These days, we see images of girls everywhere. Certain celebrity girl-activists like Malala Yousafzai and Greta Thunberg circulate across social media. As empowered girls, they draw attention and compel. It is easy to become stuck to the futures their images promise. The ways girls are configured and subsequently the kinds of futures attached to them certainly range. International development campaigns such as Nike Foundation’s Girl Effect mark the adolescent girl in particular as the single best human capital investment for economic growth, community development, and racial uplift in the Global South. And the girl is also figured spearheading social movements across the world. The ubiquitous celebration of girls and their potential demands analytic attention. Girls have long been contested sites of intervention as they have been deployed in colonial humanitarian reasoning and anticolonial nationalist projects. Yet present decades mark an intensified focus on the girl. As she has emerged more prominently in the popular imagination within the past few decades as a subject of concern and object of investment, scholarly and popular writing about the girl continues to amass.

This essay may be found on page 103 of the printed volume.

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