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Cultures of Childhood

The Cultures of Childhood series collects, revives, and recontextualizes archival youth voices from the past, and brings new or unpublished sources into print. It celebrates the expansive contours of interdisciplinary childhood studies, which increasingly identifies and brings actual children’s voices from the margins into the mainstream. Traditional to experimental methods are welcome, especially those which require archival “primary sources” authentically authored or recording youth voices—in diaries, memoir, ethnography, public history, childlore, court records, marginalia in scouting manuals, news media, advice columns, interactive periodicals, fan-club paraphernalia, shipping manifests, prison journals, case studies, artwork, and storytelling.

Howard Zinn wrote that “collection of records, papers and memoirs, as well as oral history, is biased toward the important and powerful people of the society, tending to ignore the impotent and obscure: we learn most about the rich, not the poor; the successful, not the failures; the old, not the young” (Midwestern Archivist 2.2, p. 21). Visibility projects like this series are necessary in tipping such a skewed perspective. Opportunities for finding authentic accounts of youth experience abound in public archives and private collections yet they remain tucked into obscurity due to a century of increased sentimental silencing of young members in society.

This series fosters a democratic curation of material history, offers great production value necessary in visual studies, and recognizes that great learning can result from noticing the smallest expressions.

Series Editor: Susan Honeyman, Professor of English at University of Nebraska-Kearney

For more information or to submit a proposal, contact editor-in-chief Katie Keene.

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Grotesque Progeny

In contemporary Western society, childhood appears more protected than ever to the casual onlooker. Yet, we are increasingly fascinated by narratives in which children are depicted as unsettling beings, ...

Into the Jungle!

Near the end of World War II and after, a small-town Nebraska youth, Jimmy Kugler, drew more than a hundred double-sided sheets of comic strip stories. Over half of these six-panel tales retold the Pacific ...

Boy and Girl Tramps of America

By Thomas Minehan
Introduction by Susan Honeyman
Categories: History
Series: Cultures of Childhood

In 1933 and 1934, Thomas Minehan, a young sociologist at the University of Minnesota, joined the ranks of a roving army of 250,000 boys and girls torn from their homes during the Great Depression. Disguised ...

At Risk

Jennifer Griffiths's At Risk: Black Youth and the Creative Imperative in the Post–Civil Rights Era focuses on literary representations of adolescent artists as they develop strategies to intervene against ...

They Also Write for Kids

Outside the world of children’s literature studies, children’s books by authors of well-known texts “for adults” are often forgotten or marginalized. Although many adults today read contemporary ...

The Preventorium

Named the 2023 Best Memoir on Health/Adverse Childhood Experiences by Memoir Magazine

Opened on February 17, 1929, the Mississippi State Preventorium operated continuously until 1976. The Mississippi Preventorium, ...

What the Children Said

Winner of the 2022 Opie Prize

Jeanne Pitre Soileau vividly presents children’s voices in What the Children Said: Child Lore of South Louisiana. Including over six hundred handclaps, chants, jokes, jump-rope ...