Workshop 4 : Rethinking Childhoods in the Global South Through A Postcolonial Lens

Dr. Sarada Balagopalan -  Rutgers University, USA -  For all of us who do ethnographic research with children in the global South we often find the difference in these childhoods productive, but yet, we do little to further theorize what it is that we find interesting. In this workshop we will discuss the ways in which a postcolonial lens can help in theorizing the ‘difference’ signified by childhoods in the global south. We will approach the term postcolonial less in a simple cartographic sense and more as a critical term that signals the formative role a colonial modernity continues to play in our contemporary world. Several postcolonial theorists have suggested a radical rethinking of the familiar theme of ‘failure’ typically associated with countries in the global south and have instead argued for a more politicized framework of ‘multiple modernities’. While we are familiar with the ways in which ‘multiple childhoods’ has been used to engage the cultural diversity of childhoods across the global south, the workshop will explore the ways in which an engagement with ‘multiple modernities’ can open up our existing ‘cultural’ framing of childhoods to the violence, opportunities, hierarchies and ambiguities produced by the historical workings of modernity. Included in this workshop will be a more focused discussion on the postcolonial circulation of liberal assurances around children’s rights.

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