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Building Careers and the Future in SHCY

OP 4

Building Careers and the Future in SHCY

with Melissa Klapper, Rebecca de Schweinitz, and Pat Ryan, and James Marten (as moderator)

Podcast Interview

You can listen to this interview in audio form on our podcast, here. You can listen to other episodes of the SHCY podcast by visiting the podcast website, or you can subscribe on Google Play and iTunes.

About the 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.

Melissa KlapperAbout Melissa Klapper

Melissa Klapper earned her B.A. from Goucher College and her Ph.D. from Rutgers University. She teaches American and women's history, with a focus on the late 19th and early 20th century and additional research interests in the history of childhood, the history of education, and American Jewish history. She is the author of Jewish Girls Coming of Age in America, 1860-1920 (NYU Press, 2005) and Small Strangers: The Experiences of Immigrant Children in the United States, 1880-1925 (Ivan R. Dee, Publisher, 2007), as well as numerous articles and essays. She lectures widely in a variety of academic and community settings. She is the book review editor of the journal American Jewish History and recently completed a term as the co-chair of the Association for Jewish Studies's Modern Jewish History — The Americas division. She is currently the Coordinator of the Women's & Gender Studies Program at Rowan University. Her book Ballots, Babies, and Banners of Peace: American Jewish Women's Activism, 1890-1940 (NYU Press, 2013), won the National Jewish Book Award in Women's Studies. Dr. Klapper's most recent book is Ballet Class:  An American History (Oxford University Press, 2020).

About Rebecca de SchweinitzRebecca de Schweinitz

Rebecca de Schweinitz graduated with a BA in history from BYU in 1992. After coordinating the work of student interns at the Utah state capitol, teaching English in Japan for a year, and working in special collections at the Claude Moore Health Science Library at the University of Virginia, School of Medicine, Dr. de Schweinitz completed an MA in history at the University of Virginia in 1997 and received her Ph.D. in history from UVA in 2004. Professor de Schweinitz hails from Fairbanks, Alaska and lives with her husband, Peter, who works in community health and family medicine, and three children in Provo, Utah. Her research and teaching interests include youth and 20th Century politics, history of childhood and youth, African American history, Mormon History, and US Women's History. Dr. de Schweinitz is the author of If We Could Change the World: Young People and America’s Long Struggle for Racial Equality (UNC Press, 2009) and several articles.

Patrick RyanAbout Patrick Ryan

Patrick Ryan was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska and earned his B.A. in history from the University of Minnesota. He completed his doctorate at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio in 1998 and is currently the Program Coordinator for Childhood and Social Institutions at Kings University College in London, Ontario. His articles have appeared in the Journal of Social History, the Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Paedagogica Historica, Educare, The Gay and Lesbian Review, The Journal of Policy History, the History of Education Quarterly, and many other periodicals.  He is author of Master-Servant Childhood: a history of the idea of childhood in medieval English culture (Palgrave, 2013). Ryan’s wide-ranging interest in the critical and historical analysis of childhood and youth are reflected in these writings, and are evident in the 19 multi-media commentaries and conversations he wrote and recorded between 2014 and 2016 called “Childhood: History & Critique” which can be found on www.shcy.org.  He currently serves as the Society’s online Editor and is a Past-President of SHCY.

About James MartenJames Marten

James Marten, our moderator for this episode, is Professor of History at Marquette University. His scholarship focuses on the Civil War era and the histories of children and youth. He is the author of numerous books including The Children’s Civil WarSing Not War: The Lives of Union and Confederate Veterans in Gilded Age America, and America’s Corporal: James Tanner in War and Peace. His work also includes a number of edited anthologies, including the six-volume A Cultural History of Childhood and Family (co-edited with Elizabeth Foyster and published by Berg in 2010). Dr. Marten edited the Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth from 2013-2018 and he is a past president of both the Society for the History of Children and Youth and of the Society of Civil War Historians. He has two forthcoming books: A Very Short Introduction to the History of Childhood and a co-edited volume, More than Victims: War and Childhood in the Age of the World Wars and two anthologies: The Oxford Handbook of the History of Youth Culture and Buying and Selling the Civil War (co-edited with Caroline Janney).

Afterthoughts on the History of Childhood and Youth


Please enjoy this bonus content. If you prefer to listen to the audio version on the SHCY podcast, you can navigate, here.