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COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
DEPARTMENT OF SOCIOLOGY AND ANTHROPOLOGY
Sociology of Marriage and Families
Instructor: Patricia A. Masters, Ph.D.
(SOCI 309, Section C01)
Office Hours: Tuesday and Thursday, prior to class, or by appointment.
Office Address: 326B Robinson Hall (in the Sociology and Anthropology Department)
Home Office Phone: (703) 471-9830 (Note: This number is for my office at home where you can contact me directly or leave a message. Please do not call after 9:30 p.m.)
E-mail: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
The objective of this course is to provide a sociological framework for understanding the family as a public and private institution. Family takes different forms depending on the ethnicity, race, economic circumstances, and sexual orientation of those who perceive themselves as "family." Therefore, it is more accurate to speak of families, as we will in this course. Similarly, marriage is a very different experience for women than it is for men, as sociologist, Jessie Bernard, has perceptively pointed out in her research on "his" marriage and "her" marriage. This broad context--using a sociological lens--will enable us to study marriage and families as evolving social institutions.
Attendance and attentiveness in class are crucial to your success in this course because so much of the course content will be presented in films and explored through class discussion. Though I recognize that illness or other circumstances might require students to miss class occasionally, this class (and all of your other classes as well) should be taken seriously enough that you present and engaged in the material. Because the summer session is so short, I will take attendance, and your participation grade will be directly affected (logically) by your attendance in every class.
I suggest that during the first class you get acquainted with a classmate (you can rely on your friends in class, too) so that when materials are distributed in class, someone can pick up an extra copy to give to you if circumstances make it impossible for you to be present. You should read the assigned material prior to class because this will help you keep up with lectures and class discussions, and should you need clarification on anything that we cover, you can ask questions. If at any time you have questions about the material we are covering or other concerns about the course, I am available to discuss them with you either during my regular office hours, or at a time that is mutually convenient, or on the phone.
Two long books reports plus one short report: 20 points each; 10 points for article and summary on domestic violence; Exam on Divorce Reconsidered and Domestic Abuse, 20 points; attendance/participation, 10 points.
A: 95-100 points; A-: 91-94 points; B+: 88-90 points; B: 84-87 points; B-: 81-83 points; C+: 77-80 points; C: 72-76 points; C-: 69-71 points; D: 67-68 points; F: Fewer than 67 points.
Three books are required for this course, and these are marked with an asterisk (*). The class will be divided into groups for reading the Rubin and Weston books which are marked with double asterisks (**).
Scott Coltrane. 1997. Gender and Families. Boston: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc.*
Lillian B. Rubin. 1994. Families on the Fault Line. New York: HarperPerennial.**
Kath Weston. 1997. (Revised Preface). Families We Choose: Lesbians, Gays, Kinship. New York: Columbia University Press.**
Arlie Hothschild (with Carol Machung). 2003. The Second Shift. New York: Penguin Books.*
Mavis Hetherington and John Kelly. 2003. For Better or For Worse: Divorce Reconsidered. New York: W. W. Norton.*
*Indicates a required book
**At the first class, half of the students will be assigned to read Rubin and the other half will read Weston.
Other Readings: On Library Reserve
Cara Feinberg. 2002. “Hitting Home,” pps. 30-34, The American Prospect, April 8, 2002.
E. J. Graff. 2002. “The Other Marriage War,” pps. 50-53, The American Prospect, April 8, 2002.
Katherine J. Ferraro. 1998. “Battered Women: Strategies for Survival,” pps. 243-271, in Andrew Cherlin, Public and Private Families: A Reader. New York: McGraw-Hill.
George Mason University, like all Virginia universities and colleges, operates under an Honor System, the provisions of which are spelled out in the University Catalog. As a faculty member, I am obligated to enforce this code, and any violations will result in an "F" for the course and possible academic suspension or dismissal. You should familiarize yourself with the requirements for citing sources of ideas and quotations that you use in your course work because lack of familiarity with "the rules" can lead to inadvertent plagiarism. Proper citation is also important to good scholarship. Finally, as a member of the academic community, you are obligated to report any violations of the Honor Code by other students that you observe.
Class Schedule and Reading Assignments
June 28: Introduction to the course, including lecture on “the history of the Family,” video on “Juggling Work and Family.”
June 30: Family and Gender from the Social Constructionist perspective, and other theories about the family. Romantic Love and Modern Marriage
Readings: Chapters 1 and 2, and 5 in Coltrane.
July 1: Paid Work and the Family
Readings: Chapter 3 in Coltrane. In addition, all students should read Chapters 1, 2, and 3 in Hochschild’s book. Other chapters in the book will be assigned to individual students or groups (depending on class size).
July 6: Paid Work and the Family, continuing with Hochschild.
Readings: Chapter 4 in Coltrane book. All students should read their assigned chapter and Chapter 15, 16, 17, and the Appendix in Hochschild.
Book Report guidelines for Hochshild distributed at this class; due in class on July 12.
July 8: Conclude work and family.
Readings for Week 3: Those assigned Families on the Fault Line and those assigned Families We Choose should begin reading these two books, which will be discussed beginning on July 14. In addition, students should read the assigned chapter for either of these two books.
July 12: Regulating Family and Gender.
Reading: Chapter 6 in Coltrane; and reading from The American Prospect, by E. J. Graff.
July 14: Group Presentation of Families We Choose. Book reports on this book due at end of the class.
July 16: Group Presentation of Families on the Fault Line. Book reports on this book due at end of class.
Week 4: Family Violence and Family Dissolution
Each student should bring into class on July 19 an article on Family Violence, either spouse abuse, elder abuse, or child abuse. You are to turn in a brief summary of your article at the July 19th class.
July 19: Discussion of Family Violence and Presentations of articles on abuse.
Reading: Chapter 11: “Battered Woman: Strategies for Survival,” from Cherlin Reader, and the article by Cara Feinberg from The American Prospect.
July 21: Students should bring their copies of Divorce Reconsidered to discuss chapters in class. Students will be assigned to present chapters as a group from this book; questions are attached.
July 23: Begin discussion of Divorce Reconsidered.
Week 5: Divorce (concluded) and Class Wrap-up
July 26: Conclude Divorce Reconsidered and class wrap-up.
Final Exam (take-home) on Divorce and Domestic Violence distributed; this exam is due in my mailbox located in the Sociology Department, 3rd floor, Robsinson B. on August 1.
July 28: Class wrap-up.
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