MultiSession Conference on Latin American History Presidential Session, Modern Latin America, Part 2: Families Inside and Outside the Law, 1910–2010

AHA Session 259
Conference on Latin American History 51
Sunday, January 9, 2011: 8:30 AM-10:30 AM
Provincetown Room (Marriott Boston Copley Place)
Lara Putnam, University of Pittsburgh
Lara Putnam, University of Pittsburgh

Session Abstract

This panel brings together papers on Brazil, Chile, and Mexico, to explore the changing contours of twentieth-century family regulation in the hemisphere. The reference to families "inside" and "outside" the law intimates how legal regimes in Latin America have historically discriminated against certain widely practiced kinship forms and household structures, according them lesser rights or failing to recognize them entirely (these forms include consensual unions, children born outside of legal marriage, and adoptive kinship). Yet increasingly, modern states have made kinship legalities key criteria for access to rights, including rights to citizenship, transnational mobility, and state-sponsored welfare benefits. Moreover, as some kinship rights have expanded, such as those accorded children born outside formal marriage, others have proven stubbornly resistant to change, most notably those accorded same-sex unions. This panel will explore the changing legal politics of kinship and household structure in the twentieth century and the extent to which families have increasingly come "inside" the law--or remained outside of it. In response to protests surrounding the 2010 AHA/CLAH meetings in San Diego, the CLAH seconded the AHA's organization of a mini-conference at the 2010 meetings around questions of historical variations in familial and affective relations with a mandate to organize for the 2011 Boston meetings presidential panels around that question. This panel has been selected as a CLAH presidential panel, for which we also seek inclusion in the AHA panels.