CFP: 2 day symposium on Children’s Literature, Childhood Death, and the Emotions, 1500-1800 at University of Western Australia
Although historians from many disciplines have begun the work of documenting the histories of childhood and childhood culture, very little is known about the ways in which emotions relating to childhood were represented to children through the literature and accompanying images created for, about and, occasionally, by them. Currently the majority of work on children’s literature sits outside cognate historical studies. This symposium, co-hosted with the Children’s Literature Unit of Newcastle University, UK, will bring together scholars from a range of disciplines to build links with children’s literature studies through an examination of material relating to the death of children. It aims to develop understanding of how children were taught about, experienced and taught to manage the powerful emotions associated with the death of children — siblings, friends, characters in texts or their own impending death — and how attitudes and responses to a range of emotions changed across time and place. In addition to materials specifically for children, sources of interest include diaries, journals, correspondence, teaching materials, medical treatises, drawings, samplers, ballads, legal papers, instructions for rituals and any other kinds of documents and materials that provide insights into children’s emotional reactions to childhood death and the emotions children’s deaths provoked in others. The symposium will demonstrate the value of putting information about children alongside texts for children.