Module 1: History of Childhood, Emergence of Children’s Rights.

OK so today I have been planning my first UMA module, with a working title of The History of Childhood and the Emergence of Children’s Rights. This may change, I’m already beginning to feel that it is too broad, but will map it out first and then make adjustments if necessary as I go along.  I think actually, once I have done a general review of childhood histories I will feel ok about it and how to identify the specifics will become clear.

First thing I’ve discovered is that planning one module actually means planning modules plural. Because of the inherent connections between the subject matter of the modules I am coming across useful information for the other modules. So I have three working documents open on my desktop, and I am filtering resources and info to the module that it belongs to as I go.

work station at home

Another thing I have discovered is that there is lots of exciting stuff going on in the academic world in regards to the history of childhood. I started finding my way by Googling ‘history of childhood’ to see what came up, first thing was a Wiki link which I read through, lots of useful footnotes and bibliography at the end. Then I headed to Twitter, searched history of childhood again, and lots of great leads appeared. Yesterday I read this article about academics sharing on social media, and I’m pleased to say that thanks to Twitter I am able to tap in to a whole bunch of stuff that it would have taken me ages to find through a standard web search.

Highlights so far include:

I tweeted @histchild to see if they were having a conference in 2017 (they just had one in June of this year which looked excellent), and they let me know that they are not in fact having one next year because of this:, which looks amazing but is in the USA so at the moment feels out of reach, maybe there is a hack for that…. There are however these events at the University of Greenwich coming up that @histchild said people involved in the SHCY conference attend. Which are free to and open to all as far as I can tell. So I am hoping that once the schedule is released I will be able to attend some that are relevant to my studies. It would also be great to meet with other people working in this field, there is clearly a very active network out there.

I will continue building up my resources list, but I need to focus now I think on the first stage of the module which is identifying what I am going to be reading and researching on the narrative of the history of childhood. That is the foundation of this module and where everything else will grow from. You can see at the bottom of this post a copy and paste of my Resources notes as they currently stand.

Some reflections of my experience of the UMA so far: this is a really fun and exciting why to study. It feels extremely creative, my intrinsic motivation has surprised me. It is a completely different feeling to the one I experienced during my undergraduate degree that was completed at a university. I think because I have the freedom to steer right up tight to exactly what I am interested in and what makes sense to me, it feels like play. I’m not waiting for someone to tell me what I need to know or do, I am really having to think about it myself, and I’m following my curiosity and what feels right and fun. It is also really liberating to be so flexible and let things unfold as I go, rather than having to pretend I have all the answers now about how my studies will look. This is a really fun and exciting journey to be on. Reading this today also made me think about how contrasting my experience is with those paying for their Masters programme.

Find out more about why I am doing an Unschooled Masters here.


Module 1: History of Childhood, emergence of children’s rights.

Feminism and the Politics of Childhood IOE event:

UCL IoE: 25 years of the UNCRC

The Importance of the UNCRC for Canadian Children

History of Childhood – UMass Lowell Professor Christopher Carlsmith

Full of Grace: A Journey through the History of Childhood by Ray Merritt

White Mother to a Dark Race – Margaret D Jacobs

Child Insanity in England, 1845-1907 by Steve Taylor

Places to visit/events: – call for papers 16th Sept 2016 – call for papers by 12th August 2016
Online resources:
Children’s History Society UK

TWITTER: Children’s HIstSocUK @histchild – Horrible Histories Conference at Kings

Feminism and the Politics of Childhood: Friends of Foes:

Anarchist Library

twitter #historychild2016


Alysa Levene, Oxford Brookes University
‘Shaping the children of the poor

Susanne Darra, Swansea University
‘Coping, Help and Coherence: the impact of birth on mothers and their children

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