Working in a tradition established by pioneering historians like Kathy Preiss, Lizabeth Cohen, and George Chauncey, Ann Meis Knupfer has written the first thorough study of the Cook County Juvenile Court in Chicago, one of the myriad Progressive initiatives designed to impose order on an increasingly diverse turn-of-the-century American city. From its inception the Court concerned itself primarily with "incorrigible" girls - those young (often immigrant or African-American) women caught riding in a closed automobile, loitering in a department store, or shimmying on the dance floor. Knupfer approaches encounters between delinquents and this new arm of the state as a series of narratives promulgated by legal operatives, state bureaucrats, female social workers, and the girls themselves. Using the elastic term "delinquency" as their canvas, these parties painted conflicting portraits of modernizing America. They told stories about the emergence of the state, the gendered nature of professionalism, the dangers (and promise) of consumer culture, and the possibility of pluralism. Combining rigorous research with passionate writing, "Reform and Resistance" provides a unique examination of adolescence, sex, delinquency, race, and gender.
"The strengths of "Reform and Resistance include an impressive and extensive bibliography as well as detailed footnotes that bring together many relevant theoretical approaches and current debates."
-Michigan Historical Review
"Knupfer . . .provides fascinating and original information on the definitions, causes and cures for female delinquency [with] an impressive range of primary sources. . .A necessary purchase for research collections on criminal justice, social welfare, women's history, or Chicago."
-"Library Journal, October 15, 2001
"Anne Meis Knupfer is part of a new crop of historians who insist on uneasy complexity, revealing children as actors in their own history and making us revisit the vexing present with new eyes."
-Bernardine Dohrn, Children and Family Justice Center, Northwestern University
"Building on provocative and intimate records of the institutional experiences of young women whose lives were touched by the juvenile justice system in Chicago a century ago, "Reform and Resistance is a distinguished contribution to the scholarship on the history of social policy, criminal justice, and the professionalization of urban reform."
-Michael Sedlak, author of "Selling Students Short
"Anne Meis Knupfer has written a rich and meticulously researched study. . . . she recovers the drama, texture, and complexities within the story of gender and juvenile delinquency."
-Karen Tice, author of "Tales of Wayward Girls and Immoral Women