I am currently writing a history of American childhood in the 1960s and 1970s, which explores the effects of the era's social and political movements in children's culture.
My dissertation tells the history of interwar summer camps in New York State, and provides insight into the lives of the New York City children who attended them. Widely disparate groups shared the belief that rural spaces offered a healthy antidote to city living, and proposed that camps were especially suited to teach children the arts of social acculturation and good citizenship. The children of recent immigrants and the native-born; union activists and socialists; Protestants, Jews and Catholics; and children of all races and classes–-to varying degrees, all of these boys and girls shared this rite of passage. They did not, however, usually share camps; as the history of summer camps suggests, communal self-segregation could be taken to new heights in rural spaces. In camping-conscious New York City, perhaps one out of seven children attended camp at some point. Camping in New York State, meanwhile, serves as an ideal example of a national industry in expansion; by the late...
This course examines American history from the end of the Second World War to the present day, a period of significant political, social and cultural ferment. Themes of the course include the Cold War; consumerism; immigration; the role of the federal bureaucracy and of the Presidency; social movements including civil rights, feminism, gay and lesbian liberation, and environmentalism; the rise of the New Right; and the impact of 9/11.
This course will consider historical approaches to the study of life stages, generations, and age cohorts. Focusing particularly though not exclusively on the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and drawing on case studies from the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa, our themes will include the historical formation and social significance of age cohorts, age-specific cultural and political phenomena, and shifts in chronological consciousness. With attention to other intersectional categories of identity such as gender, race, sexuality, class, and national origin, we will explore some key works and approaches to the field, and consider how the life course matters for historians. How might we think about historical subjects whose age-bound identities are perpetually in transition, and who are also situated in changing cultures over time? How have age, generation, and aging taken on meaning in particular political, temporal, and community contexts? Topics may include the rise of youth culture; projects of political and individual rejuvenation; and the effects of demographic trends including birth and death rates.