Photo of Virginia Caputo

Virginia Caputo

Associate Professor

Degrees:B.Mus. Honours (Windsor), M.A. Ethnomusicology (York), Ph.D. Anthropology (York)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 2624
Office:A702 Loeb Building

Areas of Interest

Gendered childhoods; girlhood; children’s rights; feminist theories and methodologies; transnational feminism; globalization; schooling; youth and media; violence; health.


Virginia Caputo received her Ph.D. in Social Anthropology at York University in 1996, holding a SSHRCC doctoral fellowship. Early in her career, she was awarded the Swedish Institute’s Council of Europe scholarship, and the Sir Ernest MacMillan research award in recognition of the importance of enlarging the horizons of music research to include Canadian children’s lives. Virginia is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and the Director of the Landon Pearson Resource Centre for the Study of Childhood and Children’s Rights at Carleton University. From 2005 to 2009 she directed the Pauline Jewett Institute of Women’s and Gender Studies, helping to design and launch a graduate programme on the themes of transnational feminisms and globalization. Her particular contribution is her expertise on girlhoods, gendered childhoods and the changing contours of young people’s lives in the context of globalization.

Virginia’s interdisciplinary work lies at the intersection of feminism, anthropology, and critical childhood/girlhood studies. Her ethnographic research focuses on investigating the lives of children, especially girls and young women, viewed as engaged social actors who are embedded in more-than-human relations. She has contributed to the literature in anthropology, girlhood studies, social study of childhood, feminist scholarship, and feminist musicology. Her current book titled The Children’s Senator: Landon Pearson and a Lifetime of Advocacy was published by McGill-Queen’s Press in 2020. Virginia is currently working with the International & Canadian Child Rights Partnership on a SSHRCC funded project focusing on children’s participation in the context of child protection as well a another SHRCC funded project examining disability in early childhood contexts (Kathryn Underwood, P.I.).

Virginia is the managing editor of the Canadian Journal of Children’s Rights.

Recent Publications

(forthcoming). “The challenges and successes of working with children in a time of pandemic using a rights-based approach.” with Landon Pearson. Canadian Yearbook of Human Rights, University of Ottawa Human Rights Centre. Alex Neve, editor.

(forthcoming). “Entangle, entangled, entanglements: Reimagining a child and youth engagement model using a common worlds approaches.” Journal of Childhood Studies.

(forthcoming). “#Freedom for Which Girls? Beyoncé and the Sustainable Development Goals.” In Girls in Global Development: Theoretical Contestations, Empirical Demands. Heather Switzer, Karshma Desai, and Emily Bent (eds). Berghahn Press.

(forthcoming). “Rights, restoration and justice for children: Shaking the Movers in Canada.” In Wolthuis and T. Chapman eds. Restorative Justice and Children’s Rights: Questioning and Positioning Rights-based Restorative Justice in Criminal Cases. Eleven International Publishing, The Netherlands, Chapter 13 ( 2021).

(2020). The Children’s Senator: Landon Pearson and a Lifetime of Advocacy. McGill-Queen’s Press.

(2020). “‘Shaking the Movers’: A Model for Youth Inclusion in Designing Public Environments. In Fostering the Inclusion of Youth in the Public Realm: Design processes, practices, and policies for the creation of youth-inclusive public outdoor environments. Janet Loebach, Sarah Little, Adina Cox and Patsy Eubanks Owens eds. Routledge.

(2018). “What Makes Shaking the Movers Unique?” Report commissioned by The Lawson Foundation available on the Landon Pearson Centre website.

(2018). “‘Too Young to Wed’: Envisioning a ‘generous encounter’ between feminism and the politics of childhood.” In Feminism and the Politics of Childhood: Friends or Foes? Rachel Rosen and Katherine Twamley (eds.), UCL Press, London, U.K.

(2017). “Authenticity, Child Participation and International Child Protection.” International Journal of Human Rights, Special Issue, vol. 21, no. 1, pp. 76-88.

(2017). “Play is a Serious Matter.” International Play Association. Calgary, Alberta.

(2016). “Stockholm +20: Looking Back, Moving Forward.” Bulletin IInfancia. Interamerican Institute of Children and Youth, vol. 2, no.2, pp. 72-86.

(2016). “Introduction: Indigenous Children’s Rights.” Canadian Journal of Children’s Rights, vol.3, no.1, pp. 1-4.

(2015). “Introduction. Thinking Through Sociality: The Importance of Mid-level Concepts.” [with Vered Amit, Sally Anderson, John Postill, Deborah Reed-Danahay, and Gabriela Vargas-Cetina] In Thinking Through Sociality. An Anthropological Interrogation of Key Concepts. Vered Amit, ed., Berghahn Press, pp. 1-20.

(2015). “Network: The Possibilities and Mobilizations of Connections.” [with Vered Amit] In Thinking Through Sociality: An Anthropological Interrogation of Key Concepts. Vered Amit, ed., Berghahn Press, pp. 156-180.

(2013). “Gender, Children’s Rights and Youth Justice: Articles 37 and 40 from the Convention on the Rights of the Child.” Children’s Rights Academic Network, spring.

(2010). “A Festschrift for the Twenty-First Century: Student Voices”(with Kip Pegley) In Music Traditions, Cultures, and Contexts, Gordon Smith and Robin Elliott, eds. Wilfrid Laurier University Press, pp. 295-306.

(2010). “Music and Gender” In Gendered Intersections. An Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies.” 2nd edition, Pamela Downe and Lesley Biggs, eds. Fernwood Press, 85-95 [First edition, 2005].

Conference Papers

“Reframing Silences in the Lives of Girls: Reflections on rights-based understandings of gender through education.” Invited Speaker. Interdisciplinary Research Laboratory on the Rights of the Child. Annual Conference, April 13, 2016.

“The Conceptual Edges of Girlhoods and the Too Young to Web, Photo Exhibit.” Canadian Anthropology Society Conference, May 13-18, 2015, Laval University, Laval, Quebec.

“Too Young to Wed’: Globalized Connections and Gendered Economies of Visibility” Children and Globalization: Issues, Policies and Initiatives symposium. The 10th Joint Area Centers Symposium series. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, April 10-12, 2014.

Growing ‘Foodies’: Food meanings, practices and gendered identities in children’s lives.” Foodways: Diasporic Diners, Transnational Tables And Culinary Connections Conference, poster. Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies, University of Toronto, October 4 – Sunday, October 7, 2012.

“’Its Homemade’: Food Meanings and Gendered Identities in Children’s Social Relationships,” American Anthropological Association Conference, San Francisco, California, November 2012.

“’Say 1, 2, 3, 4, 5’: Encountering Youth from the Nishnawbe Aski Nation.” Paper prepared for presentation to an Invited Public Forum “Reconceptualizing Sociality: An Interrogation of Key Concepts,” Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy, SUNY at Buffalo, October 2009.

“’Education, Liberation, I Like You’: Childhood in a Globalizing World” Inaugural Symposium, Graduate program in Music and Culture, Carleton University, October 2008.

“The Gendered implications of globalization for children.” Gender and Social Politics in an Era of Globalization Conference. Carleton University, Institute of Political Economy, April 2007.