Sociology 155/255                                                                                      rev 3/29/2021

 

“The Changing American Family”

Syllabus

 

Spring Quarter, 2021

Remote, Synchronous on Zoom

Mon, Wed 4P-5P Pacific Time

Plus once a week section (sign up via Canvas)

 

 

Michael J. Rosenfeld

Professor

Department of Sociology

mrosenfe@stanford.edu

http://www.stanford.edu/~mrosenfe

(NOTE that the website contains reading questions and much additional class information)

Office Hour Tuesdays 5-6P Pacific time or by appointment; email me for a slot.

 

TA: Sophie Allen, sallen2@stanford.edu

 

 

 

Overview:

            The American family has changed a great deal in the past few decades. Extra-marital cohabitation and divorce have risen sharply in the past 30 years. Young adults are marrying later than ever before. Interracial marriage and same-sex cohabitation have increased. Same-sex marriage went from being one of the most divisive political issues in the U.S. to the law of the whole U.S. in a remarkably short time. Women’s roles in the labor force have changed, and women’s place in society and within the home seems to have changed as well. What do all these changes mean? Are recent changes in the American family really as dramatic as they seem?  We will examine family change from historical, social, demographic, and legal perspectives.

 

 

The situation we are in: We have a worldwide coronavirus pandemic, a national economic recession, an ongoing political crisis and something else could happen. The world is not normal right now. If the world-wide craziness is interfering with your ability to get things done, reach out to me and we will find an accommodation as best we can.

 

Students with Disabilities:
Students with disabilities that may necessitate an academic accommodation must initiate a request with the Stanford Office of Accessible Education, https://oae.stanford.edu/.
If you need accommodations, please share your OAE letter with Professor Rosenfeld early in the quarter.

 

The Honor Code:
Students are responsible for understanding the University’s Honor Code policy and must make proper use of citations of sources for writing papers, creating, and presenting their work, and doing research. For tips on how to uphold the honor code in an online learning environment, read these recommendations. If you have any questions regarding this policy, please contact me.

        

 

Units:

This Course justifies an additional unit of credit, beyond what would be expected based on the typical assignment of class time and outside work. An additional unit represents, on average, 30 additional hours of work expected of a student during the quarter, devoted to the especially heavy reading load and to the preparation of the students’ section presentation, and to the students’ brief GSS research report.

 

Note: Course enrollment is limited, Sociology majors get preference.

 

 

The Books:

This is an intensive reading class. There are a lot of books (and some articles and some court decisions) on the reading list. Reading the books and keeping up with the reading is the most important part of the class. The two assessments will thoroughly test your knowledge of the books. Course lectures won’t mean much if you have not done the reading. Since you are going to be spending a lot of time with the books, I urge you to buy the books if you can afford to do so. As a back-up plan, most (but not all) of the books are available online through the library. The books will also be available from the library reserve (digital versions only as of now)

 

 

Required Reading, all available at the Stanford Bookstore

* Cherlin, Andrew J. 1992. Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage. Second Edition. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. ISBN-10: 067455082X. $25. Electronic version of the 1981 edition is available via Hathi trust here: https://searchworks.stanford.edu/view/1120436

* Waite, Linda and Maggie Gallagher. 2001. The Case for Marriage: Why Married People are Happier, Healthier, and Better off Financially. Broadway Books.  ISBN : 0767906322. $11. Electronic versions at Hathi Trust and Ebsco, start from https://searchworks.stanford.edu/view/13521060 or https://searchworks.stanford.edu/view/4469706
* DePaulo, Bella. 2007. Singled Out: How Singles are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After. New York, St. Martin’s Press. ISBN-10: 0312340826. $16 (one chapter available on Canvas)

* Friedan, Betty. 2001 [1963]. The Feminine Mystique. WW. Norton. ISBN : 0393322572. $10 on Kindle, $14 in paperback. Available on Hathi Trust here: https://searchworks.stanford.edu/view/771110

* Wallerstein, Judith, and Sandra Blakeslee. 2004. Second Chances: Men, Women and Children a Decade After Divorce.  ISBN : 0618446893. $10. No e-book version available through the library.

* Rosenfeld, Michael J. 2007. The Age of Independence: Interracial Unions, Same-Sex Unions, and the Changing American Family. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. ISBN-10: 0674034902. $20. Electronic version available through Hathi trust, https://searchworks.stanford.edu/view/7134024

* Hochschild, Arlie and Anne Machung. 2003 [1989]. The Second Shift. New Updated Edition. Penguin.  ISBN : 0142002925. $11. Available through the library via Ebsco, https://searchworks.stanford.edu/view/13520678 and via Hathi https://searchworks.stanford.edu/view/1812031

* Sullivan, Andrew, and Joseph Landau (Eds.). 2004. Same- Sex Marriage: Pro and Con. New York: Vintage. ISBN : 1400078660. $13. Available via Hathi trust, https://searchworks.stanford.edu/view/5714778

* Rudder, Christian. 2014. Dataclysm: Love, Sex, Race, and Identity-- What our Online Lives Tell Us about Our Offline Selves. Broadway Books. ISBN-13: 9780385347396. $18 in paperback, $15 in Kindle. No electronic version available through the library, but many used versions of the book available on Amazon.

* Cenziper, Debbie and Jim Obergefell. 2017. Love Wins: The Lovers and Lawyers who fought the Landmark Case for Marriage Equality. ISBN 0062456105, $16 paperback, $7.50 Kindle, many used copies available on Amazon, no electronic version available through the library.

 

 

Further Required Reading, links available from my website:

* Moynihan, Daniel Patrick. 1965. “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action

* Judith Stacey “Good Riddance to the Family

* David Popenoe “Two-Parent Families are Better

 

These 3 papers of mine are available in published form from the journals, through the links below, but you can also find pre-published versions on my website.

* Michael Rosenfeld “Nontraditional Families and Childhood Progress Through School.”

* Michael Rosenfeld and Reuben J. Thomas, "Searching for a Mate: The Rise of the Internet as a Social Intermediary"

* Michael Rosenfeld “Moving a Mountain: The Extraordinary Trajectory of Same-Sex Marriage Approval in the US.”

 

For journal articles, know how to use the Stanford library proxy server:

https://library.stanford.edu/using/connecting-e-resources/connect-campus-faq

 

 

 

 

 

Requirements:

 

For Undergraduates (soc 155):

* First half of quarter midterm assessment

25%

* Make one 15 minute presentation to discussion section, and lead (along with the TA) the section discussion for that week.

20%

* Regular section and class participation

20%

* A brief paper using GSS data

10%

* Second half of class assessment

25%

 

 * Assessments will be timed, open book essay assessments with most of the questions drawn from a set of questions known in advance (so you can outline or even write answers in advance). But note: it will be vital for you begin the assessments having done all the reading already.

 

 

 

 

For Graduate Students (soc 255):

* First half of quarter midterm assessment

20%

* Make one 15 minute presentation to discussion section, and lead (along with the TA) the section discussion for that week.

20%

* Regular section and class participation

15%

* One 10 minute presentation to class, presenting a different book from the one you presented to section

15%

* A brief paper using GSS data

10%

* second half of quarter assessment

20%

 

 

NOTE:

Questions are posted on my website for each reading.

See, specifically, http://www.stanford.edu/~mrosenfe/Soc_155_fam_reading_Q.htm

 

 

 

Week 1:

 

March 29

Introduction to the class

March 31

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

 

 

Week 2:

 

Apr 5

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

Apr 7

Waite and Gallagher, The Case for Marriage, Ch 1-7

 

 

Week 3:

 

Apr 12

Waite and Gallagher, The Case for Marriage, Ch 8-14

Plus DePaulo’s Singled Out, Chapters 1 and 2.

Apr 14

Moynihan “The Negro Family” (available on my website)

 

 

Week 4:

 

Apr 19

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

Apr 21

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

 

 

Week 5:

 

Apr 26

Wallerstein, Second Chances,

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

 

Apr 28

Feminine Mystique, Ch 5,

plus

 

Judith Stacey “Good Riddance to the Family” (available on my website)

David Popenoe “Two-Parent Families are Better” (available on my website; or via the NYTimes here)

 

 

Week 6:

 

May 3

In-class Midterm

May 5

Rosenfeld, The Age of Independence, Ch 1-3

 

 

Week 7:

 

May 10

Rosenfeld, The Age of Independence, Ch 4-7, see also Rosenfeld

Moving a Mountain: The Extraordinary Trajectory of Same-Sex Marriage Approval in the U.S.” (linked on my website) and “Nontraditional Families and Childhood Progress Through School” (available on my website)

May 12

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

 

Two cases:

Lawrence v. Texas 2003;

DeBoer v. Snyder trial, 2014;

(both linked from my website)

 

 

Week 8:

 

May 17

Love Wins, read the whole book

 

Obergefell. v. Hodges 2015

 

Short GSS proposal due

May 19

 

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

 

May 20 Optional week 8 assessment distributed, due on May 21

 

 

Week 9:

 

May 24

Rudder, Dataclysm, read the whole book

 

May 26

GSS paper due

 

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

May 27 Optional week 9 assessment distributed, due on May 28

 

 

Week 10:

 

May 31

Memorial day, no classes

June 2

Last class, second half assessment