American Golddigger: Law, Culture, and Marriage in the Early Twentieth Century

Presented by the Hall Center for the Humanities

Brian Donovan, KU Professor of Sociology

Brian Donovan is a cultural and historical sociologist at the University of Kansas; his work focuses on the role of law and culture in shaping social inequality. American Gold Digger: A Cultural Genealogy examines the influence of the “gold digger” trope on American family law and culture. American Gold Digger traces the history of the “gold digger” from 1910s chorus girl slang to a powerful stereotype that shaped understandings of gender and matrimony. Donovan’s research illustrates the symbiotic connection between cultural production (stories about greedy gold diggers) and law (anti-alimony organizations, proposed alimony reforms, and legal judgments regarding alimony).

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