Monday, December 3, 2007

For Presentations on Wednesday

Here's what I'd like for you to do:

1) Tell us your thesis (as it currently stands)
2) Explain what sources you are using
3) Relate your paper's questions to the themes of the class

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Why Marriage?

I figured in the blog we would get to the heart of the issue and the title of Chauncey's book: Why marriage? What is it about the title marriage that has both sides so fervent and unyielding?

Evan Wolfson explains that -“One of the main protections that comes with marriage, is the word marriage, which brings clarity and security that is simply not replaceable by any other word or sheaf of documents”

Knowing what we know about marriage and its history from this class, why do you think there is such a wish to "defend" marriage in its "traditional" state by conservatives and the Christian Right and such a desire to be included into the institution of marriage not just by benefits but by name as well (civil unions not enough for activists) on the part of the gay community? Do you think the name marriage is necessary for the gay community to have full equality? How vital is the title of marriage to self-identification, societal understanding, and distribution of benefits?

Monday, November 26, 2007

NY Times Article

My friend Julia knows that Gillian and I are in a class on marriage, so when she found this article she IMed the link to me:

I thought it was interesting since its written by Coontz.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Law and Order: SVU

I'm not sure how many of you watch Law & Order: SVU, but I was watching a rerun on USA while finishing reading the Chauncey book. Anyway, it fell in line pretty well with the book (minus being really sensationalized at parts). To begin with, a girl is being teased by a boy at her school for having mothers that are lesbians (Kate as a biological mother Zoe as her other mother - I only use these to help differentiate later on). The 8 year old girl, Emma, stabs a boy in the back with scissors to stop the teasing. Kate is sick and in the hospital so Zoe acts as her guardian during the police interrogation. The next morning Zoe and a lawyer come in to suppress the confession because she never signed adoption papers and is therefore not her parent or legal guardian.

They arrest Emma, and Zoe is denied custody before the trial because she relinquished custodial rights prior to suppress Emma's testimony. Eventually Emma is acquitted and Zoe gets permanent custody of her. In the meantime, Emma has been staying with Kate's parents who blame Zoe for making her daughter a lesbian. Kate has died by this point, and under persuasion by her grandparents, Emma tells the police that Zoe has been sexually molesting her. The police realize that Emma is being coerced and arrest the grandparents for some complex thing that eventually boils down into a hate crime. Eventually there is a mistrial because it turns out that the lawyer for the grandparents were feeding them information that children raised by homosexual parents are more likely to be molested prior to the custody hearings.

Again, I realize that this is television and probably a lot more complicated than needs be, but I thought it was interesting and wanted to open it up to discussion about the way that parental rights for gay and lesbian couples are portrayed in the media. In this storyline, Zoe uses her lack of rights to her benefit her daughter, but in doing so loses her future ability to gain custody of Emma.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Fathers, Wisconsin, and Welfare

From the New York Times Magazine, 2004:

A shorter version - the book review of the book-form of the article:

There might also be an interesting paper topic here!

Race Mixing and Latinos

From Vicki Ruiz, "From Out of the Shadows: Mexican Women in Twentieth-Century America," (Oxford U. Press, 1998):

In writing about Chicano student and labor activism in the late 1960s, Ruiz points out a theme also present in Romano's book.

"Surprisingly personal decisions, such as dating, marriage, and sexuality, became movement concerns whether one identified with cultural nationalism or Marxism or some sort of combination or an in-between political space. The whole issue of interracial dating and marriage became hotly debated. In 1971, Velia Garcia Hancock argued against this mixing on political grounds. It was not a question of 'mingling of the bloods' given the nature of Mexican mestizaje, but rather that 'intermarriage results in a weakening of ties and declining sense of responsibility and committment to La Raza.' These types of wholesale generalizations did little to promote communication. Love cannot be legislated. Furthermore, did marriage within La Raza always guarantee commitment to community empowerment? Many chroniclers and fighters for social justice, including slain journalist Ruben Salazar and poet/scholar/activist Adaljiza Sosa Riddell, intermarried. Marta Cotera addressed this issue in her 1977 collection of esssays, The Chicana Feminist. 'You have to be mature enough to respect people's choices. Any individual who doesn't have freedom of choice cannot be liberated.'"

Ruiz doesn't elaborate on whether men or women had different views, as does Romano, but this could be an interesting research topic, if you're in the market for a paper idea!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Modern Marriage

Maureen Dowd column mentioned in class today: