Jennifer Robin Terry

Visiting Lecturer

North America

I am a historian of 19th and 20th century social and cultural U.S. history. My research situates the history of childhood within broader themes where children's experiences are often overlooked, such as in war, civil rights, and the labor force.

My manuscript, Agrarian Reason: A Century of Denying Child Labor in America explores how myth and rural folkways hindered the regulation of child labor in the agriculture industry throughout the twentieth century. In doing so, this project exposes a significant factor in rural poverty and explores the marginalization of poor Latinx, African American, and white children for whom education, health, and well being were sacrificed in the service of food production. In another project, I examine child labor in the entertainment industry from the 1930s through the 1990s and reveal how the law has privileged parents' rights over those of their employed children. I am also interested in and have written about children's experiences during World War II.


BA, Sacramento State University, 2002
MA, Sacramento State University, 2004
PhD, University of California, Berkeley, 2018

Research Interests

  • childhood
  • culture
  • class
  • gender
  • migration
  • environment
  • American West

Select Awards & Honors

2017 Fred J. Martin American Political History Award

2016–2017 Quinn Fellowship, Doris G. Quinn Foundation

2016 Founders' Dissertation Prize, Western Association of Women Historians

2014 Neil Sutherland Article Prize, Best Scholarly Article on the History of Children and Youth

2013 Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award, University of California, Berkeley

2010–2012 UC Regents Fellowship, University of California, Berkeley

2010 Chancellor's Doctoral Incentive Program (CDIP), The California State University

Representative Publications

Huelga Kids: Child Activists and the United Farm Worker Movement, 1965-1975,” (in progress)

“The Victory Farm Volunteers: Child Labor, World War II, and the Federal Government’s Breadbasket of Democracy,” (in progress)

“Bobby-Soxers in the Fields: Girls, Situational Masculinity, and Emergency Wartime Farm Labor,” a chapter in Girls’ Economies & Girlhood Cultures: On the Borders of Work and Play, edited by Miriam Forman-Brunell. (forthcoming)

“The Wolf at the Door: Child Actors in Liminal Legal Spaces,” (Roundtable on Children and the Law) Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth 11, no. 1 (Winter 2018): 57-62.

“Cultivating Healthy Personalities: Iowa and the Midcentury White House Conference on Children and Youth,” Annals of Iowa 75, no. 2 (Spring 2016): 130-163.

“They ‘used to tear around campus like savages’: Children’s and Youth’s Activities in the Santo Tomás Internment Camp, 1942-1945,” Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth 5, no. 1 (Winter 2012): 87-117. **winner of the 2014 Neil Sutherland Prize, Best Scholarly Article on the History of Children and Youth