CFP: MHR NS4 Marriage in American History

Katy Morris's picture
Call for Papers
July 25, 2022
Subject Fields: 
American History / Studies, Women's & Gender History / Studies, African American History / Studies, Sexuality Studies

MHR Call for Papers: Marriage in American History
Proposal Deadline: 25 July 2022

To mark the 20th anniversary of the historic decision in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, volume 4 of the MHR’s new series will feature essays that deal critically with the theme of marriage, broadly conceived. Essays may address the theme in a variety of ways so long as the idea of marriage is integral to the topic and analysis.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s ruling in Goodridge made the Commonwealth of Massachusetts the first in the nation to recognize same-sex marriage. In 2001, seven same-sex Bay State couples sued after state officials denied them marriage licenses. Writing for the majority in this watershed case, Chief Justice Margaret Marshall refuted opponents’ claims that same-sex marriage would harm the institution of marriage overall, pointing out that “[recognizing] the right of an individual to marry a person of the same sex will not diminish the validity of opposite-sex marriage, any more than recognizing the right of an individual to marry a person of a different race devalues the marriage of a person who marries someone of her own race.” Rather, Justice Marshall argued, “extending civil marriage to same-sex couples reinforces the importance of marriage to individuals and communities. That same-sex couples are willing to embrace marriage’s solemn obligations of exclusivity, mutual support, and commitment to one another is a testament to the enduring place of marriage in our laws and in the human spirit.” Although the court handed down its 4-3 decision the previous year, the first marriage licenses were issued to same-sex couples in 2004.

The MHR invites interested authors to submit proposals for original essays in any era of American history and speaking to a general audience. Preference will be given to essays that connect in some manner to Massachusetts and New England. The journal welcomes submissions from authors pursuing research in history or related fields (such as American Studies or American Literature) at all career stages, including graduate students, tenured faculty members, and independent scholars.

Interested parties should submit a current curriculum vitae (three pages maximum) along with a one-page (double-spaced) proposal that outlines the subject the author seeks to pursue and its connection to the theme, the sources employed, and the intervention in relevant historical scholarship to by July 25, 2022. By Aug 8, 2022, authors with successful proposals will receive an invitation to submit a completed draft of their essay for consideration.

First drafts of essays selected will be due by December 16, 2022, and must be 7,500–10,000 words. All drafts will undergo a rigorous peer-review process by both MHS staff and outside readers prior to publication.

Questions? Please write to