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Cynthia C Degnan is working to put together a panel proposal for next year’s American Studies Association conference, which will take place in San Antonio, Texas in November 2010. Please see the CFP below for information.

This panel seeks papers that examine the ways in which children are positioned during national moments of crisis. Building upon recent scholarship that interrogates the placement of the child at the center of political debates in the U.S., we aim to understand how childhood functions as a key site in the production of national ideals. How do children – both in their conceptualization and their actualization – provide the chain that binds the family and the nation? Which children are thought to embody the future and thus must be saved for the sake of the nation, and which children are imagined to pose a perverse and degenerative threat to familial and national futurity? In what ways are some children seen as working to preserve the nation either through participating in activist campaigns with their parents or through learning the qualities of “good citizens” from their teachers? How does the management of children’s agency – by simultaneously celebrating their creativity and exploiting their malleability – secure the role of the child in relation to the national body? When might the child’s playful engagement with citizenship open space for a critique of the nation-state? We encourage papers that investigate questions of children and childhood in relation to the intersections of gender and sexual identities, structures of class, racial formations, and hierarchies of dis/ability.

Please send an abstract of no more than 500 words, a CV, and any questions to

The deadline for submissions is January 15, 2010.

CFP – Childhood and the Production of National Ideals