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Grant number: FT-229464-15

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FT-229464-15

Andrea Nicole Mansker
University of the South (Sewanee, TN 37383-2000)

Matchmaking and the Marriage Market in Nineteenth-Century France

Summer research and writing on Cultural and European History and Gender Studies.

This project uses the unexplored history of professional marriage brokers and personal ads to track the commercialization of marriage in nineteenth-century France. Though historians have analyzed the ways in which contemporaries redefined the family at pivotal revolutionary moments, they have overlooked how marriage itself was imagined increasingly as a commercial contract inseparable from the atomistic and corrupt marketplace. The matchmaking industry both responded to and helped shape national anxieties regarding fluctuating nuptial rates, a declining birthrate, a sex ratio imbalance, and changing legislation on marriage and divorce. A study of brokers' and individuals' marketing narratives on love along with court cases, legislation, and literature surrounding the business reveals the intimate and socioeconomic pressures of finding a spouse. It also exposes the multiple ways in which individuals used the matrimonial industry to re-imagine family relationships and marriage rituals.

Project fields:
Cultural History; European History; Gender Studies

Program:
Summer Stipends

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2015 – 9/30/2015