Examines the various forms of intimate partner relationships that exist within a diverse, multicultural society. Social, cultural, and political constructs that apply to the definition, status, and legality of human partnerships are analyze.
Understand the social and interpersonal impact of divorce
Describe the social and interpersonal impact of family abuse
Recognize variations in family life
Understand the prevalence of single parents, cohabitation, same-sex couples, and unmarried individuals
Discuss the social impact of changing family structures
Describe society’s current understanding of family
Recognize changes in marriage and family patterns
Differentiate between lines of decent and residence
Is marriage a patriarchal institution? Much feminist scholarship has characterized it that way, but now in the context of the recent Massachusetts Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage, the meaning of marriage itself demands serious re-examination. This course will discuss history, literature, film, and legal scholarship, making use of cross-cultural, sociological, anthropological, and many other theoretical approaches to the marriage question from 1630 to the present. As it turns out, sex, marriage, and the family have never been stable institutions; to the contrary, they have continued to function as flash points for the very social and cultural questions that are central to gender studies scholarship.