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Borderland Children Ego Documents from Once Upon a Time: Delusions or Gateways to a New Understanding of the Past?

Dates:
  • Tue 12 Mar 2019 15.00 - 17.00
  Add to Calendar 2019-03-12 15:00 2019-03-12 17:00 Europe/Paris Borderland Children Ego Documents from Once Upon a Time: Delusions or Gateways to a New Understanding of the Past?

Lecture in the framework of the Research Seminar on Gender, Social Action and Politics in European Borderlands, 1880s to the present

This presentation starts from the observation that in the period between the First and the Second World War, two ways of thinking came together: thinking in terms of borderlands and thinking in terms of children. This presentation investigates the capacities of those who were deemed crucial at the time to participate actively in the world in which they lived: namely, children in the new borderlands that came about after the geographical reshuffling of the European Continent at the Paris Peace Conference. By means of two case-studies, one in the Polish-German borderlands, and one in the Belgian-German borderlands, it examines the children’s opportunities to articulate their acceptance, refusal or propositions of change to the environment they encountered. A central focus is put on the analysis of so-called historical ego documents (such as letters, youth magazines and a diary) of borderland children, more recent testimonies of adults about their borderland childhood, as well as empirical evidence about the creation process of ego sources on borderland child life experiences.
The presentation mainly relies on insights from child studies, such as the British philosopher David Archard’s thoughts about the rational autonomy of children, and the British sociologist David Oswell’s model for discovering children’s agency. It notices, in addition, that all remaining ego sources date from a period of time when the border became blurred, after 1933, and, directly or indirectly, include reactions to German initiatives of support in the borderlands under Polish or Belgian state sovereignty. Borderland children’s individual writings can therefore be seen as a collection of multifaceted responses to the substantial financial and cultural forms of sustenance for those considered of German descent, which include unique responses to the problems of the time. At the same time, the presentation discusses in great detail the many difficulties in understanding children’s voices of the past. Borderland children’s ego documents are scarce to begin with and it is a challenging task to come to an evaluation of the authority with which these children were often made to speak up. The presentation proposes to include the fragmentary picture offered by ego documents of past borderland children in historiography.

Sala del Torrino , Villa Salviati DD/MM/YYYY
  Sala del Torrino , Villa Salviati

Lecture in the framework of the Research Seminar on Gender, Social Action and Politics in European Borderlands, 1880s to the present

This presentation starts from the observation that in the period between the First and the Second World War, two ways of thinking came together: thinking in terms of borderlands and thinking in terms of children. This presentation investigates the capacities of those who were deemed crucial at the time to participate actively in the world in which they lived: namely, children in the new borderlands that came about after the geographical reshuffling of the European Continent at the Paris Peace Conference. By means of two case-studies, one in the Polish-German borderlands, and one in the Belgian-German borderlands, it examines the children’s opportunities to articulate their acceptance, refusal or propositions of change to the environment they encountered. A central focus is put on the analysis of so-called historical ego documents (such as letters, youth magazines and a diary) of borderland children, more recent testimonies of adults about their borderland childhood, as well as empirical evidence about the creation process of ego sources on borderland child life experiences.
The presentation mainly relies on insights from child studies, such as the British philosopher David Archard’s thoughts about the rational autonomy of children, and the British sociologist David Oswell’s model for discovering children’s agency. It notices, in addition, that all remaining ego sources date from a period of time when the border became blurred, after 1933, and, directly or indirectly, include reactions to German initiatives of support in the borderlands under Polish or Belgian state sovereignty. Borderland children’s individual writings can therefore be seen as a collection of multifaceted responses to the substantial financial and cultural forms of sustenance for those considered of German descent, which include unique responses to the problems of the time. At the same time, the presentation discusses in great detail the many difficulties in understanding children’s voices of the past. Borderland children’s ego documents are scarce to begin with and it is a challenging task to come to an evaluation of the authority with which these children were often made to speak up. The presentation proposes to include the fragmentary picture offered by ego documents of past borderland children in historiography.


Location:
Sala del Torrino , Villa Salviati

Affiliation:
Department of History and Civilization

Type:
Lecture

Organiser:
Laura Downs (EUI)
Dominika Gruziel (EUI - Marie Curie Fellow)

Speaker:
Machteld Venken (University of Vienna)

Contact:
Francesca Parenti - Send a mail

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