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Keynote Speakers:

Rebecca Hains (Salem State University); Julia Round (Bournemouth University)

Adolescent girls are increasingly important actors in our society. Malala Yousafzai, Greta Thunberg, Jazz Jennings, Bindi Irwin are only a few examples of young, inspiring, and influential girls raising their voices on such matters as human rights, inclusive education, social equity, ecological justice, and wildlife conservation. This is in stark contrast with traditional, stereotypical views of adolescent girls as passive, weak, and uninteresting and often as objects instead of subjects. Such a view resulted in a symbolic annihilation of girls (Tuchman 1978) who were omitted or trivialized in story lines with the result that boys have been featured more frequently and prominently in media and cultural productions (Hains 2012). Girlhood, intended as a pre-adolescence and adolescence period of identity formation for girls (Driscoll 2002), is therefore claiming a more central and crucial role in the social, cultural, and political debate nowadays, and it is simultaneously becoming the subject of scientific enquiry. This trend is demonstrated by the appearance in recent years of the first book series to focus specifically on this field, Transnational Girlhoods (Berghahn), and by studies such as Catherine Driscoll’s Girls: Feminine Adolescence in Popular Culture and Cultural Theory (2002), Rebecca Hains’ Growing Up with Girl Power: Girlhood on Screen and in Everyday Life (2012), Julia Round’s Gothic for Girls: Misty and British Comics (2019), and Leah Phillips’ Female Heroes in Young Adult Fantasy Fiction: Reframing Myths of Adolescent Girlhood (2023).

The Seen and Heard conference aims to contribute to this emerging area of studies by fostering discussion about girlhood(s), and the importance for young girls in our societies to be ‘seen and heard’, from a transnational perspective, focusing on discourses of identity, gender, and popular culture across the globe from an interdisciplinary viewpoint.

Full Programme:

Organiser: Simona Di Martino (Warwick)

Supported by the Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS), University of Warwick, and the Institute of Languages, Cultures and Societies (ILCS)