Placim has put out two edited volumes which showcase alternative approaches to the cultural history of childhood: 

The Child Savage, 1890-2010: From Comics to Games

Edited by Elisabeth Wesseling


Paperback 2016 Routledge


Taking up the understudied relationship between the cultural history of childhood and media studies, this volume traces twentieth-century migrations of the child-savage analogy from colonial into postcolonial discourse across a wide range of old and new media. Older and newer media such as films, textbooks, children's literature, periodicals, comic strips, children's radio, and toys are deeply implicated in each other through ongoing 'remediation', meaning that they continually mimic, absorb and transform each other's representational formats, stylistic features, and content. Media theory thus confronts the cultural history of childhood with the challenge of re-thinking change in childhood imaginaries as transformation-through-repetition patterns, rather than as rise-shine-decline sequences. This volume takes up this challenge, demonstrating that one historical epoch may well accommodate diverging childhood repertoires, which are recycled again and again as they are played out across a whole gamut of different media formats in the course of time. 

Table of Contents



Elisabeth Wesseling 


1 Technologies of Power: School Discourse in Nineteenth-Century Ireland

Vanessa Rutherford

2 Kipling’s Just So Stories: The Recapitulative Child and Evolutionary Progress

Ruth Murphy

3 Of Savages and Wild Children: Diverging Representations of Exotic Peoples and Young   Pranksters in Comic Strips from the Belle Époque

Pascal Lefèvre

4 Getting to Know the Other: Dutch Children’s Magazines and Alterity (1890-1910)

Helma van Lierop-Debrauwer

5 Africa in Ritual Practice and Mythic Consciousness in the Kulturfilm of the Weimar Republic (1918-1933)

Luke Springman

6 Childhood and Primitivism: The Impact of the Négritude Movement on Avant-Garde Children’s Literature

Bettina Kümmerling-Meibauer 


7 Animals, Angels, and Americans: Remediating Dickensian Melodrama in the Comic Strip Little Orphan Annie (1924-1945) 

Elisabeth Wesseling

8 The Teenaged Savage Goes to Hollywood: G. Stanley Hall’s Recapitulation Theory and American Exploitation Cinema (1930-1945)

Joshua Garrison

9 Listening with Mother: The Cultivation of Children’s Radio

Kate Lacey

10 Wild Children and Wicked Journalists: The Remediation of Tabloid Images of Childhood in Contemporary Children’s Literature

Vanessa Joosen


11 Representing Violence, Playing Control: Warring Constructions of Masculinity in Action Man Toys (1960-1990)

Jonathan Bignell

12 “Back to that Special Time”: Nostalgia and the Remediation of Children’s Media in the Adult World

Lincoln Geraghty

13 Otherwordly Children: Wild Children, Global Crises, and the Desire for Redemption

Isabel Hoving 

Reinventing Childhood Nostalgia: Books, Toys, and Contemporary Media

Edited by Elisabeth Wesseling


Hardback 2017 Routledge


While Romantic-era concepts of childhood nostalgia have been understood as the desire to retrieve the ephemeral mindset of the child, this collection proposes that the emergence of digital media has altered this reflective gesture towards the past. No longer is childhood nostalgia reliant on individual memory. Rather, it is associated through contemporary convergence culture with the commodities of one's youth as they are recycled from one media platform to another. Essays in the volume's first section identify recurrent patterns in the recycling, adaptation, and remediation of children's toys and media, providing context for section two's exploration of childhood nostalgia in memorial practices. In these essays, the contributors suggest that childhood toys and media play a role in the construction of s the imagined communities (Benedict Anderson) that define nations and nationalism. Eschewing the dichotomy between restorative and reflexive nostalgia, the essays in section three address the ethics of nostalgia in terms of child agency and depictions of childhood. In a departure from the notion that childhood nostalgia is the exclusive prerogative of narrative fiction, section four looks for its traces in the child sciences. Pushing against nostalgia's persistent associations with wishful thinking, false memories, and distortion, this collection suggests nostalgia is never categorically good or bad in itself, but owes its benefits or defects to the ways in which it is brought to bear on the representation of children and childhood.  

Table of Contents


Elisabeth Wesseling

I. The Cultural Dynamics of Cross-Generational (Re-)appropriation

1 Historical Roots of Consumption-Based Nostalgia for Childhood in the US

Gary Cross

2 Nostalgia or Innovation? The Adaptation of Dutch Children’s Books to Film

Helma van Lierop

3 Superheroes and Identity: The Role of Nostalgia in Comic Book Culture

Carol Tilley

4 (Re) Constructing Childhood Memories: Nostalgia, Creativity and the Expanded Worlds of the Lego Fan Community

 Lincoln Geraghty 

II Childhood Nostalgia and Memorial Politics

5 Nostalgic Panoramas of Childhood: Toy Objects in Ireland (1851-1909)

Vanessa Rutherford

6 Making Children’s ‘Classics’, Making Past Childhoods: Children’s ‘Classics’ as Sites for Memory Politics and Nostalgia

Helle Strandgaard Jensen

7 Propaganda and Nostalgia: Constructing Memories about the German Democratic Republic for Secondary School Children

Luke Springman

8 Communist Childhoods and Nostalgia: A Cultural Analysis of Online Remembrance Strategies (2006-2011) Codruta Pohrib

9 Lost in Nostalgia: Images of Childhood in Photo Books for Children

Bettina Kümmerling-Meibauer 

III Modalities of Nostalgia

10 Looking for Asymmetries: A Theoretical Approach to Childhood Nostalgia in Pre-Figurative Culture

Mariano Narodowski

11 Perverse Nostalgia: Child Sex Abuse as Trauma Commodity in Neo- Victorian Fiction

Mel Kohlke

12 “Scared Straight” and Beyond: The Presumption of Teenaged Guilt and the Perpetuation of Defeated Paradigms

Joshua Garrison

13 Teenage Nostalgia and the Recycling of the Homecoming Topos: Perpetual Adolescents in Little Children (2006) and Young Adult (2011)

Anita Wohlmann

14 Ambivalent longings: Nostalgia in the Picturebooks of Pieter Gaudesaboos

Vanessa Joosen

15 Children’s Music and Nostalgia: Digging in the Past with an Eye to the Future

Ingeborg Lunde Vestad

16 Happiness is Quite Common: Postmemory of ‘The Fifties’ in De Daltons (1999-2010)

Elisabeth Wesseling

IV Nostalgic Science 

17 Comics, Childhood, and Nostalgia: Frederic Wertham and the Comic Book Panic of the 1950s

Andrew O’Malley 

18 Back to Where We Came From: Evolutionary Psychology and Children’s Media

Karin Lesnik-Oberstein and Neil Cocks 

Connecting Childhood and Old Age in Popular Media

Edited by Vanessa Joosen

Forthcoming in 2018, Jackson: University of Mississipi Press. 


Media narratives in popular culture often assign interchangeable characteristics to childhood and old age, presuming a resemblance between children and the elderly. These designations in media can have far-reaching repercussions in shaping not only language, but also cognitive activity and behavior. The meaning attached to biological, numerical age-even the mere fact that we calculate a numerical age at all-is culturally determined, as is the way people "act their age."With populations aging all around the world, awareness of intergenerational relationships and associations surrounding old age is becoming urgent. Connecting Childhood and Old Age in Popular Media caters to this urgency and contributes to age literacy by supplying insights into the connection between childhood and senescence to show that people are aged by culture. Treating classic stories like the Brothers Grimm's fairy tales and Heidi; pop culture hits like The Simpsons and Mad Men; and international productions, such as Turkish television cartoons and South Korean films, contributors explore the recurrent idea that "children are like old people," as well as other relationships between children and elderly characters as constructed in literature and media from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. This volume deals with fiction and analyzes language as well as verbally sparse, visual productions, including children's literature, film, television, animation, and advertising. 

Table of Contents 



Vanessa Joosen 

1. United by God and Nature: Johanna Spyri’s Heidi and Her Relationship with the Elderly

Ingrid Tomkowiak

2. Happily Ever After for the Old in Japanese Fairy Tales

Mayako Murai

3. Vitalizing Childhood through Old Age in Hector Malot’s Sans famille: An Intersectional Perspective

Elisabeth Wesseling

4. The Right to Self-Determination: Ageism in Two Dutch Children’s Books on the Voluntary Death of Elderly People

Helma van Lierop-Debrauwer

5. Extremely Close Generations: Childhood and Old Age in Jonathan Safran Foer’s Novel

Vanessa Joosen 

6. The “Strawberry Generation”: Two Views on Intergenerational Relations in Post–Cold War Taiwan

Emily Murphy

7. Intergenerational Bonding in Recent Films from South Korea

Sung-Ae Lee

8. Mischief and Mayhem: A Cultural History of the Relationship between Children and Old People in the Contemporary Family Film

Lincoln Geraghty

9. Grandparents and Grandchildren in The Simpsons:Intergenerational Rupture and Prefigurative Culture

Mariano Narodowski and Verónica Gottau

10. Sustaining and Transgressing Borders: The Relationship between Children and the Elderly in Mad Men

Cecilia Lindgren and Johanna Sjöberg


11. Representations of Intergenerational Relationships in Children’s Television in Turkey: Inquiries and Propositions

Gökçe Elif Baykal and Ilgım Veryeri Alaca


12. “It’s Disgusting!”: Children Enacting Mixed-Age Differences in Advertising

Anna Sparrman


Roundtable “Citizenship Education Through Childhood Heritage in Europe,” Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth

Edited by Lincoln Geraghty

Forthcoming in vol. 11, number 1, 2018.



Processes of migration, European integration, globalization, and decolonization pose new challenges for citizienship education, i.e. the preparation for active participation in democratic communities. Ongoing debates about the meanings of belonging in a globalizing Europe are transforming citizenship from an exclusive node of identification with the nation- state into a multi-dimensional identification process with socio-spatial communities at the micro-, meso-, and macro-, levels of global society. The contributions to this roundtable all discuss specific cases of childhood heritage practices with a view to gain greater clarity about the ways in which they may provide citizenship eduction with suitable content while navigating their way around the pitfalls of nationalism and universalism. Children’s fictions, we argue, are eminently suitable for socializing children into the paradoxical European project of creating unity in diversity. 

Table of Contents


Elisabeth Wesseling

1. Captain Euro and Citizenship Education:   Creating a Comic Book Hero for European Children

Lincoln Geraghty

2. Whose Canon?   The Absence of Children’s Voices in the Polish Canon Battle 
Justyna Desczc-Tryhubzak

3. Renegotiating Cultural Heritage and Personal Belonging: The Anne Frank Museum in Aidan Chambers’ Postcards From No Man’s Land and  John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars 

Vanessa Joosen

4. Prix Jeunesse and the Negotiation of Citizenship in Children’s Television 

Helle Strandgaard Jensen

5. Children as World Citizens: Diversity, Pluralistic Citizenship, and Belonging in the O Mundo Picture Book Project7

Sara Vandenbossche

6. Taking Children into a World of Stories:  The Dutch Children’s Book Museum and Active Citizenship Education

Helma van Lierop

7. Musical Roots and Routes and Senses of Belonging 

Ingeborg Lunde Vestad


Last modified onFriday, 10 November 2017 12:03
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Lies Wesseling

Dr. E. Wesseling

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Maastricht University

P.O. Box 616

6200 MD Maastricht


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