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Paper-in-Progress Session: Akhila Ananth, "The Gracious Spaces of Children's Law: The Case Study of Edelman Children's Court" with discussant Christine Hegel

Event Date: 
Thursday, April 19, 2012

Paper-in-Progress Session: Akhila Ananth, "The Gracious Spaces of Children's Law: The Case Study of Edelman Children's Court" with discussant Christine Hegel
2:00 to 3:30 PM, SBSG 5105

Abstract: The Edmund Edelman Children's Court in Los Angeles County, California is considered an example of the ideal juvenile dependency courthouse, with bright murals, open play spaces, and modified courtrooms that reflect the capacity of juvenile court environments to be "child-sensitive" and "family-friendly."  Based on fieldwork and archival research on the court, Ananth identifies and interrogates the cultural assumptions about children that make it possible for a court that has the power to terminate parental rights to appear child-friendly.  Drawing on research and relevant theoretical literature, the goal is to reveal the ways in which the law, the “child,” and courthouse architecture—three categories less stable than the assumptions about them might indicate—intersect in this site with serious repercussions for the understanding and perceptions about dependency law.  In particular, Ananth argues that the maltreated minor is a crucial category that ensures the legibility and function of punishment of the culpable adult subject, including but not limited to the parents of the maltreated minor.