"Putting the Figure on the Map
Imagining Sameness and Difference for Children"
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 colorful 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. Through a tangle of national types, stereotypes, and archetypes, children's books shaped discourse as much as they reflected mainstream adult culture.
Exploring these themes, and others, this interdisciplinary Cotsen Library conference featured presentations that drew on the approaches of
imagology, history, anthropology, psychology, and literary criticism, to discuss modes of expression arising that either targeted children, within or without the
classroom, or appropriated discourses for them, to present competing, complimentary or contradictory images of foreign
Presenting scholars represented institutions across the United States, Canada, and Europe, including: Princeton, University of Toronto, University of Innsbruck, University of Cologne, Leuphana University, Aarhus University, Roehampton University, Anglia Ruskin University, Ohio State University, and Wells College. (A full listing of speaker, abstracts, and biographical profiles, as well as the conference program schedule is available on the Conference website.)
The conference program also included two workshops focusing on materials
from the Cotsen research collection -- Japanese Picture Sugoroku games and English "dissected maps" and geography games -- with a selection of collection objects available for viewing by attendees.