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Revolutions at Home: The Origin of Modern Childhood and the German Middle Class

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How did we come to imagine what "ideal childhood" requires? Beginning in the late eighteenth century, German child-rearing radically transformed, and as these innovations in ideology and educational practice spread from middle-class families across European society, childhood came to be seen as a life stage critical to self-formation. This new approach was in part a process that adults imposed on youth, one that hinged on motivating children's behavior through affection and cultivating internal discipline. But this is not just a story about parents' and pedagogues' efforts to shape childhood. Offering rare glimpses of young students' diaries, letters, and marginalia, Emily C. Bruce reveals how children themselves negotiated these changes.

Revolutions at Home analyzes a rich set of documents created for and by young Germans to show that children were central to reinventing their own education between 1770 and 1850. Through their reading and writing, they helped construct the modern child subject. The active child who emerged at this time was not simply a consequence of expanding literacy but, in fact, a key participant in defining modern life.

224 pages, Hardcover

Published July 30, 2021

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About the author

Emily C. Bruce

1 book2 followers
Emily C. Bruce was born in Boston, Massachusetts. She received her B.A. from Williams College in 2007 and Ph.D. in History from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities in 2015. She is currently Assistant Professor of History at the University of Minnesota Morris. Recent publications include work on girls’ periodicals, children’s letter writing, comparative domestic education, and geography instruction in Social Science History, Paedagogica Historica, the Journal of Modern Chinese History, and the Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth. Her new research investigates siblinghood across the life course in German, Irish, and French Canadian migrations to the United States, 1840–1930.

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Author 1 book2 followers
January 2, 2021
Author: rather excited to find her own first book on Goodreads.

Cover: gorgeous, because of brilliant designers at UMass Press.
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