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Sunday, January 4, 2009

First Male Home Economist in Northern Ireland

The University of Ulster in Northern Ireland graduated its first male home economics teacher, Marc Harding, in 2005. It was such a new thing that the University posted a news story about him (University of Ulster News), and he was interviewed by the The Consumer Council for Northern Ireland as well.

Men have made inroads into the home economics profession since the 1940s/50s in the United States, but I'm not sure what the history is like in other countries - I'll keep looking! There are lots of stories about men becoming home economists, like this one at The main thrust is still about cooking and childcare issues, at least on the surface. Maybe that is because it's easy to get pictures like the one on Buzzle of people sitting at a dining table. It's much tougher to visualize home economics as a way to understand social justice movements in say food acquisition or the development of marital laws.

Home economics is a global area of knowledge, because most people have to deal with a personal economy in whatever their place of residence is - a 10 room house in a suburban subdivision (a.k.a., perfectly good farm land); a tent under a highway overpass; an apartment in a 300 unit complex. Everyone deals with economics. The University of Alberta in Canada has a good page describing trends in home ec (University of Alberta).

Here is a link to some current research on male home-makers in Nigeria. I think that a cross-cultural examination of home economics issues and processes will lead to ideas that are liberating and functional for everyone.

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