Origins Project, Issue 3
with Paul S. Fass, Kriste Lindenmeyer, Steve Mintz and Bengt Sandin
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.
About Paula S. Fass
Paula S. Fass is the Margaret Byrne Professor of History Emerita at the University of California at Berkeley. She has also been Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. She was the President of the Society of the History of Children and Youth, which she helped to found, from 2007-2009. Her books include Children of a New World: Society, Culture, and Globalization (2007); Kidnapped: Child Abduction in America; Outside In: Minorities and the Transformation of American Education; The Damned and the Beautiful: American Youth in the 1920s. With Mary Ann Mason, she edited Childhood in America (2000), the first anthology in children's history. She was Editor-in-Chief of the award-winning Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood in History and Society (2004) and in the past three years published two other edited volumes on the subject of childhood: Reinventing Childhood After World War II (with Michael Grossberg) in 2011, and the Routledge History of Childhood in the Western World published in 2013. Her family memoir, Inheriting the Holocaust: A Second Generation Memoir (2009) recounts and examines her experiences as the daughter of concentration camp victims eager to understand the history of her new country and culture. Her new interpretive history of parents and children in American history over the course of two hundred years, from the founding of the republic through the global era, is entitled The End of American Childhood: A History of Parenting from Life on the Frontier to the Managed Child.
About Kriste Lindenmeyer
Kriste Lindenmeyer is University Professor and Dean Emerita at Rutgers University—Camden. During her academic career she was also a professor of history at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), Tennessee Technological University, and Vanderbilt University. Lindenmeyer was a 2004-2005 Fulbright Senior Scholar in Germany, specifically Martin Luther Universistaet-Halle-Wittenberg. Her research focuses on the history of U.S. public policy, especially issues related to children and families. Her publications include The Greatest Generation Grows Up: Childhood in 1930s and The U.S. Children’s Bureau and Child Welfare, 1912–1946. She is a founding member and past president of the Society for the History of Children and Youth; 2005-07.
About Steven Mintz
Steven Mintz is Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin. He previously served as Senior Advisor to the President for Student Success at Hunter College, Executive Director of the UT System's Institute for Transformational Learning, Director of Columbia's Graduate School of Arts & Sciences Teaching Center, and Moores Professor of History at the University of Houston. He was president of the SHCY 2009-11. Professor Mintz is the author of several books including Huck’s Raft: History of American Childhood.
About Bengt Sandin
Bengt Sandin is professor emeritus. He was one of the founding professors at the Department of Child Studies in Linkoping when it began in 1989. His research span the period from the Early Modern to the late Swedish Welfare State including studies on Early Modern Education and State formation, Child Labour, Street Children, Educational Media Politics, and different aspects of Welfare Politics and the Swedish Welfare State and involve both an engagement in social, political and cultural history of children and the construction of childhood. Bengt Sandin has been the scientific leader of a number of large research programs financed by national government grants. He has been the advisor of some 25 Ph.D. projects. He was dean of the faculty of Arts and Sciences in Linköping for 9 years and department head for 9 years. He is a fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in Behavioral Sciences at Stanford and also at Institute of Advanced Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington. Bengt Sandin was the president of the SHCY between 2011-13.