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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, Rebecca302-831-6148<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



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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