Youth in History

My dissertation and first book focus on social constructions of youth in Munich between 1942 and 1973. It traces images or representations of young people, including the delinquent boy (der verwahrloste Junge), rowdies (Halbstarke), and teenagers. I argue that youth is not merely a construction but also a tool of social control. Whereas this emphasis closely follows Michel Foucault’s understanding of the “benefits of illegality” (Discipline and Punish), my  analysis also draws on urban history and theoretical concepts like Stanley Cohen’s “moral panics.” An article based on my research appeared in the Journal for the History of Childhood and Youth in spring 2013. My book titled Coming of Age: Constructing and Controlling Youth in Munich, 1942-1973 was published in May 2016, and the introduction is available online; I was also able to discuss it in more detail for the New Books in History podcast. Overall, the book has been received positively – and the paperback version is scheduled for publication in July 2020. 

Age“This is a strong contribution to the (still under-researched) post-war history of West Germany, one that also provides fresh insights into the histories of European youth and Cold War cultural politics. It transcends traditional markers of German history such as Stunde Null, moving from a ‘generational’ approach to one more rooted in the everyday history of youth.” [Alan McDougall, University of Guelph, backcover]

“….Kalb’s work does a remarkable job of balancing the views of authority figures and young people.” [Choice]

“Kalb’s creativity in examining how youth were designated as lawbreakers, black marketeers, and bohemian rowdies offers a glimpse into larger conversations about postwar society and the return of stability.” [Central European History]

“…and makes for some solid cultural history” [International Social Science Review]