Children and Knowledge sheds light on what it is to be a child in India in the contemporary moment and in history.
While acknowledging the ways Indian children are situated within structures of power, this volume foregrounds innovative methodologies for conducting research into childhood and children’s lives that meaningfully engage with young people’s understandings, stories and agency. The chapters probe conceptualisations of Indian childhoods, and interrogate both singularising models of childhood and the idea of ‘multiple childhoods’. The contributors use the theme 'children and knowledge' to analyse young people’s interactions with institutions of modernity and social structures – including gender, family, class, community and caste, as well as media, markets and development – that often marginalise and frame children in multiple, cumulative ways. The chapters juxtapose and triangulate three approaches to knowledge: knowledge about children; knowledge for children; and children’s own knowledge. Taken together, the chapters demonstrate how this juxtaposition is a useful framework for the analysis of historical and contemporary Indian social processes.
Demonstrating that understanding Indian children’s experiences and knowledgeable perspectives is fundamental to any proper understanding of social complexity and change Children and Knowledge will be of great interest to scholars of childhoods studies, gender, education and South Asian studies. The book was originally published as a special issue of South Asian History and Culture.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: children and knowledge in India
Zazie Bowen and Jessica Hinchy
2. Play on the mother-ground: children’s games in rural Odisha
3. Adivasi children and the making of indigeneity in Jharkhand
4. Adivasi young people and the risk of education in rural Chhattisgarh
5. Enslaved childhoods in eighteenth-century Awadh
6. Telling stories, washing hands: exploring the role of narrative in development programmes targeting children
7. Duties of a ‘good citizen’: colonial secondary school textbook policies in late nineteenth-century India
Zazie Bowen is an Anthropologist whose research includes childhood studies, gender, education, visual media and play in India. She pursues innovative methodological approaches to research with young people.
Jessica Hinchy is Assistant Professor at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She is a historian who researches gender, sexuality and domesticity in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century North India. Her 2019 book Governing Gender and Sexuality in Colonial India explores the colonial criminalisation of ‘transgender’ Hijras. She has also examined the history of childhood and slavery.