HomeEngendering Scandal: Children and Childhood in the Early Modern Period

Engendering Scandal: Children and Childhood in the Early Modern Period

Enfants et enfance dans la fabrique du scandale à l’époque moderne

History, Literature, Memory

Histoire, littérature, mémoire

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Published on Friday, July 12, 2019 by Anastasia Giardinelli

Summary

This international two-day colloquium aims to analyse how and why the child, as an individual or in a group, could take part in the engendering process of scandal, and could even influence its meanings when more directly involved. It also aims to explore how narratives, even when confined to the judicial sphere (such as factums), could make sense of childhood, map its emotional realms, thus contributing to a better understanding of changing social and cultural norms and emotions relating to children.

Announcement

Argument

If traumatic events involving children or the social and literary representations of childhood are particularly felt nowadays, produce a strong emotional upheaval, and attract new forms of media coverage to express and spread scandal, scandal has a long history.

In Early Modern occidental Europe (16th-18th centuries), there were many factors that could contribute to scandal; but the spiritual factor remained prevalent in a Christian society where individuals and groups were still shepherded by denominational churches. Religions generated norms in the Ancien Régime; their various institutions and representatives mentored and disciplined people. And yet, religion could also be seen at creating scandal. This is particularly obvious when it comes to children, and tended to affect the very definition of childhood, as a social, cultural and literary construct that can vary through time, place and denominational groups.

This international two-day colloquium aims to analyse how and why the child, as an individual or in a group, could take part in the engendering process of scandal, and could even influence its meanings when more directly involved. It also aims to explore how  narratives, even when confined to the judicial sphere (such as factums), could make sense of childhood, map its emotional realms, thus contributing to a better understanding of changing social and cultural norms and emotions relating to children.

In light of the above, the way old scandals were remembered and disseminated is of particular significance. By what means can scandal be passed on (or not) through generations, and what kind of role(s) children are given in the process? 

This international two-day colloquium seeks to bring together scholars and specialists with a particular interest in France in the early modern period, from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. It is interdisciplinary in scope. Contributions from specialists of history, literature and intellectual history are particularly welcome, although contributions from other disciplines such as history of law, anthropology, theology, philosophy or art history, will equally be considered.

Possible topics (not meant to be exhaustive) may include:

  • Children and the circulation of scandal. What was specific about news involving children? What is at stake when scandal goes public? Why, and when, should one choose not to divulge it?
  • Scandal narratives: framing and publishing scandals on or about children. How and why is scandal shaped as a literary account? How can we assess actual consumption patterns against printers’ and booksellers’ marketing strategies?
  • Scandal and the history of the family. What can scandal teach us about Ariès’s controversial argument regarding the “discovery” of childhood and its recognition as a distinct phase of human existence? How did scandal contribute to shaping the fluid categories of “infancy” and “youth” at the time?
  • Children and social and cultural practices. To what extent can we use case studies involving children as a means to assess emotion and affect? What were the thresholds of tolerance where children were concerned and did they change over time? To what extent could such thresholds have been fashioned by literary narratives?
  • Children and interdenominational conflicts. In a period of competition “between two pulpits” (Th. Wanegffelen) and in areas where more than one religions laid its claims, to what extent did the figure of the child become the battlefield for religious struggles and rivalry? What were the rhetorical strategies in interdenominational controversies when it came to assess the place and role of children?
  • Children, violence and the means of salvation. How were cases of kidnapping, forced conversions, even forced baptisms (of Jews) constructed into scandal narratives? How were they read by theologians and lay scholars of various confessional identities?
  • Children and collective memory. Could scandal narratives be a means to pass on to children a denominational culture? What were the religious emotions involved when hearing horrific narratives? Were there any risks of religious disaffection, and were these pointed out?

Organisation and calendar

This international two-day colloquium will be held at the ENS de Lyon, 1-2 October 2020.

Abstract submissions (no more than 500 words) should be sent along with a short academic CV to the two organizers

before the 31st of December 2019

and will be blind peer-reviewed by a scientific committee

  • Isabelle Moreau (MCF-HDR en littérature française du xviie siècle, ENS de Lyon – IHRIM, UMR 5317) : isabelle.moreau@ens-lyon.fr
  • Julien Léonard (MCF en histoire moderne, Université de Lorraine – CRULH, EA 3945) : julien.leonard@univ-lorraine.fr

This international two-day colloquium was awarded funding by the Research Fund of the ENS de Lyon.

Places

  • ENS de Lyon. 15, parvis René Descartes. BP 7000. 69342 Lyon Cedex 07 FRANCE
    Lyon, France (69)

Date(s)

  • Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Keywords

  • enfants, enfance, scandale, histoire, littérature, mémoire

Contact(s)

  • Julien Léonard
    courriel : julien [dot] leonard [at] univ-lorraine [dot] fr
  • Isabelle Moreau
    courriel : isabelle [dot] moreau [at] ens-lyon [dot] fr

Information source

  • Julien Léonard
    courriel : julien [dot] leonard [at] univ-lorraine [dot] fr

To cite this announcement

« Engendering Scandal: Children and Childhood in the Early Modern Period », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Friday, July 12, 2019, https://calenda.org/650291

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