The Intimate State: Gender, Sexuality, and Governance in Modern U.S. History
Call for Proposals: Due April 10, 2017
Editors: Margot Canaday, Nancy Cott, & Robert Self
We are soliciting original history essays—archive-based research on specific topics, as well as conceptual essays addressing more abstract questions—regarding gender, sexuality and the state for a new edited volume. We seek to bring twenty-five years of scholarship on gender, sexuality, and the family to bear on the history of modern state authority in the United States (1865 to the present). While the volume will reach back to the Reconstruction era and value this history as such, we also hope to point toward a usable past in an uncertain present.
The historical study of state power (its accumulation at various scales, its structures, and its modes of operation) is a longstanding field while that of gender, sex, and sexuality is relatively young though very vibrant. For the most part, these two fields have produced their profoundest insights and advancements without substantial dialogue with one another. Yet contemporary developments and recent scholarship have made it plain that government action at the local, state and federal levels is entwined with incentives, obligations and punishments related to gender and sexuality, and that decisions imagined as personal and intimate choices are almost always already structured by state rules.
These collected essays will aim to demonstrate that the involvements of government authority in intimate life warrant greater historical analysis and theorization than they have generated to date. We envision a volume that encourages scholars whose primary intellectual commitment is to the history of gender and sexuality to leverage that scholarship in the service of new understandings of modern state power (whether at local, state, regional, national, or transnational scales) and that scholars of state authority will also be persuaded to attend more to the insights of gender and sexuality studies in their scholarship. How might the history of American state development—its periodization, its overall theorization—look different at every governmental level from the local to the federal when questions of gender and sexuality move to the center of the analytical frame? The volume invites intersectional approaches to that question, foregrounding the relationship of gender, sexuality, and state power to race, class, and other categories of analysis and experience, and also welcomes contributions that are transnational or comparative in their approach.
Possible topics might include gender/sexuality and:
borders of the nation/immigration
racism, racial violence
penal power and incarceration
militarization and war
as well as state power/regulation and:
forms of marriage, nonmarriage, marital dissolution
commercialized sex/sex work
sexual science, eugenics
reproduction, contraception, abortion
transgender lives and experiences
Please send an abstract of no more than 750 words, including references to major sources for the research if archive-based, to Margot Canaday (firstname.lastname@example.org), Nancy Cott (email@example.com), and Robert Self (firstname.lastname@example.org) by April 10, 2017, along with a one-page CV. Authors will be notified by June 1, 2017, of their selection to participate in a conference to be held at Brown University in January of 2018. Essays (of no more than 10,000 words) to be circulated for the conference will be due December 15, 2017.