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Antoine Burgard

Antoine Burgard

The Neil Sutherland Article Prize


Antoine Burgard, “Contested Childhood: Assessing the Age of Young Refugees in the Aftermath of the Second World War,” History Workshop 92 (2021). Doi:10.1093/hwj/dbab016.

This decidedly enjoyable piece demonstrates how a variety of actors, including states, NGOs, and young people themselves, constructed and contested age-limited understandings of childhood in the years immediately after the Second World War. The committee was particularly impressed with Burgard’s strong theoretical and conceptual framing, well grounded in the lived experiences of young Holocaust survivors who applied for resettlement in Canada. Notably, the Canadian case study is set in a rich comparative context. Bringing together age studies, humanitarian history, and migration history in a highly fruitful way, “Contested Childhood” argues proof of chronological age took on greater significance as part of efforts to restore childhood at war’s end – a shift that both offered young refugees the promise of normality while simultaneously requiring them to either present documentation often destroyed during the conflict, or to present a child-like appearance or behaviours belied by their wartime experiences.

Honourable Mention

Fitzsimmons  GigliottiHeather Fitzsimmons Frey and Tania Gigliotti, “Let’s Do the Time Warp Again: Youth Interpreters at Fort Edmonton Park Performing Possibilities Across Time,” TRIC/ITAC 42.2 (2021): 243-263. Doi: 10.3138/TRIC.42.2.A05

This article offers an original and generative approach to thinking about the activities and experiences of teenaged volunteers at Fort Edmonton Park in Edmonton, Alberta. Fitzsimmons Frey and Gigliotti examine how young people themselves create the “multiple, intersectional, and time- and space-specific constructions of youth” in the park. The prize committee appreciated the focus on young people actively interpreting the past (or doing history). As the authors argue, teenaged interpreters’ performance – “disrupting [visitor] expectations, challenging narratives, and performing choice” – challenges fixed understandings of the histories of Fort Edmonton, of the experiences of youth in the past, and of contemporary teenagers’ ability to mediate between past and present. “Let’s Do the Time Warp Again” poses intriguing questions at the intersection of public history, performance studies, and the histories of childhood and youth.