In this Book

NYU Press
summary

From his founding of The Journal of Social History to his groundbreaking work on the history of emotions, weight, and parenting, Peter N. Stearns has pushed the boundaries of social history to new levels, presenting new insights into how people have lived and thought through the ages. Having established the history of emotions as a major subfield of social history, Stearns and his collaborators are poised to do the same thing with the study of human behavior. This is their manifesto.

American Behavioral History deals with specific uses of historical data and analysis to illuminate American behavior patterns, ranging from car buying rituals to sexuality, and from funeral practices to contemporary grandparenting. The anthology illustrates the advantages and parameters of analyzing the ways in which people behave, and adds significantly to our social understanding while developing innovative methods for historical teaching and research.

At its core, the collection demonstrates how the study of the past can be directly used to understand current behaviors in the United States. Throughout, contributors discuss not only specific behavioral patterns but, importantly, how to consider and interpret them as vital historical sources.

Contributors include Gary Cross, Paula Fass, Linda Rosenzweig, Susan Matt, Steven M. Gelber, Peter N. Stearns, Suzanne Smith, Mark M. Smith, Kevin White.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Frontmatter
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Preface
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. 1 Introduction
  2. pp. 1-16
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  1. Part I Family and Childhood
  2. p. 17
  1. 2 The Cute Child and Modern American Parenting
  2. pp. 19-41
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  1. 3 Abduction Stories That Changed Our Lives: From Charley Ross to Modern Behavior
  2. pp. 42-57
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  1. 4 “If They Have Any Orders, I Am Theirs to Command”: Indulgent Middle-Class Grandparents in American Society
  2. pp. 58-83
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  1. Part II Emotions and Consumer Behavior
  2. p. 85
  1. 5 There’s No Place Like Home: Homesickness and Homemaking in America
  2. pp. 87-117
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  1. 6 Horseless Horses: Car Dealing and the Survival of Retail Bargaining
  2. pp. 118-140
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  1. Part III Death and Mourning
  2. p. 141
  1. 7 American Death
  2. pp. 143-154
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  1. 8 Laid Out in “ Big Mama’s Kitchen”: African Americans and the Personalized Theme Funeral
  2. pp. 155-177
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  1. Part IV Perception of the Senses
  2. p. 179
  1. 9 Making Scents Make Sense: White Noses, Black Smells, and Desegregation
  2. pp. 181-198
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  1. Part V Sexuality
  2. p. 199
  1. 10 Tainted Love: The Transformation of Oral-Genital Behavior in the United States, 1970–2000
  2. pp. 201-247
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  1. About the Contributors
  2. pp. 249-250
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 251-259
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