Putting the figure on the map: Imagining sameness and difference for children. Conference, Princeton University, 11. -13.09.2013

Projekt: Wissenschaftliche Veranstaltung



The world seemed to shrink during the nineteenth century, thanks to improved communications and transportation that facilitated travel, whether for commerce, conquest or leisure. Similarly the wonders of the world could be brought into the home via photography, maps, travel writing, and fiction. The representation of foreign lands inevitably required the illustration and description of their residents, which gave rise to a rich repository of colourful images of diversity. Children’s books were important vehicles for the expression of senses of national identity that could confirm the superiority of one culture, marginalize others, instill a sense of international brotherhood or regional patriotism, etc., not just reflections of dumbed-down ideas for adults. Through a tangle of national types, stereotypes, and archetypes, children’s books shaped discourse as much as they reflected mainstream adult culture.

This interdisciplinary program, which will draw on the approaches of imagology, history, anthropology, psychology, and literary criticism, will focus on modes of expression arising within or without the classroom that either target children or appropriate discourses for them to create competing, complimentary or contradictory images of foreign nations.

The proceedings will also include two workshops focusing on materials from the Cotsen research collection, with a selection of artefacts on hand for viewing.