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207 John Munroe HallNewark, DE 19716<div class="ExternalClass027B123CAE77488D9D0840C72934100D"><p>Rebecca L. Davis specializes in the histories of gender, sexuality, religion, and ethnicity in the United States during the 19th and 20th centuries. She received her B.A. in 1998 and her Ph.D. in 2006, both from Yale University. Before joining UD’s history department in the fall of 2007, she held a postdoctoral fellowship at Princeton’s Center for the Study for Religion. Her article, “‘Not Marriage at All, but Simple Harlotry’: The Companionate Marriage Controversy,” was published in the March 2008 issue of the Journal of American History. She is the author of <em>More Perfect Unions: The American Search for Marital Bliss</em> (Harvard University Press, 2010).</p><p>Prof. Davis is one of the 2011-2012 recipients of the LGBT Religious History Award from the <a href="">LGBT Religious Archives Network</a>, for her essay, “’My Homosexuality Is Getting Worse Every Day‘: Norman Vincent Peale, Psychiatry, and the Liberal Protestant Response to Same-Sex Desires in Mid-Twentieth-Century America.”</p></div><div class="ExternalClass5E19EE7F3CDC4C589400C56034CFFCA4"><h4>Books:</h4><ul><li><em>More Perfect Unions: The American Search for Marital Bliss</em> (Harvard University Press, 2010)</li></ul><h4>Articles and Book Chapters</h4><ul><li>“‘These Are a Swinging Bunch of People’: Sammy Davis, Jr., Religious Conversion, and the Color of Jewish Ethnicity.” <em>American Jewish History</em> 100, no. 1 (2016): 25–50.</li><li>“‘My Homosexuality is Getting Worse Every Day’: Norman Vincent Peale, Psychiatry, and the Liberal Protestant Response to Same-Sex Desires in Mid-Twentieth Century America.” In <em>American Christianities: A History of Dominance and Diversity</em>, edited by Catherine Brekus and W. Clark Gilpin, 347-365. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011.</li><li>“‘Not Marriage at All, but Simple Harlotry’: The Companionate Marriage Controversy,” <em>Journal of American History </em>94, no. 4 (March 2008): 1137-1163.</li></ul></div>Publicationsrldavis@udel.edu, Rebecca<img alt="Professor Rebecca L. Davis" src="/Images%20Bios/faculty/davis.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />Miller Family Early Career Professor of HistoryAssociate Professor 2:00-3:00,Rebecca_Louise



Heterosexual HistoriesDavis, RebeccaMichele MitchellNew York University Press2021<p>​<strong>The history of heterosexuality in North America across four centuries<br></strong></p><p><strong></strong>Heterosexuality is usually regarded as something inherently “natural”—but what<em> is</em> heterosexuality, and how has it taken shape across the centuries? By challenging ahistorical approaches to the heterosexual subject, <em>Heterosexual Histories</em> constructs a new framework for the history of heterosexuality, examining unexplored assumptions and insisting that not only sex but race, class, gender, age, and geography matter to its past. Each of the fourteen essays in this volume examines the history of heterosexuality from a different angle, seeking to study this topic in a way that recognizes plurality, divergence, and inequity.</p><p>Editors Rebecca L. Davis and Michele Mitchell have formed a collection that spans four centuries, addressing the many different racial groups, geographies, and subcultures of heterosexuality in North America. The essays range across disciplines with experts from various fields examining heterosexuality from unique perspectives: a historian shows how defining heterosexuality, sex, and desire were integral to the formation of British America and the process of colonization; a legal scholar examines the connections between race, sexual citizenship, and nonmarital motherhood; a gender studies expert analyzes the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, and explores the intersections of heterosexuality with shame and second-wave feminism. Together, these essays explain how differently earlier Americans understood the varieties of gender and different-sex sexuality, how heterosexuality emerged as a dominant way of describing gender, and how openly many people acknowledged and addressed heterosexuality’s fragility.</p><p>By contesting presumptions of heterosexuality’s stability or consistency, <em>Heterosexual Histories</em> opens the historical record to interrogations of the raced, classed, and gendered varieties of heterosexuality and considers the implications of heterosexuality’s multiplicities and changes. Providing both a sweeping historical survey and concentrated case studies, <em>Heterosexual Histories</em> is a crucial addition to the field of sexuality studies.</p>
More Perfect Unions: The American Search for Marital BlissDavis, RebeccaHarvard University Press2010<p>The American fixation with marriage, so prevalent in today’s debates over marriage for same-sex couples, owes much of its intensity to a small group of reformers who introduced Americans to marriage counseling in the 1930s. Today, millions of couples seek help to save their marriages each year. Over the intervening decades, marriage counseling has powerfully promoted the idea that successful marriages are essential to both individuals’ and the nation’s well-being.</p><p><strong>Rebecca L. Davis</strong> reveals how couples and counselors transformed the ideal of the perfect marriage as they debated sexuality, childcare, mobility, wage earning, and autonomy, exposing both the fissures and aspirations of American society. From the economic dislocations of the Great Depression, to more recent debates over government-funded “Healthy Marriage” programs, counselors have responded to the shifting needs and goals of American couples. Tensions among personal fulfillment, career aims, religious identity, and socioeconomic status have coursed through the history of marriage and explain why the stakes in the institution are so fraught for the couples involved and for the communities to which they belong.</p>

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