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Interfaith Marriages

The Tâlesh Solution

Christian Bromberger

The Tâlesh population is divided between Twelver Shi'a and Shafi'ite Sunnis. Here, the relations between the two 'communities' are harmonious and interfaith marriage is frequent. Family descent in Tâlesh is patrilineal (property, name and social status are transmitted along paternal lines) but the transmission of religious affiliation differs from that of property and social status and is governed, in the words of Meyer Fortes, by 'complementary descent': boys will adopt the religious affiliation of the father and girls that of the mother. So confessional affiliation is bilinear. However, there are exceptions that are as often linked to specific context as they may be to personal 'choice'.

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Jane Bristol-Rhys

Marriage has become an expensive proposition in the United Arab Emirates, so much so that it is used by some Emirati men as justification for marrying someone outside Emirati society. This article examines the changes in Emirati weddings over the last 30 years, presents a synopsis of the public discussion of Emirati marriages, and considers how the carefully contained public discussion deflects the comprehensive changes that have transformed Emirati society.

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Rachel Mesch

This article considers the role of men in a form of feminist expression promoted in women's magazines and novels during the Belle Epoque. “Belle Epoque literary feminism,“ as I have termed it, was characterized by a desire to reconcile gender equality with traditional gender roles, outside of political channels; it was also, I argue, defined by male participation. Focusing on a widespread effort to modernize marriage, the article examines both men and women's discussions of marital equality in the influential women's magazines Femina and La Vie Heureuse; it then considers the role assigned to men in realizing feminist marriage in two popular women's novels, Marcelle Tinayre's La Rebelle and Louise Marie Compain's L'Un vers l'autre.

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Marion Shaw

The year 2000 marks the hundred and fiftieth anniversary of three important events in Tennyson’s life: the publication of In Memoriam, his marriage to Emily Sellwood, and his appointment as Poet Laureate. It was the annus mirabilis when finally, and despite the famed ‘black blood’ of the Tennysons, a measure of contentment and prosperity entered his life.

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Marriage as Crisis

Revisiting a Major Dispute among Hadhramis in Indonesia

Martin Slama

Disputes over marriage rules triggered perhaps the most significant crisis in the history of the Hadhrami diaspora in Indonesia. Once this trade diaspora had become integrated into the colonial economy of the nineteenth century, rules that emphasized endogamy, especially for women, were questioned by those Hadhramis influenced by Islamic reformism, resulting in a schism of the community. This article revisits the marriage issue by looking at current disputes among Hadhramis, and at how the initial crisis has become institutionalized as well as engrained in collective memory. It also examines what upholding these rules implies for young women today, with personal crises triggered by difficulties in finding suitable marriage partners. The article's main argument rests upon a conception of crisis that attends to its latent character, to its longevity and recurrent appearance, and sees it as inherent to the intricacies of Hadhrami marriage.

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Michael G. Cornelius

In the Nancy Drew mystery series, whenever the subject of marriage arises, Nancy interrupts the conversation or changes it altogether. Rather than discuss or confront issues of sexuality, Nancy forestalls any mention of marriage and the ensuing responsibilities (and identity shifts) that it—and mid-century womanhood in general—implies. Interruption, as both a conversational tactic and a social act, can be used by women to assert agency. Thus for Nancy, interruption is a means of holding off her impending womanhood and extending the enviable position she now maintains—that of girl sleuth.

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Native Marriage “Soviet” and “Russian” Style

The Political Economy of Desire and Competing Matrimonial Emotions

Vera Skvirskaja

Based on fieldwork in Nenets tundra encampments and multiethnic villages on the northern Yamal Peninsula, this article discusses people’s experiences and expectations of married life. Two types of marriage—”arranged” and “love marriage”—are used to illustrate how marriage brings to the fore the political economy of desire and local reflections on the good society. The article suggests that while Soviet ideology and post-Soviet neotraditionalist discourses have endorsed customary attitudes toward arranged Nenets marriage, love marriage including marriage with Russians often leads to a situation in which “love” or “alien romance” is tempered by “reason” rather than relying on a “modern” nuclear family ideal. It argues that tundra marriage, including arranged marriage, is commonly underwritten by subjectively understood chances of leading a good family life.

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Marrying into the Nation

Immigrant Bachelors, French Bureaucrats, and the Conjugal Politics of Naturalization in the Third Republic

Nimisha Barton

This article illuminates the conjugal politics of French naturalization bureaucrats during the Third Republic. Against the background of a severe depopulation crisis that heightened anti-bachelor sentiment, unmarried immigrant men came to be seen as a grave threat to the stability of the French nation. In the context of massive immigration, officials endorsed the institution of marriage as an effective means of policing the morality, mobility and sexuality of the foreign-born. Thus, this article demonstrates how French officials used marriage as a disciplinary tool to contain the mobile and moral threat posed by immigrant bachelors rapidly pooling on French soil from 1880 onward. In the process, this article is the first to highlight the gendered and sexual policing ing logic of the modern French state towards immigrant men while bringing to light the mutually reinforcing histories of immigration, heterosexuality, and marriage in modern France.

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“To take a wyf”

Marriage, Status, and Moral Conduct in “The Merchant’s Tale”

Natalie Hanna

Across the eighteen Canterbury Tales that deal in some way with marriage, the language of “The Merchant’s Tale” is most concerned with the role of a “wyf” and a concept of “taking” a wife. By contrast, the text appears to show little concern for the status “housbonde,” but the limited use of the term is in fact a means to scrutinize the correlation between these medieval marital roles. Using a corpus of The Canterbury Tales, this article reveals how Chaucer semantically distinguishes Januarie’s position as one who wishes only to be served by his wife, from “housbondes” that are in partnership with their wives. The study shows that, through terminology and phraseology, Januarie’s status is connected to Walter’s of “The Clerk’s Tale,” to highlight the underlying abusive traits of men who treat marriage as an economical transaction for their own gain, rather than as a union of love.

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Niki Megalommati

This article addresses the impact of family law on women during the Middle Byzantine period, 726–1204. Restricted to household roles, marriage provided betrothed women, wives, and mothers with certain legal protections. In the Middle Byzantine period conceptions and practices concerning betrothal, marriage, and dissolution of marriage were not consistent because both the church and the state determined sometimes contrasting rules and laws. The civil law protected women with respect to betrothal and marriage; pressure from the church, however, resulted in harsh laws concerning dissolution of marriage. Canon law nevertheless claimed that both sexes had quite identical legal rights in divorce, and women escaped from unhealthy marriages in certain circumstances. It seems that through its own legislation and its impact on civil law, the church enforced women’s position in marriage. At issue is whether this favorable treatment corresponded to social changes that improved the position of women in the Middle Byzantine era.