Mickey Mouse Gas Masks and Wonderlands: Constructing Ideas of Trauma within Exhibitions about Children and War

  • Frosoulla Kofterou
Keywords: wonderland, war, trauma, child, cultural discourse

Abstract

The relationship between children and war is one that has permeated recent socio-cultural discourse. This article explores three exhibitions aimed at recreating wartime experience through the figure of the child. An outline of the predominant issues raised by these exhibitions include the homogenization of the child and war, the problematic identification of a tangible story and storyteller, mobilized bodies of transference, and what constitutes as testimony. Investigating the importance of the child figure in managing national traumas such as war is an approach that illustrates how it is used as a body on which a collective autobiography of national identity and experience can be written and articulated. A comparative reading of this practice is carried out in terms of other areas dealing with the child, trauma, and cultural discourse such as Holocaust literature and child sexual abuse, in an attempt to locate any continuities and discontinuities.

Author Biography

Frosoulla Kofterou

Frosoulla Kofterou was awarded a B.A. (Hons.) in English literature and psychology at Middlesex University. A subsequent M.A. in English literature at the University of Westminster led to four years of teaching experience before she undertook a second Master’s in Children’s Literature at the University of Reading. She is now a Ph.D. candidate at the University of the West of England (Bristol), where her dissertation traces the paradigm shift from religious to scientific discourse in “castaway fictions” for and about children from the nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries.

Published
2014-01-06
How to Cite
Kofterou, F. (2014). Mickey Mouse Gas Masks and Wonderlands: Constructing Ideas of Trauma within Exhibitions about Children and War. Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures, 5(2). Retrieved from http://jeunessejournal.ca/index.php/yptc/article/view/173
Section
Articles