Sociology 323                                                                                             rev 3/27/2020


Sociology of the Family




Spring quarter, 2020

Class Meets Mondays, 10:30-1:20P

All class meetings will be in Zoom, scheduled through Canvas>Zoom

[Building 380, room 380F is the Registrar's selected room for this class, which we will, alas, never be in together]



Michael J. Rosenfeld


Department of Sociology

McClatchy Hall (Building 120) room 124

Office Hour: TBA

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




            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 has emerged as one of the most divisive political issues in the U.S. 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.


All work and notes in the class will be posted to Canvas


* Reading discussants (for assigned reading and for supplementary reading) will post a page of notes with a flow chart (see the guidelines posted on my website) at least a day before class when the readings are to be discussed.

* Student research presentations (whether it is a draft paper, a literature review, an outline, a Powerpoint slide show, or some combination of these) will be posted to the class Canvas site 2 days before the presentation.

* Students who are commenting on another student’s presentation will comment in class, and post some comments to Canvas after the presentation.

* Comments on one other students’ paper will consist of a 1-2 page memo, which will be posted to Canvas after the due date for student papers.




Computer use in class:

Computer use in class is limited to viewing class materials.



Required Reading, all available at the Stanford Bookstore

* Goldthorpe, J.E. 1987. Family Life in Western Societies: A Historical Sociology of Family Relationships in Britain and North America. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. ISBN-10: 0521337526, $43

* Cherlin, Andrew J. 1992. Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage. Second Edition. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. ISBN-10: 067455082X. $25

* 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

* Friedan, Betty. 2001 [1963]. The Feminine Mystique. WW. Norton. ISBN : 0393322572. $11

* Wallerstein, Judith, and Sandra Blakeslee. 2004. Second Chances: Men, Women and Children a Decade after Divorce.  ISBN : 0618446893. $10

* Hochschild, Arlie and Anne Machung. 2003 [1989]. The Second Shift. New Updated Edition. Penguin.  ISBN : 0142002925. $11

* Becker, Gary S. 1993. A Treatise on the Family: Enlarged Edition. ISBN-10:  0674906993. $38

* hooks, bell. [1984] 2000. Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center. Second Edition. Cambridge, MA: South End Press. ISBN 9781138821668

* DePaulo, Bella. 2006. Singled Out: How Singles are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After. New York: St. Martin's Press. 9780312340827





Grading Basis for Spring, 2020 will be S/NC, but I will give you feedback on your work as if there would be a grade in the class.


For Graduate Students (soc 323):

* Assigned Reading Discussant, two weeks


* Regular class participation


* Supplementary reading discussant, two weeks


* In-class research presentation


* Final paper


* Your evaluation of another student’s final paper





For Supplementary readings, see Canvas








Week 1:


April 6

class orientation



Week 2:


April 13

First half of the class:

Required text: Goldthorpe’s Family Life in Western Societies (read the whole book).


Second half of the class: Supplementary readings TBA

Week 3:


April 20

First half of the class:

Required text: Andrew Cherlin’s Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage (read the whole book)


Second half of the class: Supplementary readings TBA

Week 4:


April 27

First half of the class:

Required text: Waite and Gallagher’s The Case for Marriage (read the whole book)


Second half of the class: Supplementary readings TBA

Week 5:


May 4

First half of the class: Sections  from Becker’s Treatise on the Family

Introduction, Ch2 (Division of Labor), Ch 4 (Assortative Mating) Ch 5 (Demand for Children), Ch 8 (Altruism in the Family), Ch 10 (marriage and divorce), Ch 11(Family and the State)


Second half of the class: Supplementary readings TBA

Week 6:


May 11

First half of the class:

Required text: Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique (read chapters 1-6 and ch 14)


Supplementary readings TBA

Week 7:


May 18

Same-Sex Marriage, Social Science, the Courts, and Social Change

Read Rosenfeld’s book manuscript The Rainbow After the Storm (Book MS will be posted to Canvas)


Week 8:


May 25

Memorial Day, no class



Week 9:


June 1

Student presentations

June 5

Final student papers due