[Deadline Extended] Explorations of Childhood in Nineteenth Century Working Class Life Writing

full name / name of organization: 
Sarah MacDonald/ Kent State University
contact email: 

Abstract deadline: September 22, 2013

The abstract should include: author affiliation, author contact information, essay title and 250-500 word description. Full manuscripts will be due January 31, 2014.

This essay collection is designed to fill the gap in the scholarship of nineteenth century childhood by focusing on the life writing of working class children during the period. Much of what we know about this group comes from middle class discussions of the problem of working class children or from fiction. Middle class people, whose bias colors their presentation of working class childhood, frequently write both of these items. The growing availability of working class life writing enables us to expand the existing scholarship about this turbulent time in history.
Essays that address the following topics are encouraged.

• How is child labor/schooling discussed in life writing from working class individuals?

• How are ideas of childhood vs. adulthood altered through the necessities of class and work?

• How working class children understand family

• The politics of working class childhood as understood by the writers of the text

• Working class identity and community

Questions and topics such as these highlight how ideas of childhood are centrally tied to middle class identity and development, especially during the nineteenth century in England. Although proposals on nineteenth century life writing of children from any part of the world are welcome, texts from Europe and the North America are especially welcome.