Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things.
Among the many things expectant parents are told to buy, none is a more visible symbol of status and parenting philosophy than a stroller. Although its association with wealth dates back to the invention of the first pram in the 1700s, in recent decades, four-figure strollers have become not just status symbols but cultural identifiers.
There are sleek jogging strollers for serious athletes, impossibly compact strollers for parents determined to travel internationally with pre-ambulatory children, and those featuring a ride-on kick board or second, less "babyish" seat, designed with older siblings in mind. Despite the many models available, we are all familiar with the image of a harried mother struggling to use a stroller of any kind in a public space that does not accommodate it. There are anti-stroller evangelists, fervently preaching the gospel of baby wearing and attachment parenting. All of these attitudes, seemingly about an object, are also revealing of how we believe parents and children ought to move through the world.
Object Lessons is published in partnership with an essay series in The Atlantic.
About the Author
Amanda Parrish Morgan is a Writing Instructor at Fairfield University and a Westport Writers' Workshop Instructor. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, Guernica, The Millions, The Rumpus, The American Scholar, Women's Running, JSTOR Daily, Ploughshares, and N+1, among other places.
"Designed objects tell stories, and the stroller is no different - except perhaps that it's a typology that has received little sustained critical framing until this text. A compelling writer, Amanda Parrish Morgan deftly weaves together conversations around aspiration, accessibility, and aesthetics as they relate to this accouterment of modern parenthood and posits the stroller as a complex and sometimes confounding topic worthy of our attention and inquiry. This is an immensely readable volume, and we're proud to have it on our bookshelves." --Michelle Millar Fisher and Amber Winick, authors of Designing Motherhood: Things That Make and Break Our Births
"Part object history, part capitalist critique, a consistently acute and deeply felt depiction of the pleasures, traps, thrills, and dangers of early parenthood, Amanda Parrish Morgan's Stroller compellingly depicts the history and taxonomy of this most weighty and unruly device, ally, and antagonist." --Lynn Steger Strong, author of Want