Social Histories of Childhood, Education, Empire, and Gender: Divya Kannan | Department of History

Social Histories of Childhood, Education, Empire, and Gender: Divya Kannan

My main areas of research, particularly with a focus on South Asia include Histories of Childhood and Youth, Empires and Colonial Violence, Histories of Education, Curriculum, and Pedagogy,  Public and Oral Histories and Gender and Sexuality Studies. I welcome PhD students who would like to work in these aforementioned areas of interest. earch can broadly be considered as social history with a particular focus on these questions and themes pertaining to education, childhood, religion, and gender studies. I am also interested in questions of intellectual history to examine networks of knowledge production and circulation, particularly pertaining to texts and pedagogical ideas. Students interested in similar areas of interest are welcome.


Let me focus on my ongoing research here. The study of childhood is at once interdisciplinary and located at the interface of various themes- education, medicine, law, and family. In exploring the fashioning and refashioning of children and youth in a historical context, we understand the nature of power in societies along the axes of age/sex. Often, histories of children/youth are more about adults who held particular notions of childhood and the ways in which they were perpetuated in discursive sites. Locating myself in the wider field of social history, I explore the histories of education, missionaries, transnational pedagogical movements, textbooks, and children's relationship with nation-building.

These historical actors are not passive because of the lack of 'visible' presence in the archives. They exist in the way societies imagine themselves, Alongside government archives, I examine the lives of children defined by markers of social power and status in literature, photography, missionary archives, oral narratives, and popular culture. I