Remaking Home Economics
Resourcefulness and Innovation in Changing Times

Edited by Sharon Y. Nickols and Gwen Kay

Essays on the history and current state of the family and consumer sciences field


"Attention to home economists’ struggles—whether in attempting to rein in an emphasis on weight at the expense of sound nutrition, or striving to teach women economy and frugality while creating beauty in clothing—provides a nuanced and gendered understanding of government power and control in the twentieth century. While this collection should be required reading for all working in the field of home economics, historians of women, gender, higher education, social reform, and state power will also find much of value in this well-crafted book."
—Charlotte A. Haller, Kansas History


An interdisciplinary effort of scholars from history, women’s studies, and family and consumer sciences, Remaking Home Economics covers the field’s history of opening career opportunities for women and responding to domestic and social issues. Calls to “bring back home economics” miss the point that it never went away, say Sharon Y. Nickols and Gwen Kay—home economics has been remaking itself, in study and practice, for more than a century. These new essays, relevant for a variety of fields—history, women’s studies, STEM, and family and consumer sciences itself—take both current and historical perspectives on defining issues including home economics philosophy, social responsibility, and public outreach; food and clothing; gender and race in career settings; and challenges to the field’s identity and continuity.

Home economics history offers a rich case study for exploring common ground between the broader culture and this highly gendered profession. This volume describes the resourcefulness of past scholars and professionals who negotiated with cultural and institutional constraints to produce their work, as well as the innovations of contemporary practitioners who continue to change the profession, including its name and identity.

The widespread urge to reclaim domestic skills, along with a continual need for fresh ways to address obesity, elder abuse, household debt, and other national problems affirms the field’s vitality and relevance. This volume will foster dialogue both inside and outside the academy about the changes that have remade (and are remaking) family and consumer sciences.

Contributors: Elizabeth L. Andress, Rima D. Apple, Jorge H. Atiles, Susan F. Clark, Billie J. Collier, Caroline E. Crocoll, Stephanie M. Foss, Gwen Kay, Emma M. Laing, Richard D. Lewis, Peggy S. Meszaros, Rachel Louise Moran, Virginia Moxley, Sharon Y. Nickols, Margarete Ordon, Linda Przybyszewski, Penny A. Ralston, Jane Schuchardt.

Published in cooperation with the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, University of Georgia

Page count: 272
Trim size: 6 x 9


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Sharon Y. Nickols is dean and professor emerita of family and consumer sciences at the University of Georgia. She received the Nellie Kedzie Jones Lifetime Achievement Award (Board on Human Sciences, Association of Land-Grant Colleges and Universities) for her many years of leadership in the field of human sciences.

Gwen Kay is a professor of history and director of the honors program at the State University of New York at Oswego. She is the author of Dying to Be Beautiful: The Fight for Safe Cosmetics.