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One hundred years since the Geneva Declaration - A historical perspective on childhood, children and their rights in the 20th century

March 22, 2024

Organiser: Institute for Lithuanian History, Nordostinstitut (IKGN) and Herder-Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe

Place: Institute for Lithuanian History, Vilnius (Lithuania)
Time: 25 - 27 September 2024

Deadline for Proposals: 12 April 2024

In 1924, the Geneva Declaration on the Rights of the Child addressed for the first time all the nations of the world to affirm the duty of States and individuals to systemic care for children. The Declaration set out 5 points covering aspects of: children‘s physical and mental health, safety, support, and the development and fulfillment of their talents and abilities. 100 years after the Declaration, the young scholars conference invites to explore the development and implementation of the law of children and childhood protection, everyday practices, issues and challenges from the perspective of social history with a focus on the 19th century. But already since the demographic revolution of the late 19th century, the view of the relation between families children and states had changed dramatically. Children were seen as a crucial element of the state‘s power, and their position in their families became a topic of public interest. These aspects have become of research interest lately. So, children‘s and childhood history has become a recent trend in historiography, combining family and social history. Nevertheless, Eastern Europe and the Baltic Sea region seem to be under-researched in this respect.

The 100 years anniversary of the Declaration seems to be a great incentive for further research, the organisers aim at taking an interdisciplinary and retrospective look at the theoretical and practical dynamics of these processes and the resulting development of children‘s rights policies in a comparative perspective in the Baltic Sea region, Eastern Europe and beyond.

Hence, the joint conference aims at encouraging interdisciplinary and comparative perspectives on historical research on childhood and children‘s rights as well as children-related family policies. The organisers invite scholars from various disciplines to submit proposals on 19–20th century childrens history as well as on related topics. Papers with a focus on the Baltic Sea region and Eastern Europe, as well as papers with important methodological approaches or with a (European) comparative perspective are highly welcome. The idea is to bring together researchers with different methodologies and theoretical approaches to the subject.

Papers are welcome which seek:
1. to analyze the legal history of children‘s rights: law-making and enforcement practice. Researching the practice of child and childhood protection, the specifics of the application of the concept of children‘s rights in different historical, economical, and socio-cultural contexts.

2. to raise the issue of ethnicity, gender, or disability in the context of children‘s rights policy. Bringing social engineering, education, and re-education policy issues into the spotlight, and considering development of medical, pedagogical, and other scientific approaches to children and childhood.

3. to Identify the activities, contributions, and influence of different social actors in developing alternative or complementary practices to the existing state provisions to ensure the five points mentioned in the Geneva Convention.

4. to analyze the connection among discipline, education, and children’s rights in different socio-cultural contexts.

5. to analyze children‘s rights policy issues in the context of the rights of other social groups (e.g. women).

The Institute of Lithuanian History (Vilnius), the Herder-Institute (Marburg), and the Nordost-Institut (IKGN e.V., Lüneburg) invite up to 5 further scholars working from various disciplines to discuss their projects. Any proposal on these and other themes relevant to the topic of the conference is highly welcome. Individual papers should be max. 25 minutes long with 20 minutes for discussion. The working language will be English.

Renowned keynote speakers from the region and other European countries will provide an introduction to the topic.

Travel costs (only within Europe) as well as accommodation will be paid by the organizers.

Proposals of 300 words or less with a short biography of the presenter and their area of research should be submitted in one digital document to forum@herder-institut.de
by April 12, 2024.

Contact: Heidi Hein-Kircher (heidi.hein-kircher@herder-institut.de)

Source: One hundred years since the Geneva Declaration - A historical perspective on childhood, children and their rights in the 20th century., In: H-Soz-Kult, 22.03.2024, <www.hsozkult.de/event/id/event-142962>.