Call for Papers: ‘From the Garden to the Trenches’

Suddenly my plans to emigrate seem a lot more worthwhile….


From the Garden to the Trenches:
Childhood, Culture and the First World War
9-12 May 2012

Part of the Leverhulme International Network on “Approaching War”

Brock University, The Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books
& Trinity College, University of Toronto, Canada

For children growing up in the nineteenth-century ‘Golden Age’ of children’s
literature, childhood was characterized as an enclosed, nurturing space, “a
child’s garden,” or “kindergarten” as Wilhelm Froebel christened it in 1832;
a place for cultivating imagination and play as in, for example, Robert
Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses (1885).  Garden mud and puddles
were for planting and for playing – how difficult for the children growing
up in those gardens to anticipate and imagine the muddy trenches of the
First World War.

From the Garden to the Trenches – the second of three Leverhulme-supported
conferences, marking the approaching centenary of the First World War – will
focus on childhood, culture and war from the perspectives of the Americas
and the Caribbean. The first conference – Sydney, Australia in December 2011
– will focus on the global south, and the third – Newcastle, UK – on England
and Europe. Our aim is to produce a digital archive out of materials
assembled during the three conferences.”

We are delighted to announce that so far our confirmed keynote speakers
Deborah Ellis, author of The Breadwinner and other war stories
Linda Granfield, author of Remembering John McCrae
Margaret Higonnet (Connecticut), author of Nurses at the Front: Writing the
Wounds of the Great War
Michael Morpurgo, author of War Horse (the play of which is in Toronto in
Spring 2012)
Paul Stevens (Toronto), author of Winston Churchill’s Military Romanticism.

Suggested topics may include, in relation to the war and the Americas and
the Caribbean:
●      National and global ideas of childhood and nationhood
●      Empire and its impact on recruitment
●      War in art, fiction, drama and music
●      The intersection of cultures of war and childhood cultures
●      War, empire and the colonial encounter
●      Lives of girls and women in relation to war
●      Concepts of ‘home’
●      The Boy Scout Movement and the call to war

We are tentatively planning for plenary-only sessions (panels and keynotes),
and will give preference to panel proposals.  Ideally, panels will consist
of four speakers, each giving a 15-minute paper.  Individual proposals are,
however, also welcomed. Please submit 200-250 word abstracts. Some travel
bursaries are available – see for
more details.

Deadline for abstracts: 15 September 2011
Notification of outcome: 30 September 2011
Abstracts should be submitted via email to

Leave a Reply!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.