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Work and love: Klarman Fellow studies childcare as a 20th century labor issue

In the second half of the 20th century, women joined the labor force in large numbers, creating a need, in many families, for childcare – and raising questions about assigning a value to such care.

Through archival research and interviews, Modica is gathering information from childcare workers. Chris Kitchen

“How do you transform unwaged labor into wage work on a large scale?” said Justine Modica, Klarman Postdoctoral Fellow in history in the College of Arts and Sciences. “How do we take something that’s ostensibly so highly valued socially and then try to attach an economic value to it?”

Writing a book about childcare as a 20th century labor issue, Modica is examining the history of care that families and childcare workers have configured in recent decades, describing conflicting approaches to how to grow and shape the childcare workforce.

“Justine’s work brilliantly illuminates one of the nation’s more pressing, urgent social issues: the struggles over the distribution, respect and renumeration of caregiving labor,” said Julilly Kohler-Hausmann, associate professor of history (A&S), and Modica’s faculty host.

Read the full story on the College of Arts and Sciences website.

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