Youth Political Participation

A photo from 1909 of two girls wearing banners that read "ABOLISH CHILD SLAVERY!" in English and Yiddish.

Children at the 1909 May Day parade in New York City protesting child slavery. This course discusses the history of youth political activism and participation in the United States. (Courtesy of the Library of Congress. This image is in the public domain.)


MIT Course Number

STS.080 / 11.151

As Taught In

Spring 2016



Cite This Course

Course Description

Course Features

Course Description

This course places contemporary youth activities in perspective by surveying young American's political participation over the past 200 years. Each week, students will look at trends in youth political activism during a specific historical period, as well as what difference—if any—youth media production and technology use (radio, music, automobiles, ready-made clothing) made in determining the course of events. A central theme in accounts of political participation by those who have not yet reached the age of majority are the opportunities for mobilization and expression that new technologies supply. This class explores what is truly new about "new media" and reviews lessons from history for present-day activists based on patterns of past failure and success.

Related Content

Jennifer Light. STS.080 Youth Political Participation. Spring 2016. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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