Cleveringa Lecture and Workshop 2012: "The Development of the Image of Children and Family in Children’s Literature" (13 November 2012)

Every year in November, the Netherlands-Flemish Institute in Cairo organises a Cleveringa lecture, in remembrance of the Leiden professor Rudolph Cleveringa. During the Second World War, prof. Cleveringa exemplified the adagium of Leiden University - Praesidium Libertatis (buttress of freedom) - by publicly attacking the sacking of his Jewish colleagues by the German occupation.

Traditionally, we invite a professor from Leiden University for this occasion. This year, we have invited Prof. Helma van Lierop, an authority in the field of Children's literature. The lecture will be preceded by a workshop on the changing image of children and family in Children's literature, with a focus on the Arab world.

Conference Report

This year’s theme for the Cleveringa lecture and workshop at the Netherlands-Flemish Institute was “The Development of the Image of Children in Children’s Literature”. The workshop during the day was chaired by Professor Helma van Lierop, Professor for Juvenile and Children literature, Department of Dutch language and Culture, at Leiden University. In the evening, Professor van Lierop read the Cleveringa lecture.

Over forty participants attended the workshop during the day. In the evening, more than fifty persons attended the Cleveringa Lecture, which followed the workshop.

The day started with registering the participants, after which the workshop was opened by the director of the Netherlands-Flemish Institute, Dr Rudolf de Jong. He welcomed all the speakers and participants, and introduced the participants to the subject of the conference.

First Session: The image of the child in illustration.

Speaker 1: Saskia de Bodt, Professor of Art History at Utrecht University, Professor of Illustration (1850-present) at the University of Amsterdam.
Presentation title: The Image of the Netherlands and the Dutch child from illustrated children’s books in English (Keynote presentation).

Speaker 2: Bahia Shehab, Graphic designer and consultant, Associate Professor at the American University in Cairo, Production of Children Literature in the Arab World.
Presentation title: Little Feminists: The Granddaughters of Scheherazade.

Second session: The image of the child in books and the influence of books on children

Speaker 1: Yasmine Motawy, instructor in the Department of Rhetoric and Composition at the American University in Cairo.
Presentation title: Neoliberal Economics in Egyptian Children’s Literature.

Speaker 2: May el Rakhawy, clinical child psychologist, PhD Child psychology.
Presentation title: The image of the Child in Books.

Third session: The influence of the Revolution on children’s books

Speaker: Mona el Namoury, lecturer of English language and literature at Tanta University.
Presentation title: Democracy for children: Fatima el Maadoul’s Childrens Literature, a Thematic Study.

Discussion and conclusions by professor Helma van Lierop

After these three sessions, professor Helma van Lierop reviewed the presentations by the other speakers. Afterwards, there was a lively general discussion about the use of Classical Arabic and Colloquial Arabic language in children’s books.

The Cleveringa lecture

In the evening, Professor Helma van Lierop held the yearly Cleveringa Lecture under the title “Images of childhood in Dutch children’s books since the 1950s”. Dr Rudolf de Jong opened the lecture. After his words of welcome, H.E. the Netherlands Ambassador Gerard Steeghs gave a short speech and introduced Professor Van Lierop.
In her lecture, professor Van Lierop talked about Dutch children’s books since the 1950s until the present in chronological order and the relationship between child and adult.

Cleveringa Lecture

At 6 pm, Professor Helma van Lierop, who is an authority on the study of children's literature, will give the Cleveringa lecture about the development of the image of the child after 1950 in Dutch children’s literature.

Childhood images are historical and cultural constructions. When societies change, views of children and
children’s literature change along with them. This is the starting point of my lecture on images of childhood in Dutch children’s books since the 1950s. In the past fifty years Dutch society has changed fundamentally. In the 1950s, the family was seen as the secure foundation for the rebuilding society after World War II. The authority of parents was unquestioned. In the course of the 1960s, ideas on child rearing began to change with the emergence of the protest generation, to give way in the seventies to anti-authoritarian views on upbringing. Today, the postmodern family sets the tone: parents and children negotiate with each other on all kinds of things and children are involved in family matters from a relatively young age.  These changes raise the questions if and if so, how these developments in family structure and upbringing are represented in children’s books and how they influence the constructions of the child. In my analysis, I will restrict myself to so- called domestic fiction, fictional texts with family life and parent-child relations as their  main subjects.  This genre is particularly suitable for exploring changes in childhood constructions. The Dutch classic text in this genre is Jip en Janneke by Annie M.G. Schmidt (1953). A well-known domestic story from the 1970s is Met de poppen gooien by Guus Kuijer (1975). A modern book in the genre is Met de koppen tegen elkaar by Selma Noort (2000).
These three books will be analyzed on images of childhood and ideas on raising children. The analysis will be grounded in a short overview of two important historical concepts of the child. Although childhood images change in the course of time, constants are also visible. Contemporary ideas about what the child is or should be, always also bear traces of historical images of the child.

Professor Helma van Lierop, Endowed Professor for Juvenile and Children’s Literature, Department of Dutch Language and Culture, at Leiden University.

Seating is limited and by pre-registration only, while priority will be given to participants in the workshop and other invited guests. If you are interested in attending the lecture, please reserve a seat by sending us an email.


Tuesday, 13 November 2012

09.00-09:30  Registration and Coffee

09:30-10.00  Introduction by Rudolf de Jong

10.00-11:15  First Session: The image of the child in illustration.
Key note speaker: Saskia de Bodt 
Bahia Shehab 

Coffee break 15 minutes

11:30-12:30 Second Session: The image of the child in books and the influence of books on children.
Yasmine Motawy
May elRakhawy

Lunch 45 minutes

13:15- 13:45 Third Session: The influence of the Revolutions on children books
Mona elNamoury

Tea break 15 minutes

14:00-15:00 Discussion and Conclusion

18:00-19:00  Cleveringa Lecture by Professor Helma van Lierop


Last Modified: 23-03-2016