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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Call for paper submissions for panel CASCA 2014: The Racialized Child-Victim-Citizen in Humanitarian and Welfare Regimes: Juxtaposing Geographies of Intervention across the Global North and South

Call for paper submissions for panel CASCA 2014:

The Racialized Child-Victim-Citizen in Humanitarian and Welfare Regimes:
Juxtaposing Geographies of Intervention across the Global North and South

Xiaobei Chen has heralded the birth of "the new child-victim citizen of
the twenty-first century": a rare breed of global citizen who, due to her
status as an innocent victim, may legitimately claim access to public
resources, be they shrinking welfare coffers of the Global North or
humanitarian and development funds flowing to the Global South. Of
course, the child-victim-citizen emerges in the context of the massive,
global retrenchment of public support for the well-being of impoverished
adult citizens, who are increasingly vilified in public discourse. The
effect is to oppose the needs and interests of children with those of
their parents, families and communities, discursively and materially

This dynamic of antagonistic needs of children and their kin is
particularly acute where children are citizens of postcolonial
(racialized) nation-states in the Global South, or members of racialized
groups in the Global North. International humanitarian and development
interventions addressing "children's rights" are commonly framed as
civilizing missions, continuing paternalistic colonial representations of
northern donor agencies as parents in relation to child-like "recipient"
countries in the south (Valentin & Meinert), while in North America, child
welfare discourses have been mobilized disproportionately against
Indigenous and other racialized families (Briggs).

At the same time, children continue to function as powerful symbols (hope,
futurity, social reproduction, transgenerational cultural
continuity/renewal) for nationalist, anti-colonial and indigenous
sovereignty movements and are often the locus of interventions aimed at
revalorizing indigenous languages, "traditional" practices, etc. For
example, in Canada, child-victim citizens of Indian residential schools
have become both icons of Indianness (Waldram) and symbols of the colonial
Canadian state's violent oppression of indigenous peoples; Indigenous
communities embrace "Aboriginal Head-start" programmes for their children
as welfare allocations to parents are shrinking. In Africa, the rise of
so-called culturally sensitive foreign NGO interventions into orphaned
children's upbringing interrupts patterns of resource provision within
extended family networks, yet simultaneously gives rise to new commitments
to caregiving by kin who resist the loss of their autonomy over their dead
relatives' children.

Anthropologists and other scholars are critically examining the emergent
cultural-political landscape of interventions in the name of the
child-victim-citizen, including attention to how these interventions may
impose ethnocentric and Eurocentric ideas of childhood, parenting and
kinship while circumventing or violating the sovereignty of postcolonial
nation-states and indigenous peoples (Bornstein). In this panel, we
leverage the figure of the child-victim-citizen as a pivot point to
explore modes of intervention into racialised communities in the Global
North and the Global South, tracing how such interventions converge and
diverge amidst broader landscapes of adult disenfranchisement. In
juxtaposing papers from disparate geographical regions, we seek to
complicate older dichotomies of resistance versus domination by
foregrounding the productivity of such interventions and the forms of
sociality and politics to which they give rise.

Panel organisers: Bianca Dahl and Krista Maxwell, Department of
Anthropology, University of Toronto

Please submit abstracts of not more than 150 words by Monday February 3rd
to and

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