Research on girlhood brought to forefront in two-day symposium

A symposium presented by the Institute for Research on Digital Learning (IRDL) at York University aims to bring together researchers to explore the notions and practices of the young girl-child.

“The Girl: From Expansive Imaginings to Embodied Experience” is a two-day event, running Nov. 15 and 16, and will ask questions such as:

  • What does it mean to be a young girl?
  • How do we delineate the boundaries of girlhood?
  • Which girls are visible and which are invisible in these boundaries?
  • What are the everyday practices of actual girls that work to challenge these narrow definitions and representations?
  • How do girls themselves negotiate, engage, take up, resist, or reassemble the cultural frames of girlhood offered to them?

Young girls have been overlooked in recent scholarship, left out of narrow definitions of what constitutes girls and girlhood. On one hand, girl studies has mainly focused on the teenage girl, overlooking challenges specific to younger children. On the other, research in child studies rarely isolates gender as the main focus.

The symposium takes as its starting point that the girl is a cultural construct – a discursive formation onto which social anxieties and debates are often inscribed.

The girl has been used as an image to justify many things; she is an image of the future, as a girl becoming, and an image of failure, needing to be saved. The purpose of this symposium is to reposition, relocate, and reframe younger girls within the context of both girl and child studies.

The symposium runs in Room 519, Kaneff Tower, Keele Campus, and is open to all. To learn more, visit the IRDL event page.