Children Behind Bars

Matthew Ingleby and Philipp Hubmann, Children Behind Bars

Thursday 24th October 5:00.

City Centre Seminar Room 2.07, Bancroft Building, Queen Mary University of London

Matthew Ingleby, The Child through the Railings

Manet painting of woman and child looking through railings

This paper explores the cultural and ideological production of the child in relation to one of the key elements of the disciplinary and exclusionary infrastructure of nineteenth-century London, the iron railing. What lessons does the railing teach the child? How do children, real and imagined, escape or resist these lessons? What does the child see when she sees through the railings?

Matthew Ingleby is a lecturer in Victorian studies in QMUL Department of English. His first two monographs were about the politics of the cultural representation of urban space, specifically Bloomsbury, in the nineteenth century, and he is currently researching a book entitled Against Railings: on Urban Enclosure and its Discontents.

Philipp Hubmann, The Media of Reformatories

Photograph of three boys who appear to be producing/binding newspapers

In the year 1900 a law concerning reformatories was passed by the Prussian government. In the history of the disciplinary system in Germany the so-called “Fürsorgeerziehungsgesetz” marks a paradigm shift, as it allowed the courts to incarcerate minors if authorities observed ‘symptoms’ of neglect in their behaviour, but without having actually comitted a crime. For a long time, the public had limited insights into asylums through abuse scandals only. But after World War I the democratised German society began to explore the feelings and experiences of the ‘young offenders’.

In my talk, I will present different (literary) projects encouraging a participatory approach, which aim at including the ‘voice’ of deviant children and teenagers into scientific and public discourse.

Philipp Hubmann is postdoctoral fellow at the University of Zurich. Besides his monograph on the media history of reformatories in Germany (1876-1932) he edited a book on ‘Children and Literature’ (co-editor, 2018).

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