The Centre For 21st Century Humanities invites you to attend our seminar where researchers from the Centre for the History of Violence discuss their work on: Children, violence and the state: new directions and methods.
Across a number of disciplines there is growing interest in examining the place of children – idealised, demonised, weaponised – in political theory, discourse and practice. This seminar brings together three papers concerned with the relationship between children, violence and the state in three distinct contexts, and asks what we know about the way children have been instrumentalised, studied and harmed by states and institutions.
Sacha Davis and Johanna Perheentupa
Beyond Settler Colonialism: Forced Romani Child Removal in the Hapsburg Empire
The forced removal of children from their parents as a means of biocultural elimination was not restricted to settler colonial societies, nor to periods of scientific racism; enlightened absolutist monarchs Maria-Teresia and Joseph II legislated the removal of Romani children in eighteenth century Habsburg Hungary and Transylvania as part of their efforts for the complete assimilation of the Roma. We seek here to look beyond ‘settler society’ explanations of the ‘logic of elimination’ to consider motivations such as European understandings of civilisation, productivity, parenthood and morality, and an increasing need to centralise State control. This paper stems from a broader study comparing forced removal of Indigenous children in Australia and Roma children in the Habsburg Empire.
Ending Sexual Violence against Children: Evaluating the work of the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse
The Royal Commission into Institutional responses to Child Sexual Abuse was a strategic intervention against child violence with multiple outcomes across policy, law and organisational change areas. It has been the most successful inquiry in Australia, and possibly the world, into the causes, outcomes and responses to child sexual abuse across multiple organisations. Violence against children in institutions is an integral part of Australian colonial and post-colonial history. For as long as institutions have been established there has also been a history of inquiries into child abuse in state and church-based organisations. From the 1980s these inquires gathered pace due to a number of factors including increased awareness and lobbying by victim and supporter groups, the elevation of survivor narratives to truth status and the recognition of harmful outcomes on the lives of victims. This presentation considers the historical factors which led to the Royal Commission and the recommendations of the Royal Commission in addressing child safety. Will these recommendations be implemented successfully, and will they be sufficient to keep children safe in contemporary institutions?
Psychiatrists, Children and Total War: The War-Time Roots of Attachment Theory
While children have long been objects of psychiatric scrutiny and speculation, World War II was a key moment in the formulation of what become known as attachment theory, elaborated in the post-war decades by the British psychiatrist John Bowlby in his trilogy Attachment, Separation and Loss. This presentation examines the influence of Bowlby’s wartime career on his conceptualisation of the mother-child relationship, the role of British psychoanalysts in the war effort, and the far-reaching implications of attachment theory in the decades since.