In a 2005 seminal essay, Lenore Davidoff argued for kinship as a category of analysis to join more widely recognized historical analytical categories such as race, gender, and class. Davidoff further explored these ideas in her 2012 book, Thicker than Water: Siblings and Their Relations, 1780-1920. Though speaking about nineteenth-century Britain, her call for scholars to better understand “the complicated interconnections between the economic, social, and political changes . . . on the one hand and the reach, shape, and meaning of familial/household belonging on the other,” is well taken (Thicker than Water, 27-8). Race, gender, and class as analytical categories have become regular parts of the historian’s toolkit. More recently, categories such as marital status and age have joined that list. Kinship as a category of analysis can be further explored to discover ways kinship or family ties shape decisions, within families, across social groups, and even at the highest political levels.
Articles in this special issue of Genealogy will explore Davidoff’s concept further. What does using kinship as a lens do to our understanding of historical events, actors, or to our understanding of things like nationality, race, gender, and class?
We invite contributions that explore kinship as a category of analysis in a variety of ways. Possible areas include:
- Applying the tools of genealogy to explore kinship as an analytical category—whether in case studies of how genealogical information combined with attention to kinship as a category can generate new insights and new questions, or how genealogical expertise can affect theoretical approaches to historical events.
- How does focusing on kinship affect interpretations of actions in the past? For example, Davidoff used kinship as an analytical lens to trace how a sense of family, lineage, and heritage affected politicians’ careers.
Genealogy (ISSN 2313-5778) is an international, scholarly, peer-reviewed, open-access journal devoted to the analysis of genealogical narratives (with applications for family, race/ethnic, gender, migration and science studies) and scholarship that uses genealogical theory and methodologies to examine historical processes. The journal is published quarterly online by MDPI.
Special Issue Guest Editor: Amy Harris, History Department, Brigham Young University.