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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Leslie Ashbaugh
BISSEB 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

Critically examine gender and family structures

Compare American family structures to families in other parts of the world

Understand basic kinship terms and theories

Critically examine gender and family structures. • Compare American family structures to families in other parts of the world. • Understand basic kinship terms and theories. Develop and apply methods for conducting qualitative research

Contribute to community efforts to assist families

General method of instruction

Lectures, films, as well as an interactive seminar style, including student discussion, presentation and projects.

Recommended preparation

Introduction to Sociology and/or Gender Studies courses are recommended but not required.

Class assignments and grading

Informal Writing Assignments: You will be responsible for several different types of informal writing assignments; including in-class directed reading question handouts, and response papers from assigned reading. In response papers, you will have the opportunity to raise issues, address topics in the reading, and assert your own observations on the reading. Student Presentations: Each student will make two class presentations. You will partner with other classmates for each of these presentations. that was raised in the news story, analyze the portrayal of that news item, and finally, should connect your analysis back to course content. Field Research Project: Each student will be responsible for carrying out one research project with respect to the multigenerational family. Final Portfolio: The final portfolio will include all of your work in the class, including reading responses and field research. You will be asked to reflect on the production of your work.


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: 04/22/2012