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