This book combines two flourishing historical fields-the history of childhood and world history-to address the question of how much of childhood is natural and how much is historically determined. The first lecture gauges the impact of the development of agriculture, civilisation, and religion upon the pre-modern experience of childhood. The second lecture contrasts modern perspectives on childhood with more traditional ones before investigating how and why modern perspectives developed and spread. These lectures clearly demonstrate that the transformation of childhood is both recent and sweeping.
Peter Stearns (Ph.D. Harvard University) is the provost at George Mason University. He is the author of over thirty books.