A pioneer in the application of
new technologies to teaching and research, Steven Mintz is Executive Director
of the University of Texas System’s Institute for Transformational
Learning, which is responsible for making a quality education more
affordable, accessible, and successful through the innovative use of new
technologies. He is also Professor of History at the University of Texas at
Previously the director of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences Teaching Center and a professor of history, he chaired the juries for the Bancroft and Frederick Douglass book prizes, and created the Digital History website. His books include Huck’s Raft: A History of American Childhood, Domestic Revolutions: A Social History of American Family Life, Moralists & Modernizers: America’s Pre-Civil War Reformers, and The Prime of Life: A History of Modern Adulthood.
African American Voices
Chronicle of Higher Education
“The kids are moving back in after college? Smart career move.”
“A ‘Golden Age’ of Childhood?”
Christian Science Monitor
"How We All Became Jewish Mothers"
National Post (Canada)
American History Through Film
American History Through Sight & Sound
History of Evil
History of Private Life
Kids & Teens in American History
Making of Ethnic America
Places in Time
Power, Influence, & Identity
U.S. to 1877
U.S. since 1877
Teachers College, Columbia University
$2 million NEH Challenge Grant
African American History and Literature
University of Houston
$2.6 million NEH Challenge Grant
Six Teaching American History Grants
U.S. Department of Education
Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences
President, H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online
Chair, Bancroft Prize
Oswaldo Rodriguez Roque Lecturer at the Yale University Art Gallery
Presidential Scholar, Hofstra University
A History of American Childhood
Belknap Press of Harvard University Press
The Prime of Life puts today’s challenges into new perspective by exploring how past generations navigated the passage to maturity, achieved intimacy and connection, raised children, sought meaning in work, and responded to loss. Coming of age has never been easy or predictable, Steven Mintz shows, and the process has always been shaped by gender and class. But whereas adulthood once meant culturally-prescribed roles and relationships, the social and economic convulsions of the last sixty years have transformed it fundamentally, tearing up these shared scripts and leaving adults to fashion meaning and coherence in an increasingly individualistic culture.
Mintz reconstructs the emotional interior of a
life stage too often relegated to self-help books and domestic melodramas.
Emphasizing adulthood’s joys and fulfillments as well as its frustrations and
regrets, he shows how cultural and historical circumstances have consistently
reshaped what it means to be a grown up in contemporary society. The Prime of
Life urges us to confront adulthood’s realities with candor and determination
and to value and embrace the responsibility, sensible judgment, wisdom, and
compassionate understanding it can bring.
2005 R.R. Hawkins Award of the Association of American Publishers for the best scholarly book.
2005 Carr P. Collins Award of the Texas Institute of Letters for the best non-fiction book published in the preceding year.
A "fascinating and massively documented exploration of four centuries of American childhood...A work of scholarly integrity and humanist zeal."
Joyce Carol Oates
Times Literary Supplement
"This is a rich and stimulating book, revealing how much childhood has changed over the centuries and how much some things never change."
"An engaging, sober and often poignant account of how adults have viewed and treated children...The compelling history of childhood Mintz offers us is a valuable reminder that nostalgia for a golden age that never existed is not just misleading but counterproductive."
"Steven Mintz has written one of the very best books I've read in the last decade, a highly original masterpiece which combines immense breadth with the often painful and complex specificity of 'growing up in America.'"
David Brion Davis
Here, readers can discover how childrearing, children's health, schooling, play, toys, and literature changed over time. Children's experiences in orphanages, reform schools, and factories, fields, and mines come to life in the book's pages.
Drawing on a wealth of letters, diaries, and other first-hand accounts, Huck's Raft provides essential historical perspective on topics that have absorbed public attention: Whether children's well-being is declining; whether television and consumer culture have stunted children's imagination; and whether children are growing up faster than in the past. The volume corrects nostalgia-laden images of childhood past, and lays bare the ways that American childhood has changed, for better and worse, over the past four centuries.
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