De-colonial and De-Cold War Dialogues on Childhood and Schooling

Through autobiographic, autoethnographic, and collective biography studies of our’ own childhoods and schooling in (post)socialist spaces, this project aims to write alternative histories to inform current research and thinking about the (post)socialist pasts, presents, and futures in different geographic locations.

Reviews of our book

How can the intimate stories of childhood – the memories and experiences of everyday life –  disrupt colonial/modern accounts of history and political change? In this highly original volume, rich and evocative memory stories of (post)socialist childhoods are weaved together to offer profound insights into the possibilities for decolonising childhood. The thoughtfully situated auto-ethnographic and collective biographical accounts presented here brilliantly reveal the cultural-political significance of childhood. In doing so, this volume breaks new methodological and theoretical ground for the fields of childhood studies and comparative education. (Arathi Sriprakash, Lecturer, Sociology of Education, University of Cambridge, UK)

This book is bold in its vision and ambitious in its scope. Its appeal is manifold and rich. Theoretically, its appeal lies in its provocative decolonial lens of understanding childhood and (post)socialism and the concurrent challenges it brings to dominant concepts in comparative education. (Simona Szakacs, European Education , January, 17 , 2019) ​

The authors of this beautiful book are professional academics and intellectuals who grew up in different socialist countries. Exploring “socialist childhoods” in a myriad ways they draw on memoirs and memories, personal experience and collectively history, emotional knowledge of an insider and a measured perspective of an analyst. What emerges is life that was caught between real optimism and dullness, ethical commitments and ideological absurdities, selfless devotion to children and their treatment as a political resource. Such attention to detail and paradox makes this collective effort not only timely but also remarkably genuine. (Alexei Yurchak, Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley, USA)

Childhood and Schooling in (Post) Socialist Societies offers a thoughtful and diverse series of reflections on memories of living with socialism. The chapters weave vivid accounts of childhood experiences with nuanced theoretical insights. The book provides a key intervention in cross-disciplinary scholarship about childhood memories and their role in understanding societal transitions. (Peter Kraftl, Professor and Chair in Human Geography, Director of Internationalisation, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, UK)

Ranging from Hungary and Russia, to Vietnam and China, Childhood and Schooling in (Post) Socialist Societies paints a complex and productively contradictory picture of the diversity of children’s lived experiences in (post)socialist countries. Through the lens of the researchers’ own memories, children’s active participation in their development and their unique social and political contributions are taken seriously. This is an essential reference point for historians of childhood and memory, of the self, and of (post)socialist ideologies and experience. (Stephanie Olsen, Department of History, McGill University, Canada)

Elegantly structured, this collection is unusual in its evocative and analytic power.  The editors have drawn together an accomplished set of researchers who offer remarkable autobiographical insights into socialist childhoods. This is a pathbreaking book that will inspire others to develop new approaches to comparative education research.” (Noah W. Sobe, Professor, Loyola University Chicago, USA and Past President of Comparative and International Education Society, CIES)