Book release: The Child Savage, 1890-210 by Lies Wesseling

The Child Savage, 1890-2010 From Comics to Games‘, a collection of essays edited by Elisabeth (Lies) Wesseling, has been published by Ashgate Publishing Company. The book explores how the child-savage trope has been reconfigured and deployed not simply across but through over a century’s worth of print, cinematic, aural and digital media. It will interest everyone working in media studies and the study of childhood and its cultural forms.

Taking up the understudied relationship between the cultural history of childhood and media studies, this volume traces twentieth-century migrations of the child-savage analogy from colonial into postcolonial discourse across a wide range of old and new media. Older and newer media such as film, textbooks, children’s literature, periodicals, comic strips, children’s radio, and toys are deeply implicated in each other through ongoing ‘remediation’, meaning that they continually mimic, absorb and transform each other’s representational formats, stylistics features and content. Media theory thus confronts the cultural history of childhood with the challenge of re-thinking change in childhood imaginaries as transformation-through-repetition patterns, rather than as rise-shine-decline sequences. This volume takes up this challenge, demonstrating that one historical epoch may well accommodate diverging childhood repertoires, which are recycled again and again as they are played out across a whole gamut of different media formats in the course of time.

With essays that are richly researched, theoretically astute, and full of fascinating insights, it will interest everyone working in media studies and the study of childhood and its cultural forms.

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