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Raising Citizens in the Century of the Child

Raising Citizens in the Century of the Child: The United States and German Central Europe in Comparative Perspective

Edited by Dirk Schumann
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 280
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  • Book Info
    Raising Citizens in the Century of the Child
    Book Description:

    The 20th century, declared at its start to be the "Century of the Child" by Swedish author Ellen Key, saw an unprecedented expansion of state activity in and expert knowledge on child-rearing on both sides of the Atlantic. Children were seen as a crucial national resource whose care could not be left to families alone. However, the exact scope and degree of state intervention and expert influence as well as the rights and roles of mothers and fathers remained subjects of heated debates throughout the century. While there is a growing scholarly interest in the history of childhood, research in the field remains focused on national narratives. This volume compares the impact of state intervention and expert influence on theories and practices of raising children in the U.S. and German Central Europe. In particular, the contributors focus on institutions such as kindergartens and schools where the private and the public spheres intersected, on notions of "race" and "ethnicity," "normality" and "deviance," and on the impact of wars and changes in political regimes.

    eISBN: 978-1-84545-999-4
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction: Child-Rearing and Citizenship in the Twentieth Century
    (pp. 1-24)
    Dirk Schumann

    When West German chancellor Willy Brandt proclaimed in his inaugural address in 1969 that “the school of the nation was the school,” he confirmed for the Federal Republic what progressives in the US had already emphasized at the beginning of the twentieth century: school education was not just about imparting knowledge; it was also the chief instrument to instill in young people those very values that would enable them to be proper citizens of their nations in the future.¹ Preconditions for this to happen were better than ever before, as mandatory school attendance was widely enforced and young people spent...

  5. Part I. Foundations

    • Chapter 1 Children and the National Interest
      (pp. 27-50)
      Sonya Michel and Eszter Varsa

      As the title of this volume suggests, child-rearing in the twentieth century was not the exclusive province of parents: when it came to raisingcitizens, states were likely to become involved. This was certainly true in the cases discussed in the essays that follow. But this observation also prompts a question about timing: was the nationalization of child-rearing in the US and Europe strictly a twentieth-century phenomenon? Not entirely, in our view. This chapter argues that concerns about the relationship between children and the “national interest” are as old as nations themselves. During the “long nineteenth century,” which saw the...

  6. Part II. New Beginnings

    • Chapter 2 Children’s Future, Nation’s Future: Race, Citizenship, and the United States Children’s Bureau
      (pp. 53-67)
      Katharine S. Bullard

      In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a growing consensus among the population of the United States began to coalesce around the notion of a national interest in the childhood of all Americans, whether or not they were materially advantaged. Based in the conviction that the future of all children was as citizens and that citizenship required particular nurturing and training, numerous local governments and charities had already begun programs to provide material and educational assistance to children. Advocates for children and the White House conferences on childhood called for a national plan to assist children, seeing this as...

    • Chapter 3 From Reform Pedagogy to War Pedagogy: Education Reform before 1914 and the Mobilization for War in Germany
      (pp. 68-84)
      Andrew Donson

      In North America and Western Europe at the end of the nineteenth century, optimism and rising prosperity inspired a host of teachers, politicians, students, activist women, state officials, and self-professed pedagogues to found institutions and get laws passed to make young people more reliable and productive. Germany applied special vigor to these efforts. Graduates of its world-renowned universities pioneered new spheres of social sciences, such as adolescent psychology, that produced spirited reformers and lent rational legitimacy to their claims. Because of its long tradition of founding clubs, Germany also had more private and professional associations than other countries, and these...

    • Chapter 4 “Linked with the Welfare of All Peoples”: The American Kindergarten, Americanization, and Internationalism in the First World War
      (pp. 85-102)
      Ellen L. Berg

      The beginning of the First World War and the United States’ subsequent entry into combat reignited American concerns about national identity. During the 1910s, a virtual national obsession with “Americanization” programs intended to create reliable American citizens informed educational programs, including those of the burgeoning kindergarten movement. Kindergarten teachers’ pedagogical literature and records of their daily interactions in the classroom reveal that they were engaged in the project of preparing for life after the war. In doing so, they were trying to resolve two important questions: What does it mean to be an American? And how should Americans relate to...

  7. Part III. Redefining Parents’ Roles

    • Chapter 5 How Should We Raise Our Son Benjamin? Advice Literature for Mothers in Early Twentieth-Century Germany
      (pp. 105-121)
      Carolyn Kay

      In early twentieth-century Germany, bourgeois ideals of childhood became the popular subject of a wide range of advice books for parents and experts, written by doctors, psychologists, pedagogues, pastors, and feminists. While advice literature on child-rearing had existed in German society since the early modern period, as Steven Ozment and Gerald Strauss have shown,¹ and while prescriptive notions of parental discipline and children’s obedience remained fairly consistent (with the exception of the more tolerant Enlightenment era), the modern views were nonetheless distinct and illuminating in ways that have not been explored by many historians. Closer study of these advice books...

    • Chapter 6 Debunking Mother Love: American Mothers and the Momism Critique in the Mid Twentieth Century
      (pp. 122-140)
      Rebecca Jo Plant

      In 1957, Mrs. O. of Napa, California, recollected the thoughts that had passed through her mind after giving birth to her son in the 1930s. Contemplating her new role, she had immediately envisioned an image of the type of mother that she didnotwant to become. That image was vivid in details: a middle-aged woman who relied on the accessories of respectable femininity—violets and white gloves—to conceal her “terrible octopus” nature. Such a woman would regard her handsome young son as but another accessory, and she would exploit the fact that they shared a birthday to strengthen...

    • Chapter 7 Fatherhood, Rechristianization, and the Quest for Democracy in Postwar West Germany
      (pp. 141-164)
      Till van Rahden

      “Nazis—not wanted,” “Jews—undesirable,” and “half-weak fathers”: these were the topics thatDer Männer-Seelsorger[Spiritual Guidance for Men], a monthly Catholic journal, listed as “hot potatoes” in West Germany in 1964.¹ The third of these catch phrases was obviously meant as a retort to the widespread image of the “half-strong youth.” But more than that, it pointed to one of the obsessions of West Germany in its early years: discovering what kind of paternal authority was possible and desirable after the catastrophe of National Socialism and the war of extermination. Of course, the debate on the “society without the...

  8. Part IV. Parental Rights and State Demands

    • Chapter 8 Who Owns Children? Parents, Children, and the State in the United States South
      (pp. 167-185)
      Charles A. Israel

      Corresponding with co-counsel Sue K. Hicks in the months leading up to the 1925 trial of schoolteacher John T. Scopes on the charges of violating Tennessee’s new law prohibiting instruction about evolution, prosecuting attorney William Jennings Bryan expressed his doubts over whether “the question of evolution” was really even “involved” in the trial. Central to the case—Bryan would term it the “real issue”—was “[t]herightof thepeoplespeaking through the legislature, to control the schools which theycreateandsupport.”¹ The pretrial maneuvering by the prosecution and their contention that the central issue was the power of...

    • Chapter 9 “Children Betray Their Father and Mother”: Collective Education, Nationalism, and Democracy in the Bohemian Lands, 1900–1948
      (pp. 186-205)
      Tara Zahra

      In 1938, Erika Mann, daughter of Thomas Mann, published an exposé of educational methods in Nazi Germany calledSchool for Barbarians. In it she linked the evils of the Third Reich to a relentless assault on the family.¹ “The break-up of the family is no by-product of the Nazi dictatorship, but part of the job which the regime had to do if it meant to reach its aim—the conquest of the world,” she wrote. “If the world is to go to the Nazis, the German people must first belong to them. And for that to be true, they can’t...

    • Chapter 10 Asserting Their “Natural Right”: Parents and Public Schooling in Post-1945 Germany
      (pp. 206-225)
      Dirk Schumann

      On 23 June 1953, Roetgen, a village in the Aachen district of North Rhine-Westphalia, was in turmoil. Shortly after eight o’clock, twenty-five 13- and 14-year-old students from the higher boys’ class of the eighth grade of the local school marched along main street, carrying placards that read “We are not going to come to school at one o’clock in the afternoon any more” and “We want to come to school at eight o’clock in the morning, starting today!” The march ended at the office of the principal, Mrs. Wynands. She was not amused. Calling the students “a bunch of rascals”...

    • Chapter 11 “Special Relationships”: The State, Social Workers, and Abused Children in the United States, 1950–1990
      (pp. 226-243)
      Lynne Curry

      In February 1989 the United States Supreme Court issued an opinion in a case involving an abused child, a sad and disturbing story that had begun more than five years earlier in central Wisconsin. InDeShaney v. Winnebago County Department of Social Services, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, writing for a six-to-three majority, ruled that children do not enjoy a constitutional right to be protected from their parents’ violence. When he was four years old, Joshua DeShaney had been severely beaten by his father and legal custodian, Randy DeShaney, leaving the little boy permanently brain damaged and partially paralyzed. Joshua...

  9. Select Bibliography
    (pp. 244-248)
  10. Contributors
    (pp. 249-251)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 252-256)