On March 27 the History Department at Case Western Reserve University is hosting Rebecca Onion, a history writer for Slate and visiting scholar at Ohio University. The title of her talk is “How Science Became Child’s Play: Childhood and Public Science in the 20th-Century United States.”
Americans often think that kids used to love science, but today are too distracted. Or too digital. Or too peer-oriented, indoors, consumerist, coddled, lazy, scared, or soft. Whatever the flavor of explanation, it implies that recruiting kids to science is as simple as clearing away artificial barriers and igniting natural interest.
This talk challenges this assumption by showing how throughout the 20th century, the widespread vision of children’s scientific play- often looking back at an imagined golden age of boyish hobbyist scientists- has in fact reflected and amplified other cultural debates about the nature of childhood. As a result, behind ideas about kids and science lies deeper anxieties about gender, class, and work.
**This event is not sponsored by the Schubert Center but may be of interest to our friends and colleagues.**