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Workshop on The Graphic Evidence of Childhood, 1760-1914

The history of childhood has become an important field of study in recent
years. One of its exciting characteristics is that it attracts researchers
from a rich variety of disciplines, including the humanities, the social
sciences and the human sciences. Consequently, the history of childhood
emotion, puberty, selfhood, health and agency has become more visible, both
inside and outside the academy. Yet, with the rising popularity of childhood
history comes a growing concern about the kinds of evidence that can be used
to reconstruct the lives of children. This concern is increasingly intimated
by scholars who research the material and visual foundations of childhood.
They point out that many histories of pre-twentieth-century childhood often
fail to engage directly with evidence that was made or (conclusively) used by
girls and boys, either in specialised settings or on a daily basis.

This workshop seeks to develop and extend the material and visual history of
childhood by focusing on the kinds of graphic evidence that was made or used
by children during the 18th and 19th centuries. The notion of ‘graphic’ will
be interpreted widely to mean the instruments, skills or materials used to
manually represent knowledge on paper (or similar forms of media) through
writing or drawing. The papers will discuss how graphic artefacts can be used
as childhood evidence and/or to what extent graphic materials and techniques
can be used to historicise how children experienced the world through the act
of making or using an object. To keep the discussion focused, each speaker is
invited to concentrate on a specific graphic genre of her choosing, and to
consider how the genre can be used to analyse the legitimacy and efficacy of
current methods used to reconstruct the history of childhood.


Dr Matthew Daniel Eddy
Department of Philosophy
Durham University

Prof Kathryn Gleadle
Faculty of History
Oxford University

Prof Matthew Grenby
School of Literature, Language & Linguistics
Newcastle University

Dr Barbara Gribling
Department of History
Durham University

Dr Siân Pooley
Faculty of History
Oxford University

Prof Barbara Wittmann
Professorin für Kunst- und Bildgeschichte
Humbolt University, Berlin

This event is sponsored by Durham University’s Institute of Advanced Study,
the Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies, the Centre for Visual Arts and
Culture, and the Department of Philosophy.

This workshop is being organised by Dr Matthew Daniel Eddy
( The venue in Durham is
currently being finalised. There will most likely be a small attendance fee
(around L15). Registration details will be circulated in early January.

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