Children’s Literature, Childhood Death, and the Emotions 1500-1800

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.

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Conference: Childhood, Youth and Emotions in Modern History

Childhood, Youth and Emotions in Modern History
Max Planck Institute for Human Development
November 29 to December 1, 2012


The emotional upbringing and education of children is a topic of acute
historical as well as contemporary concern for policy makers and politicians.
The main goal of this conference is to draw together new research in the
history of childhood and youth, in the history of education and the important
interventions from the emerging discipline of the history of the emotions. The
conference seeks to build a comparative history of the education of the
emotions through an exploration of formal and informal educational contexts of
the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

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