Cultural Representations of Transnational Childhoods: European-Australian-American Perspectives

Presented by ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences

It is assumed in Western culture that children have a natural need for a stable and safe domestic and familial environment (Holloway & Valentine 2000). Yet research reveals that the number of children whose everyday lives have been marked by mobility and the risks it entails is increasing substantially (Ní Laoire et al. 2010). Child-centered migration studies show that children often become actors in the immigration process as they negotiate identifications with places and cultures. Acknowledging and understanding children’s agency and their active participation in the mobility of their families, e.g. as language and cultural brokers, requires a transnational literacy (Spivak 1992, Brydon 2003, Lee 2011) and reliance on child-centered critical and pedagogical methodologies aimed at examining the influence of transnationalism on children’s lives (Spivak 1992, Brydon 2003, Lee 2011). While much attention has been given to these phenomena in sociological studies of childhood, children’s movement across geopolitical borders also needs to be analysed from a cultural perspective. This symposium will explore past and contemporary representations of transnational childhoods in literature, film and other media that foreground the mobile nature of children’s lives, encouraging reflection on childrens’ experience of mobility as an essential factor in their cognitive and emotional development.


Dr Justyna Deszcz-Tryhubczak, University of Wroclaw
Dr Dorota Kolodziejczyk, University of Wroclaw
Dr Katarzyna Kwapisz Williams, The Australian National University

This event is presented by the Institute of English Studies at the University of Wroclaw, Poland, and The Australian National University Centre for European Studies, Australia.


9.00am - Morning tea on arrival

9.20am - Welcome

9.30am to 11.00am - Session 1

Moderator: Marina Balina

Elizabeth Hale (University of New England), “Sea and the Antipodes in Children's Literature”

Mateusz Świetlicki (University of Wrocław), “Children of the Revolution: Loss, Migration, and Maturation in Halyna Kyrpa’s My Dad Became a Star”

Anna Bugajska (Tischner European University), “Transnational Childhoods in More Than This by Patrick Ness”

10.00am to 11.20am - Morning tea break

11.20am to 12.50pm - Session 2

Moderator: Anna Cichoń

Joanna Wojdon (University of Wrocław), “A model identity of ethnic minority children in the Soviet Union”

Dorota Kołodziejczyk (University of Wrocław), “Tolerance or active multiculturalism? A comparative look at cultural inclusivity at schools.”

Justyna Deszcz-Tryhubczak & Mateusz Marecki (University of Wrocław), “Literary Education and Transnational Citizenship”

1.00pm to 2.20pm - Lunch (Bazylia)

2.30pm to 4.00pm - Session 3

Moderator: Elizabeth Hale

Elżbieta Klimek-Dominiak (University of Wrocław), “Relocations and Complex Trauma: Mobility, Gender, Class, and Race in Eva Hoffman’s Life Writing and Dorothy Allison’s Bastard out of Carolina”

Katarzyna Kwapisz Williams (The Australian National University), “Growing out of migrancy: Suburban childhoods and transnational worlds in recent Australian life writing.”

Marina Balina (Illinois Wesleyan University), “Writing Her/His/Story, Writing Trauma: Re-visions of the Stalinist Past”

4.00pm to 4.20pm - Afternoon tea break

4.20pm to 5.20pm - Session 4

Moderator: Katarzyna Kwapisz Williams

Anna Cichoń (University of Wrocław), “Ambivalence of Constructions of Colonial Childhood in Doris Lessing’s Memoirs”

Marta Mamet-Michalkiewicz (University of Silesia in Katowice), “Narratives of Home: Cultural Representations of Childhood in Umi Sinha’s Belonging”

5.20pm to 5.45pm - Concluding remarks

6.00pm - Dinner (location TBC)