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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Mary K. Shenk
ANTH 436
Seattle Campus

Comparative Family Organization

Function and structure of family developmental processes in band, tribal, peasant, and modern societies. Illustrates inter- and intrasocietal variation and provides data for construction of formal models of process and variation in family systems. Prerequisite: either one 200-level ANTH course, LING 203, or SOC 352.

Class description

Anthropology 436 will offer an overview of family structure and function around the world, from both theoretical and empirical perspectives. Topics to be covered include gender roles, lineages and rules of inheritance, marriage rules and marriage payments, household formation and dissolution strategies, the structure of power within families, and modern critiques of the family.

We will look at traditional family structure in foraging bands, sub-Saharan Africa, Oceania, South and East Asia, and native North America as well as modern family systems in Japan, India, the Caribbean, and North America. This is a broad class designed to give students the tools to think about families from both a cross-cultural, analytical perspective and from the internal perspective of individual cultures.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


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 Mary K. Shenk
Date: 03/01/2005