Provides comparative analyses of family life in various cultures and societies. Topics include family organization, family and kinship structure, marital and parent-child relationships, socialization, aging and familial roles. Examines methods for conducting comparative research.
People everywhere share the fundamental need to be with other people and the details of relationships from one culture to the next sound quite alike in a multitude of ways. Around the world, parents form special attachments to their children, and it is mothers (rather than fathers) who tend to be the primary caretakers of those children. Marriage is a universal human practice, and every culture has rules that limit the choice of spouse. That said, societies also differ in how many relationships are expressed culturally. In this class we investigate the nature of such differences and similarities. Topics include origins and definitions of the "family," the gender division of labor and its impact on social organization, the status of women relative to the status of men, and domestic violence around the world.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Class time is comprised of lectures, class discussion, small group work, and student presentations.
Class assignments and grading
There is a mid-quarter paper, a field project, an in-class presentation and a final exam. In-class participation is crucial to a student's success in the course, but since the subject matter is so interesting that is rarely a problem!