“I’m very excited to be co-chairing this conference,” said Dr. Lyness. “While our society is changing rapidly, we still have a great deal of work to do in understanding how our society constructs gender and sexual identity and how these constructions affect families and individuals. The Groves Conference on Marriage and Family is an exciting interdisciplinary space to deeply explore issues like this, and will provide a great opportunity to understand this subject.”
Gender is a fundamental organizing principle of families and is a complex mix of biology, identity, and behavioral expression. Similarly, sexual identity includes a wide range of identifications of sexual attraction and expression, and is also fundamental to understanding families.
The 2016 conference program builds on the Groves Conference’s past and recognizes that social change has been swift in some areas, such as marriage equality with the 2015 Supreme Court ruling. However, full equality for all individuals and families throughout the US is not present and counter movements to social change are many, such as turning back the clock on fertility decisions, voting rights, even the definition of citizenship. As professionals who do research, who participate in policy, and who conduct prevention and intervention, our work is refreshed by new perspectives, new information, and new commitments.
The primary mission of Groves is to foster critical thinking about issues in the area of family science and to promote social action and social justice. Unlike the traditional format of professional associations where many formal papers are presented, the Groves Conference seeks to limit the number of presentations and conducts its sessions primarily via seminars and workshops. Session formats include workshops, round table discussions, immersion experiences, field trips, plenaries, seminars, and posters which are designed to re-conceptualize family-related issues.
Attendees have the opportunity to participate in eight to ten hours of continuous dialogue and exchange within a small group on one of the subtopics of the Groves Conference. This allows for in depth exploration of issues and free exchange of ideas, information, and experience between scholars and other professionals from the various disciplines concerned with the family. The goals is to hone a social tapestry that will improve the quality of life within and among families of the world.
The Groves Conference was begun in 1934 by the late Professor Ernest Groves, who was among the first academicians to give a course in marriage and the family in an established university, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The conferences began with the bringing together of a few teachers and students interested in serious study of the family. It evolved over the years into an interdisciplinary, interprofessional organization of limited invited membership. Its objectives are to work on the leading edges of theory development and empirical research in the field. The Groves Conference is timely and provocative with diverse and flexible foci.
For more information, visit: www.grovesconference.org.