Children’s narratives have often been thought to sum up national character: Nils Holgersson as an introduction into Swedish landscapes and cultures, Heidi as the epitome of ‘Swissness’, Hansje Brinker as a prototypical Dutch hero, etc. It is important to realize, however, that they became national icons in the eyes of non-Swedish, –Swiss and – Dutch audiences, through transnational reception, adaptation and remediation: Heidi, for example, exemplified the Swiss way of life in the eyes of a German audience. Familiarizing children with and involving them in these ongoing processes of creative transnational appropriation may help them to deconstruct national stereotypes. Positively put, it may help them to feel at home in ‛a wider circle of we’ that allows for the coexistence of local, national and transnational identifications. Contemporary citizens may well identify simultaneously as, for instance, Bavarians, Germans, and Europeans. Heritage narratives for children may facilitate the development of such a poly-local, multidimensional sense of belonging in today’s globalizing world. Young and adult readers also actively contribute to these processes of adaptation and remediation as co-creators of heritage by, for example, participating in fan cultures, as a significant dimension of their emergent citizenship.
The aim of this special issue is to explore the viability of childhood heritage for citizenship education of 8-12-year-olds in a globalizing, multi-ethnic Europe. It seeks to address issues such as: How are children’s (non-)fictional narratives constructed as local, regional, national and/or transnational heritage through dynamic processes of adaptation and remediation? 2) How can childhood heritage institutions such as museums, archives and international advocacy organizations facilitate transnational appropriations of aesthetic and educative artefacts? 3) How can children be actively engaged in the process of heritage construction as a significant dimension of their emergent citizenship?
Papers may address topics such as:
— the trope of home in children’s narratives: stories beyond the “home-away-home” plot described by Perry Nodelman in The Pleasures of Children’s Literature.
— children’s texts in an imagological perspective
— transnational fan practices related to children’s narratives
— transnational memory in children’s literature
– children’s narratives as materials for citizenship education
— children and/or young adults as active participants in heritage construction
— children’s literature as national and transnational heritage in institutional contexts (museums, heritage libraries, etc.)
— international organizations advocating children’s narratives as media for fostering international understanding
Length of the article: 6000-7000 words.
Prof. Dr. Lies Wesseling
Dr. Justyna Deszcz-Tryhubczak
Mr. Mateusz Marecki