Marriage 3.0: Relationships in the Post-Romantic Age
Pamela Haag’s work spans a wide, and unusual, spectrum, all the way from academic scholarship to memoir. Thematically, it has consistently focused on women's issues, feminism, and American culture, but she’s also written on topics as eclectic as the effort to rebuild the lower Manhattan subway lines after 9/11, 24-hour sports radio talk shows, and the experience of class mobility.
Haag earned a Ph.D. in history from Yale University in 1995, after graduating with Highest Honors from Swarthmore College. She’s held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Mellon Foundation, and post-doctoral fellowships at both Brown and Rutgers University. As an academic she published scholarly articles and a first book, based on dissertation work, with Cornell University Press in 1999.
She became the Director of Research for the AAUW Educational Foundation, a nationalnonprofit based in Washington, DC, that advocates for girls and women. In that capacity she wrote and edited several pieces of research and was the media spokesperson for the research.
In 2002, Haag became a speechwriter on issues of public transit and transit-oriented development for the secretary of the Federal Transit Administration and, occasionally, the Secretary of Transportation.
Since 2004, she has been publishing personal and opinion essays in a variety of venues, including National Public Radio, the American Scholar, the Christian Science Monitor, Ms. magazine, the Washington Post, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Michigan Quarterly Review, New Haven Review, the Antioch Review and carte blanche. Haag earned an MFA in creative nonfiction from Goucher College in 2008, where she won the Chris White award for best essay, and was also a prizewinner in the Atlantic’s 2008 national nonfiction contest.
Haag's latest book, Marriage Confidential: The Post-Romantic Age of Workhorse Wives, Royal Children, Undersexed Spouses, and Rebel Couples Who Are Rewriting the Rules, released by HarperCollins in May of 2011, draws on all of these strands of Haag’s unique professional biography to create almost a new genre, a weave of academic expertise, cultural history, creativenonfiction, memoir, storytelling, interviews, and commentary.
Pamela Haag: One conversation that sticks in my mind is with a very old friend of mine, who is kind of in a so-so marriage, has its difficulties. It isn’t terrible. It isn’t great. And these marriages really interest me because they are incubators for change. And we were talking about what we expected out of marriage because expectations are a big part of the post-romantic age.
She was making comments like, “Well it’s not very realistic to think that the person that you talk to about plumbing or dog food would be the big love of your life.” What she really wanted from marriage was kind of the grit and the everyday routines, and, despite all the ups and down that had happened in her marriage, she knew that when Christmas came around they would be lighting the tree together and they had these rituals. For her that was very much the expectation and almost the ideal of marriage. And it really stuck in my mind and I heard that sentiment echoed in other conversations I had.
And there was a lot of conversation about these wives who stuck by their husbands after infidelity had happened. At the time it was with Elliot Spitzer - there's always a new infidelity scandal, but at the time it was with Spitzer. It was almost as if they were being blamed for doing that, but as I watched those scandals unfold it occurred to me, well, maybe fidelity or monogamy just doesn’t have the same pride of place in marriage that it used to, maybe it’s not as important as it used to be. This, too, kind of caused me to gravitate toward the idea of a post-romantic sensibility where even the place of monogamy is not necessarily what it once was.
Directed by Jonathan Fowler
Produced by Elizabeth Rodd
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