Susan Miller

Andrew W. Mellon Regional Fellow in the Humanities

20122013 Forum on Peripheries

Susan Miller

Assistant Professor of Childhood Studies
Rutgers University, Camden

Bloodlines and Lifetimes

In "Bloodlines and Lifetimes," a section of my book project on children's patriotism I argue that the late nineteenth century witnessed the movement of youth from the periphery to the core of American civic identity. Scholars have established a concomitant refiguring of children's economic and social meaning– a nascent sense of 'pricelessness' encouraged their removal from labor markets and their relocation to the rhetorical center of domesticity. Fittingly, my work fixes children at the center of what historian Jackson Lears calls the "rebirth of a nation." Native-born youth became central to projects of civic nationalism ostensibly created to assimilate immigrants, and served as comfortably familiar tropes employed to justify the colonization of 'childish primitives' who dwelt at the periphery of a newly imperial American nation