Hoiem authors new book on education of things

Elizabeth Hoiem
Elizabeth Hoiem, Assistant Professor

Assistant Professor Elizabeth Hoiem has authored a new book on how children learned about the material world at the close of the eighteenth century. The Education of Things, Mechanical Literacy in British Children's Literature, 1762-1860, funded in part by a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities, was recently published by the University of Massachusetts Press.

In her book, Hoiem examines the rising popularity during Britain's industrial revolution of children's moveable books and toys, which parents and teachers used to integrate observation and tinkering into lessons on reading and writing. These "mechanical" skillsets became essential literacies in an industrial economy. She also investigates the complex class politics behind the playful literature, toys, and learning aids created to teach reading alongside science, technology, and economics.

"The origins of children's literature publishing during this period reflect these important socio-economic changes. As learning strategies traditionally used to train youth in artisan workshops were incorporated into nurseries and classrooms for wealthier children of leisure, educators framed these activities as 'play' to offer a socially acceptable alternative to learning practical science through work," said Hoiem.

Education of Things book cover

This month, Hoiem will present research from her new book at virtual and in-person events. On February 14, she will speak to the Centre for History and Philosophy at the University of Leeds. The talk, which is part of the Centre's Visiting Speaker Seminar Series, will be held at 9:15 a.m. Central Time on Zoom. On February 20, Hoiem will give a special presentation from 3:00-5:00 p.m. in the Rare Books and Manuscript Library at the University of Illinois, which will include refreshments and children's books on display from the collection. Both events are open to all.

In her research and teaching, Hoiem explores the history of technological innovations in children's literature, from early children's books and toys to contemporary applications of digital pedagogy. She received the Judith Plotz Emerging Scholar Award for her article on 1830s radical texts for working children. Her essay on representations of slavery in children's books on manufacturing sugar received the 2021 Illinois Humanities Research Institute Prize for Best Faculty Research. This year, she is a fellow with The OpEd Project and the University of Illinois System. Hoiem holds a PhD in English from Illinois and MA in literary and cultural studies from Carnegie Mellon University.

Tags:
Updated on
Backto the news archive

Related News

iSchool researchers to present at IDCC24

iSchool faculty, staff, and students will present their research in transparent data curation and cleaning, provenance management, certified transparency, and data ethics at the 18th International Digital Curation Conference (IDCC24), which will be held from February 19-21 in Edinburgh, Scotland. The theme of this year's conference, which brings together individuals, organizations, and institutions across all disciplines and domains involved in curating data, is "Trust Through Transparency."

Adler and Naiman selected for 2024 NIH Grant Writing Series program

Associate Professor Rachel Adler and Teaching Assistant Professor Jill Naiman have been selected for the 2024 National Institutes of Health (NIH) Grant Writing Series program in the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute (IHSI). Led by faculty who have demonstrated a history of success with NIH proposals, the biennial NIH Grant Writing Series is designed to prepare Illinois faculty to submit their first R01 or other individual investigator proposals to the NIH.

Sun selected as 2024 PTC Emerging Scholar

Assistant Professor Meicen Sun was selected as a 2024 Pacific Telecommunications Council (PTC) Emerging Scholar and presented her research at the PTC Annual Conference, which was held from January 21-24 in Honolulu, Hawaii. PTC is a global, nonprofit organization promoting the advancement of information and communication technologies (ICT) in the Pacific Rim. 

Meicen Sun

He selected as 2023 ACM Distinguished Member

Jingrui He has been recognized as a 2023 Distinguished Member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the world's largest educational and scientific computing society. The 2023 inductees are longstanding ACM members who were selected by their peers for work that has advanced computing, fostered innovation across various fields, and improved computer science education. 

Jingrui He