Children and Youth as Subjects, Objects, Agents: Innovative Approaches to Research Across Space and Time
This chapter draws from a study of education in middle-class German families around 1800 to examine the role of scholars’ emotions in the archive of childhood and youth. It takes its cue from growing interest in emotions – a critical element of subjectivity – among historians of childhood, and the call for self-reflexive scholarship among social scientists. What part do the historian’s emotions play in trying to discern, name, and interpret historical representations of children’s feelings? How do emotional frameworks and memories as scholars guide our understanding of emotions like love, fear, hope, pride, resentment, attachment in historical sources? Could careful reflection on the historian’s feeling provide evidence, allowing us to historicize the emotions expected of and about young people over time? And what dangers might researchers’ emotional responses present in the work of historical interpretation? In raising these questions, Bruce proposes a set of methodological considerations for studying childhood and youth.
Bruce, Emily C. “Encountering Emotions in the Archive of Childhood and Youth.” In Children and Youth as Subjects, Objects, Agents: Innovative Approaches to Research Across Space and Time, edited by Deborah Levinson, Mary Jo Maynes, and Frances Vavrus. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2021.