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Claudia Mitchell

Now, in 2017, Girlhood Studies begins its tenth year. It is a tribute to our guest editors and contributors that we have been able to take on such a range of topics and concerns. Quantitatively, we have passed the one million mark in relation to the number of words about girlhood in the first twenty issues of the journal. The various guest editors have tackled such critical issues as critiques of girl power, girls and post-conflict, girls and health, girlhood studies and media, dolls and play, memory work methodologies in the study of girlhood, literary texts and girlhood, visual disruptions, girlhood and disabilities, Indigenous girlhoods, and ethical practices in girlhood studies.

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Technological Nonviolence and Girls

Creating a Counter Discourse

Claudia Mitchell

The idea of devoting a special issue of Girlhood Studies to what Jonathan Bock (2012) calls technologies of nonviolence comes at a critical time in girlhood studies. On the one hand, technology—especially digital technology— and various social media platforms are firmly entrenched in the everyday lives of many young people around the world. On the other, questions regarding who has access to technology and how technology is used and abused continue to dominate the fields of girlhood studies in particular and of youth studies more broadly.

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Editorial

Girl (Not) Gone

Claudia Mitchell

This special issue of Girlhood Studies, close to double the length of previous issues, offers a blockbuster of articles on the theme of the girl in the text, guest edited by our managing editor, Ann Smith. As the third in the Girlhood Studies 10th anniversary collection, this issue brings together several ideas. This special issue was inspired in part by the spate of novels over the last few years that draw attention to the girl in their titles.

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Editorial

A Girl of a Certain Age

Claudia Mitchell

A critical feature of girlhood studies is the recognition of age itself as an analytical tool, particularly in relation to the importance of going beyond formulations such as women-and-girls and girls-and-young-women, terms that could erase the very specifics of everyday experience. The emergence of tween studies at the beginning of this century represented a significant movement in its contribution to deepening an understanding of the time (and age) of pre-adolescence as a relatively understudied area, compared, for example, to the lives of girls over the age of 13. A new collection of articles on tween culture, then, and one linked to a range of educational, socio-cultural and geographic contexts—in this case, Canada, the UK, the US, and Spain—is long overdue. The guest editors, Natalie Coulter of York University in Canada and Melanie Kennedy of Leicester University in the UK bring to this work a contemporary perspective.

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Claudia Mitchell

With this issue of Girlhood Studies, we recognize the tenth anniversary of the death of Jackie Kirk, one of the co-founders of the journal. While we begin the issue with a visual essay “Honoring the Legacy of Jackie Kirk,” in which we document a special international event that took place earlier this year that paid tribute to her work, as the other two co-founding editors of GHS, we, Claudia Mitchell and Jacqueline Reid-Walsh, would like to offer our own tribute to Jackie. As someone who travelled the globe, Jackie was a great emailer, and managed to remain connected to vast networks of researchers, practitioners, and members of NGOs regardless of where she was, and so it is perhaps fitting that we have found ourselves emailing back on forth about what we might say about her now.

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Editorial

Girlhood Studies in (and with) a History

Claudia Mitchell

This Special Issue of Girlhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal highlights a unique moment in history in two ways. First, it offers a collection of articles based on presentations made at the inaugural International Girls Studies Association (IGSA) conference hosted by the University of Norwich in April 2016. I thank the guest editors, Victoria Cann, Sarah Godfrey, and Helen Warner, who, in keeping alive the spirit of this amazing international event, have worked to produce a collection of articles and an interview with a filmmaker, all of which focus specifically on media as a critical axis of feminist research and activism, and the reviews editor, Marnina Gonick, for three excellent book reviews.

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Editorial

Dislodging Girlhood?

Claudia Mitchell

I am very grateful to Barbara Brickman, the guest editor of this Special Issue of Girlhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal for her term “dislodging girlhood” in the context of heteronormativity. Repeatedly in this issue Marnina Gonick’s pivotal question, “Are queer girls, girls?” (2006: 122) is cited. In the 13 years since she posed this question, we have not seen enough attempts made to address it. To mix my metaphors I see this issue of Girlhood Studies as helping to break the silence and simultaneously to open the floodgates to a ground-breaking collection of responses to Gonick’s question. Given the rise of the right in the US and in so many other countries, queer girls— trans, lesbian, gender non-conforming, non-binary to mention just a few possibilities—are at even greater risk than before. Girlhood Studies has always been concerned with social justice, so this special issue is a particularly important one in our history. It is also worth noting that many of the articles are written or co-authored by new scholars, signaling an encouraging trend in academic work that has social justice at its core. I thank Barbara Brickman, the authors, and the reviewers for their history-making contributions to the radical act of dislodging girlhood.

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Claudia Mitchell

As this issue of Girlhood Studies went to press, two very dramatic moments in the history of girls and young women were in the public eye. One was the large 8000-strong gathering of NGOs, researchers, politicians, and activists from 165 countries at the Women Deliver Global Summit on gender equality that took place in Vancouver, Canada, from 3 to 6 June 2019. There, according the program, the focus was on how power can both hinder and drive progress and change for a world that is more gender equal. On 3 June, the long-awaited report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) in Canada was released, with its 231 recommendations or calls for social justice to address what is now acknowledged as being part of what was (and continues to be) cultural genocide. Both the Global Summit and the report on MMIWG are reminders of the need for the blend of scholarship and activism that is so critical to advancing issues of equity and to implementing recommendations to achieve this. This unthemed issue with its broad range of geographic locations, concerns, and methods and its attention to activism, along with scholarship that features work from both the humanities and social sciences, is key in relation to mobilizing a social justice agenda.

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Claudia Mitchell

This issue of Girlhood Studies begins with a Special Section on Indigenous Girls as a critical area of scholarship and activism in girlhood studies. Recognizing the need for decolonizing perspectives and approaches, the guest editors, Kirstsen Lindquist, Kari-dawn Wuttunee, and Sarah Flicker offer a boundary-breaking collection. Apart from its being the first assemblage on Indigenous girls as far as we know, the Special Section is unique in several other ways. First, it is guest edited by an editorial team that includes two young Indigenous women, Kirsten and Kari-dawn, who are both members of the National Indigenous Young Women’s Council (NIYWC) and, as such, it draws on the strength of an organization of young Indigenous women. Second, it highlights the significance of community alliances as evidenced in the contributions of Sarah who has been working with Indigenous young people in Canada for over a decade. Third, acknowledging global solidarity amongst Indigenous peoples, as recognized, for example, in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,2 the collection includes submissions on Indigenous girls and girlhoods in Canada, South Africa, and Mexico. Finally, it is boundary-breaking in that it brings together different genres of writing and creative productions including articles, poetry, a personal essay, reviews (including one based on the contributor’s own familial oppression), an account of how and why a contributor set up a sexual health initiative, and a piece of Indigenous visual art, all of which support the endeavor of decolonizing knowledge in both theory and practice.

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Claudia Mitchell

There is probably no topic associated with doing fieldwork with girls and young women that evokes more concern than the issue of ethics. For many members of university research ethics boards (REBs) the very term girls in the title of a project sets off alarm bells, and when the work is participatory and visual there is often a heightened concern in relation to what girls might be talking about, screening, photographing or drawing, There are, of course, good reasons why researchers need to be vigilant in seeking to do most good and least harm in all research involving human subjects. At the same time, however, this heightened concern about working with girls and young women should also cause us to reflect on what our vigilant attitude does and some of the potentially harmful outcomes some attitudes may have. For example, do we see girls as victims or agents? When? At what age? Under what circumstances? What harm might we do if we refuse to see that girls can be both?