Originally broadcast: December 11, 2011
Is the “traditional” marriage between one man and one woman really the most preferred form of marriage? History suggests it is not. In addition to polygamy (the most valued, historically), there is also polyandry (one woman, many husbands), ghost marriages, “female husbands,” and many others, and almost none of them had anything to do with love. Join WHY? as we talk with Stephanie Coontz about her research on the history of marriage, family, and the moral systems that justify the choices.
Stephanie Coontz is the author Marriage, A History: How Love Conquered Marriage, The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap, and other books. She teaches history and family studies at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. She also serves as Co-Chair and Director of Public Education at the Council on Contemporary Families, a non-profit, nonpartisan association of family researchers and practitioners based at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her work has been featured in many newspapers such as The New York Times, as well as scholarly journals such as Journal of Marriage and Family, and she is frequently interviewed on national television and radio.
A selection of her writings and interviews can be found here.