Cultural Representations of Transnational Childhoods

Day Seminar 13 May 2017, University of Wroclaw


The Center for Young People’s Literature and Culture

The Center for Postcolonial Studies

Institute of English Studies, the University of Wroclaw


in collaboration with the Centre for European Studies, the Australian National University


It is assumed in Western culture that children have a natural need for a stable and safe domestic and familial environment (Holloway and Valentine 2000). Yet research reveals that the number of children whose everyday lives have been marked by mobility and risks it entails is increasing substantially (Ní Laoire et al. 2010). Child-centered studies of migration in particular show that children often become actors in the immigration process as they negotiate their identifications with places and cultures. Acknowledging and understanding both children’s agency and their active participation in the mobility of their families, for example as language and cultural brokers, requires a transnational literacy (Spivak 1992, Brydon 2003, Lee 2011) and relying on child-centered critical and pedagogical methodologies aimed at examining the influence of transnationalism on children’s lives (Spivak 1992, Brydon 2003, Lee 2011). Therefore, while substantial attention has been given to these phenomena in sociological studies of childhood, children’s movement across geopolitical borders also needs to be analyzed from a cultural perspective. We invite papers exploring past and contemporary representations of transnational childhoods in literature, film and other media that foreground the mobile nature of children’s lives and thus encourage a reflection on children’s experiences of mobility as an essential factor in their cognitive and emotional development.


Possible areas of interest include

motifs of home and belonging, children’s creation of belonging

negotiations of belonging between/across cultures

intersections between children’s mobility, gender, class and race

children in diasporas

inter/intragenerational relationships

international and internal migrations

(digital) media and identity formation

emigration from “new” Europe to “old” Europe

ethnic/minority children in communism

longing for mobility in situations of restricted access to border-crossing


We welcome abstracts of 300 words before 1st April, 2017.

To submit an abstract or for any questions, please email dr. Justyna Deszcz-Tryhubczak at

The participation in the seminar is free of charge. We offer refreshments and lunch.