One day colloquium: Centre for the History of Childhood
Magdalen College, University of Oxford
29 June 2018
This one-day colloquium on the theme of “Children’s traces” examines the politics of visibility. All historians work with traces of the past, but some people leave larger and more long-lasting archival imprints than others. Children are notorious for being difficult to ignore in the present, but hard to find in our historical record. The colloquium will bring together papers that direct a spotlight on how age shapes the visibility of historical actors, across time and place. Which children made themselves (or were made) visible in the historical record? Whose voices do we fail to hear? And what do the shifting contexts in which children made their mark tell us about the society, culture, economy and politics of which they were part? We hope that each paper will use new scholarship on young lives in a particular historical context to draw out wider methodological and historiographical insights about the visibility of children in the past.
The colloquium will focus not only on what made children archivally or textually visible, but also on the new approaches that researchers are taking to uncover and interpret this evidence. We encourage papers that illuminate ways of working with a wide range of sources. These might include children’s diaries and letters, drawings and material objects made by children, published writing by young people, or case files and court records about the young.
We are also particularly keen to examine questions of how we share insights that emerge from these traces with diverse readerships and audiences. How can we use these archival fragments to form compelling narratives about children’s lives in the past, including when we have no sources penned by children themselves? We encourage papers from archivists, exhibition curators, broadcasters, and film-makers, as well as from those who write and publish history books about children’s lives.
We welcome papers from any disciplinary background and career stage. We anticipate that funding for travel and accommodation will be available, including some travel bursaries to enable graduate students working on the history of childhood to attend.
Please send abstracts of no more than 500 words and a brief bio to firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, 5 March 2018.