All SHCY members receive the Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth. Published three times a year, it features scholarly research and critical book reviews.

Latest Tweet

Recent Updates

Mar  23

CHC Episode 9: The Challenges of Childhood History

CHILDHOOD: History and Critique (CHC) is a series of interviews, commentary, and happenings in historical studies of childhood presented by Dr. Patrick J. Ryan, Kings University College at Western University, Canada.

Commentary by Patrick J. Ryan

Tessa Chynoweth and Catherine Rose - conveners of "Challenges of the History of Childhood," January 16, 2015 - Queen Mary University of London.

Tessa Chynoweth and Catherine Rose – conveners of “Challenges of the History of Childhood,” January 16, 2015 – Queen Mary University of London.

This episode of CHC offers video recordings of the two keynote addresses delivered January 16, 2015 at “Challenges of the History of Childhood” hosted by Queen Mary University of London. [Challenges in the History of Childhood Program PDF]

The meeting was organized by Catherine Rose and Tessa Chynoweth. It brought together an interdisciplinary group of scholars to share ideas about common problems facing the historical study of childhood. The one-day event offered 14 papers dealing broadly with the relationships between ideas and lived experience within the field. It called for a discussion of memory, interdisciplinarity, the historicity of age, cultural comparison, institutional space, and the significance of historical research on childhood.

Pooley Keynote Lecture

In “Children’s writing and subjectivity in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century England,” Siȃn Pooley provided a close reading of children’s contributions to and correspondence with late-19th/early-20th century periodicals and their editors. She explores children’s writing, family relations, public presence, and the production of the self to pose questions about agency, power, and causality.

Click here to access an audio recording synced with slides from Pooley’s keynote lecture.

Select Publications by Sian Pooley:

“Children’s writing and the popular press in late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century England,” History Workshop Journal 80 (forthcoming 2015)

“‘Leagues of Love’ and ‘Column Comrades': Children’s Responses to War in late-Victorian and Edwardian England,” in L. Paul and R. Johnston (eds), Approaching War: Childhood, Culture and the First World War, ed. by L. Paul and R. Johnston (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming)

Co-edited with K. Qureshi, Parenthood Between Generations: Transforming Reproductive Cultures (Berghahn: Oxford, forthcoming)

“Parenthood, child-rearing and fertility in England, 1850-1914,” History of the Family, 18:1 (2013), pp. 83-106.

“‘All we parents want is that our children’s health and lives should be regarded': child health and parental concern in England, c.1860-1910,” Social History of Medicine, 23:3, (2010), pp. 528-48.

Co-edited with C.G. Pooley and R. Lawton, The diary of Elizabeth Lee: growing up on Merseyside in the late nineteenth century (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2010).

“Domestic servants and their urban employers: a case study of Lancaster 1880-1914,” Economic History Review, 62: 2 (2009), pp. 405-29.

Newton Keynote Lecture

In “Voices of Sick Children: Challenges and Solutions in the History of Childhood,” Hannah Newton explored five major issues:
(1) a lack of written records by children;
(2) the temptation to assess authenticity of past children’s actions based on the present;
(3) the difficulty of assessing emotions and pain of persons in the past;
(4) urge to make ethical judgments about past practices;
(5) lack of evidence regarding poor children.

Click here to view a video recording of Newton’s keynote lecture.

Click here to view the slide show to follow along with Newton’s lecture.

Special Note: The Powerpoint presentation for Newton’s talk has not been sync’d with the video recording (nor were we able to create a ‘split-screen’ presentation). If you open both links in separate windows, and use the pause button to halt the slides as necessary, you should be able to follow along nicely.

Select Publications by Hannah Newton:

“‘Nature Concocts & Expels': The Agents and Processes of Recovery from Disease in Early Modern England” (forthcoming) in Social History of Medicine (2015).

The Sick Child in Early Modern England, 1580–1720 (Oxford University Press, 2012; paperback 2014)

“The Sick Child in Early Modern England,” Endeavour, 38 (2014), 122–29.

“Children’s Physic: Medical Perceptions and Treatment of Sick Children in Early Modern England, c. 1580–1720,” Social History of Medicine, 23 (2010), 456–74. (open access)

“‘Very Sore Nights & Days”: The Child’s Experience of Illness in Early Modern England, c. 1580–1720,” Medical History, 55 (2011), 153–182. (open access)

Siȃn Pooley

About Siȃn Pooley

Siȃn Pooley earned her doctorate from St. John’s College, Cambridge in 2010. Her research interests center on parenthood, childhood, identity and social policy in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Britain. Currently she is a tutorial fellow in Modern British History at Magdalen College, Oxford.

Hannah Newton

About Hannah Newton

Hannah Newton earned her doctorate from the University of Exeter in 2009. She was a Wellcome Trust Medical History Fellow 2011-14, and currently holds positions as lecturer at the University of Reading and Director of Studies for the History and Philosophy of Science at St. John’s College, Cambridge. Her research interests focus upon the history of medicine, emotion, and childhood in early modern England.

Mar  11

CHC Episode 8: Nailing Jelly to a Wall

CHILDHOOD: History and Critique (CHC) is a series of interviews, commentary, and happenings in historical studies of childhood presented by Dr. Patrick J. Ryan, Kings University College at Western University, Canada.

Conversation Transcript
Transcript coming soon!

Commentary by Patrick J. Ryan

In 1998, I told Kris Lindenmeyer that I thought childhood was a secondary designation for historians. It had been ancillary to other fields for about a half-century. At that juncture, I was unconvinced that a network on H-Net dedicated only to the historical study of childhood would be viable. We should consider linking it with related areas of interest. Kris disagreed. She was recruiting me to help her start H-Childhood, and she was sure it would be a mistake to explicitly pair a network in childhood history with closely associated areas like families, social policy, or education. I do not recall her arguments in detail, but she may have seen that adding another category would shrink the pool of potential subscribers by excluding those with interests outside of whatever area we chose.

I still think the study of childhood is a secondary designation for most of us, and the ways that the new technologies altered the implications of this fact are unsettled. Oh, some developments are obvious. The internet facilitated collaboration beyond traditional geographic limits in ways that encouraged specialization. You might be one of a few scholars interested in studying childhood historically in your locale, but that would mean there were thousands like you globally. Sixteen years later, H-Childhood continues to provide a means for about 1,700 scholars across the globe to communicate at the click of a button.

It is also clear today that “networking” scholars might facilitate interest in a topic, but it is not the same thing as creating a coherent field of study. Early in the life of H-Net, there was a hope that the new technology might provide an alternative to academic conferences, journals, and societies. Might it be possible to hold virtual meetings and generate scholarly discourse that was more open, free, frequent, and dynamic? This vision has yet to be fulfilled. Scholarship continues to depend upon enclosed, costly, slow-paced, quiet, solitary labour. Email lists, websites, twitter feeds (and what have you) lack key features of personal presence and thoughtful debate. Travel, face-to-face relationships are especially important for a long-distance scholarly community.

This said, H-Childhood seems to have facilitated a wider set of activities. It helped a small group of historians (who met in Baltimore in 2000) to reach hundreds of colleagues across disciplines and outside of the United States to hold a childhood history conference at Marquette University in 2001. This became the founding meeting of the Society for the History of Children and Youth.

The Society’s biennial conferences never struggled to field panels. Today they include 220-250 papers and have been held on both coasts of the U.S., Sweden, and England; in 2015 SHCY will visit Vancouver, British Columbia. The current 320 dues-paying members live in twenty-three countries (although 183 are concentrated in the U.S. with another 60 residing in Canada, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand).

Like H-Childhood, SHCY has pursued an interdisciplinary, international, and topically diverse membership in an academic context that remains disciplinary, national, methodologically specialized. The tension between these poles is obvious in a simple recounting of the Society’s early leadership. SHCY‘s first three Presidents and its first three program committee chairs were all Americanists with primary training in the 19th and early 20th-century social history (Kris Lindenmeyer, Ray Hiner, Joe Hawes, Jim Marten, Paula Fass, and Julia Grant). Nevertheless, the first conferences succeeded in reaching outside this area of concentration. They were strongly attended by Canadians and Scandinavians – and to a lesser extent – by scholars outside of social history. If my memory serves, Bengt Sandin was one among a number of leaders (notably supported by Paula Fass) who encouraged SHCY to amend its mission statement, formally re-structure its executive board, and plan its conferences to promote the study of childhood historically across temporal, geographic, national, and disciplinary boundaries after 2005.

In my view, explicit internationalism has made SHCY‘s conferences more interesting and compelling. Casting the net wide also must have helped the meetings reach a critical mass of attendees.

issue cover artIn just a few years, SHCY demonstrated that childhood history would attract numbers adequate to support an academic periodical. A group of scholars mostly based near Amherst, Massachusetts (Karen Sánchez-Eppler, Martha Saxton, Laura Lovett, Brian Bunk, and Jon Pahl) formed the first editorial team for the Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth in 2008. The editors’ were themselves a diverse group with multi-disciplinary designations: a scholar of 19th-century literature, two historians of women, an expert on modern Spanish popular culture and sport, and professor of Christian theology and religious history. So too, the executive board of JHCY included members located across North America, Europe, and Australia with expertise in American, Canadian, European, Asian, and Australian history.

The founders of the Journal were willing to experiment. They formed an editorial “collective” with a rotating chief. In retrospect, this non-hierarchical editorial structure seems consistent with the diffusion of historical research on childhood. Each issue came with its own introductory statement authored by the standing Editor. None of the first editors claimed childhood as their primary scholarly designation (and they still don’t); childhood was and is “an interest” for most studying it historically. The articles offered a wide temporal, geographic, cultural, and topical range, and explored childhood from multiple disciplines with theoretically diverse assumptions. Each issue began with an “object lesson” – short presentations of cultural productions that were suited to classroom use. Every number included a piece on contemporary childhood policy. If there was a thematic volume, say on children’s rights or schooling, more than one geographic area and/or vastly different periods of time would be represented. Even the cover art on every issue sported three images, rather than one. All and everything childhood was welcome.

The Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth has been the most important organizational accomplishment within childhood historical study. I remain impressed by the ongoing growth of academic programs, conferences, and networks dedicated to the area. Yet, I wonder about intellectual coherence in an era that combines globalization and specialization. Peter Novick once wrote that making history is like nailing jelly to a wall (a structure framed by disciplinary standards or a given school of thought); maybe the emergent field of childhood history was possible precisely because we were willing to forgo walls. Has the result been something like a hammer striking jelly in freefall?

I admit this is more of a provocation, than a question. But these thoughts encouraged me to ask Jim Marten, the current President of SHCY and new Editor of JHCY, about how he understands the challenges of the temporal, geographic, and methodological diversity of childhood history.

Jim described his own path toward the study of childhood as something that was ancillary to his primary training as an history of the American Civil War. We discussed how this part of his background is aligned with general features of the emergence of childhood history. Our conversation moved into an extended discussion of how he approaches his duties as editor. He emphasized that he wants the journal to advance historically significant work upon childhood and youth. Pursuing this priority is complicated in an interdisciplinary area that attempts to cast wide methodological, geographic, and chronological nets. Yet, this vast scope is part of why the journal and the conferences are bolstered by strong participation from a diverse range of scholars.

Toward the conclusion of the conversation Jim extolled the intensity of the intellectual exchange at the conferences. However, he expressed two concerns: (1) will we maintain an adequate number of dues paying members and (2) can we develop a group of new leaders for the society over the next decade? He suggested that SHCY may be having difficulty maintaining membership consistent with the numbers we field at conferences and on H-Childhood, because research in the field exists in-between and as an extension of so many diverse and distinct interests and topics. Childhood study remains a secondary identification. This makes it more difficult for SHCY to compete for paying members.

Interesting, isn’t it? The development of a specialization in childhood history became possible because we made a concerted effort to collaborate across important boundaries; but, these boundaries have remained paramount and may inhibit the growth of the organizations that serve childhood history. I am not particularly troubled by this state of affairs. But, it may be useful for those studying childhood historically to try to understand it. Listen to our recorded conversation above.

James Marten

About James Marten

Since 1986 James Marten has been a member of the faculty at Marquette University, where he teaches courses on children’s history and the Civil War and for the last decade has served as department chair. He is author or editor of nearly twenty books, including The Children’s Civil War (1998), a Choice Magazine notable academic book. He is current president of the Society for the History of Children and Youth, past president of the Society of Civil War Historians, and editor of the Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth.

Mar  07

Call for Nominations: 2015 Grace Abbott Book Prize

The Society for the History of Children and Youth (SHCY) is pleased to call for nominations for the best book published in English on the history of children, childhood, or youth (broadly construed) published in 2014.

The award of a plaque and a check for $500 will be made by mid-summer 2015.

Nominations are invited from publishers, editors, scholars, and authors. Current members of the SHCY award committee, the executive committee, and officers of the society are ineligible. Nominations must be postmarked by April 15, 2015.

Send a copy of the book, physical or electronic (PDF only), for consideration to each of the book award committee members at the following addresses:

Ben Keppel (Chair)
Department of History
University of Oklahoma
455 West Lindsey Street, Suite 403A
Norman OK 73019
bkeppel@ou.edu

Kristine Alexander
Department of History
The University of Lethbridge
4401 University Drive
Lethbridge, AB T1K 3M4
Canada
kristine.alexander@gmail.com

Luke Springman
Office of Global Education
Room 234, Student Services Center
Bloomsburg University
400 East Second Street
Bloomsburg, PA 17815-1301
lspringm@bloomu.edu

Mar  06

Call for Nominations: Fass-Sandin Prize for the best article (in English)

The Society for the History of Children and Youth (SHCY) is pleased to call for nominations for the best article in English on the history of children, childhood, or youth (broadly construed) published in 2014 in a print or online journal. The prize consists of a plaque and a check for $250. The winner will be announced no later than mid-summer.

Nominations are invited from publishers, editors, scholars, and authors. Current members of the SHCY award committee, the executive committee, and officers of the society are ineligible.

Send a PDF or photocopy of the article to James Marten at james.marten@marquette.edu. The deadline for nominations is April 15, 2014.

The committee is comprised of:

Simon Sleight (chair), King’s College, London

Corrie Decker, UC-Davis

Corinne Field, University of Virginia

Mar  02

Guest Post: Shurlee Swain on Networking, Interdisciplinarity, and the SHCY

Shurlee Swain is Professor in the Faculty of Education and the Arts and Australian Catholic University. A long-time and active member of the SHCY, her most recent book is The Market in Children: Stories of Australian Adoption (2013). She is guest editor of the forthcoming special issue of the JHCY.

Although the organizational history of children’s institutions has been well documented, there has been less space in the academic sphere for exploring the experience of those who grew up within their walls. The forthcoming issue of the Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth is a first step towards filling this gap.

The special issue brings together papers presented at the 2013 SHCY conference in Nottingham which shared an interest in the history of children in out-of-home care. At its core are a group of scholars whose work has been shaped by their involvement in the inquiries into institutional abuse that have taken place in many Western countries over the last two decades. In such inquiries it is the voice of the victim/survivor that is given precedence, a voice which often challenges the ways in which the history of institutional care has been written in the past. SHCY conferences have provided a valuable networking space for those who work in this area leading to the development of an International Network on Studies of Inquiries into Child Abuse, Politics of Apology and Historical Representations of Children in Out-of home Care which, with Swedish funding, is now able to hold meetings of its own.

In the special issue you will find papers by Johanna Sköld, founder of the Inquiry Network and a researcher on the Swedish national inquiry, Maria Rytter and Jacob Knage Rasmussen, who conducted the Danish inquiry, Kjersti Ericsson who has closely observed the inquiry and reparation process in Norway, and Shurlee Swain and Nell Musgrove who have worked on projects funded in the aftermath of similar inquiries in Australia. They are joined by Lieselot De Wilde and Bruno Vanobbergen whose study of the orphan houses in Ghent, Belgium, began independently from any national inquiry but has been profoundly influenced by the demands of former orphanage residents that their voices be heard. It is such voices that Kathleen Vongsathorn would like to be able to access in her article on the Kumi Children’s Leper Home in Uganda but in their absence she interrogates the surviving sources to identify the gaps and silences which hide the children’s experiences from view. The victim/survivor voice that emerges through inquiries is predominantly negative. In this context, the article by Birgitte Søland provides a useful corrective. Working in the United States, where no national inquiries have taken place, her interviews with former orphanage residents tap the positive memories which struggle to find a place where the focus is on past abuse.

The appearance of the special issue on the eve of the SHCY conference in Vancouver is timely, emphasizing the valuable networking opportunity that the conference provides. Several of the contributors will present papers at the conference so if you have an interest in the history of children in out of home care we look forward to meeting you there!

This theme based on Green Stimulus by Salesforce CRM. Follow us RSS