Skip to content

Victoria Cain

Headshot of Victoria Cain

Associate Professor of History

Victoria Cain is a social and cultural historian of the twentieth century United States. She takes special interest in the history of education, media, and technology. Her most recent book, Schools and Screens: A Watchful History (MIT Press, 2021), chronicles controversies over the rise and use of screen media technologies in twentieth-century American schools. She is also the author, with Karen Rader, of the award-winning Life on Display: Revolutionizing Museums of Science and Nature in the United States (University of Chicago Press, 2014), a social history of exhibition in U.S. museums of science and nature. Cain has held fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and her research has been supported by the National Academy of Education and the American Association of University Women.

Her latest project, Revealing Practices, investigates the history of adolescent privacy in the United States during the long twentieth century.

View CV
  • Stanton Foundation Course Development Grant, 2020-2021
  • History of Education Society Outstanding Book Award, 2015; for the most outstanding book in the field published in the previous year
  • Spencer Foundation Small Research Grant, 2015-2016
  • American Educational Research Association Division F New Scholar Book Award, 2014;
  • Northeastern Humanities Center Fellowship, 2015-2016
  • History of Education Society Prize for the most distinguished scholarly essay in educational history published in any journal over the previous two-year period, 2015;
  • Mellon / Shoah Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship in Visual History, University of Southern California, 2007-2009
  • National Academy of Education / Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2008-2009
  • Visiting Scholar at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2006-2007

Related Schools & Departments

Related Research Centers

  • Education

    PhD in History, Columbia University

  • Contact

  • Address

    209 Meserve Hall
    360 Huntington Avenue
    Boston, MA 02115


Course catalog
  • HIST 1200 / 1201: First Year Seminar

    HIST 1200 / HIST 1201

    Provides an introduction to historical methods, research, writing, and argument in which all students produce a substantial research project that passes through at least two revisions, and that is presented publicly to other members of the colloquium.

  • HIST 1357: History of Information in the United States

    HIST 1357

    In an age of digital media, deepfakes, and data surveillance, information is a fraught concept. While it’s tempting to see anxieties about information as new, Americans struggled with the ethics and politics of information long before tweeting or TikTok. Information has a history, one shaped and scarred by society and culture. By diving deep into the history of information in the United States, and by paying close attention to the laws, technologies, and politics that surround its collection and use, students will develop more sophisticated understandings of ongoing controversies over information and big data.