Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Re-Visioning Childhood: Developing Responsible Adults

Dr. Mollie Whalen, Dr Joseph Ashcroft.

This is an interactive session designed to build an international perspective around presenters’ theoretical proposal to re-vision the parameters of childhood, leading to the development of responsible adults by puberty. Material presented includes an examination of the social construction of childhood in the US; the impact of media on child cognitive development; and a proposal to redefine the threshold to adulthood to align more closely with puberty. To accomplish such a goal, changes will be needed in the ways parents, communities, and institutions raise children and conceptualize child development. Presenters envision 14-year-old adults who are able to make responsible decisions about their sexuality, education, living situation, work and career. Changes are proposed in social structure and parenting that can support the development of children with the qualities of empathy, non-violence, appreciation for diversity, respect for the rights of others, critical thinking, and active participation in the world around them. Audience participation is sought to expand these theoretical notions from a US-based perspective to a broader perspective suitable for cultures around the world where the threshold to adulthood has been increasingly delayed until age 18, 21, or older. Content is interdisciplinary, including information from communication and media studies, psychology, and cultural studies.


Dr. Mollie Whalen  (United States)
Professor of Women's Studies
Department of Academic Enrichment and Learning
East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania

PhD in Counseling Psychology from New York University (1992). Professor of Women’s Studies at East Stroudsburg University, 1992-present. Promoted to Full Professor in 2001. Executive Director of community-based sexual assault and domestic violence center 1990-1995. Author of acclaimed book, Counseling to End Violence Against Women: A Subversive Model (Sage, 1996).

Dr Joseph Ashcroft  (United States)
Communication Studies
East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania

PhD in Media Ecology from New York University (1990). Professor of
Communication Studies at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania
1977 - present.

  • Child development
  • Media ecology
  • Citizenship

(60 min. Workshop, English)