Family Courses

2006 – 2007 

Parenting and Child Development
Michael Goldstein
PSYCH 478; PSYCH 678
Fall 2006

We will explore the influence of parenting skills and styles on the development of infants and children. By studying parents and their infants together, we can view the family as a system in which the members engage in reciprocal stimulation and regulation of learning and behavior. Patterns of interaction within a family serve as a source of developmental change in infants. Such a system is influenced by internal and external forces. We will examine internal factors such as the biology of parenting and mechanisms of social learning in infants. We will also study the influence of external factors on family life, such as socioeconomic status and changes in family structure (e.g. single vs. dual parenting). Finally, we will examine and evaluate the role of public policies and intervention strategies that impact parents and children.

Low Income Families: Qualitative and Policy Perspectives
Maureen Waller
PAM 335
Spring 2007

Examines the experiences and challenges of low-income families in the contemporary United States as documented in qualitative and policy research. Also looks at policies designed to assist these families. Considers such topics as the characteristics and causes of poverty, changes in family structure and the emergence of “fragile families,” nonresident fathers’ relationships with their children, families’ participation in the welfare system and low-wage labor market, and socioeconomic variations in parenting and child well-being.

Aging and the Life Course
SOC 250; HD 251
Elaine Wethington
Spring 2007

Analyzes the social aspects of aging in contemporary American society from a life course perspective. Topics include (1) an introduction to the field of gerontology, its history, theories, and research methods; (2) a brief overview of the physiological and psychological changes that accompany aging; (3) an analysis of the contexts (e.g., family, friends, social support, employment, volunteer work) in which individual aging occurs, including differences of gender, ethnicity, and social class; (4) and the influences of society on the aging individual.

2005 – 2006 Courses

Family in Asia through Film
Kath March
ANTRO 256
Fall 2005

This course looks at Asian families as they are represented anthropologically in both print and visual media. We will try to understand families from South Asia (India & Nepal ), Southeast Asia (mainland & island) and East Asia (Korea, Japan & China), both in their historical homelands and in their contemporary diasporas. We will engage anthropological theory on family and kinship, as well as more personal written narratives, to see how these different kinds of families have been described and how they constitute distinct bases for social experience. We will also work with various visual representations of Asian families both
historical and contemporary to explore the intersecting potentials of film and photograph as ethnographic record.

Fatherhood, Marriage and Family Policy
Mary Katzenstein and Elaine Wethington
GOVT 201; HD201
Fall 2005

The ongoing, indeed intensifying debates about “family values” and the definition of marriage underline the importance of thinking about fatherhood and gender in American culture, politics and contemporary life. What were the expectations of the traditional breadwinner father and how have changes in the economy, in society, and in the law altered these expectations? What might be involved in a return, now much touted, to a more stabilized system of heterosexual marriage? What does this mean for changing ideas and ideals of masculinity and femininity and for gender roles? Will the promotion of marriage relieve poverty in the
US? Why do work places find it so hard to
accommodate family needs? Should US policy support marriage or “families”?

This course will be divided into three parts. We begin with a discussion of what’s at stake in the changing conceptions of fatherhood; we turn, then, to history and to a look at the shifting understandings and lived roles of men in American society. We then – in what is the largest section of the course – consider specific contentious contexts in which the parameters and norms of fatherhood are constructed: the workplace, the welfare system, the courts, and the prison system, to name a few such institutions.

As a sophomore seminar, this will be a writing-intensive course with regular “take a stand” papers assigned in preparation for class discussion and a research paper expected by the end of the semester.

Parenting and Child Development
Michael Goldstein
PSYCH 478; PSYCH 678; HD 444
Fall 2005

We will explore the influence of parenting skills and styles on the development of infants and children. By studying parents and their infants together, we can view the family as a system in which the members engage in reciprocal stimulation and regulation of learning and behavior. Patterns of interaction within a family serve as a source of developmental change in infants. Such a system is influenced by internal and external forces. We will examine internal factors such as the biology of parenting and mechanisms of social learning in infants. We will also study the influence of external factors on family life, such as socioeconomic status and changes in family structure (e.g. single vs. dual parenting). Finally, we will examine and evaluate the role of public policies and intervention strategies that impact parents and children.

Economics of Family Policy
Elizabeth Peters
PAM 605 (6050)
Spring 2006

Examines household decision making in both single- and multiple agent (e.g., game theoretic or bargaining) frameworks. The first half of the course focuses on fertility; household production; time allocation models of behavior–decisions that are usually modeled in a single-agent framework. The second half looks at marriage markets; family formation and dissolution; bargaining models of resource allocation within the household; and intergenerational transfers across households. Empirical applications of the theoretical models are presented for both developed and developing countries. Implications for family policies such as child care subsidies, divorce laws, family planning, government subsidies to education, and social security are also discussed.

The Family in Asia:
Perspectives from Economics and Sociology

Stefan Klonner and Lindy Williams
ECON 4900; D SOC 494
Spring 2006

This seminar has three major goals, first to provide an overview of the role of the family for Asian societies, second to identify changing processes within Asian families, and third to introduce students to the approaches of two disciplines (economics and sociology) toward these topics. The course will be taught by one economist and one sociologist. Complementarities and differences between the two disciplines will be highlighted.