Thursday, August 18, 2011

CFP: May 2012 (Ontario): The Great War


From the Garden to the Trenches:

Childhood, Culture and the First World War

9-12 May 2012

Part of the Leverhulme International Network on “Approaching War”

Brock University, The Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books & Trinity College, University of Toronto, Canada

For children growing up in the nineteenth-century ‘Golden Age’ of children’s literature, childhood was characterized as an enclosed, nurturing space, “a child’s garden,” or “kindergarten” as Wilhelm Froebel christened it in 1832; a place for cultivating imagination and play as in, for example, Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses (1885). Garden mud and puddles were for planting and for playing – how difficult for the children growing up in those gardens to anticipate and imagine the muddy trenches of the First World War.

From the Garden to the Trenches – the second of three Leverhulme-supported conferences, marking the approaching centenary of the First World War – will focus on childhood, culture and war from the perspectives of the Americas and the Caribbean. The first conference – Sydney, Australia in December 2011 – will focus on the global south, and the third – Newcastle, UK – on England and Europe. Our aim is to produce a digital archive out of materials assembled during the three conferences."

We are delighted to announce that so far our confirmed keynote speakers include:

Deborah Ellis, author of The Breadwinner and other war stories Linda Granfield, author of Remembering John McCrae Margaret Higonnet (Connecticut), author of Nurses at the Front: Writing the Wounds of the Great War Michael Morpurgo, author of War Horse (the play of which is in Toronto in Spring 2012) Paul Stevens (Toronto), author of Winston Churchill’s Military Romanticism.

Suggested topics may include, in relation to the war and the Americas and the Caribbean:

National and global ideas of childhood and nationhood

Empire and its impact on recruitment

War in art, fiction, drama and music

The intersection of cultures of war and childhood cultures

War, empire and the colonial encounter

Lives of girls and women in relation to war

Concepts of ‘home’

The Boy Scout Movement and the call to war

We are tentatively planning for plenary-only sessions (panels and keynotes), and will give preference to panel proposals. Ideally, panels will consist of four speakers, each giving a 15-minute paper. Individual proposals are, however, also welcomed. Please submit 200-250 word abstracts. Some travel bursaries are available – see for more details.

Deadline for abstracts: 15 September 2011 Notification of outcome: 30 September 2011 Abstracts should be submitted via email to

Dr. Lucy Pearson, Newcastle University

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