Speaker: A. McCarthy
Date\Time: Thursday 29 February 2024, 12:30-13:30
Location: Building 1 Level A Room 1A21, University of Canberra (https://www.canberra.edu.au/maps/buildings-directory/building-2);
or Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/91456447948
The Junior Red Cross was formed in 1914 in both Australia and Canada. It grew quickly and by 1922 had been organised in 22 countries. By 1928, with a global membership of just over 10 million, the Junior Red Cross boasted greater numbers than its senior counterpart. There are rich photographic archives—most notably at the Library of Congress— documenting the work of Junior branches of the Red Cross, as well as the lives of children assisted by its programs. In many cases these images and the accounts that go along with them testify to the incredible creativity and productivity of children who contributed both materially and affectively to rapidly expanding international humanitarian networks. While these contributions were by no means always on children’s own terms, this paper explores the possibility of re-storying child-created archival materials to tell different stories about children’s experiences with, and contributions to, humanitarianism. In particular, this paper will share some of the author’s work-in-progress developing a graphic novel: Joka and the Blue Rabbit. An experiment in using a primarily visual genre to grapple with a largely visual archive, Joka and the Blue Rabbit re-stories the rise of transnational humanitarian networks during WWI through engaging with child-made objects that travel. These travelling objects in turn enable the mobility of a little boy (Joka), and his rabbit, who, alongside the children they meet, have several scores to settle.
Anyone is welcome!
Bio: Dr. A. McCarthy is currently a Lecturer in Global Studies at the University of Canberra. Their work has focused on children’s participation in development programs. Their 2021 book "Children and NGOs in India: Development as Storytelling and Performance" documented the way slum children in Delhi creatively pursue their own projects of development through participation in NGO programs. More recently, they have begun to build on their ethnographic research by exploring the historical dimensions of children and young people’s participation in development, humanitarianism, and peace activism both in the global south and the global north. In particular, they are interested in the transnational flows of child-authored materials - drawings, stories, poems, letters, etc. - exploring their role in making and enacting humanitarianism, internationalism, and highlighting their critiques and grievances against the adult world.
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