Home | Events |

Nancy F. Cott Jonathan Turnbull Professor of American History Harvard University

The Rei(g)n of Marriage: An American History

Nov 04, 2015
from 04:00 PM to 06:30 PM

2203 Social Sciences & Humanities, Andrews Conference Room

Nancy F. Cott is the Jonathan Trumbull Professor of American History, Harvard University.  She is on sabbatical for the 2015-16 academic year, as a recipient of a National Humanities Fellowship. She is a prolific author, having written four books, edited four volumes, and published countless articles in journals and edited volumes.  Her scholarly work focuses on questions of gender, sexuality, feminism, legal history, social movements, and citizenship in the U.S. from the early republic to the 20th century.  Published in 2002, her seminal book, Public VowsA History of Marriage and the Nation, disavows us of the common notion that marriage in American history was a matter between two people.  Marriage, she argues, has always been a public institution.  From tenets of British Common law in the early Republic, to contestations with Native Americans and emancipated slaves, and to the policies of the New Deal, Cott demonstrates how the federal government, legislators, and jurists have excluded and encouraged certain forms of marriage to form particular notions of citizenship and nation.  Since 2000, Professor Cott has participated in writing historians’ amici briefs on the same-sex marriage question in several states, including challenges to the federal Defense of Marriage Act.  She also testified as an expert witness in the federal case Perry v. Schwarzenegger against Proposition 8 in California, using her research and writing on the history of marriage to debunk each of the Prop 8 defendants’ claims. She has won numerous prizes, fellowships, served on the executive board of many academic organizations and journals, and is the incoming president of the Organization of American Historians. 



Seminar is open to the public, space is limited.
Filed under: , ,