Alison Lefkovitz received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 2010 and taught at Miami University before joining the Federated Department of History at Rutgers-Newark and the New Jersey Institute of Technology. As an assistant professor of history at NJIT, she teaches the history of law and culture in the United States and is Director of the Law, Technology and Culture (LTC) program, comprising the LTC major and the Legal Studies minor. She is currently completing revisions to her book manuscript, The Politics of Marriage in the Era of Women’s Liberation. In it, she explores how legal and political agents worked the category of gender out of marriage, and how a host of lawmakers, judges, activists, and ordinary Americans subsequently struggled to redefine family and marriage without gender. She argues that eliminating the legal gendered roles of husband and wife ultimately helped both to transform the political economy and to produce a conservative backlash.
Lefkovitz’s broader interests are in law, gender, and political economy. Her approach to these themes is previewed in “Men in the House: Race, Welfare, and the Regulation of Men´s Sexuality in the United States, 1961-1972,” which appeared in the September 2011 issue of The Journal of the History of Sexuality. She posits that lawmakers increasingly regulated the sexual activity of working-class black men to counteract women’s newly-won welfare rights.
Numerous scholarly papers and conference presentations also highlight the scope of Lefkovitz’ insightful examination of legal and gender issues. Topics include “Passing Down the Aisle: Gay Marriage through Subterfuge in the 1970s,” the Politics of Homemaking: Gender, Citizenship, and Democracy in Post WWII America,” “Housewives for ERA: The Illinois Equal Rights Amendment and the Problem of Dependency, 1972-1978,” “Bringing Home the Bacon or Bringing Up the Baby: The Equal Rights Amendment and the Demand for Choice, 1972-1982,” and “The Feminine Side of the Selective Service: War, Marriage and Citizenship during World War II.”
Alison Lefkovitz, assistant professor of history, recently wrote a framing essay for the newly launched Child Custody Project website. The site explores child custody issues nationwide within a broad historical and legal context with the goal of providing an impartial, interdisciplinary resource for scholars, practitioners and the public at large.
The framing essays are central to the site, authored by leading scholars and practitioners on key issues in the complex field of child custody. Essays address topics such as the history of child custody in Virginia, the definition of family and child custody issues, child custody in the media, alternative dispute resolution, and the “best interests of the child” standard. Click here to read Lefkovitz’s essay.
Alison Lefkovitz’s book manuscript,The Politics of Marriage in the Era of Women´s Liberation, uses “new legal history” methodologies to examine legal, political, and cultural challenges to marriage from the establishment of President Kennedy´s Commission on the Status of Women until the defeat of the Equal Rights Amendment. It argues that the battle to unravel marriage’s economic and social mandates revolutionized the gendered order as significantly as the much more familiar struggle for workplace equality. The subsequent backlash brought factions of the new conservative movement together in ways the current literature has not yet acknowledged.
The Politics of Marriage in the Era of Women’s Liberation, book manuscript in progress.
“Men in the House: Race, Welfare, and the Regulation of Men’s Sexuality in the United States, 1961-1972,” Journal of the History of Sexuality, 20 (September 2011), 594-614.