Paula Fass – Reimagining Childhood After World War II


After World War II, American children seemed to be flourishing with Dr. Spock supervising their “permissive” and leisurely upbringing. Underneath the surface, however, American societal changes were beginning to remake the path to success and placing greater stress on academic preparation and family supervision.

Pioneering historian Paula Fass, the Margaret S. Byrne Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley, will explore the historical processes that have shaped American childhood in the modern era. College-admissions mania; internet exploration; rising access to education; unprecedented interaction among diverse groups: these are just some of the defining, and often contradictory, dimensions of modern childhood that have emerged since the middle of the twentieth century and which distinguish this era in the history of American youth. Fass’ topic encourages not only academic, but self-reflection as well.

Senior Education Studies major Miranda van Ten Broeke commented that “I am really interested in going deeper into Fass’ topic, not only because of my major, but also because she is exploring dynamics which have defined my own life.” Similarly, sophomore Claire Schonning applauded the opportunity to focus on “youth as a distinct part of history and thus as a part of our modern culture that deserves special attention.”

This free talk will be held on Thursday, October 20, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the Hirshon Suite, 55 W 13th Street, 2ndfloor. It is part of the Interdisciplinary Lecture Series in Education Studies, and is co-sponsored by The New School’s History Department.