Soc 155/255   

The Changing American Family

 

 

Reading Questions; Check back regularly for updates

Rev 12/30/2015

 

 

 

Week 1:

 

Jan 5

Introduction to the class

Jan 7

Cherlin, Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage, Chapters 1-3 (Demographic Trends, Explanations, and Consequences)

 

Cherlin, Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage, Chapter 1 (Demographic Trends).

    * What is a cohort?

    * What is the Baby Boom and when did it occur?

    * Can you see evidence of the Baby Boom in Figure 1-1?

    * What is the trend in extra marital cohabitation, and what is the effect of education on cohabitation? (see Figure 1-2)

    * What is the effect of longer life expectancy on the percentage of marriages that eventually end in divorce?

 

Cherlin, Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage, Chapters 2+3 (Explanations and Consequences)

    * What is the difference between 'period' and 'cohort' explanations for the baby boom? What evidence is available for each explanation?

    * What is the trend in married women's labor force participation, how might this affect the divorce rate?

    * What are the effects of divorce and what are some limitations of the research on the effects of divorce?

 

 

 

Week 2:

 

Jan 12

 Cherlin, Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage, Chapters 4+5 (Race and Poverty, The State of Our Unions)

 

    * What are the differences between white and black family patterns in the late 20th century, and what explains these differences?

     * What is the story of the infamous 'Harvard-Yale' study of female marriage probabilities?

Jan 14

Waite and Gallagher, Ch1-7

 

* What are Waite and Gallagher’s 5 myths about marriage?

* What evidence do they provide about gender equality or inequality within marriage?

* Why do they think married men are healthier and live longer than single or divorced men? What other explanations are possible for the apparent health benefits of marriage?

 

 

 

Week 3:

 

Jan 19

Waite and Gallagher, Ch 8-14

* What is the nature of the public and societal stake in marriage?

* What policies do Waite and Gallagher propose to strengthen marriage?

* What is Waite and Gallagher’s position on same-sex marriage?

 

On DePaulo, Ch1-2:

* What is DePaulo’s critique of Waite and Gallagher?

 

Jan 21

Moynihan “The Negro Problem”

* What does Moynihan see as the main differences between black and white family structure?

* What is the effect of matrifocal family structure on black society?

* Where does Moynihan think the black matrifocal family comes from?

* What kinds of public policy priorities does Moynihan advocate?

 

 

 

Week 4:

 

Jan 26

Reading from the Feminine Mystique, Chapters 1 and 2, and the first 6 pages of Ch 3 (p 57-127 in the paperback edition)

    * What is the problem that has no name, and why does it have no name?

    * What is the feminine mystique, who promotes it, and who suffers by it?

    * What kinds of choices does Friedan report having made about her own career ambitions?

   * What kind of evidence does Friedan employ in her analysis of women’s happiness and satisfaction?

Jan 28

Reading from the Feminine Mystique, Chapter 4, Chapter 6, chapter 14 and chapter 15 (epilogue).

    * What happened in Seneca Falls in 1848?

    * Who were Lucy Stone and Susan B. Anthony, and what role did they play in 19th century feminism?

    * What kind of image (or mis-perception) is Friedan trying to defend the 19th century feminists from?

    * What is functionalism, and why in Friedan’s view is functionalist social theory inherently anti-feminist?

 

 

 

Week 5:

 

Feb 2

Wallerstein, Second Chances,

Read Chapters 1-7, plus chapters 15-18, and the Appendix.

 

Questions:

* Why do the effects of divorce seem to last in children so long after the parental divorce itself?

* In what ways does divorce make parenting more difficult?

* What kinds of problems are the young adults having 10 and 15 years after their parents’ divorces?

* Who are the winners and losers in divorce?

* How were families recruited into Wallerstein’s study?

* How representative is Wallerstein’s sample of all children of divorce?

Feb 4

Betty Friedan, Feminine Mystique, Ch 5

Judith Stacey’s Op-Ed “Good Riddance to the Family” (linked on my website)

David Popenoe’s “Two Parent Families are Better” (linked on my website)

 

Questions:

* How does Friedan characterize Freud and Freudian theory?

* Summarize the debate between Stacey and Popenoe

 

 

 

Week 6:

 

Feb 9

In-class Midterm

Feb 11

Rosenfeld, The Age of Independence, Ch 1-3

     * What is Family Government, and what is its significance?

     * What was bundling?

     * What effects did the Great Depression, World War II, and post-war suburbanization have on American families?

      * What is the Independent Life Stage, when did it first appear, and what is its significance?

     * What is the trend for young adults to live independently from their parents?

     * What is the trend in age at first marriage?

 

 

Week 7:

 

Feb 16

Rosenfeld, The Age of Independence, Ch 4-7 see also Rosenfeld “Nontraditional Families and Childhood Progress Through School”, available on my website

 

     * What are nontraditional unions, and what do their increasing numbers tell us?

     * What is the relationship between nontraditional unions and geographic mobility?

     * What explains the relationship between age and rate of interracial marriage?

    * How has childhood changed over time, and how do we know?

     * How do changes in childhood relate to other changes in the family system, such as the rise of the independent life stage?

     * What are the key factors that influence tolerance towards homosexuals?

     * What is demographic metabolism, and how does it work?

     * In what way does income and parental education explain some of the differences in children’s outcomes among different family types?

     * How different are children raised outside of the family system (raised in orphanages, for instance) from children raised within the family system? What are the policy implications?

Feb 18

Rosenfeld, The Age of Independence, Ch 8,9

     * Identify the following Supreme Court decisions, and explain their significance: Griswold v. Connecticut, Eisenstadt v. Baird, Loving v. Virginia, Roe v. Wade, Loving v. Virginia, Bowers v. Hardwick, Lawrence v. Texas.

     * Identify the following state court same-sex marriage decisions, and explain their significance: Baehr v. Miike, Baker v. State, Goodridge v. Dept of Public Health.

     * Look up and read the decisions in DeBoer v Snyder (US district court, 2014) and Obergefell v. Hodges (US Supreme Court, 2015), two of the important same-sex marriage decisions that post date Rosenfeld’s book, and explain the significance of both decisions.

     * Explain the significance of the US Defense of Marriage Act (1996).

     * How has the nature of privacy rights changed in the US since 1965, and what explains the change?

 

 

Week 8:

 

Feb 23

Sullivan, Same Sex Marriage Pro and Con, chapters 4 and 5

    * What are the politically Left arguments against same sex marriage?

    * What are the politically conservative arguments for same sex marriage?

    * What do these different political perspectives on same sex marriage tell us about the different political views of what marriage means?

 

Short GSS proposal due

Feb 25

 The Second Shift, chapters 1-6, 16, and 17

    * Define the second shift, and explain why it continues to exist

    * How do women rationalize allowing their husbands to do less than half of the work around the house?

    * In what ways do the new expectations of gender equality make married life easier or more difficult?

 

 

 

Week 9:

 

March 1

Rudder, Dataclysm, chapters and questions TBA

March 3

Rudder, Dataclysm, chapters and questions TBA

 

 

 

 

Week 10:

 

March 8

GSS Paper due

 

Rosenfeld and Thomas: Searching for a Mate: The Rise of the Internet as a Social Intermediary

 

Rosenfeld and Thomas: How has the way people meet partners changed over time, and why?

March 10

Final Exam Review