The interest to develop such a collective also emerges from a larger need in the society and the growth of an emergent global field of scholarship of Childhood Studies. The founding Vice Chancellor of AUD, Prof Shyam Menon, also supported this initiative and had organized a meeting with a focus on “childhoods” in 2014. His visionary foresight of identifying innovative promising areas of study offered the required momentum for the Collective. The potential for multi-disciplinary scholarship in this area remains essential in the South Asia region, where either inquiries about the child subject have been resigned to discipline specific emphasis – such as developmental psychology primarily – or considered only the domain of the civil society sector, and child rights based organisations. The Collective finds that much work remains to bridge multi-disciplinary theories and fields of praxis in South Asia.
At AUD, various courses on the subject of children and youth and the category of childhood are already being taught across Schools ranging from, School of Letters, to School of Human Studies and School of Education Studies. These include both BA and MA level courses, and include, “Literatures of Childhood;” “ Writings for Children and Young Adults;” “Literature and the Young Child;” “Global Childhoods,” “Understanding Children and Childhood;” “Play, Learning and Creativity;” and “Understanding Children;” to name a few. Potential to bring these together for a holistic multi-disciplinary study and training in the area of childhoods and youth is rife for growth.
Since its inception the CCYSC has organised internal reading group meetings, and public events. The CCYSC planned and coordinated two Children’s Day events in 2018 and 2019, at Lodhi Road and Kashmiri Gate campuses, respectively. The 2018 Children’s Day Event included an Exhibition of Children’s Books by children’s book publishers, such as Duckbill, Katha, Bookaroo, Young Zubaan, Children’s Book Trust, DK, Ektara, Eklavya, among others. The recent 2019 Children’s Day organised on 14 November was organised in collaboration with the AUD Creche and the Centre for Publishing, and attended and supported by the current VC, Prof Anu Singh Lather. At the event, a children’s story-teller engaged children and adults alike, on the first of its kind event organised at the recently opened Creche at AUD. Such collaborations by the Collective are sought to maintain the multi-disciplinary focus, to relate theory with praxis, and organise events and networks for scholarly and critical exchange on the subject of childhoods and youth.
The Collective looks forward to the possibilities of new and lasting collaborations across universities in India, as witnessed at the conference on “Childhood, Youth and Identity in South Asia” organised on 6-7 January 2020, by the Department of History, Shiv Nadar University, in collaboration with the Centre for Publishing, Ambedkar University Delhi, and the Society for the History of Children and Youth (SHCY). The conference has led to the expansion of this Collective beyond a single university to an online forum and hopes to contribute to the growing field of Childhood and Youth Studies in South Asia.