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12:30 - 14:00 18 January 2016

Childhood and the postcolonial: An ethnographic exploration


Room 736 | UCL Institute of Education (link Map)
20 Bedford Way | London | London | WC1H 0AL | United Kingdom

Open to: Academic | Alumni | Public | Student
Admission: Free
Ticketing: Open

Speaker information

Sarada Balagopalan, Associate Professor, Rutgers University, Camden, New Jersey, USA

This talk employs a ‘postcolonial’ lens to critically rethink the ‘difference’ that laboring children signify. It draws upon this ethnography with street children in Kolkata, India to discuss two separate, though interconnected, ways in which a postcolonial lens opens up our current understandings of marginal children’s lives.

Normative constructions of ‘childhood’ often tend to rehash well-known debates on modernity – a majority of childhoods in the global South are usually found to be ‘lacking’/lagging and all solutions/transformations are a re-enactment of shifts that have already taken place in children’s lives in the modern west. By focusing on the postcolony as a conceptual, rather than a descriptive, lens through which to read the lives of children, Sarada hopes to discuss the potential in theorizing childhoods ethnographically. The talk draws on her book: Inhabiting ‘Childhood’: Children, Labour and Schooling in Postcolonial India.


Rachel Rosen