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.