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Youth and EmpireTrans-Colonial Childhoods in British and French Asia$
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David M. Pomfret

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780804795173

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804795173.001.0001

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Trouble in Fairyland

Trouble in Fairyland

Cultures of Childhood in Interwar Asia

(p.115) Chapter 5 Trouble in Fairyland
Youth and Empire

David M. Pomfret

Stanford University Press

The Great War compromised British and French power in Asian empire centres and exposed the dangers of structuring justifications of liberal governmentalities around the unstable child subject. ‘Trouble in Fairyland’ shows how. It takes the case of a child monarch to illustrate the problems the French encountered as they sought real Vietnamese children to perform ideals of the docile ‘associate’ that were so integral to Republican political symbolism. In the years that followed, amid a rising tide of anti-colonial nationalism elites completely transformed public displays of children and childhood in British and French colonial centres. The chapter explains how new didactic presentations and representations of ideal colonial children and childhoods emerged in response to this problem in an ultimately futile effort to absorb the tensions and contradictions of empire and to broker inter-ethnic collaboration.

Keywords:   First World War, eugenics, infant mortality, medicine, commercial culture, children, youth, childhood

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