Stephen Macedo, Just Married: Same-Sex Couples, Monogamy, and the Future of Marriage

Is same-sex marriage an unstable stopping point on the road to more radical reforms? For decades, prominent conservatives including Justice Antonin Scalia have warned that same-sex marriage would lead to polygamy, adult consensual incest, and other unwelcome changes. Some dismiss these “slippery slope” arguments as fear mongering. Yet many scholars and activists on the left embrace these and other reforms, including the “disestablishment” or privatization of civil marriage in favor of a contractual model. Moreover, progressive scholars often make the case against monogamous marriage based on ideas that are central to political liberalism and democracy, including the idea of state Read More …

Martha Ertman, Love's Promises: How Formal and Informal Contracts Shape All Kinds of Families

I wrote this book for personal and professional reasons. Contracts have been very, very good to me.   Without them, I wouldn’t have my child, best friend, marriage, or job. Moreover, our son would only have two parents.   Contracts, and mini-contracts I call “deals,” made it all possible. I’ve taught contracts and written about family agreements for nearly twenty years and want to bring those lessons to a wider audience. Call it stealth self-help, packaging legal information in a palatable package so that people in the families I call “Plan B” realize that they have more power to shape their families Read More …

Marcia Gallo, "No One Helped": Kitty Genovese, New York City, and the Myth of Urban Apathy

I wrote this book because the parable of uncaring bystanders in the apathetic metropolis has haunted me for more than fifty years. On March 27, 1964, a front-page story in the New York Times described fatal attacks on a 28-year old Queens woman, Kitty Genovese. It focused not on her, nor on her killer, but on the reported 38 neighbors who witnessed the assaults but did not help her. As a cautionary tale, it spoke volumes about the costs of independence for young women who chose to live their lives on their own terms, warnings that threatened my 13-year-old hopes Read More …

Why I Wrote This Book: Mary Ziegler, After Roe: The Lost History of the Abortion Debate

My book began when I was a second-year, feminist law student falling in love with legal history. In class, we considered case studies addressing whether law could change the larger society. When we had finished canvassing some of the best-known histories on the aftermath of Brown v. Board of Education, I wondered when we would get to the book on reaction to Roe v. Wade. We never did because there was no book that fully told that story. Years later, when I started my first tenure-track job, I still was curious what that story would reveal. After all, for commentators Read More …

Why We Wrote This Book: David S. Cohen and Krysten Connon, Living in the Crosshairs: The Untold Stories of Anti-Abortion Terrorism

Our new book dives into the lives of abortion providers around the country and examines how they are individually targeted by anti-abortion extremists. The book is based on interviews we conducted between 2011 and 2014 with 87 abortion providers working in 34 different states. The book has two main parts. The first part is descriptive. We tell stories of abortion providers and how they are targeted by extremists. In the process, we break down the types of targeting that occur and detail how this targeting affects abortion providers’ lives. The second part of the book focuses on law and law Read More …

Why I Wrote This Book: Kevin M. Kruse, One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America

To be honest, I didn’t intend to write this book.   When I began this project more than a decade ago, I set out to explore the roots of the Religious Right in the 1960s and 1970s. I had just completed my first book, one that used a close study of Atlanta to show how white resistance to the civil rights movement reshaped conservatism at the grassroots decades before talk of a “white backlash” dominated national politics. Believing that approach had worked well for chronicling the roots of racial conservatism, I planned on using it to track religious conservatism. Conducting studies Read More …

Why I Wrote This Book: Michelle Gonzalez Maldonado, A Critical Introduction to Religion in the Americas: Bridging the Liberation Theology and Religious Studies Divide

I spent this past Palm Sunday in Assisi, Italy. While visiting the breathtaking basilica that is the current pope’s namesake was high on my list, equally as important was visiting the basilica that is dedicated and houses the remains of Clare of Assisi. Some may assume that it is my feminism and research on women in Christianity that brought me there. Yes, in part. But perhaps more important were the stories that my mother would tell me of my maternal grandmother being possessed by the spirit of St. Clare that brought me to her crypt. It is also why I Read More …

Why I Wrote This Book: Paul A. Offit, M.D., Bad Faith: When Religious Belief Undermines Modern Medicine

During the 1991 measles epidemic in Philadelphia—an epidemic that sickened 1,400 people and killed 9 children—I was an attending physician at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. During a three-month period, we saw more than 200 children in our emergency department and admitted about 40 to the hospital. The city was in a panic. The epidemic centered on two fundamentalist churches: First-Century Gospel and Faith Tabernacle. Both of these churches, which had hundreds of children in their schools, refused vaccines and medical care for their children. As a result, six children in the church community died of measles and—as the virus Read More …

Why I Am Editing This Book: Linda Berger, Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Opinions of the United States Supreme Court

Hasn’t every law professor thought she would have done a better job with a decision than the Supreme Court did—in at least a dozen or two of the cases she cares most about? Suppose that in Bradwell v. Illinois (1873), rather than upholding the Illinois decision to deny a woman the right to practice law on the ground that nothing in the Constitution prohibited the state from its decision, the Court had supported the equal protection rights of all citizens to earn a living. Or, what if in Rostker v. Goldberg (1981), instead of finding the men-only draft registration requirement Read More …