“Putting the Figure on the Map
Imagining Sameness and Difference for Children”
Teaching Geography: hand-colored wood engraving, “The Party,” from The Little Traveller (Dean & Monday, [ca. 1830])
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.
Cotsen Curator Andrea Immel welcomes attendees
Emer O’Sullivan delivers the keynote talk: “Picturing the World for Children: Early 19th-c. Images of Foreign Nations”
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 nations.
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 speakers, abstracts, and biographical profiles, as well as the conference program schedule is available on the Conference website.)
Jill Shefrin discussing travel illustrations, maps, and “dissected maps” for children
Setsuko Noguchi discussing Japanese Suguroku picture games at workshop
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.
Two of the Cotsen collection items on display for attendees to
see after the speakers’ presentations:
Detail showing Africa and the Mediterranean area from an English “dissected map” comprised of 40 pieces mounted on mahogany; it served as a jig-saw puzzle to both teach and entertain children learning about geography.
“Africa in its Principal Divisions”
(London: J. Spilsbury, 1767).
Japanese Soguroku Game Board
(“A game on children’s play”)
(Tokyo: Hakubunkan, 1917).
Soguroku within sogoroku: the game board’s theme is “children’s play,” with 12 panels of pictures are arranged by month. Each panel shows a children’s leisure activity in that month; the panel for Jan. (bottom right) appropriately shows children playing sugoroku.
Some Presenters & Discussion at the Conference
(click on any thumbnail image to view larger version)
“Children’s Encounters with Other Peoples at the 1851 Great Exhibition”
“Foreign Yet Familiar: The Immigrant Child in Progressive Era Comic Strips, 1896-1912”
“Politicizing Childhood: Oncle Hansi and Alsatian Nationalism, 1912-1919”
“A World of Difference: Pedagogical Imagination of Louis-François Jauffret”
“Education to Tolerance: World Citizens in 18th C. Century Children’s Literature”
“Foreigners Not (Yet) in One Box: Race & Foreign Nationals in Chinese Children’s Materials, 1890-1920”
Gabriele von Glasenapp:
“Information or Exoticization? Constructing Religious Difference in Children’s Non-Fiction”
One of the lively discussion after the presentations
Opening conference reception, held in the Cotson Library’s Bookscape gallery