Critical Studies of Childhood, Youth, and Learning Program

The Critical Studies of Childhood, Youth, and Learning Program is an interdisciplinary academic program connecting students, faculty, staff, and the larger community. CYL promotes critical thinking about how children and youth grow, change, create, and learn in the context of larger social structures and cultural practices.

We respect young people as participants in artistic, educational, cultural, and social communities. We dispute traditional paradigms of knowledge production that view children solely as objects of adult values and practices. Rather, we consider the multifaceted identities of children and youth and affirm young people as narrators of their own experiences, as social theorists in their own right, and as teachers as well as learners.

We believe that learning occurs in many spaces. For this reason, we conceive of education broadly and consider children's lives over their days and through the years. We believe that efforts to address the education and well-being of children and youth must be grounded in the complexity that exists across individuals, families, classrooms, schools, communities, and other learning contexts.
Our courses, projects, events, and community-engaged learning opportunities incorporate the integration of methodologies, disciplines, and perspectives. We believe that sharing diverse ideas, practices, and knowledge strengthens our capacity to act thoughtfully and passionately in the world. We support collaborations that enhance our educational endeavors, explore and advance research, theory, and practice, and respect the goals of our community partners. These efforts challenge our assumptions and compel us to innovate and develop habits of critical inquiry that inform our understanding and interactions with young people and the significant adults in their lives.