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Sociology

of the Family Sociology 229, Bowdoin College Spring 2011


Professor Wendy Christensen Office: 402 Adams Hall Contact: wchriste@bowdoin.edu or 725-3268 Office hours: Mondays and Wednesdays 1-2pm and by appointment This course focuses on current social changes affecting American families, with particular emphasis on the intersection of families and other social institutions, such as the economy, the law, and medicine. We will first explore common assumptions about the traditional family, comparing this image with a brief overview of historical facts about American family life over the past two centuries. We will then analyze the causes and effects of four radical transformations in contemporary American family life: the large-scale entrance of mothers into the paid labor force; welfare reform and its effects on poor families; changes in the laws affecting families, including intervention in violent families by legal authorities, and the revolution in divorce rates; and the rise of reproductive technologies and the possibilities of alternative family forms. In our discussions of all of these topics, we will explore the social and political implications of these changes for men, women, and children, and for society. Course Readings: The following required books are available for purchase at the Bowdoin Textbook Center: Crittendon, A. (2010). The Price of Motherhood: Why the Most Important Job in the World Is Still the Least Valued: Picador Press. Lareau, A. (2003). Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life: University of California Press. Markens, S. (2007). Surrogate Motherhood and the Politics of Reproduction: University of California Press. Stone, P. (2008). Opting Out? Why Women Really Quit Careers and Head Home: University of California Press. Ferguson, S. J. (2010). Shifting the Center: Understanding Contemporary Families: McGraw-Hill. o Abbreviated as STC in the class schedule. Readings must be completed before class on the day that they are due. If a reading is listed under Monday, April 4 then it must be completed before class on April 4. You will need to complete the readings the day before class in order to participate in classroom and online discussions. I reserve the right to add (and to omit) readings during the course of the semester as needed. I will always let you know the week before if I am making any changes to the readings. How to get in touch with me: Email is a great way to reach me with any questions. I promise to respond to your email within 24 hours. You are encouraged to stop by office hours at least once during the semester, or make an appointment to see me at another time. If my office door is open at any other time, you are always welcome to stop by.

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COURSE POLICIES
Assignments: (1) Online discussion participation: Every week (starting with Week 2) you are expected to post at least 250 words of questions/comments to the discussion board on the course website. Original postings done class meeting and responses to other students postings that substantively add insights into the issues raised count. You may post as often as you would like online. Timely comments and questions based on class discussion, personal anecdotes that do not fit in the framework of class discussion but relate to the readings, ideas you thought would be discussed but were not etc. count as a participation in online discussions. The quality and quantity of these posts count as 20% of your final grade. (2) Reading Analysis Papers: For any 3 weeks of your choice, you must hand a short (~1000 word) reading analysis paper. These papers are due in class on the Friday of the weeks readings you choose. These papers should be organized, have an argument and conclusion, topic sentences and be proofread for grammar and spelling. Your paper should (a) compare and contrast one reading with another or (b) use a reading to discuss/analyze some personal experience youve had or (c) apply a reading to analyze a film, photos, ads or a news article relevant to the course. Your paper will be graded based on your critical engagement with the weeks readings. Each paper will be worth 10% of your final grade (for 30% total). You may not rewrite papers, but if you wish to write an additional paper you may, and that grade will be averaged in to your 30%. You must complete one paper by the end of Week 5, a minimum of two papers must be done by the end of Week 10, and all three need to be completed by the end of Week 13. (3) Final Exam. On May 17 at 9am we will have an in-class exam covering the material for the course. Grading Criteria: A B C D F Final Grades: 20% 20% 30% 30% Attendance and class participation Online discussion contributions 3 Reading analysis papers Final Exam Shows mastery of the course material and demonstrates exceptional critical skills and originality. Demonstrates a thorough and above average understanding of the material. Demonstrates a thorough and satisfactory understanding of the material. Demonstrates a marginally satisfactory understanding of the basic material. Does not demonstrate a satisfactory understanding of the basic material.

Written work: All assignments must be double-spaced, with 1 inch margins, and 12 point font.

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Acceptable fonts are Times, Times New Roman, Arial, Georgia, or Helvetica. Pages must be numbered. On the first page include your full name, date, and the name of the assignment. It is always a good idea to put your name on each subsequent page someplace in case a page is separated from the others. Double-sided printing is welcomed. Dont bother with a title page as they waste paper.

Late and missed assignments: Work must be handed in, in class, on the day it is due. If you cannot make class that day, you must email me the assignment before the class begins. Late assignments will only be accepted with prior consent (given on a case-by-case basis), and will lose a letter grade for each day they are late. Attendance: Attendance is required. You may miss two classes without penalty, assuming that you turn in the days assignment prior to class. Each absence beyond the second will result in your grade being lowered. If you must miss a class, it is your responsibility to get the notes and assignments from another student. If You Need Help: Do not hesitate to contact me if you need assistance. The key to success is to head off problems before they turn into emergencies. The sooner you get in touch with me about an issue, the sooner we can work to solve it together. Special accommodations: If you require special accommodations to participate in, or to complete the work in this course, please let me know within the first two weeks of class so that we can make the necessary arrangements. Academic honesty: I fully expect you to follow the Bowdoin College Academic Honor Code. Anytime you are required to turn in individual work I expect that what you turn in will be written solely by you and will be unique from that of your classmates. Students who attempt to pass off the work of others as their own or assist others in doing so will receive zero points for the work and will be subjected to disciplinary action as determined by the college. Please ask if you have any questions about what is and is not acceptable. CBB has put together a guide about avoiding academic misconduct at http://abacus.bates.edu/cbb/. Additionally, the Bowdoin Library has an online guide for citing sources properly at http://library.bowdoin.edu/1st/sources.shtml.

COURSE SCHEDULE
Week 1: Defining the Family: Images, Ideals and Myths Monday 1/24: Welcome & Introductions Wednesday 1/26: Meadow, T. and Stacey, J. (2008) Keyword: Families (chapter 7) In J. Goodwin & J. M. Jasper (Eds.), The Contexts Reader. New York: W.W. Norton. STC: The Family in Question Friday 1/28: Minow, M. (1998) Redefining Families: Who's In and Who's Out" (pages 7-20) in Hansen, Karen V. and Anita Ilta Garey (eds.), Families in the U.S.: Kinship and Domestic Politics. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Assignment: Bring an image of a family to class.

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Week 2: The Family in Historical Perspective Monday 1/31: Coontz, S. (1995). The American family and the nostalgia trap. Phi Delta Kappan, 76 Wednesday 2/2: Cherlin, A. J. (2010). American Marriage in the Early Twenty-First Century in Kimmel, M. S. (Ed.). The Gendered Society Reader (4th ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. pp. 239-256 Friday 2/4: STC: Feminist Rethinking from Racial-Ethnic Families STC: Fictive Kin, Paper Sons, and Compadrazgo Week 3: The State and the Family: Welfare Reform Monday 2/7: STC: As American as Apple Pie: Poverty and Welfare Tilmon, J. 1972. Welfare is a Women's Issue. Ms. Spring. http://www.msmagazine.com/spring2002/tillmon.asp Chapters TBA: The Price of Motherhood (Crittendon) Monday 7pm: Take It From Me: Life After Welfare Reform (2000) Wednesday 2/9: Chapters TBA: The Price of Motherhood (Crittendon) Friday 2/11: Chapters TBA: The Price of Motherhood (Crittendon) Week 4: Racial and Ethnic Diversity in Families Monday 2/14: Qian, Z. (2008) Breaking the Last Taboo: Interracial Marriage in America. (Chapter 11) In J. Goodwin & J. M. Jasper (Eds.), The Contexts Reader. New York: W.W. Norton. Park, S. (2009) Who and what you are Contexts. Berkeley: Fall. Vol. 8, Iss. 4; p. 64 Wednesday 2/16: STC: The Normal American Family as an Interpretive Structure of Family Life Among Grown Children of Korean and Vietnamese Immigrants STC: Negotiating Work and Parenting Over the Life Course: Mexican Family Dynamics in a Binational Context Friday: 2/18: STC: Beyond the Birth Family Week 5: Families and Class Inequality Monday 2/21: Edin, K and Kefalas, M. (2008) Unmarried with Children. (Chapter 10) In J. Goodwin & J. M. Jasper (Eds.), The Contexts Reader. New York: W.W. Norton. STC: Flat Broke with Children Chapters 1 & 2: Unequal Childhoods (Annette Lareau) Monday night film: People Like Us (1999) Wednesday 2/23 Chapters 3-5: Unequal Childhoods (Annette Lareau) Friday 2/25: Chapters 8-12: Unequal Childhoods (Annette Lareau)

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Week 6: Gay & Lesbian Families Monday 2/28: Cherlin, A. (2008) Should the Government Promote Marriage? (Chapter 9) In J. Goodwin & J. M. Jasper (Eds.), The Contexts Reader. New York: W.W. Norton. STC: State of Our Unions: Marriage Promotion and the Contested Power of Heterosexuality Wednesday 3/2: STC: From this Day Forward Green, R. (2010) From Outlaws to In-laws: Gay and Lesbian Couples in Contemporary Society (pages 197-213) in B. Risman (Ed.) Families as They Really Are. New York: W.W. Norton. Friday 3/4: STC: (How) Does the Sexual Orientation of Parents Matter? Goldberg, A. (2009). Lesbian parents and their families: Complexity and intersectionality from a feminist perspective. (pp. 108 120). In S. Lloyd, A. Few, & K. Allen (Eds.), Handbook of Feminist Family Studies. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Week 7: Social Construction of Marriage and Cohabitation Monday 3/7: STC: Choosing MatesThe American Way STC: Families formed Outside of Marriage STC: The Deinstitutionalization of Marriage Assignment: Bring an image of a couple to class. Wednesday 3/9: Film: The Business of Being Born (2008) Friday 3/11: NO CLASS 3/12-3/27: SPRING BREAK Week 8: Fertility and Reproduction Monday 3/28: Thernstrom, M. (2010) Meet the Twiblings New York Times Magazine Dec. 29. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/02/magazine/02babymaking- t.html?src=dayp Introduction: Surrogate Motherhood and the Politics of Reproduction (Markens) Wednesday 3/30: Chapters 1-3: Surrogate Motherhood and the Politics of Reproduction (Markens) Friday 4/1: Chapters 4-6: Surrogate Motherhood and the Politics of Reproduction (Markens) Week 9: Parenting and Childcare Monday 4/4: Hays, S. (1996) Intensive Mothering: Womens Work on Behalf of the Sacred Child (Pages 97-130) in The Cultural Contradictions of Motherhood. New Haven: Yale University Press. Assignment: Bring an image of a mother to class. Monday night film: Motherhood Manifesto

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Wednesday 4/6: Macdonald, C. L. (2009). Whats culture got to do with it? Mothering ideologies as barriers to gender equity. (pp. 411 434). In J. Gornick & M. Meyers (Eds.), Gender equality: Transforming family divisions of labor. New York: Verso Friday 4/8: STC: Fathering: Paradoxes, Contradictions and Dilemmas Marsiglio, W. (2009) Healthy Dads Healthy Kids Contexts. Fall, Vol 8. Issue 4. Belkin, L. (2010) The Evolution of Dad Motherlode: New York Times June 6. http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/16/the-evolution-of-dad/ Assignment: Bring an image of a father to class. Week 10: Parenting and Childcare cont. Monday 4/11: STC: Not-So-Nuclear Families Clawson, D. and Gerstel, N. (2008) Caring for Our Young Children: Child Care in Europe and the United States (Chapter 8) In J. Goodwin & J. M. Jasper (Eds.), The Contexts Reader. New York: W.W. Norton. Wednesday 4/13: Film: Consuming Kids (2008) Friday 4/15: STC: Consumption as Care and Belonging Week 11: Paid and Unpaid Labor Monday 4/18: STC: The Work-Home Crunch STC: No Place Like Home Introduction and Chapters 1-3: Opting Out (Stone) Wednesday 4/20 Chapters 4-6: Opting Out (Stone) Friday 4/22: Chapters 7-9: Opting Out (Stone) Week 12: Domestic Violence Monday 4/25: Sokoloff, N. and Pratt, C. (2005) Ive Slept in Clothes Long Enough: Excavating the Sounds of Domestic Violence among Women in the White Working Class. (pages 227-252) In Sokoloff, N. Domestic violence at the margins: readings on race, class, gender, and culture. Rutgers University Press. Film: Power and Control (2010) Wednesday 4/27: STC: Gender, Diversity, and Violence Friday 4/29: Pages 1-52 of Ferguson et al. Ending gender-based violence: A call for global action to involve men a report prepared for Sida, UNICEF, 2005 (the rest of the text and data is optional but may be of interest) Week 13: Divorce and Remarriage Monday 5/2: STC: Divorce Culture and Marital Gender Equality

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Wednesday 5/3: STC: Accounting for Divorce STC: The Modern Stepfamily Friday 5/5: STC: Framing Divorce Reform Week 14: Family Policy & Going Forward Monday 5/9 STC: Is there Hope for Americas Low Income Children? STC: Flat Broke With Children Wednesday 5/11: Struening, K. (2010) Families in Law and Families in Practice (pages 75-90) in B. Risman (Ed.) Families as They Really Are. New York: W.W. Norton. STC: Creating a Caring Society Final Exam: May 17, 9am.

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