Forbidden Relatives: The American Myth of Cousin Marriage

University of Illinois Press, 1996 - 179 páginas
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Forbidden Relatives challenges the belief--widely held in the United States--that legislation against marriage between first cousins is based on a biological risk to offspring. In fact, its author maintains, the U.S. prohibition against such unions originated largely because of the belief that it would promote more rapid assimilation of immigrants.
A social anthropologist, Martin Ottenheimer questioned U.S. laws against cousin marriage because his international research into marriage patterns showed no European countries prohibit such unions. He examines the historical development of U.S. laws governing marriage, contrasts them with European laws, and analyzes the genetic implications of first cousin marriage. Modern genetic evidence, Ottenheimer says, doesn't support the concept that children of these unions are at any special risk.
Ottenheimer's book, the only volume available that deals with kinship in this way, will challenge readers and give them much to consider and discuss.

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US Laws Prohibiting the Marriage of Relatives
The Reasons for US Laws against First Cousin Marriage
European Laws Prohibiting the Marriage of Relatives
European Views of Cousin Marriage
The Evolutionary Factor
Biogenetics and First Cousin Marriage
Culture and Cousin Marriage
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Martin Ottenheimer, a professor of anthropology at Kansas State University, is the author of Marriage in Dmoni and Historical Dictionary of the Comoro Islands.

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