Workshop 2

“In Search of the Migrant Child” Workshop 2

Pieces and Bits From The Past: Children’s Agency in Migration

The second digital workshop of the global network “In Search of the Migrant Child” explores children’s agency in times of migration. While children and past childhoods are often the object of historical studies, this workshop aims to shift its perspective to children’s opportunities for individual and collective agency. How can migrant children express their agency, how are they limited by the agency of others? How did notions of childrens’ agency altered or changed over time? The workshop examines various historical and social constellations in which children were either enabled or hindered to act on their own behalf, exploring the setting of the family, care institutions, and other places and spaces of childhood before, during and after migration. The workshop asks for the circumstances which empowered children to shape their daily lives and to make important decisions that concerned their upbringing, their care and their well-being as migrants. By means of diverse case studies, this workshop aims to scrutinize how children’s agency came to be seen as the child’s right.


17-20 CET / 11AM-2PM EST/ 10AM-1PM CST/ 8AM-11AM PST


DECEMBER 2, 2021

Welcome / Opening remarks by Friederike Kind-Kovács (15 minutes)

Roundtable discussion “Debating and Thinking About Children’s Agency in Migration” with Emily Bruce, Lauren Stokes, Stephanie Olsen, and Beatrice Scutaru, chair: Swen Steinberg (90 minutes)

Break (5 Minutes)

Text discussion “Reading and Reflecting on Children’s Agency in Recent Literature,chair: Bettina Hitzer (70 minutes)


DECEMBER 3, 2021

Pieces and Bits from The Past: Case Studies on Children’s Agency

Warm-up with Sheer Ganor (5 minutes)

Panel 1 (45 minutes)

Susanne Quitmann: The Resistance Trap: Obedience, Silence, and British Child Migrants’ Agency

Anca Cretu: Space, Containment, and Limits of Agency: Reflections on the Case of Child Refugees in Austria-Hungary’s Camps during the First World War

Chair: Friederike Kind-Kovács

Panel 2 (45 minutes)

Emma Wyse: ‘Many Thanks and Happy Love’: Adult Imaginings of the Childs’ Voice in Overseas Correspondence

Kelly Condit-Shrestha: Reframing Child-migrant Agency: Centering “Sovereignty” as a Central Discursive Logic

Chair: Swen Steinberg 

Break (10 minutes)

Panel 3 (45 minutes)

Laura Hobson Faure: Looking for (and Finding) Agency Among Jewish Child Refugees During the Holocaust: Now What?

Swen Steinberg: Whose Agency? Unaccompanied Minor Refugees and Social Work in New Yorks’ 1940s

Chair: Bettina Hitzer 

Final Discussion & Future Perspectives, chair: Sheer Ganor (30 minutes)


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