Innocent Weapons: The Soviet and American Politics of Childhood in the Cold War
by Margaret Peacock
UNC Press (2014)
Innocent Weapons is a transnational history of the image of the child from 1945 to 1968. It explores the abundance of childhood images that Soviet and American politicians, propagandists, and protesters manufactured for the purpose of building international and domestic consensus for the Cold War. It examines how these efforts ironically led to a collapse of that consensus in the late 1960s as well as a fundamental shift in American and Soviet understandings of childhood. The book argues that leaders and propagandists in the United States and the Soviet Union used images of children in comparable ways to rally their populations behind their domestic and international policies, to pursue popular consensus, and to ensure the preservation of public order. When one reads the story of the Cold War through the lens of the child’s image, the ideological differences that seemingly differentiated the Eastern Bloc from the Western Sphere are tempered by the revelation that Soviet and American leaders and propagandists were in fact engaging in similar visual and rhetorical projects in order to sell a war, to preserve power, to justify policy, and to maintain order. These portrayals, which span the ideological and geographic boundaries of the conflict, reveal a story in which the producers of these images had more in common with each other than they did with their intended audiences. By viewing the Cold War as a dialectic between those who owned the means of image production and the intended consumers of those images, this story suggests that we must reexamine our previous understandings of the divides that defined the war itself.
“Childhood in a Sri Lankan Village”: Reading, Book Signing, and Reception with UMBC Anthropologist Bambi Chapin.
Edited by Michael Bourdillon and Jo Boyden
Palgrave MacMillan, 2014
This new book brings together the latest findings from Young Lives on how poverty affects children’s development and how children and their families respond to poverty in their daily decisions and daily lives. The book shows how, amid general economic growth, many poor children are being left behind despite, the promises of the Millennium Development Goals. While the universalisaton of education now means that most children attend school, at least for a while, children from disadvantaged backgrounds often experience poor-quality education and learn least in school, creating inequality of opportunity.
Those of you in the Washington DC area may be interested in attending the launch of Susan Shepler’s new book, Childhood Deployed: Remaking Child Soldiers in Sierra Leone.