Violent Child-Animal Encounters in Literature | Hybrid International Conference | University Jena | 28-30 sept. 2023

Violent Child-Animal Encounters in Literature. Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Hybrid International Conference at Friedrich Schiller University Jena from 28-30 September 2023

The conference is organized by Jun.-Prof. Dr. Valeska Bopp-Filimonov (Romance Studies, Jena University) and Marina O. Hertrampf (Romance Studies, University of Passau). The event is partnered by “Lucian Blaga” University of Sibiu, Romania.

In the last decades, we have witnessed a variety of theories and approaches – from multispecies ethnography to trans- and posthumanist philosophy – that aim to decentralize the category of the human. Introducing a posthuman perspective into the study of childhood and human-animal relations will allow us to forge a new path to habitats and spaces at the margins of the dominant adult human world. These habitats usually mirror human society at large, at the same time offering a place for the unobserved stubbornness and resistance. For this conference, we would like to encourage contributions that look at the more-than-human world in literature and study the relations between human children and non-human animals.
After all, they share some characteristics. Discourses on so-called civilisation and/vs. wildness can be easily traced to the “wild” or “uneducated”, be it a human child or a non-human animal. Essential dimensions of power – by the adult world, the human intellectual world, and the assumed higher position of the adult human – influence the relative invisibility of children as actors in society and children as protagonists of novels alike. Animals, on the other hand, overpopulate children’s books. Children’s rooms are stuffed with cuddly toys, and it often is for the children that pets are part of family households. These manifold aspects of contact and relation are rarely the topic of any research.
We are particularly interested in violent interaction. Initially observed in a somewhat random and exemplary manner, we came across more and more literary works with memorable scenes of children torturing animals. The narrative point of view varies from child-centred perspectives to speaking animal protagonists complaining about their human-child counterparts. What makes children and animals – two “disempowered and oppressed positions” as Flegel puts it (2017, xiv) – live together in unease? What philosophical, ethical, social and/or psychological questions are being staged and negotiated here? Even if being part of a country’s canonical literature, these passages are rarely given much attention.


Thursday, 28 September 2023

6 pm Welcome Note
6:30 pm Keynote
Representations of Animal Harm and Their Social Impact. Insights from Empirical Ecocriticism
Wojciech Małecki (Wrocław, PL)
8 pm Dinner

Friday, 29 September 2023

10 am – Block I: National Perspectives
„Ohne die gefangene Fliege um ihre Meinung zu befragen“. Gequälte Insekten in der deutschen Literatur des 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts
Paula Radnitz and Alexandra Tretakov (Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, DE)

The Child »Merely« Wants to Play… Violent Encounters Between Child and Animal in Russian Literature
Nadine Menzel (Leipzig, DE)

Dead Animals in Romanian Fiction: Critical Realism, Socialist Realism, Capitalist Realism
Ștefan Baghiu and Mihai Iovănel (Sibiu/Bucharest, RO)

1:30 pm – Block II: Gender, Sexuality, Pedagogy; 19th c. and earlier
The girl in a beast’s skin. Childhood, animality and violence in fairy tales
Déborah Lévy-Bertherat (Paris, F)

Symbolic Violence towards Nature and Animals as a Symptom of Late Colonial Discourse: on Victorian Girls’ Periodicals and the Pitfalls of Feminine Gentleness
Maria Chiorean (Sibiu, RO)

‘La nécessité nous instruira’. Shipwrecked children and the exploitation of exotic animals in Jules Verne’s Robinsonnades
Alix Ricau (Berlin, DE)

3:30 pm – Block III – Pedagogy, Education, Socialization, around 1900
„Que no pueden pedir consuelo para lo que sufren“. Animal cruelty in children as a challenge for pedagogical texts in France and Spain around 1900
Teresa Hiergeist (Wien, AT)

Children´s violence on animals: Elena Farago´s poems in which animals speak out (Romania 1906)
Valeska Bopp-Filimonov (Jena, DE)

Lessons about Animal Cruelty: The Socialization of Violence in Romanian Literature targeted at young Romanian and English-speaking Audiences
Cosmin Borza and Anca Simina Martin (Sibiu, RO)

6 pm – Videoscreening and Lecture
Le chat qui dort (1992) de Joël Bartolomeo ou les formes de la leçon
Vincent Lecomte (St. Etienne, F)

Saturday, 30 September 2023

9:30 am – Block IV – Dysfunctional Families, Burdens of Society , Ambivalent Historical Pasts, Psychoanalysis

“Some penguins go fishing and never come back”. Children and animals in Camilio José Cela’s The Family of Pascual Duarte (1942) and Marieke Lucas Rijneveld’s The Discomfort of Evening (2018)
Diana Mistreanu (Luxembourg/LU)

Child-animal violence as self-hatred. Self-representation and emancipation in Marin Preda´s The Moromete Family (1955)
Ovio Olaru (Sibiu, RO)

From condemnation to breaking taboos: Florence Dupré Latour’s graphic novel Cruelle (2016) as an autofictional processing of child cruelty to animals
Marina O. Hertrampf (Passau, DE)

11:30 – Block V – War time, More-than human Societies in Crisis, Contemporary Literature
Human-Animal Encounters During Wartime:  Literary Animals in Post-Yugoslav Literature
Snejana Ung (Sibiu, RO)

 12:15 pm – Closing Plenary

Citer ce billet
vincentlecomte (2023, 15 septembre). Violent Child-Animal Encounters in Literature | Hybrid International Conference | University Jena | 28-30 sept. 2023. Animots. Consulté le 21 juin 2024, à l’adresse


Vincent Lecomte est artiste, chercheur et enseignant en esthétique. Sa thèse, « Un Penser animal à l’œuvre », étudie les façons dont l’art convoque l’animal pour mettre en évidence d’autres consciences possibles du monde.

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