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Origins Project

The Origins Project is the start of an effort to create a digital archive about the history of the field of childhood, children, and youth history.

The 1960s fostered new fields of historical study examining the experiences of many groups generally overlooked by earlier scholarship. Part of this expansion included the history of children and childhood, but the field gained little traction over the next two decades. In the 1990s, however, a heightened interest in the ways children and youth reflected and shaped the values of communities, societies, politics, and public policy throughout the world reached a critical mass. Focusing on children and childhood provided new perspectives on important historical questions as well exposing the experiences of societies’ youngest members. In the words of Joseph Hawes, “Childhood is where you see culture in high relief.”

In this atmosphere, a group of approximately 60 scholars gathered in Washington, DC August 5-6, 2000 to discuss if there was a future for the field.  Approximately one year later, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on July 28, 2001, 180 interested researchers founded the Society for the History of Children and Youth (SHCY).

With the 20th anniversary of the founding of SHCY in 2021, it is time to evaluate the emergence of the SHCY and the development of the field centered on the histories of children and youth. The Origins Project will continue to evolve as participants explore that relationship through recorded conversations, interviews, and questionnaires conducted with historians from around the world. Many participants were among the early leaders of SHCY, H-Childhood, and of the Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth.




Building Careers and the Future in SHCY

Enjoy the fourth instalment of the Origins Project, this time with Melissa Klapper, Rebecca de Schweinitz, and Pat Ryan, and James Marten. You can watch the video, here. Or listen to the podcast episode, here.

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Response to AHR 125, no. 4

Paula S. Fass, Kriste Lindenmeyer, Steve Mintz and Bengt Sandin discuss the American Historical Review 125, no. 4 (October 2020).

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A Conversation with Kriste Lindenmeyer and James Marten

Listen to a discussion between Kriste Lindenmeyer and James Marten, founding members and former presidents of the Society for the History of Children and Youth.

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HES 2020

Welcome to Part 1 of the Origins Project, where we explore the roots of the SHCY. You can watch our first interview about the founding of the SHCY, here. Otherwise, you can listen to an audio version, here.

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