Knowing the world: Children, global education and environmental activism in Sweden after 1945

Lund Centre for the History of knowledge (LUCK) is pleased to announce that David Larsson Heidenblad and Björn Lundberg have received funding from The Crafoord Foundation for the research project Knowing the world. Children, global education and environmental activism in Sweden after 1945. The project aims to strengthen the research environment at LUCK by engaging the history of education and childhood.
The history of knowledge provides an opportunity to regard children and youth not merely as the objects of education and socialization, but also as mediators and producers of new knowledge. However, historians of knowledge and education have yet to fully realize the potential of this analytical perspective. In this project, Larsson Heidenblad and Lundberg will develop their mutual interest in post-war global issues and environmentalism by investigating two cases in which children and youth took part in the circulation of global knowledge in post-war Sweden: the first nation-wide Swedish foreign aid campaign, Sverige hjälper (“Sweden helps”) in 1955, and secondly, the formation of a series of hearings and parliamentary simulations involving young environmentalists 1969–1972.
The project will explore the nexus of knowledge, education and childhood in modern history from the perspective of global issues and environmentalism, where children and youth have been identified as important targets of knowledge as well as agents of political change (as the voice of ‘future generations’). In recent years, the rapid spread of youth climate activism across the globe has received considerable public attention and has been described as a rare example of transnational youth mobilization. From the vantage point of the history of knowledge, however, young people’s commitment to the environment and other global issues (understood as various social, political and ecological problems conceptualized as ‘global’) is anything but new.

Björn Lundberg:
– I’m really excited for this project and grateful to be part of the research environment at the Lund Centre for the History of Knowledge. There is a lot for me to learn, but I also hope to contribute with perspectives from the history of childhood and youth.

David Larsson Heidenblad:
– I’m very thrilled about this project and its potential to enrich LUCK. It seems to me that the history of knowledge and the history of education are moving closer to each other and I think this project will facilitate new collaborative ventures.

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