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Children's welfare, migration and emotion

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Room TM3-03, Roding Building, London Metropolitan University

166-220 Holloway Road

London

N7 8DB

United Kingdom

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This seminar series explores key issues in the migration history studies, presented by established scholars and early-career researchers.

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Migration History Seminar Series

This event is co-hosted by the Global Diversities and Inequalities Research Centre

"I want to strike out for myself and get on in the world': Children's welfare, migration and emotion, c. 1850-1930

Migration is one of the great facts of human society. Its contribution to the making of the modern world cannot be overstated. While historical writing in settler societies such as the USA and Canada has emerged over a long time period, European nations with rich migration histories, such as the UK, France and Germany, have more latterly recognised the centrality of population movements. There is great scholarly interest in the field and that will grow now as legacies of imperialism become much more directly entangled with the lives of immigrants in the countries they have settled.

"I want to strike out for myself and get on in the world': Children's welfare, migration and emotion, c. 1850-1930

The migration of thousands of children to overseas colonies, such as Canada and Australia, formed some of the major humanitarian operations of British voluntary organizations during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in their attempts to offer destitute and neglected children better life chances. Existing research on child migration programmes has overwhelmingly demonstrated the failings of these schemes, and has revealed the trauma, abuse, and exploitation that many young people suffered in their new surroundings.

This paper focuses on the emigration of poor children from major British voluntary institutions during the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries to consider emotions, experiences, and outcomes. The paper asks different questions of the surviving sources relating to children’s migration, their arrival in new countries, and their ties to home, and family. It privileges emigrant letters and uses approaches from the history of emotions to examine children’s understandings and responses to their new surroundings. In particular, the paper considers the meanings that children and young people attached to their environments, and how these new settings shaped young people’s constructions and understandings of home, belonging and identity. In doing so, the paper will advance understandings of histories and geographies of childhood and youth by shedding new light on the experiences of child migrants in the past, children’s understandings of home and the construction of identity, and young people’s relationships with space, environment and landscape.

Speakers:

Dr Claudia Soares

Chair:

Professor Don MacRaild

The Global Diversities and Inequalities Research Centre is a home for interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary scholarship that explores migration, diasporas, nations, regions and localities through the lenses of diversity and inequality.

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Photo credit: Andrew Neel

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Room TM3-03, Roding Building, London Metropolitan University

166-220 Holloway Road

London

N7 8DB

United Kingdom

View Map

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