Panel 18

Little migrations? Children and teenagers mobility experiences from, to and within African continent (19th-21th)

Panel organisers: Giacomo Ghedini, University of Bologna, Department of History and Cultures, Italy, Paris Diderot University, France and Giulia Consoli, University of Bologna, Department of History and Cultures, Italy.


In 1981 Suzanne Lallemand and Guy Le Moal were provocatively defining, in the Journal des Africanistes, children as a “little subject”, one not sufficiently considered in scientific dissertations of their area studies. Today this scenario seems to be partly changed. In the last few years, children and teenagers mobility, especially if involving African continent, started to be more visible and noticed, raising, mostly in everyday common discourses, scattered and conflicting moral issues. This growing attention towards the matter has captured academic interest too, especially on contemporary migration and asylum-seeking applications. Nonetheless, the scientific insights around ‘the youngest on the move’ are still few, fragmented and suffer from the lack of voice of the actors involved in this movements or from a focalization on asylum and protection requests. On the contrary, the phenomenon is certainly not limited in space and time. Nor can it fit some strict juridical or historical categories. Aware that ideas of “childhood” and “adulthood” themselves have been historically and geographically fluid too, we propose to go beyond unequivocal narrations and representations on both “young” and “mobility” in African continent, giving, as much as possible, voice to different actors and subjects involved in those movements, without neglecting complex and plural designs, and through the broadening of the spatial, temporal and epistemological gazes.

We are interested in completed works as well as drafts on open researches. We also encourage to submit projects that focus on various experiences of minors and youth mobilities from, to or within the African continent from XIX to XXI century, especially if they have fear to feel “misplaced” or “inappropriate” in this panel. We welcome both papers that propose specific case studies and more theoretical and methodological contributions on how to work and do research on these themes.

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