Skip Content

Cousin marriage, hierarchy, and heredity

Events • Anthropology • Lecture

Book Event →

Radcliffe-Brown Lecture in Social Anthropology
Cousin marriage, hierarchy, and heredity: Contestations over the domestic and national body politic in nineteenth-century America

How did cousin marriage—an institution that had been not only common, but also emotionally resonant, culturally validated, and economically productive in America—come to be recast as emotionally repugnant, medically dangerous, and politically backward? Anthropologist Susan McKinnon explores this radical transformation in American ideas about marriage through an examination of two intertwined debates—one political and one medical—that unfolded over the course of the nineteenth century. These political and medical deliberations addressed problems relating to hierarchy and heredity in a political union conceived as a democratic republic; and they helped shape American ideas about what it means to be a modern, progressive nation.

Speaker: Professor Susan McKinnon, Emeritus Professor in the Department of Anthropology, University of Virginia

Professor McKinnon's writings have focused on systems of kinship and marriage, on the history and contemporary transformations of kinship studies, and on the symbolic use of kinship and marriage in scientific narratives of social evolution and modernization.

Chair: Professor Dame Marilyn Strathern FBA, Emeritus Professor of Social Anthropology, Cambridge University

FREE, booking required

This event will be repeated at The University of Edinburgh on the 11 October 2018. For further information click here. 

As our public events are free, not everyone who registers for tickets attends. To make sure we have a full house we allocate more tickets than there are seats. We do our best to get the numbers right, but unfortunately we occasionally have to disappoint people. Admission is on a first come, first served basis, so please arrive in good time for the start of the event.

If you have any questions about this event, please refer to our Public Events FAQ. If your question is not answered, please email events@britac.ac.uk.

Image: Current laws regarding first-cousin marriage in the United States. Dark blue shows states in which first-cousin marriage is legal. Creative Commons: Khin2718

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close