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Paula Fass

Paula S. Fass is the Margaret Byrne Professor of History at the University of California at Berkeley, where she has taught for the past thirty-five years. A social and cultural historian, she has recently been active in developing the field of children’s history and has worked to make this an interdisciplinary field with a global perspective.  Paula Fass earned her A. B. degree from Barnard College, and M. A. and Ph. D. degrees from Columbia University.  In 2008 she was awarded an honorary Ph. D. degree from Linkoping University in Sweden.

Professor Fass’s books include Children of a New World:  Society, Culture, and Globalization (2007), Kidnapped: Child Abduction in America (1997), Outside In: Minorities and the Transformation of American Education (1989), The Damned and the Beautiful: American Youth in the 1920s (1977),  Childhood in America (2000, edited with Mary Ann Mason). She was the editor-in-chief of the award-winning Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood in History and Society (2004). Her most recent book is a family memoir, Inheriting the Holocaust:  A Second Generation Memoir (2009).  She has contributed to many collections in areas such as twentieth century culture, American education, immigration, globalization, children’s history and children’s policy.  In 2005, she toured central Italy as a Department of State lecturer.  She has also lectured in Sweden, Poland, Chile, France, and Turkey.  This past fall, Paula Fass was in Sweden as Kerstin Hesselgren Professor, a special appointment of the Swedish Research Council.  She is currently President of the Society for the History of Children and Youth, and is working on a history of American parent-child relations over the past two hundred years.   Paula Fass often appears on radio and television as a commentator on childhood in history and contemporary culture.  She has also been widely interviewed on celebrity trials such as  O. J. Simpson, the kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh, Jr., and on matters related to child abduction. She has held fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, and  several times from the National Endowment for the Humanities.  She has twice been a residential fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavior Sciences at Stanford, mostly recently (2006-07) as the leader of a team of historians who examined children in interdisciplinary and international perspective.

The mother of two grown children, Bluma Jessica Lesch and Charles Harry Tayler Lesch, she is married to John Lesch, a historian of biology and medical science, and lives in Berkeley, California.