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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Leslie Ashbaugh
BIS 331
Bothell Campus

The Family in U.S. Society

Examination of the historical development of the family, and the theoretical underpinnings of family relationships. Discusses current trends and changes in the family and family life.

Class description

This course uses an interdisciplinary perspective to explore the historical and contemporary transformations of families. The core questions shaping this inquiry will be: Who/what is a family—socially, legally and economically? How are families organized? What are the social and economic consequences of belonging to a family? We will explore several key trends in family studies, including the two-income household, childrearing and the gender division of labor within the household, social class and childrearing trends, and gay and lesbian families. We will be primarily concerned with how gender, class and sexual orientation inform the experience of family and the wider socio-political and economic context in which families reproduce themselves.

Student learning goals

Students will gain an understanding of how the American family has changed over time, socially, politically and economically.

Students will be able to identify how gender, class, sexual orientation, religion, age and race (and identification with such statuses)influence the experience of family.

Students will become better readers by reading and analyzing selected texts about the American family.

Students will become better critical thinkers and writers--capable of posing, answering and reposing a variety of critical questions about the American family and about Family Studies

Students will become better speakers--communicating clearly and thoughtfully about texts, lectures and films used in class.

Students will work collaboratively, as learner and researcher, in small group work and group presentations.

General method of instruction

Instruction methods include lecture, films, class discussion and small group work.

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Class assignments will include: a field research project, in-class discussion questions, a reading journal, and a mid-term paper.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Leslie Ashbaugh
Date: 04/17/2008