Securing Childhood: Children, War and Crises

Please note that this is last year’s version of the contents of the course. Information for Summer 2013 will follow very soon.

 Ms Lorraine Macmillan

The plight of children in war was, at best, a secondary issue a mere thirty years ago. It achieved little visibility in the media, among great powers and many influential international organizations. With the end of the Cold War and changes in the understanding of security that made people rather than just states the central focus, perceptions changed. Over a few short decades, childhood in the global South in particular came to be seen as significantly threatened. An iconography emerged with gun-toting child soldiers and Madrasa-indoctrinated youths joining stock images of starving young famine victims. The Convention of the Rights of the Child – the most far reaching piece of international law ever written – was ratified by a record number of countries at startling speed. How did childhood suddenly become the cause célèbre of the international community? This course attempts to answer this question by examining the problems children face in times of war and crisis. It maps how children’s predicament has been socially constructed and considers how this furthers certain modes of power surfacing in a globalizing world.

This course is aimed at: This course will appeal to students who have an interest in political sociology, international relations, international development, postcolonial studies, gender, critical security studies and, of course, childhood. Students should be willing to engage in a variety of critical theoretical perspectives.


  • 1 Final Exam: 45%
  • 1 Final Essay: 45%
  • Participation, progress and attendance: 10%


Lecture Hours: 12 x 1 hour 15 minutes (total 15 hours)

Seminar Hours: 8 x 1 hour 15 minutes (total 10 hours)