Emily Baughan, de l’université de Bristol, présentera sa communication “International adoption and Anglo-American Internationalism c1918-1945” le jeudi 15 décembre de 17h30 à 19h30. Maison de la Recherche, 28 rue Serpente, 75006, salle D421.
“The plight of children became symbolic of the disintegration of European society during the First World War and the conflagrations that bookended it: the Armenian Genocide and the Russian Civil War. Breaking free from the laws of war presumed to undergird conflict in ‘civilised’ European societies, the violence of the early-twentieth century directly targeted civilians. In this context, children’s suffering took on a broader symbolic meaning, and ‘rescued’ children became a powerful metaphor for European reconstruction and hopes for a peaceful, prosperous future. Children – the workers and citizens of tomorrow – were essential for the future prosperity of their own nations, and, by extension, for the mutual security of the international order. This article examines the centrality of children to the ‘new internationalism’ of the years following the First World War, as expressed by a host of prominent British and American humanitarian organisations. While international adoption and child sponsorship programmes seem, on the surface, to exemplify the spirit of progressive internationalism, this paper argues that they typified the often-regressive vision of interwar relief work. By helping children, humanitarian organisations sought to reinscribe older class-based and ethnic orderings of society in a chaotic post-war world. Child welfare programmes reveal the essentially conservative basis of Anglo-American internationalism in the interwar era. The ‘new world order’ that internationalist humanitarians sought to create was not new at all.