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'Emerging Adolescence' Event Heralded a Success

'Emerging Adolescence', the first virtual event to disseminate knowledge of adolescence was held on November 1-2, 2021.

Nov 04, 2021

'Emerging Adolescence', the first virtual event to disseminate knowledge of adolescence in the past generated by anthropologists took place on November 1-2, 2021.

One-fifth of the world's population are adolescents, most living in the developing world); demographic structures in the past more closely match those found now in developing countries. Adolescence is a key phase of life, marked by drastic biological and social changes as individuals transition to adult community members. With increased worry about the wellbeing of younger community members today, obtaining longer-term perspectives on this transition to the adult world facilitates understanding of individuals, groups, and societies, both past and present.

Engagement with this key period is a recent development for anthropologists and so this workshop was critical. The virtual workshop hosted by Creighton Avery and Megan Brickley brought together 217 people from 29 countries, with half the attendees identifying as undergraduate or graduate students. Keynote addresses by Professor Mary Lewis (University of Reading, UK) and by Professor Sharon DeWitte (University of South Carolina, USA) highlighted the ways that we can investigate adolescence, and how studying adolescence can expand our understanding of the past more broadly.

The workshop was supported by a SSHRC Connection Grant, McMaster University's Faculty of Social Science, the Canadian Association of Physical Anthropology, and Bioarchaeology International. Stay tuned for future developments, including video recordings, teaching materials, and a special issue of Bioarchaeology International, to be co-guest edited by Creighton Avery, Megan Brickley and Mary Lewis.