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Arriving in 2012, Children and Empire from Routledge Major Works

This new title, part of the extensive History of Feminism series publishes in 2012.

Cheryl Cassidy and Andrea Kaston-Tange talk about their latest addition to this fascinating series

Children and Empire, a four volume set, providing an in-depth vision of the complexities of nineteenth-century childhood within the context of British and American projects of empire.

As scholarly interest in the post-colonial experience continues to grow, this collection, which is the first of its kind, will be an invaluable starting point for researchers, teachers, and students interested in international experiences of childhood within a colonial context. Excerpts from books of non-fiction as well as fiction, full-texts of essays, letters, journals, articles in the popular press, photographs, engravings, and other documents related to children’s lives around the globe come together in facsimiles of their original published versions to produce a rich vision of varied experiences of nineteenth-century childhood.

Each volume includes rare primary documents centered around a different theme, all focusing on how projects of empire permeated every aspect of 19th-century British and American life, from the politicizing of British children's bodies to justifying British aggressions in the Sepoy Rebellion in India, to accounts of missionary schools and orphanages, to the importation of African children to serve as family slaves in the United States, to the adoption of tropes based on images of empire for humorous effect in periodicals like Punch.

In this illustration, for example, a sturdy boy poses as a young Indian to better success as a crossing-sweeper than his shivering, emaciated counterpart. His turbaned appearance is clearly meant to evoke the Sikhs, with whom British expansion in India had produced rising tensions in the mid-40s. His “dodge” plays on public antipathy to the nuisance of sweepers who demanded payment from individual pedestrians for their services: while pushy sweepers might be an annoyance, they are an unavoidable one, and a Sikh sweeper—like a Sikh rebel—is one who must be appeased. With detailed introductions to frame the selected facsimile texts, the Children and Empire series thus reveals how children’s lives were intimately intertwined with projects of empire throughout the period.

Children and Empire is due to publish in 2012, pre-order your copy today!

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