strike to narrowly define, or define at all, what areas constitute the significant not to eliminate the spirit of interdisciplinary efforts. The meeting is also open to other fields such as biology, biochemistry, political sciences, economics, etc. This kind of interdisciplinary engagement is always enjoyable and fruitful and makes for good networking and collaborative possibilities. Activists, anthropologists, archaeologies, archivists, artists and other creative professionals, civil servants, members of the clergy, clinicians, correctional authorities, historians, journalists, jurists and other legal professionals, military personnel, researchers, writers and others with an interest in the project are encouraged to submit proposals.
What To Send
The aim of this interdisciplinary conference and collaborative networking event is to bring people together and encourage creative conversations in the context of a variety of formats: papers, seminars, workshops, storytelling, performances, poster presentations, panels, q&a’s, round-tables etc.
300 word proposals, presentations, abstracts and other forms of contribution and participation should be submitted by Friday 25th September 2020. Other forms of participation should be discussed in advance with the Organising Chair.
All submissions will be minimally double reviewed, under anonymous (blind) conditions, by a global panel drawn from members of the Project Development Team and the Advisory Board. In practice our procedures usually entail that by the time a proposal is accepted, it will have been triple and quadruple reviewed.
You will be notified of the panel’s decision by Friday 9th October 2020.
If your submission is accepted for the conference, a full draft of your contribution should be submitted by Friday 12th February 2021
Abstracts and proposals may be in Word, PDF, RTF or Notepad formats with the following information and in this order:
a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in the programme, c) email address, d) title of proposal, e) body of proposal, f) up to 10 keywords.
E-mails should be entitled: Evil Children Submission.
Where To Send
Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to the Organising Chair and the Project Administrator:
What's so Special About a Progressive Connexions Event?
A fresh, friendly, dynamic format: at Progressive Connexions we are dedicated to breaking away from the stuffy, old-fashioned conference formats, where endless presentations are read aloud off PowerPoints. We work to bring you an interactive format, where exchange of experience and information is alternated with captivating workshops, engaging debates and round tables, time set aside for getting to know each other and for discussing common future projects and initiatives, all in a warm, relaxed, egalitarian atmosphere.
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Progressive Connexions believes it is a mark of personal courtesy and professional respect to your colleagues that all delegates should attend for the full duration of the meeting. If you are unable to make this commitment, please do not submit an abstract or proposal for presentation.
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Please send all enquiries to: email@example.com
For further details and information please visit the conference web page: https://www.progressiveconnexions.net/interdisciplinary-projects/evil/ev...
Sponsored by: Progressive Connexions