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Ethics in Light of Childhood

John Wall is a theoretical ethicist whose research and teaching focus on the bases of moral life. He is particularly interested in moral life’s relation to language, poetics, narrative, culture, religion, time, and age. His work falls into three areas: post-structuralist ethics; ethics’ religious horizons; and how ethical understanding is impacted by considerations of childhood.

His most recent book is Ethics in Light of Childhood (Georgetown 2010), an argument for “childism” or enabling considerations of children’s experiences to transform moral constructions. He also recently co-edited Children and Armed Conflict (Palgrave 2011). Previous books include Moral Creativity (Oxford 2005), a discussion of the creative nature of moral relations, and the co-edited volumes Marriage, Health, and the Professions (Eerdmans 2002) and Paul Ricoeur and Contemporary Moral Thought (Routledge 2002).

He is currently working on two further books: The Art of Being, which examines the role of creativity in leading a meaningful life; and Children’s Rights: Today’s Global Challenge, an introductory textbook on the global children’s rights movement.

Dr. Wall has taught at Rutgers University, Camden since 2000. He received a Ph.D. in Religious Ethics from the University of Chicago in 1999. He has chaired or read for a number of dissertations, serves on several scholarly journal editorial boards, and in 2006 helped to create the first doctoral program in Childhood Studies in North America. From 2010 to 2012 he chaired the Childhood Studies and Religion Group at the American Academy of Religion.

He was awarded a 2006 Board of Trustees Research Fellowship for Scholarly Excellence and a 2005 Provost’s Award for Teaching Excellence at Rutgers University. He teaches courses in Evil, Biomedical Ethics, Religion and Culture, Introduction to the Bible, Philosophical and Religious Perspectives on Childhood, and Children’s Rights.


See his Votes at 16 op-ed supporting UK Labour Minister Ed Miliband’s proposal to lower the voting age to 16 at Democratic Audit UK (September 28, 2013).