68th Annual Family Institute Conference
Masculinities: The Faces of Manhood in the 21st Century Global Context
October 14-17, 2012
As the theme suggests, this year's conference will focus on the specific issues that may impact contemporary constructions of masculinities (particularly, black masculinities). One of the most difficult discussions that face society, in general, and black communities in particular is the role of gender in everyday life. We are often limited to seeing gender as an individual condition—borne directly out of the genetic code deposited by our fathers—either the male Y-chromosome male or female X-chromosome. It is difficult to see gender as a social construct and not wholly of an individual's chromosomal sex. However, it is a social construct that binds the masculine and the feminine into a seemingly dichotomous world gender order. Further, in reality, masculinities and femininities do not exist as separate entities; but they are produced together through the process of socialization that creates gendered role expectations. The objective is to leave the conference better informed about the issues of masculinities. Topics may cover the breadth of masculinities focusing on definitions and issues of masculinities, sex, sexualities, accountability, dating and relationships, risk-taking behaviors, sexual identity, and sexual expressions. We are particularly interested in work done with college males in understanding the role of men in preventing violence against women. Concerns with homophobia and femiphobia are germane topics. Research and thinking on pedagogy and campus climate are of keen interest for this conference. The conference will be research driven with attention given to the undergraduate student culture and behaviors that encompass many aspects of student life.
History of the Family Institute Conference:
The conference is being convened around the Annual Family Institute Conference of Morehouse College. In the spring of 1944, Walter R. Chivers instituted a lecture series devoted to issues concerning the African American family. He was concerned about the marriage rates in the Black community and out of wedlock child bearing. Dr. Chivers was an early advocate of family planning. Following in this tradition, Dr. Anna Harvin Grant extended the Family Institute into the community by having area high school students attend the spring lectures. The Family Institute continues in the tradition of Drs. Chivers and Grant by addressing issues surrounding the Black family and community. This year, the Family Institute Conference, its 68th, is organized around masculinities, sex, sexualities, accountability, dating and relationships, risk-taking behaviors, sexual identity, men ending violence against women, and sexual expressions. Black males have the highest rates of incarceration, highest high school dropout rates, and highest rates of HIV/AIDS, prostate cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and most other maladies. The Family Institute’s 68th meeting marks an important contribution towards producing a set of solutions to these pressing social problems facing men, black men and the society at large.