Call For Chapters: New Directions in US Family History

Sarah Potter Discussion

Call For Chapters: New Directions in US Family History

Under advanced contract with Routledge

Edited by Sarah Potter, University of Memphis,


Overview of “New Directions in History” Series (from Routledge):

This series brings new directions in historical scholarship to the forefront of the classroom. Spanning different periods and regions, each book combines the freshest research and pertinent case studies in a particular subject area and makes these accessible for students at the advanced undergraduate level. Synthetic in nature, volumes focus on where the field of study is going and are generally edited in order to cover a range of diverse topics within a subfield and chapters are thematic in order to bring these together in a cohesive way.


Overview of “New Directions in US Family History” volume:

This edited collection will synthesize major topics and themes in United States family history (broadly defined) with a focus on new scholarship and approaches. Organized both chronologically and thematically, the text will cover US family history from the colonial era to the present. It will bring together a mix of senior and emerging scholars to provide readers with accessible introductions to the major topics, questions, debates, theories, and research strategies in the field. It will cover family history from diverse viewpoints, with particular focus on the perspectives of African American, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian American, poor, working-class, and queer families. It will also address issues of religion, political and policy debates about families, and the shifting relationship between the family and the state. Finally, when possible, the text will consider US family history in a comparative global and transnational framework to highlight distinct trends within the United States.


The book will be geared toward undergraduate classroom use in family history and family studies courses but would also be of interest to graduate students who are preparing to become researchers in this subfield.


Each chapter will:

  • Present a clear, novel argument using primary source evidence about its theme/topic
  • Explain how its theme/topic fits into the historical narrative of US family history by providing a clear historical overview of its theme/topic over time (i.e., it should briefly discuss the history of the theme/topic both before and after the main chronological focus of the chapter)
  • Discuss the chapter argument’s contribution to our understanding of US family history
  • Consist of no more than 6000 words, including notes
  • Complete chapter drafts are due by 12/31/23


To propose a chapter:

Feel free to reach out if you have questions or would like more information. I will accept a 1-2 paragraph pitch for proposed chapters through May 26, 2023. Please include a clear description of your topic, sources, and analysis in relation to family history in your pitch. Please also send a one-page CV. I am interested in pitches for any topic, but am especially interested in chapters on the following:

  • Religious movements experimenting with new family forms in the 19th century (Mormons, Shakers, Oneida, etc)
  • Rural, frontier, and borderlands families
  • Families and immigration
  • Cold War families
  • Families and Civil Rights
  • LGBTQ+ families
  • Family values politics of the 1980s and 1990s