Kristian H. Nielsen, co-editor (with Isabel Zilhao) of Worlds of science for children and young people, 1830–1991
BJHS Themes 3 (2018)
Abstract (from the introduction)
Science for children and young people is an important, yet often neglected, subject in the historiography of science. It has gained attention due to the growing interest in science popularization. Like popular science, science for children and young people is a historical topic rich in fascinating stories about the ways in which scientific knowledge travels through society and culture. Although children and young people certainly belong to wider audiences for science outside the realm of specialized science, we have come to believe that studying science for children and young people allows us to probe even deeper into the ways in which science interacts with people's lives, their social relations and their hopes for the future. Children and young people since the Enlightenment have come to occupy a special role in Western society, and ideas about humankind, culture, learning, development and science have all been associated with childhood. When adults have presented scientific knowledge to children, they have not only built ideas (often ideals) about social order and proper upbringing into their materials, but also reflected upon questions about science in relation to children's capacity for acquiring new knowledge. We argue that children and young people historically and culturally constitute an important ‘other’ for science, and the historiography of science will benefit from taking on the topic of science for children and young people in this light.