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A Year of Books

2019: A Year of Commentaries

Compiled By: Carla Joubert


Welcome to Day 4 of A Year in a Week. This week we will explore the SHCY’s first full year of content since shifting to our new website in the winter of 2018. On Day 4 we look back at all the recently published monographs we featured. Coming up tomorrow: A Conference Year.


The monographs that made it into our features this year were innovative and delightful, they were often accompanied by author interviews, which were made available through the SHCY podcast. Topics ranged from comic books and literature to children’s mental health to childhood and slavery to systems of power that shape childhood experiences, and more. We also spanned the globe, with monographs centred in the United States, Jamaica, Europe, and elsewhere. Overall, we featured fifteen new monographs in 2019!

Table of Contents:

1. From Superman to Social Realism: Children’s Media and Scandinavian Childhood

2. The Metamorphosis of Autism: A History of Child Development in Britain

3. Slavery, Abolition, and Childhood in Jamaica, 1788-1838

4. Eating to Learn, Learning to Eat: The Origins of School Lunch in the United States

5. Child Slavery Before and After Emancipation: An Argument for Child-Centered Slavery Studies

6. Mediating Morality: The Politics of Teen Pregnancy in the Post–Welfare Era

7. The Evolution of the Juvenile Court: Race, Politics, and the Criminalizing of Juvenile Justice

8. Innocent Experiments: Childhood and the Popular Culture of Science in the United States

9. Picturing Childhood: Youth in Transnational Comics

10. American Girls and Global Responsibility: A New Relation to the World during the Early Cold War

11. Evil Children in the Popular Imagination

12. Hawaiian by Birth: Missionary Children, Bicultural Identity, and US Colonialism in the Pacific

13. Growing Up in a Land Called Honalee: The Sixties in the Lives of American Children

14. Raising Government Children: A History of Foster Care and the American Welfare State

15. Students of the Dream: Resegregation in a Southern City


1. From Superman To Social Realism: Children's Media And Scandinavian Childhood

From Superman to Social Realism: Children’s Media and Scandinavian Childhood.
By Helle Strandgaard Jensen.
Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2017. xii + 188 pp. Cloth $135.

Superman comicHelle is an associate professor in Contemporary Cultural History at Aarhus University. This monograph explores the historic shifts and adjustments that Scandinavian society made in response to the development of media from the 1950s to the 1980s. Strandgaard Jensen asks, how did children’s consumption of media change, and what role did public perceptions of the child shape definitions of acceptable and unacceptable media consumption by youth?

Please listen here for the interview with Helle Strandgaard Jensen and her colleague, Sophie Heywood.


2. The Metamorphosis of Autism: A History of Child Development

The Metamorphosis of Autism: A History of Child Development in Britain.
By Bonnie Evans.
Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2017. xii + 500 pp. Cloth $34.95.

Dr. Evans brought us a thoroughly researched and written monograph that asked important questions about the history of autism in the United Kingdom. Her monograph is split into two halves. The first half focuses on an earlier healthcare responses to childhood psychiatric care, and the second half looks at the period from the 1960s forward, when definitions of autism drastically shifted from the pre-1960 period, and subsequently so did care and medical responses.

Please listen here for the interview with Bonnie Evans and her colleague, Ayesha Nathoo


3. Slavery, Abolition, and Childhood in Jamaica, 1788-1838

Slavery, Abolition, and Childhood in Jamaica, 1788-1838.
By Colleen Vasconcellos.
Athens and London: University of Georgia Press, 2015. xvi + 151 pp. Paper $24.95.

Dr. Colleen A. Vasconcellos’ monograph meaningfully broadens the field of childhood history in the Atlantic World by bringing into sharp focus the experience of enslaved children in Jamaica in the late-eighteenth to mid-nineteenth century. Rather than focus on the experiences of enslaved children through their per-force enslavement, she focuses instead on the influence of enslavement on the manifestation of childhood in her study. Vasconcellos is a Fulbright scholar who brings her research acumen to bare in this well-received monograph.

Please listen here for the interview with Colleen Vasconcellos and the Library Department Assistant-Associate at the University of West Georgia, Jennifer Sutton.


4. Eating to Learn, Learning to Eat: The Origins of School Lunch in the United States

Eating to Learn, Learning to Eat: The Origins of School Lunch in the United States.
By A. R. Ruis.
New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2017. ix + 201 pp. Cloth $95.00, paper $29.95.

Eating to Learn, Learning to Eat is part of the Rutgers University Press book series: Critical Issues in Health and Medicine. Ruis’ monograph looks at the function of the National School Lunch Program in the United States, how it took shape in the twentieth century, and how it conceptualised by the public and the state. By tracing how the National School Lunch Program shifted from a private to public welfare initiative, Ruis shows its successes and failures, and where practical manifestation fell short of expectation and need for America’s youth.

Listen to Andrew R. Ruis talk about Eating to Learn, Learning to Eat: The Origins of School Lunch in the United States with his interviewer, Dr. Emily Contois, Assistant Professor of Media Studies at The University of Tulsa.


5. Child Slavery before and after Emancipation

Child Slavery Before and After Emancipation: An Argument for Child-Centered Slavery Studies.
Edited by Anna Mae Duane.
New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017. xvi + 307 pp. Cloth $89.99, paper $29.99.

Child Slavery before and after EmancipationAnna Mae Duane is an associate professor of English at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. This collection, for which she is the editor, critically reengages with the theory and practice of history, as it pertains to child-centered slavery studies. The collection critiques the presumption that being a child, or an enslaved person, meant inevitable helplessness. It also bridge builds between the history of slavery in the United States and contemporary activism as it relates to human trafficking, labour exploitation, and child exploitation. 

Listen to Anna Mae Duane's roundtable with Karen Sánchez-EpplerSarah Winter, and Micki McElya. This episode originally aired on the C19 Podcast on 20 November 20187 as "'Modern Slavery'? How 19th Century Slavery Can Speak to 21st Century Trafficking."


6. Mediating Morality: The Politics of Teen Pregnancy in the Post-Welfare Era

Mediating Morality: The Politics of Teen Pregnancy in the Post–Welfare Era.
By Clare Daniel.
Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2017. xi + 200 pp. Cloth $90, paper $27.95.

Mediating Morality deals with the contentious issue of teen pregnancy, as it existed in public discourse predominantly at the end of the twentieth century. The author, Clare Daniel uses a breadth of sources for analysis, from pop culture, to public policy, and discourses at the local, state, and federal levels. Her primary goal is to show where discourse around teen pregnancy is influenced by an array of factors, including popular culture and social reform initiatives. The subsequent intention of efforts to curb teen pregnancies, shows Daniel, is an effort to an ideal vision of American neoliberal identity. Dr. Daniel is an assistant professor at Tulan University’s Newcomb College Institute.

The Evolution of the Juvenile Court: Race, Politics, and the Criminalizing of Juvenile Justice.
By Barry C. Feld.
New York: New York University Press, 2017. x + 397 pp. Cloth $35.

Dr. Feld, who has been an academic in the field of juvenile justice for over four decades, discusses here the variant definitions of youth in the juvenile court system. His research centres on the mid- to late-twentieth century, because he identifies a shift in priority of the courts from rehabilitation to over-incarceration of juveniles in the courts systems. He also looks at how various factors, such as race and ethnicity, class, and access to resources changed the outcomes for youths who faced the justice system.

Dr. Barry C. Feld discusses his latest monograph and his career on our podcast, here. This podcast episode was produced by, and originally aired on, the University of Cincinnati School of Criminal Justice's podcast, Criminal Justice Office Hours. The episode, "The Evolution of the Juvenile Court” originally aired on January 3, 2019. 


8. Innocent Experiments: Childhood and the Culture of Popular Science in the United States

Innocent Experiments: Childhood and the Popular Culture of Science in the United States.
By Rebecca Onion.
Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2016. 240 pp. Cloth $85, paper $29.95.

The goal of this fascinating monograph by Rebecca Onions is to trace the development of childhood studies as a scientific field, in conjunction with the rise of popular science as a means of entertainment for American youth, in a developing capacity throughout the twentieth century. She seeks to ask where the scientific met the playful and how that changed children's leisure experiences, and how did social factors validate or invalidate the scientific play of children belonging to different races, genders, or classes. She reflects, ultimately, on how scientific play influenced the maturation of youth into scientists or scientifically literate adults.

Listen to Rebecca Onion talk about Innocent Experiments: Childhood and the Culture of Popular Science in the United States with her interviewer, Deanna Day


9. Picturing Childhood: Youth in Transnational Comics

Picturing Childhood: Youth in Transnational Comics.
Edited by Mark Heimermann and Brittany Tullis.
Austin: University of Texas Press, 2017. xiii + 264 pp. Cloth $85, paper $27.95.

Picturing Youth in Transnational ComicsThis is a co-edited collection by Mark Heimermann, assistant professor of English at Silver lake College of the Holy Family, and Brittany Tullis, associate professor of Spanish and Women and Gender Studies at St. Ambrose University. Heimermann and Tullis asked their contributors to variantly ask questions about how comic books portrayed and were consumed by youth around the globe. Centred predominantly in America, it nonetheless makes room for academic contributions on comics as they were consumed in international spaces, such as Sweden, Belgium, and elsewhere. 

Listen to Qiana Whitted, Professor of English and African-American Studies at the University of South Carolina, interviews co-editors Brittany Tullis and Mark Heimermann about their collection, Picturing Childhood: Youth in Transnational Comics.


10. American Girls and Global Responsibility: A New Relation to the World during the Early Cold War

American Girls and Global Responsibility: A New Relation to the World during the Early Cold War.
By Jennifer Helgren.
New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2017. viii + 226 pp. Cloth $59.96.

Dr. Helgren's monograph, American Girls and Global Responsibility, looks at how American girls, aged ten and up, became post-war ambassadors for an idealised American identity on the international stage. Through an analysis of a rich archival base, Helgren shows that the teen culture of the 1950s actually precipitated some of most vociferous activist movements of the 1960s, including anti-imperialism, resistance to American global aggression, and the Civil Rights Movement. She also links the teen activism of the post-Second World War United States to activism of girl citizens in the modern world.

Listen to Jennifer Helgren discuss her monograph, American Girls and Global Responsibility: A New Relation to the World during the Early Cold War with Traci Roberts-Camps.


11. Evil Children in the Popular Imagination

Evil Children in the Popular Imagination.
By Karen J. Renner.
New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016. vii + 213 pp. Cloth $99.99.

This fascinating monograph delves into our nightmares by exploring what monsters are, and how society construct them. Author Karen J. Renner confronts the liminal threat posed by monsters to social categorisation and dominant discourses in society. Renner shows that 'monstrous children' pose a particular challenge to presumptions about how childhood functions and how children express themselves. She shows how narrative fiction has employed the trope of monstrous youth or children in order to explore ideas about social deviancy or conflict. Karen is an associate professof of English at Northern Arizona University.

Karen Renner discusses the ways in which children are cast as evil or horrific in her monograph, Evil Children in the Popular Imagination. Listen to her discussion with Trevor Warren and Courtney Brooks, both Masters of Fine Arts students in Creative Writing at the University of Northern Arizona.


12. Hawaiian by Birth: Missionary Children, Bicultural Identity, and US Colonialism in the Pacific

Hawaiian by Birth: Missionary Children, Bicultural Identity, and US Colonialism in the Pacific.
By Joy Schulz.
Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2017. xii + 222 pp. Cloth $49.98.

This book explores how settler colonialism began to manifest in Hawaii after the arrival of the first children born of missionary families in the late nineteenth century. These youth, known as the Cousins, played a central role in dismantling Indigenous rule in Hawaii, at benefit to their own economic security. Rather than focusing on their actions as adults, Schulz takes a step back to analyse who they were as children, what their experiences were growing up, and how they faced the internal conflict of their bond to Hawaii as individuals born there, and the influence of notions of white supremacy and imperalism on their leadership and paternalism in Hawaii in adulthood. 

This week, we have a hearty discussion between Joy Schultz and Emily Manktelow about Joy's monograph Hawaiian by Birth: Missionary Children, Bicultural Identity, and US Colonialism in the Pacific. In the interview and monograph, Joy explores the relationship between Hawaii and the US, through the experiences of missionary children in Hawaii.


13. Growing up in a Land Called Honalee: The Sixties in the Lives of American Children

Growing Up in a Land Called Honalee: The Sixties in the Lives of American Children.
By Joel P. Rhodes.
Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2017. viii + 326 pp. Cloth $40.

Joel P. Rhodes as a childIn addition to a monograph review and interview in this featured book submission, we were also privileged with a few photos into the adolescent years of Growing Up in a Land called Honalee's author, Joel P. Rhodes. The author effectively takes his readers on a journey through life as a child born in the sixties. Linking his own experiences to oral history and to rich academic analysis, he casts the development of this generation alongside the cataclysmic events that they witnessed, including the assassination of Kennedy, the conflict in Vietnam, counterculture, and a broad spectrum of activist movements.

Lily Santoro discusses Growing Up in a Land Called Honalee with author Joel P. Rhodes. Listen here. Lily is an Associate Professor of History and Anthropology at Southeast Missouri State University.


14. Raising Government Children: A History of Foster Care and the American Welfare State

Raising Government Children: A History of Foster Care and the American Welfare State.
By Catherine E. Rymph.
Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2017. iv + 252 pp. Paper $29.95.

The primary focus of this monograph, by Catherine E. Rymph, is on the foster care system in the United States. Catherine is a professor in, and the Chair of, the Department of History at the University of Missouri. She is also an affiliate with the university's Women's and Gender Studies Department and the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy. Her myriad skillset equipped her to write this critical reflection on the contradictions and shortcomings in the development of the foster care system in the United States. She shows that a lack of unified development has made room for inconsistent oversight of variant, disconnected, fostering systems. She also asks questions about the gendered manifestation of foster care programs, and the social expectations of an ideal family life in removing children from their homes.

Sara Gable and Cassandra Yacovazzi discuss Raising Government Children: A History of Foster Care and the American Welfare State with author Catherine Rymph. Listen here. This episode is part of the Starting Points series, from Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy at the University of Missouri. Sara Gable is Assistant Professor and State Extension Specialist in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology at the University of Missouri. Cassandra Yacovazzi is Assistant Professor in History at the University of South Florida, Sarasota-Manatee. 


15. Students of the Dream: Resegregation in a Southern City

Students of the Dream: Resegregation in a Southern City.
By Ruth Carbonette Yow.
Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2017. xviii + 254 pp. Cloth $39.95.

Our final book of the year was Ruth Carbonette Yow's monograph on the struggle at West Charlotte High School, in Charlotte, North Carolina, to desegregate. Dr. Carbonette Yow takes us through the entire history of the high school, commencing with when it opened in 1938. The purpose of her narrow case study is to show how narratives of freedom initially framed the desegregation movement and were subsequently exploited to justify resegregation by other means. Students of the Dream shows just how much work remains in efforts to bridge racial gaps, not only in social and cultural manifestations, but in terms of educational equity and access, in North Carolina and throughout the United States.

Listen to Dr. Ruthie Yow discuss her latest monograph, Students of the Dream: Resegregation in a Southern City with poet Dr. Lauren Neefe. Dr. Neefe is a project writer in urban design for the firm Perkins&Will.


Carla JoubertAbout Carla Joubert

Carla Joubert is a PhD Candidate at the University of Western Ontario. This is her third year as the Digital Fellow for the SHCY. She is also a digital research assistant for London's Hear, Here public history coordinators. Her research is centred on the role of white women in the settler colonization of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek and Alberta in the nineteenth century as comparative case studies. You can follow her on Twitter. She has presented at the European Conference on African Studies on the relationship between Groot Trek leader Louis Trichardt, his trek party, and the Dzanani Venda in the Transvaal region. That presentation will be included in a workshop at Africa 2020, celebrating 60 years of independence for 17 countries on the African continent at the University of Leiden, which is slated for publication. She has also submitted an article to the South African Historical Journal, "'Tradition Falsifies': The Mfecane and the Groot Trek as Settler Colonial Origin Myths in South Africa." In 2020 she will present “Hunting on the Frontier: The Relationship between Gendered Roles and the Environment in Percy Fitzpatrick's Jock of the Bushveld” in a workshop that she organized for the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians. She will also present on "The Women of Wetaskiwin: Gender and Empire in Wetaskiwin, Alberta from 1892-1905" at the Canadian Historical Association Annual Meeting.

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