Publication Date

May 1, 2009

The working group set up by the AHA Council to explore historical perspectives on same-sex marriage at the San Diego annual meeting in January 2010 will soon begin to review suggestions it has been receiving from members and will also further refine and develop various plans in the making, some of which have been outlined in the article by Karen Halttunen published in the April 2009 issue ofPerspectives on History.

The working group, created in furtherance of the resolution adopted at the 2009 annual meeting, is chaired by Karen Halttunen, the vice president of the AHA’s Teaching Division. The group’s other members are: Kristin Hoganson (Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) representing the 2010 Program Committee, Leisa Meyer (William and Mary Coll.) as co-chair of the AHA’s LGBTQ Task Force, and James Green (Brown Univ.), as well as the AHA vice presidents, David Weber of the Professional Division, and Iris Berger of the Research Division.

The working group has been charged by the Council and AHA President Laurel Ulrich to generate special panels and sessions, minimally one for each of the eight major time slots at the convention. The group will also generate programming on the theme of same-sex marriages for sessions during breakfast and lunch slots, and at least one evening plenary session.

The working group’s goal is to include histories of marriage and sexuality that range across historical time, geographic space, and thematic focus. There has been a significant expansion of historical scholarship in recent times on the subjects of marriage, sexuality, and the social constructions of domestic unions. At the San Diego meeting of the AHA the working group is hoping to feature some of this cutting-edge scholarship that is illuminating our understanding of these complex and historically contingent institutions and practices. The AHA will arrange press coverage and invite public participation from San Diego and the surrounding communities to publicize the AHA’s position on equity and equal rights.

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