Call for Conference Panelists: (Re)-Producing the Nation, Histories of (Re)-Defining the Family? (Re)-Conceptualizations of Society’s Nuclear Structuring in a Global Age; DL: 17.04.2009

Call for Conference Panelists: ESHHC 2010 Panel
We are setting up a panel within The Sexuality Network of the European Social Science History titled (Re)-Producing the Nation, Histories of (Re)-Defining the Family? (Re)-Conceptualizations of Society’s Nuclear Structuring in a Global Age (a short description of the panel bellow). The panel will be part of the bigger European Social Science History Conference 2010 to take place in Ghent (13-16 April 2010).
Interested authors should submit their abstract (max. 300 words) accompanied by 5 keywords to both panel organizers by 17 April 2009:
O Cristian Norocel
Helena Tinnerholm Ljungberg
(Re)-Producing the Nation, Histories of (Re)-Defining the Family? (Re)-Conceptualizations of Society’s Nuclear Structuring in a Global Age.
In an evermore interconnected world, marked by a full spectrum of interactions between traditions, languages, and ethnic identities, the family understood as the heteropatriarchal unit for societal structuring faces new challenges. In a world where individuality and flexibility are the norm, we witness the twin processes of widening up the traditional definition of the family, concomitantly with the inward-looking, conservative attempt to contain and restrict the allowed definitions of the concept.
Thus, queer and feminist activism and scholarship offer new perspectives and interpretations of the family concept, and call for inclusion of new family constellations in the mainstream debate. In the recent history, the right for same sex marriages, the right for assisted insemination for same sex couples, and the right for adoption by same sex families are just a few examples of painstakingly won rights in countries in the Western hemisphere.
These coexist, however, with appeals for moral reform and an increasing legal regulation of sexualities across the globe. Recently enforced constitutional amendments in various countries stipulate the family as exclusively heterosexual, and political actors across the political spectre (re)-invent traditionalist interpretations of the family concept. Conservative entities call for a defence of the traditional family and claim virtuous histories, refuting any non-heteronormative definitions of the family. Concomitantly, even more permissive legal regulation of sexualities restricts the (re)definitions of family to a monogamous relationship between two parts. From a historical perspective, the task of (re)producing the nation was the relied strongly on a certain view on the family, but its actual (re)definition requires a (re)conceptualization of the two.
With this in mind, we welcome papers inquiring into the apparently monolithic definition of the family as the constitutive unit of society throughout history. We are particularly interested in exploring historically the (re)definitions of the family concept, in the questioning of the regulatory sexualities (be them hetero- or homosexual) and their impact on how society is perceived to be structured around the model of nuclear family. We encourage historically aware analyses of how gender, ethnicity, and obsessions of national preservation and reproduction are intersecting to create (new) mythologies of the family.
Best regards,
Cristian and Helena

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