Family as a social institution. Historical changes in families; paid and unpaid work; marriage and partnering; divorce, remarriage and blended families; parenting; violence; economic issues; law and social policy; race/ethnicity, sexuality and age. Also listed as WGS 354.
Winter Semester Jan 03, 2012 – Apr 16, 2012 [more info: here and here]
Time/Credits: 11:00 am – 12:15 pm MW; 3 credits
Location: French Hall 250 // Capacity: 40 Students
Instructor: John Girdwood, MSA
Office: Home // Phone: 1-77-Girdwood (1-774-473-9663)
Email: email@example.com // Office Hours: by appointment (esp. Skype)
“All of us are experts, of sorts, on the family; we have lived in families, observed family dynamics, and compared our own family experiences with others. Families have been at the center of our personal and emotional lives. This course will provide you with an opportunity to look at something familiar (the family) in a new way. We will focus on the family as a social institution—a set of structured social arrangements for meeting certain human needs—and we will examine the larger social forces that shape those structures. Our working definition of “family” will include a multitude of family arrangements including step-families, cohabitating couples, gay and lesbian families, single adults, parents and children, grandparents, and extended families. We will view the family through a sociological lens, and special attention will be given to issues such as historical changes in families, the role of work in the family, marriage and partnering, ethnic and racial family variations, divorce, remarriage and blended families, parenting, families and violence, and economic issues facing families today” (Laube, 2010).
Course Objectives (Laube, 2010)
- Learners will apply sociological thinking to the familiar social institution of the family.
- Learners will analyze the larger social forces that shape and influence the structure and function of families.
Learning Outcomes (Laube, 2010)
Students will be able to:
- Demonstrate awareness of the diversity of intimate human relationships.
- Recognize and describe the ways families and family issues are socially constructed.
- Comprehend and explain the complex intersections of race/ethnicity, gender, social class, and sexual orientation.
- Distinguish among facts, inferences, opinions, and the assertion of values and identify peer-reviewed scientific research.
- Apply a sociological perspective to analyze the social, cultural, economic, and political factors that shape the structures of families.
- Demonstrate their competency in fact finding, interpretation, writing, and public presentation of their own research.
- Place their personal experiences of families in a larger social context.
- Display a social scientific understanding of the current issues facing families in modern America.
Text and Supplies
Edin, K. & Kefalas, M. 2005. Promises I can keep: Why poor women put motherhood before marriage. Berkeley: University of California Press.
McAdoo, H. P. (2007). Black families. SAGE.
Obtaining selected articles available on electronic journal sites like JSTOR and accessible through the U of M Library – http://www.umflint.edu/library/ and/or http://www.lib.umich.edu/ – is essential. I recommend that you get acquainted with the library and online library systems as well as APA format.
Although the workload is more than manageable, Soc 354 is writing intensive. As the course outline shows, we typically cover at least one chapter or article each week. In order to keep up, I urge students to follow the “rule of thumb” advice to devote between 2 and 3 hours outside of class for each hour of classroom instruction. For face-to-face classes, students should “budget” about 5 to 7 additional hours per week and for on-line classes, they should budget 7 to 10 per week total for SOC 354.
- Preparation & Participation (15% of total grade):
- There is a weekly presentation by student groups consisting of 20 minutes of recitation that may be supplemented by writing assignments or journal entries.
- Essays (15% of total grade):
- There are no “rules” for how to earn essay points. However, you should be honing your skills for execution of the final project.
- Midterm Exam (20% of total grade):
- The format of the midterm is at the discretion of the instructor and may include article critique, multiple choice, and/or essays.
- Comprehensive Final Project (50% of total grade). This is a research proposal.
Collaboration is encouraged among learners, except when it comes to graded work. For certain parts of the course, students will be invited to discuss assignments, issues, and questions with each other. However, quizzes, tests, and individual research projects, must represent independent, individual work. All course participants are expected to observe the standards of academic integrity set forth in the Student Rights and Responsibilities section of the University of Michigan-Flint Catalogue. These standards are crucial because intellectual integrity is among the most fundamental values of an academic community. Any conduct that departs from these standards may result in sanctions.
“During class, discussion is encouraged, and students will be expected to listen, share their thoughts, and to be non-judgmental toward others who may have different perspectives. On occasion, your deeply held beliefs may be challenged by what you read and hear. I ask that you be open to new ideas and to thoughtfully consider ways of expressing your ideas that are respectful of those who may disagree. Disrespect of the instructor, other students, or the academic environment will not be tolerated. Remember we’re doing sociology” (Laube, 2010).
“We will utilize Blackboard for communication, information, and assignments. You may also complete your exams on Blackboard. (This makes it easier for you to refer to your notes and text.) Assignments will generally be posted on Blackboard – I will not hand them out in class unless you request a hard copy from me. It is a good idea to check frequently as I will post important information, announcements, and changes” (Laube, 2010).
“Please plan ahead. Missed or late course work (including in-class activities) are acceptable only if you have a doctor’s excuse, documented family emergency (e.g. your name in an obituary as a close relative of the deceased), invoice from a towing company, or a court order. A note from a parent won’t cut it. Without a valid excuse, your grade will be reduced. Late assignments will be docked by 10% (e.g. 10 points for a 100 point assignment) for each day late” (Laube, 2010).
*If something prevents you from meeting the requirements of this course please speak with me immediately*
*Incompletes are granted only under extreme circumstances*
Code of Academic Conduct
The University, like all communities, functions best when its members treat one another with honesty, fairness, respect, and trust. Therefore, an individual should realize that deception for the purpose of individual gain is an offense against the members of the community. Appropriate disciplinary action, ranging from revising the assignment to expulsion, will be taken. The University’s Academic Honesty Policy prohibits cheating, fabrication of work, facilitating academic dishonesty, and plagiarism. Plagiarism includes the purchase of academic work from others, copying material directly from another source (including a website) without attributing it to that source, using the ideas of another person without giving that person credit (even if you are not using a direct quote and have put the concepts into your own words, you must cite your source). Plagiarism can result in failing the course or other disciplinary actions. Details on this policy can be found in the University Catalog and online at http://www.umflint.edu/Departments/catalog/acadpol/acadregs.html
The Writing Center (559 French Hall) has helpful information about proper ways to cite your sources.
Most importantly, please talk with me if you are unclear or have concerns about plagiarism. If you find yourself in a situation where you are considering plagiarism or other forms of cheating, please talk with me about it, and we can figure out other ways for you to complete the assignment.
UM-Flint provides a wide range of services to students with qualifying disabilities to allow them to participate in the mainstream of college life. If you believe you may benefit from and be eligible for services you should contact the Student Development Center, 264 UCEN, 810-762-3456. In addition to others, services may include:
- Course materials in alternative formats
- Sign language and oral interpreters
- Special testing arrangements
- Access to adaptive equipment and technology
|93+||A||77-79||C+||There are 1,000 total points available during the semester. Grades are based on percentages.|
|Discuss syllabus and time line of course||Syllabus||-|
|2||Topic: Childbearing||E+K 1-2; Mc 3+4||ESSAY 1|
|3||Topic: Union formation
[YouTube Videos 1 / 2 / 3 ]
["Ann Arbor Wedding" web page]
|E+K 4; Mc 13||-|
|4||Topic: Parenthood & Family Wealth
Watch: The One Percent
|E+K 5; Mc 20
“Loss in Successful Child Bearing”
(click here) – lecture slides (here)
|E+K 6-conc; Mc 12
|Topic: Practical and Applied Sociology
[methods lecture video]
["Choose Your Method" web page]
|Article TBA||ESSAY 3|
|7||How to obtain scholarly sources||Article TBA
Video [link here]
|8||How to write at a scholarly level||Article [link here]
|Topic: The “American Dream”||Article TBA||-|
|11||Topic: Family as a social institution; What is a social institution?
Topic: Family and professional life; Paid and unpaid work
|12||Topic: Family economic issues; The differences between wealth, poverty, and income
Topic: Family violence; What is a social norm?
|13||Topic: Family law; What are common family law issues?
Topic: Social policy; Which social institution shapes the other? Government and family
|APRIL||Final Project Presentations||n/a||FINAL|