Altoona professor to offer seminar about 'the marriage market'

Cake topper bride and groom
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ALTOONA, Pa. — When did Americans start using the term “the marriage market”? While we might assume it’s been around for millennia, Penn State Altoona’s Lindsay Keiter, assistant professor of history, has found it’s only two centuries old. Keiter will be sharing her case for the emergence of “the marriage market” in a virtual seminar for the Newberry Library’s History of Capitalism series on Oct. 1.

Keiter’s area of research is “broadly, early American gender and family,” she says, and more specifically, economic functions of marriage in 18th-century America. Her book project, based on her dissertation, “examines how marriage was an essential economic transaction that responded to the development of capitalism in early America.” She decided to continue that research, as she says, “to keep following the money.”

The Newberry Library in Chicago hosts a variety of selective seminars, including The History of Capitalism, “a forum for works-in-progress in the history of capitalism, broadly defined,” according to their website. In accepting proposals for seminar participation, “priority is given to individuals at a stage in their research at which they can best benefit from feedback.”

Keiter will share the virtual stage with Kirsten Swinth of Fordham University, whose paper is titled “Capitalism and the Rise and Fall of the Male Breadwinner Family.” Each speaker will have five to 10 minutes to discuss how their present paper fits into their full research project before taking questions. Since the audience will have read the papers in advance, Keiter says, “They might ask questions that came to them while they were reading, or ask, ‘Have you read so and so?’”

Those interested in participating in the seminar from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1, need to register in advance and request a copy of Keiter’s paper.