Steven Mintz

Executive Director, Institute for Transformational Learning
University of Texas System

Professor of History
University of Texas at Austin


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 Austin.

A former fellow at Stanford's Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, he is past president of the Society for the History of Children and Youth and H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online and former chair of the Council on Contemporary Families. He is also an elected member of the Society of American Historians.


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.




Cover: The Prime of Life in HARDCOVER


The Prime of Life
A History of Modern Adulthood
Belknap Press of Harvard University Press


African American Voices
America and its Peoples
Boisterous Sea of Liberty
Critical Issues in American History
Domestic Revolutions: A Social History of American Family Life
History of US: Sourcebook
Hollywood's America
Huck's Raft: A History of American Childhood
Mexican American Voices
Moralists & Modernizers
Native American Voices
The Prime of Life: A History of Modern Adulthood
A Prison of Expectations: The Family in Victorian Culture
Problem of Evil: Slavery, Race, and the Ambiguities of Reform

Recent Op-Ed Columns

“The Future Is Now: 15 Innovations to Watch For”

Chronicle of Higher Education

“The kids are moving back in after college? Smart career move.”

Washington Post

“A ‘Golden Age’ of Childhood?”

Christian Science Monitor


"How We All Became Jewish Mothers"

National Post (Canada)


Recent Courses


American History Through Film

American History Through Sight & Sound

Digital History

History of Evil

History of Private Life

Kids & Teens in American History

Making of Ethnic America

Multicultural America

Places in Time

Power, Influence, & Identity

The Americas

U.S. to 1877

U.S. since 1877

Recent Grants

Center on History and Education

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

Recent Honors

Elected to the Society of American Historians

Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences
President, Society for the History of Children and Youth

President, H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online
Chair, Council on Contemporary Families

Chair, Bancroft Prize
Chair, Frederick Douglass Prize

Oswaldo Rodriguez Roque Lecturer at the Yale University Art Gallery

Presidential Scholar, Hofstra University



Huck's Raft

A History of American Childhood

Belknap Press of Harvard University Press



Adulthood today is undergoing profound transformations. Men and women wait until their thirties to marry, have children, and establish full-time careers, occupying a prolonged period in which they are no longer adolescents but still lack the traditional emblems of adult identity. People at midlife struggle to sustain relationships with friends and partners, to find employment and fulfilling careers, to raise their children successfully, and to resist the aging process.


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.

At the Harvard University Press blog:

Is Adulthood Dying?

American Literature’s Adulthood Problem

2005 Merle Curti Award of the Organization of American Historians for the best book in American social history.


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."

Michael Dirda

Washington Post



"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."

Eric Arneson

Chicago Tribune



"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

Yale University

Huck's Raft, the first comprehensive history of American childhood, places children at the center of the events that shaped our past. Colonization, the American Revolution, slavery, the Civil War, westward migration, the Industrial Revolution, foreign immigration, the Great Depression, two world wars, and the Civil Rights movement take on fresh meaning when viewed through the voices and experiences of children.


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.





Teaching Resources

Handbook for Teaching Fellows

Teaching Classic Texts

Teaching in a great books curriculum

Active Learning

  Integrating Active Learning Activities into Your Class


  Making Group Work Work


  Assessing Student Learning

Classroom Management


  Handling Hot Topics in the Classroom


  How to Discourage Plagiarism

  Leading Scintillating, Stimulating, Substantive Classroom Discussions


  Helping Your Students Read Effectively and Efficiently



Lectures and Presentations

  How to Give Highly Effective Lectures—and Job Talks and Conference Presentations


  The Do's and Don't's of Effective Lectures


Professional Conduct

  Ethical Issues in the College Classroom


  How to Avoid Being Sued: Academic Freedom, Academic Honesty, Intellectual Property, Sexual Harassment

  TA-Student Relationships

Professional Development

  Preparing for the Academic Job Market


  Career-Ending Mistakes—and How to Avoid Them

  Creating a Killer C.V.


  Expanding Your Options: Pursuing Careers in Academic Administration


  How to Write a Compelling Fellowship Application

  Job Hunting in Tough Times


  Marketing Your Teaching


  Negotiating Your First Job Offer


  Sample Interview Questions


  The Two-Body Problem


Science of Learning

  10 Principles to Enhance Student Learning


  Glossary: The Language of Teaching and Learning


  The Psychology of Learning and the Arts of Teaching


Teaching-oriented Journals

  Teaching Journals



Technology and Teaching


   e-Learning: Higher Ed in a Web 2.0 World


  Establishing an Online Presence





  Completing Your Dissertation Without Tears


  Integrating Writing into Your Teaching


  Principles of Effective Writing Instruction


  Teaching Creative Writing


  Write Like a Pro


  The Write Stuff: The Secrets of Academic Writing


Digital History
Using new technologies to enhance teaching and research.




Education reengineered for the 21st century.




Higher Ed Beta
Defining the future of higher education

The Future of MOOCs

Challenges and lessons.


Educating the Whole Person

Moving beyond basic skills.


Connected Learning

What higher ed can learn from social media.


New Models of Higher Education

A differentiated approach.


Low Residency

Another form of hybrid learning.


The Future of Higher Education

A status report.


The Shape of Higher Ed Yet to Come

New options.


Promoting Students’ Non-Cognitive Development

Understanding the full student experience.


The Degree Vertical

A new pathway to student success.





Expanding Your Online Pedagogy Toolkit

New instructional support models.


Four Emergent Higher Education Models

Extension, distributed, the cloud and student-centered.


The Shifting Role of University Systems

A key issue for public higher ed.


Curricular Optimization

An idea whose time may have come.


Five Ways that 21st and 20th Century Learning Will Differ

Proficiency, data, science and more.


The Pedagogy of Discovery

7 options for generating new knowledge. 


What Non-Profit Universities Can Learn from the For-Profits

6 lessons and 6 implications.


Welcome to Higher Ed Beta

Introduction to a new blog on MOOCs and beyond