Reimagining childhood studies is an ongoing, collective project aimed at reimagining childhood studies as a field. Through a series of conversations aimed at reinvigorating debate within this multidisciplinary field, we seek to open it up to new ways of thinking and render it more inclusive, critical and reflexive.

This project builds on our initial collaboration through the publication of the edited volume with the same title (Reimagining Childhood Studies, Bloomsbury Academic, 2019) with Spyros Spyrou and Rachel Rosen as editors and Sarada Balagopalan as a contributor.

We seek to continue the conversations we started with the book with an expanded vision that is more inclusive and global in scale. Our aim with this project is not simply to critique the field and its limits but to also contribute towards its reimagining. This necessitates collective efforts that escape the narrow confines of Eurocentric knowledge production. Reimagining is bolstered by generative conversations with colleagues who work beyond the field and whose work allows us to push the limits of childhood studies. These approaches can help to question the field’s prevailing assumptions and render it more productive and generative.

We are committed to a critical understanding of childhood guided by an orientation towards social justice for children, their families and communities. Rigorous scholarship informs such understandings with the tools of research.

We invite all colleagues who share with us this vision for childhood studies as a field to join us in this project!


Project Convenors

Spyros Spyrou

Spyros Spyrou

Professor, European University Cyprus

Spyros Spyrou is Professor of Anthropology at European University Cyprus. He has had visiting appointments at the University of Vienna and Queen’s University Belfast.

His work has explored children’s identities (especially in relation to nationalism, migration, and borders) as well as questions of poverty, social exclusion, and vulnerability including ways of empowering children and young people to become knowledge producers through participatory approaches to research. In his most recent work, he has engaged with broader discussions related to the ethics and politics of knowledge production in childhood studies. He is currently working on a project exploring the intergenerational transmission of knowledge in coastal communities (funded by the Norwegian Research Council) and a study on the role of children and young people as political actors in light of their participation in climate action (funded by the A.G. Leventis Foundation and the Hellenic Observatory at the LSE).

He is the author of Disclosing Childhoods: Research and Knowledge Production for a Critical Childhood Studies (2018, Palgrave Macmillan) and co-editor of Reimagining Childhood Studies (2019, Bloomsbury) and Children and Borders (2014, Palgrave Macmillan). He is also co-editor of the journal Childhood (SAGE), and co-editor of the book series Studies in Childhood and Youth (Palgrave).

Rachel Rosen

Rachel Rosen

Associate Professor, University College London

Rachel Rosen is an Associate Professor of Childhood at University College London. Her scholarship is situated at the intersection of sociology of childhood and materialist feminism thought, and focuses on unequal childhoods, stratified social reproduction, and migration.

Rachel is Principal Investigator of an ethnographic study entitled Social reproduction in the shadows: Migrant mothers and children with NRPF. She is co-leading an ESRC-funded project, Children Caring on the Move, which investigates separated child migrants’ experiences of care, and caring for others, as they navigate the immigration-welfare nexus in England. Rachel leads the project’s participatory research with separated migrant children and analysis of the political economy of their care. She is also a Co-Investigator on SOLIDARITIES: negotiating migrant deservingness.

Rachel is co-author of Negotiating Adult-Child Relationships in Early Childhood Research (2014, Routledge), and co-editor of Reimagining Childhood Studies (2019, Bloomsbury Academic), Feminism and the Politics of Childhood: Friends or Foes? (2018, UCL Press), and Childhood, parenting culture, and adult-child relations in global perspectives (FRS, 2020). She is currently co-editing Crisis for Whom? Critical global perspectives on childhood, care, and migration (UCL Press), a member of the editorial board of the journal Childhood (SAGE), and a Childhood Studies Area Editor for Oxford Bibliographies.

Sarada Balagopalan

Sarada Balagopalan

Associate Professor, Rutgers University

Sarada Balagopalan is an Associate Professor at the Department of Childhood Studies at Rutgers University. Her research interests include postcolonial childhoods, child labor, compulsory schooling and gendered ‘post-school futures’. She is the author of Inhabiting ‘Childhood’: Children, Labour and Schooling in Postcolonial India (Palgrave, 2014) and co-edited (along with Cati Coe and Keith Green) Diverse Unfreedoms: The Afterlives and Transformations of Post-Transatlantic Bondages (Routledge, 2020).

She presently serves as an editor of Childhood: A Journal of Global Child Research and served as an Associate Editor for The SAGE Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood Studies (2020). She was one of the founding editors of the journal, Contemporary Education Dialogue (SAGE) and remains a member of its Advisory Board.


Image Placeholder Sharifa-Al-Battash
Sharifa Al Battashi

Sharifa is a doctoral candidate at the UCL Social Research Institute. Her doctoral research explores the interface between young Muslim children’s simultaneous use of multiple languages, what is referred to as translanguaging, and intersectional Muslim identities in an English reception classroom.  Before joining UCL, Sharifa was a Fulbright Fellow in Southern Illinois University in the United States. She holds a B.Ed in English and a MA in TESOL and Applied Linguistics. She worked as a primary and a high school English teacher in Oman.

Andrea Cortes Saavedra Research Assistant
Andrea Cortés Saavedra

Andrea Cortés Saavedra is a Chilean PhD candidate at the Institute of Education (UCL). Andrea is a journalist and holds a BA in social communication and an MA in social sciences and sociology of modernization from the University of Chile. She has worked as a post-graduate teaching assistant and research assistant in projects on Latin American migration in Chile, media, and indigenous people and social memory. Her doctoral research focuses on the social positions of migrant children in Chilean schools in relation to media discourses in the context of migratory transformations in Chile.

Kaidong Guo Research Assistant
Kaidong Guo

Kaidong Guo is a doctoral student at the UCL Social Research Institute. His doctoral project explores the dynamics of family relationships and power relations in Chinese families where parents have migrated internally. He focuses particularly on ‘left-behind’ children’s perspectives. Prior to joining the UCL, Kaidong was awarded an MA Degree in Global Advertising and Branding with distinction from the University of Southampton and a BA Degree in Communications. Outside of academia, Kaidong is a freelance photographer. He has photographed more than one hundred cities worldwide, and his works have been exhibited in many exhibitions.  

Pavel Rubio Research Assistant
Pavel Rubio-Hormazabal

Pavel Rubio-Hormazabal is a PhD candidate at the UCL Social Research Institute. He conducts ethnographies of children’s daily lives and participation in social programs. His PhD addresses how social practices of child protection simultaneously shape and are shaped by intersectional inequalities. Professionally, he has promoted children’s participation while working in social organizations, La Caleta NGO and as a consultant for UNDP Chile. He has also worked as an associate professor at Universidad Santo Tomas and as a researcher at Unidad de Estudios Latino Americanos. He holds an MA in Community Psychology and a BA in Psychology (Universidad de Chile).

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