Home(De-)colonized Childhoods

(De-)colonized Childhoods

Enfances (dé)colonisées

Revue d’histoire de l’enfance « irrégulière » | Numéro thématique 22 – 2020

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Published on Thursday, May 23, 2019 by Céline Guilleux

Summary

Over the past several years, historiography that combines Childhood and Youth Studies with Colonial/Postcolonial Studies has demonstrated the importance of the place and role of children and youth in imperial constructions. In 2012, the Revue d’histoire de l’enfance “irrégulière” (RHEI) contributed to the development of this field with its issue on “Displaced Childhoods in Colonial Contexts” (no. 14, 2012). The journal will continue to explore new paths of research on this subject by dedicating issue 22 (2020) to child protection in colonial and post-colonial contexts.

Announcement

Argument

Over the past several years, historiography that combines Childhood and Youth Studies with Colonial/Postcolonial Studies has demonstrated the importance of the place and role of children and youth in imperial constructions. In 2012, the Revue d’histoire de l’enfance “irrégulière” (RHEI) contributed to the development of this field with its issue on “Displaced Childhoods in Colonial Contexts” (no. 14, 2012). The journal will continue to explore new paths of research on this subject by dedicating issue 22 (2020) to child protection in colonial and post-colonial contexts.

Framework

Childhood is defined here as the legal category of age between birth and civil majority. The region to be studied includes colonized countries that have become independent. The historical period in question is from after the Second World War to the end of the 1970s. The transitions between colonial and post-colonial period will be foregrounded, as will the processes of emancipation of nations as they questioned practices of child protection.

Approaches

As part of a complex set of issues that are at once political and social, demographical and populational, as well as philosophical and religious, the colonial and post-colonial stakes of irregular childhood have produced specific biopolitics. The concept of biopolitics—that is, power over life and over human beings—was created by Michel Foucaut in the late 1970s and is “attentive to the specific mechanisms that frame the lives of individuals and populations.” Biopolitics and the concept of governmentality—the conduct of conducts—constitute two effective ways of accessing the subject.

For a wide variety of reasons, including political and racialist reasons, every colonial power attributed great socio-political importance to the protection of children and adolescents who had been abandoned, or were perceived to have been abandoned. Newly independent, post-colonial states sometimes saw childhood and youth as breeding grounds for new states and new forms of social cohesion. Applied to vulnerable individuals—or those defined as such—child protection could be a passive or painful experience, and children may have been unable to resist its injunctions for a variety of reasons: the submissiveness expected of the young, reference to an alienating racialized identity, the construction of racial hierarchies, gendered expectations, etc. Thus, the concepts of empowerment and agency and their relationship to institutional authority are crucial for analyzing childhood and youth in colonial and post-colonial contexts.

The question of the personal and of the subjective construction of children themselves will also be highlighted. Children’s various modes of expression must be analyzed in order to better understand how they experienced protection (or the absence of protection) in colonial/post-colonial contexts, and how this experience contributed to shaping their social identity.

Colonial powers deployed social services as well as coercive and repressive mechanisms to combat anti-colonial commitments among the young. Newly independent states then had to care for children and young people who were vulnerable, dissident, or “irregular” within the framework of the nation and political projects under construction, either in continuance of the colonial moment or by reactivating older logics of solidarity or exclusion.

The gendered dimension of child protection must be explored across space and time, from an intersectional perspective.

The complex realities that correspond to the themes of this issue can be studied on the basis of a wide variety of sources. In addition to public archives, which reflect various policies enacted, the written and oral records of associations and other organizations make it possible to identify the roles of non-state actors. The words of those directly affected by this history—that is, children and youth themselves—are irreplaceable.

Topics

This issue will focus on the encounter between colonial/post-colonial realities and various models, forms, and modalities of child protection for vulnerable, maladjusted, handicapped, delinquent, or “irregular” children.

Articles may deal with the following topics (this list is not exhaustive):

  • The actors involved in child protection: state services, religious congregations, local associations, families, etc.;
  • The breaks and continuities between colonization and decolonization, the continuation of the former into the latter, post-colonial cultures of child protection;
  • Beyond the frameworks imposed by colonizers, the transcolonial circulation of models of child protection, and the role of transnational/international organizations;
  • The prevention and treatment of juvenile delinquency;
  • The agency/empowerment of children taken into protection.

Issue co-ordinators

  • Yves Denéchère, professor of contemporary history, Université d’Angers, director of the multi-disciplinary program EnJeu[x] Enfance et Jeunesse.
  • Violaine Tisseau, researcher at the CNRS, Institut des Mondes africains.

The RHEI is devoted to the field of marginal or marginalized childhood and youth. It is concerned with young offenders, but also with child victims, orphans, and runaways, as well as with legislative and institutional policies and teaching practices in France and abroad. The RHEI is a peer-reviewed scholarly journal, and is the product of collaboration between the Centre national de formation et d’études de la protection judiciaire de la jeunesse and the Association pour l’histoire de l’éducation surveillée et de la protection judiciaire des mineurs. It also provides a focal point for dialogue between historians and professionals working in the field of special-needs education.

Submission guidelines

Paper proposals, in French or in English, must be no longer than 1 page and must specify the sources and methodology used. They, along with a brief CV, should be sent to the following addresses

no later than June 30, 2019

to yves.denechere@univ-angers.fr and tisseau@mmsh.univ-aix.fr.

Proposal selection: early July 2019.

Articles (approximately 45,000 characters) due: October 2019. Reviewer evaluations: December 2019. Correspondence between authors and issue coordinators: spring of 2020.

Publication of issue no. 22 of the RHEI: fall 2020.

Date(s)

  • Sunday, June 30, 2019

Keywords

  • enfance, colonisation, décolonisation, protection, délinquance

Contact(s)

  • Yves Denéchère
    courriel : yves [dot] denenchere [at] univ-angers [dot] fr
  • Violaine Tisseau
    courriel : tisseau [at] mmsh [dot] univ-aix [dot] fr

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Mireille Loirat
    courriel : mireille [dot] loirat [at] univ-angers [dot] fr

To cite this announcement

« (De-)colonized Childhoods », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Thursday, May 23, 2019, https://calenda.org/623596

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