Figuring gender in early childhood with animal figurines – pursuing tentacular stories about global childhoods in the Anthropocene. 12-12.45pm, Monday 19th April 2021 (free, online)

This paper considers the potential that a feminist new materialist theoretical framework makes to undertaking research into global childhoods as they materialise through everyday encounters with learning materials in a nursery classroom in London, UK. We trouble prevailing philosophies, pedagogies and worldviews that both frame practice and circulate within the nursery classroom. We then go on to pursue tentacular, diffractive lines of enquiry that open out understandings of childhood that view it as inextricably interwoven through endless worldly connections to non-innocent matters such as heteronormativity, capitalist manufacturing, industrial farming and meat eating. Inspired by Haraway (1988) we rely upon our situated knowledges and partial perspectives to activate this mode of enquiry as both unsettling and generative. By taking matter seriously we agitate a curious set of speculative questions about the (non-)innocence of childhood and how gender manifests in unanticipated ways in early childhood contexts and beyond.

Bio: Dr Jayne Osgood is Professor of Education (Early Years & Gender) based at the Centre for Education Research & Scholarship, Middlesex University. Her present methodologies and research practices are framed by feminist new materialism. Through her work she seeks to maintain a concern with issues of social justice and to critically engage with early childhood policy, curricular frameworks and pedagogical approaches. Through her work she seeks to extend understandings of the workforce, families, ‘the child’ and ‘childhood’ in early years contexts. She has published extensively within the postmodernist paradigm including Special Issues of the journal Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood (2006, 2016 and 2017) and Narratives from the Nursery: negotiating professional identities in Early Childhood (Routledge, 2012) and currently Feminist Thought in Childhood Research (Bloomsbury Series). She is a member of several editorial boards including Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, British Education Research Journal, and is Co-Editor of Gender & Education Journal and Co-Editor of Reconceptualising Education Research Methodology.

Bio: Sid Mohandas is a former Montessori educator and teacher trainer. He is also the founder of The Male Montessorian. Sid is currently doing his doctorate at Middlesex University investigating how gender materialises in Montessori spaces using feminist ’new’ materialist and decolonial theories.