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Horizons of Youth: Representing Children as Futurity

Sun, June 26, 10:30am to 12:20pm, Shikokan (SK), Floor: 1F, 111

Session Submission Type: Organized Panel Proposal Application


The notion of youth has embodied the hope of a future to come. Particularly in a capitalist society, youth as a social category came to bear the burden of society’s concerns for the future, often at the cost of certain freedoms by indoctrinating them into larger representational concerns. We view media as the primary site for the pedagogy and production of children as subject. Media provides us with a lens toward the horizons of historical possibility in key moments of democracy. This panel seeks to move beyond a culturalist approach that highlights the significance of media representation based on how groups, communities, or events, are portrayed in a particular medium. Rather, we present the dynamism of media by exploring it as an avenue to contest concepts or ideologies through the consumption of its users. We pay special attention to the role of publishing companies and the establishment of industrial capitalism, which shaped the notions of childhood as in Wakako Suzuki's paper. Hyunjng Han's paper discusses how childhood was produced as a new social segmentation in interwar visual culture. Masakazu Matsuoka shows how visual media were used as pedagogical materials to Japanize the young in Syonan-tō during World War II. Finally, Karl Cheng Chua illuminates the potentials and weaknesses of the medium in postwar Japan by examining a narrative of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima. The historical approach of these papers provides comparative context to bridge understanding of representations and the social possibilities negotiated by its creators and users.

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