Children in War and Conflict

Oscar Lansen, History, UNC Charlotte

This Seminar investigates the global (mis)use of children in modern war and conflict. Fellows will compare and contrast the causes, events, and effects of war and conflict on child perpetrators, victims, and bystanders to come to better understanding of both the evolution of contemporary conflict, and its impact on student peers. We will approach this timely and pressing topic from varying disciplinary angles: its historical context, literary expressions, artistic reflections, geopolitical and socio-economic dimensions, psychological implications; etc. Case studies highlight the changing face of conflict and focus on the differing roles children play – from child volunteers in the Great War to child terrorists in the Middle East; from child victims in Africa to child gang members in the Americas.  Seminar Fellows will aid in selecting issues relevant to (the student experience in) their classroom.

This seminar is eminently suited for primary and secondary level teachers seeking to actualize course content by using the child’s eye; and teach their students how to visually analyze complex issues. Fellows will receive a thorough grounding in content and experiential didactics; and collaborate together on creating source-rich projects ready for the classroom. The Seminar is conducive to addressing the following NCSCS essential standards:

  • Music Arts: CR 1.
  • Visual Arts: V2, CR 1 & 2, CX 1
  • English Language Arts: RL, RI, W1 (arguments), W2, W5,
  • Social Studies: H, C, WH7, WH8, AH2.H.6. Electives: The Cold War, Psychology.

Additional resources:

Why children enthusiastically joined the ranks in the Great War
Interview with a Hitler Youth (we will use his memoir as well):

The toll of child soldiering in Africa:

The deadly embrace of youth gangs in the Americas:

Interviews with child suicide bombers:

Promises: trying to establish peace in Palestine: