This symposium invites exploration of what it means to theorize through and with the girl and the category of girlhood. Well beyond the boundaries of “girlhood studies,” the girl often lurks where she is not an explicit subject of inquiry. As a figure enmeshed in processes of racial capitalism, colonialism, and carcerality, how might the girl inform visions of, and struggles for, transformation and liberation? In joining ongoing critical conversations in the field of Black girlhood studies and beyond, the symposium seeks to position critical girlhood studies as a viable field that has much to offer contemporary modes of thought and inquiry.
This symposium centers critical conversations on the generative tensions and future possibilities of scholarship on girls and girlhoods. What does it mean to invoke “the girl” as the central subject of research and inquiry? In an ever-shifting landscape of gender politics that push beyond binary categories and narrow identities, what does the category of “the girl” have to offer critical research? How are scholars attending to shifting definitions of “the girl” and “girlhood”? And how might these generative tensions push the field of girlhood studies in new, critical directions? These are the questions “The Girl in Theory” will explore.