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Revisited: The Challenges of Childhood History

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The Challenges of Childhood History

By: Patrick Ryan

Audio-Visual Content

Click here to view a video recording to Hannah Newton's keynote lecture, delivered January 16, 2015 at “Challenges of the History of Childhood” hosted by Queen Mary University of London. Click here to view the slide show of Newton's lecture. It is not synchronized to the lecture recording.

Click here to view Siân Pooley's keynote address, also delivered January 16, 2015 at “Challenges of the History of Childhood” hosted by Queen Mary University of London.

The meeting was organized by Catherine Rose and Tessa Chynoweth.  It brought together an interdisciplinary group of scholars to share ideas about common problems facing the historical study of childhood.  The one-day event offered 14 papers dealing broadly with the relationships between ideas and lived experience within the field.  It called for a discussion of memory, interdisciplinarity, the historicity of age, cultural comparison, institutional space, and the significance of historical research on childhood.

Pooley Keynote Lecture

In "Children's writing and subjectivity in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century England," Siȃn Pooley provided a close reading of children's contributions to and correspondence with late-19th/early-20th century periodicals and their editors.  She explores children's writing, family relations, public presence, and the production of the self to pose questions about agency, power, and causality. 

Newton Keynote Lecture

In "Voices of Sick Children: Challenges and Solutions in the History of Childhood," Hannah Newton explored five major issues: 

(1) a lack of written records by children; 

(2) the temptation to assess authenticity of past children's actions based on the present;

(3) the difficulty of assessing emotions and pain of persons in the past;  

(4) urge to make ethical judgments about past practices; 

Sian Pooley(5) lack of evidence regarding poor children. 


About Siân Pooley

Siȃn Pooley earned her doctorate from St. John's College, Cambridge in 2010. Her research interests center on parenthood, childhood, identity and social policy in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Britain.  Currently she is a tutorial fellow in Modern British History at Magdalen College, Oxford.

About Hannah NewtonHannah Newton

Hannah Newton earned her doctorate from the University of Exeter in 2009.  She was a Wellcome Trust Medical History Fellow 2011-14, and currently holds positions as lecturer at the University of Reading and Director of Studies for the History and Philosophy of Science at St. John's College, Cambridge. Her research interests focus upon the history of medicine, emotion, and childhood in early modern England.

Select Publications by Sian Pooley:

'Children's writing and the popular press in late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century England', History Workshop Journal 80 (forthcoming 2015). 

'“Leagues of Love” and “Column Comrades”: Children’s Responses to War in late-Victorian and Edwardian England', in L. Paul and R. Johnston (eds), Approaching War: Childhood, Culture and the First World War, ed. by L. Paul and R. Johnston (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming).

Co-edited with K. Qureshi, Parenthood Between Generations: Transforming Reproductive Cultures (Berghahn: Oxford, forthcoming).

‘Parenthood, child-rearing and fertility in England, 1850-1914’, History of the Family, 18:1 (2013), pp. 83-106.

‘“All we parents want is that our children’s health and lives should be regarded”: child health and parental concern in England, c.1860-1910’, Social History of Medicine, 23:3, (2010), pp. 528-48.

Co-edited with C.G. Pooley and R. Lawton, The diary of Elizabeth Lee: growing up on Merseyside in the late nineteenth century (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2010).

‘Domestic servants and their urban employers: a case study of Lancaster 1880-1914’, Economic History Review, 62: 2 (2009), pp. 405-29.

Select Publications by Hannah Newton:

‘“Nature Concocts & Expels”: The Agents and Processes of Recovery from Disease in Early Modern England’ (forthcoming) in Social History of Medicine (2015).

The Sick Child in Early Modern England, 1580–1720 (Oxford University Press, 2012; paperback 2014).

'The Sick Child in Early Modern England'Endeavour, 38 (2014), 122–29.

'Children's Physic: Medical Perceptions and Treatment of Sick Children in Early Modern England, c. 1580–1720'Social History of Medicine, 23 (2010), 456–74 (open access).

'"Very Sore Nights & Days": The Child's Experience of Illness in Early Modern England, c. 1580–1720'Medical History, 55 (2011), 153–182 (open access).

The women in the banner are Tessa Chynoweth and Catherine Rose – conference conveners of “Challenges of the History of Childhood,” January 16, 2015 – Queen Mary University of London. The conference schedule is available here.

Childhood: History and Critique (CHC) is a series of interviews, commentary, and happenings in historical studies of childhood presented by Dr. Patrick J. Ryan, Kings University College at Western University, Canada.

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