The 10th anniversary edition of Childhood in the Past is out now!

Take a look at the contents of Childhood in the Past – Volume 10.1 – 2017:

Editorial – Ten Years of Childhood in the Past

Eileen M. Murphy

Invited paper

SSCIP: The First Ten Years

Sally Crawford

Research papers

Landscapes of Childhood: Places and Material Culture

Margarita Sánchez Romero

Child Bioarchaeology: Perspectives on the Past Ten Years

Simon Mays, Rebecca Gowland, Siân Halcrow and Eileen Murphy

Reflections on Interdisciplinarity in the Study of Childhood in the Past

Jane Eva Baxter, Shauna Vey, Erin Halstad McGuire, Suzanne Conway and Deborah E. Blom

Homo faber juvenalis: A Multidisciplinary Survey of Children as Tool Makers/Users

David F. Lancy

Book reviews, edited by Simon Mays

The Archaeology of Childhood: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on an Archaeological Enigma. Edited by Güner Coşkunsu – reviewed by Siân E. Halcrow

British Hymn Books for Children, 1800-1900. Re-Tuning the History of Childhood. By Alisa Clapp-Itnyre – reviewed by Siân Pooley

Childhood, Youth and Emotions in Modern History: National, Colonial and Global Perspectives. Edited by Stephanie Olsen – reviewed by Leticia Fernández-Fontecha Rumeu

The End of American Childhood: A History of Parenting from Life on the Frontier to the Managed Child. By Paula S. Fass – reviewed by Jane Eva Baxter

Home Decoration. By Charles Franklin Warner – reviewed by Lynne McKerr

Adolescence in Modern Irish History. Edited by Catherine Cox and Susannah Riordan – reviewed by Virginia Crossman


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From Eileen Murphy’s Editorial – Ten Years of Childhood in the Past

Volume 10.1 commences with an invited contribution by SSCIP President, Sally Crawford, in which she reviews the many and varied activities of the Society over the past 10 years. She provides an important account of the events that led to the formation of the Society and indeed Childhood in the Past. She ends by reflecting on the achievements the Society had made over the past 10 years and expresses a desire to continue supporting all those working in the field of past childhood studies.

The volume also includes four research papers, each of which have been led and developed by members of the SSCIP Committee. As mentioned above, the first paper by Margarita Sánchez Romero investigates the historiography of research undertaken into past childhood through a review of the subjects dealt within the past issues of Childhood in the Past. Her approach uses bodies, places and material culture to examine a variety of landscapes of childhood – landscapes of care and affection, landscapes of learning, landscapes of socialization, landscapes of uncertainty and, finally, landscapes of research in which she identifies potential future avenues of research. The second paper by Simon Mays, Rebecca Gowland, Siân Halcrow and I reviews key developments that have been made in the field of child bioarchaeology over the past 10 years. The paper includes a bibliometric study of publications in physical anthropology/osteoarchaeological journals over a 10-year period to assess the general trends that have occurred in relation to the study of the skeletal remains of children. It then proceeds to examine the social bioarchaeology of the child, in which a number of important theoretical frameworks used for positioning children in past societies, in particular the life course approach, are discussed. The bibliometrical study indicated that many of the publications with a focus on child bioarchaeology have concentrated on diet and palaeopathology and innovations in these areas are also explored. The paper concludes with the observation that bioarchaeological studies that integrate children and adults will contribute to a more complete view of past societies.

In their paper, Jane Eva Baxter and colleagues provide their personal reflections on interdisciplinarity in the study of childhood in the past. They start with the observation that a key characteristic of studies of childhood in the past is their interdisciplinary nature and suggest this situation has arisen for two main reasons; interest in the field is a relatively recent phenomenon and the study of past childhood has been largely marginalized in traditional disciplinary approaches. They are of the view that spaces that allow scholars to come together to address past childhood as an area of study, such as those provided through SSCIP conferences or in the pages of Childhood in the Past, are essential. Four reflective essays are written by scholars from different backgrounds – theatre history (Shauna Vey), art history (Suzanne Conway), archaeology/teaching (Erin Halstad McGuire) and bioarchaeology (Deborah E. Blom). Each reflective essay considers the development and significance of interdisciplinary thinking in their work and also provides insights in relation to the discipline in which they practice.

David Lancy’s paper provides a multidisciplinary survey of children as tool makers/users with the overall goal of deriving a set of generalizations that might characterize children as the makers/users of tools in early hominin societies. His information is derived from lithic archaeology, studies of juvenile chimps as novice tool users, recent laboratory work in human infant and child cognition in relation to the use of objects as tools and the ethnographic study of children learning about the tools used by their communities. He argues that this multidisciplinary approach has the potential to provide greater insights in relation to the development of children as tool makers and users than has previously been available to scholars working within narrow disciplinary constraints.

The journal ends with 6 book reviews compiled by Simon Mays. The first reviews Güner Coşkunsu’s edited volume on interdisciplinary perspectives on the archaeology of childhood. Four of the other books are historical in nature and deal with a variety of diverse topics including, 19th-century British hymn books, childhood, youth and emotions, a history of parenting in America and adolescence in modern Irish history. Lynne McKerr’s review on Charles Franklin Warner’s book on Home Decoration was chosen for the special issue because, as she describes, it is one of a series of culturally significant ‘Forgotten Books’ which are out of copyright and have been subsequently digitized and made freely available. First published in 1911, it offers a fascinating insight into contemporary aspirations and ambitions for children living in early 20th-century America.