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SOCI 2293 Introduction to Marriage and the Family Syllabus

SOCI 2125 Intro to Social Science Research Methods
Role of Spirit in our Relationships by Gien
SOCI1160 Introduction to Social Problems
Meet Your Teacher
SOCI 1101 Introduction to Sociology
SOCI 2225 Statistics for the Social Sciences
SOCI 2293 Intro to Marriage and Family
SOSC 2245 Intro to Women's Studies
Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society
Answers to 1965 Constitution Test
The Division of Social Sciences
Course Outline Fall 2009
COURSE TITLE Introduction to Marriage and the Family
PREREQUISITES Exit from Learning Support English and Reading
INSTRUCTOR Michelle Geisert, MA
Office S156 Phone 404-756-4711
Office Hours: M/W 11:00-12:30, T/R 12:30-2:00 and by appointment
*more hours will be added
CATALOG DESCRIPTION  This course offers an introduction to the structure, processes, problems, and adjustments of contemporary marriage and family life.

COURSE GOALS Students read material and analyze explanations for relationships, marriages, and family forms worldwide, including biological, sociocultural, historical, and religious components. Students investigate issues affecting relationships, marriages and family life, utilizing their own experiences, and integrating these aspects in order to make connections across national, regional, cultural, and gender lines and develop steps that can be taken to improve communication and problem solving in relationships.

TEXTBOOK  Strong, B., DeVault, C., and Sayad, B. 2001. The Marriage and Family Experience (10th edition). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth publishing Company


1. Personal/Social Development

Successful students will:

a. Recognize, respect and trust the experiences and ideas representative of themselves as men and women as they relate to relationships, marriage, and the family.

b. Familiarize themselves with current family issues.

c. Recognize their own biases and limitations, respectfully point out others’ biases while accepting each person’s right to hold different opinions.

d. Listen actively, follow directions, and evaluate information.

2. Oral Proficiency

Successful students will:

a. Demonstrate confidence in ability to communicate orally and on paper.

b. Contribute constructively to class discussion on relationship, marriage, and family issues.

c. Use terminology appropriate to the Social Sciences.

3. Reading Proficiency

Successful students will:

a. Use a dictionary for unfamiliar terminology.

b. Outline main topics in chapter.

c. Draw inferences and generalize from material presented in textbook.

d. See similarities and differences in their views and the views of the author/s as they pertain to . relationships, marriage and the family.

4. Writing Proficiency

Successful students will:

a. Conduct scholarly research utilizing appropriate sources and technology that focuses on historical, current, and global position of courtship, marriage, and family.

b. Formulate and express thesis topic.

c. Provide adequate support for topic.

d. Develop papers with a clear focus, logic and order.

e. Understand the difference between plagiarism and paraphrasing and quoting as well as write and cite sources according to professional guidelines.

f. Use words, sentences and paragraphs that are complete, clear, correct, and concise.

g. Proofread for grammar and spelling.


The following activities will take place in the course:

a. Lecture and discussion of assigned readings.

b. Writing assignments appropriate to readings and projects

    including paper on Self Date

c. In class group projects.

d. Oral presentations of Genograms or ScholarlyTopic

e. Examinations

ASSESSMENT: Course Grade

Exam 1                            100                 90%-100%  (360-400 pts)  =A
Exam 2                            100                 80-89%       (320-359 pts)  =B
Exam 3                            100                 70-79%       (280-319 pts)  =C
Genogram/Report               50                 60-69%        (240-279 pts) =D
Self Date Paper                  25                 Below 60%   (0- 239 pts)   =F
Projects/assignments/        25                 
Total                               400 pts
CONTENT OUTLINE: (Any changes will be announced in class.)
1.1 Introduction to the Capter
1.2 Personal Experience, Social Controversy and Wishful Thinking 
1.3 What is Marriage? What is Family?
1.4 Functions of Marriages and Families
1.5 Extended Families and Kinship
1.6 The Major Themes of the Text
2.1 How do we know? 
2.2 Thinking Critically about Marriage and the Family
2.3 Theories and Research Methods
2.4 Theories of Marriage and Families
2.5 Theoretical Perspectives on Famiies
2.6 Applying Theories to Long-Distance Relationships
2.7 Conducting Research on Families
2.8 Researching Long-Distance Relationships


3.1 Introduction to the chapter 
3.2 American Families Across Time
3.3 Aspects of Contemporary Marriages and Families
3.4 How Contemporary Families differ Frome Each Other
3.5  Racial and Ethnic Diversity


4.1 Introduction to the chapter 
4.2 Understanding Gender and Gender Roles
4.3 Gender and Gender Socialization 
4.4 How Family Matters: Learning Gender Roles
4.5 Gender Matters in Family Experiences
4.6 Constraints of Contemporary Gender Roles
4.7 Gender Movements and the Family 
5.1 Introduction to the chapter 
5.2 The Need for Intimacy 
5.3 Gender and Intimacy: Men and Women as Friends and Lovers
5.4  Showing Love: Affection and Sexuality
5.5 But What is this "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" ? 
5.6 How Love Develops: Spinning Wheels and Winding Clocks
5.7The Transformation of Love: From Passion to Intimacy
6.1  Gender, Sexuality, and Sexual Scripts
6.2 Psychosexual Development in Young Adulthood
6.3 Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Identities
6.4 Sexuality in Adulthood
6.5 Psychosexual Development in Later Adulthood
6.6 Adult Sexual Behavior
6.7 Sexual Enhancement
6.8 Sexual Expression and Relatinships
6.9 Sexual Problems and Dysfunctions
6.10 Issues Resulting from Sexual Involvement
6.11 Sexual Responsibility
7.1 Introduction to chapter 
7.2 Verbal and Nonverbal Communication
7.3 Nonverbal Communication
7.4 Gender Differences in Communication
7.5 Communication Patterns in Marriage
7.6 Problems in Communication
7.7 Power, Conflict and Intimacy
7.8 Explanations of Marital Power
7.9 Intimacy and Conflict
7.10 Experiencing and Managing Conflict
7.11 Consequences of Conflict
7.12 Resolving Conflicts
8.1 Introduction to the chapter
8.2 Choosing Partners
8.3 Dating and Romantic Relationships
8.4 Singlehood
8.5 Cohabitation
Chapter 10: Should We or Shouldn't We? Choosing Whether to Have Children
10.1 Introduction
10.2 Fertility Patterns in the U.S.
10.3 Waiting a While: Parenthood Deferred 
10.4 Choosing When: Is there an ideal age at which to have a child
10.5 Being Pregnant
10.6 Pregnancy Loss
10.7 Giving Birth
10.8 Choosing How: Adoptive Parents
10.9 Becoming a Parent 
10.10 Taking on Parental Roles and Responsibilities 
11.1 Being Parents
11.2 Who Actually Takes Care of the Children
11.3 Raising Children: Theories of Socialization, Advice to Parents and Styles of Parenting
11.4 From the Theoretical to the Practical: Expert Advice on Child Rearing
11.5 Styles of Child Rearing
11.6 What Influences Child Development
11.7 What Do Parents Need?
11.8 Issues of Diverse Families
11.9 Parenting and Caregiving Later in LIfe
13.1 Introduction
13.2 Intimate Violence and Abuse
13.3 Why Families are Violent: Models of Family Violence
13.4 Prevalence of Intimate Violence
13.5 Women and Men as Victims and Perpetrators
13.6 Class and Race
13.7 Marital Rape
13.8 Violence in Gay and Lesbian Relationships
13.9 Dating Violence and Date Rape
13.10 When and Why Some Women Stay in Violent Relationships
13.11 The Costs of Intimate Violence
13.12 Responding to Intimate Violence: Police Intervention, Shelters, and Abuser Programs
13.13 Child Abuse and Neglect
13.14 Hidden Victims of Family Violence: Siglings, Parents and the Elderly
13.15 Child Sexual Abuse
14.1 Introduction to the chapter
14.2 Measuring Divorce: How Do We Know How Much Divorce There Is?
14.3 Divorce Trends in the United States
14.4 Factors Affecting Divorce
14.5.The Stations of the Divorce Process
14.6 Uncoupling: The Process of Separation
14.7 The New Self: Separation Distress and Postdivorce Identity
14.8 Consequences of Divorce
14.9 Children and Divorce
14.10 Child Custody
14.11 What to Do About Divorce 
15.1 Introduction
15.2 Single-Parent Families
15.3 Binuclear families
15.4 Remarriage
15.5 Blended Families 

Week         Topic 

1                 Introduction to the course  

2                   Chapter 1: The Meaning of Marriage and Family

3                   Chapter 2: Studying Marriage and the Family

4                 Chapter 3: Diifferences: Historical and Contemporary Variations in American Family Life

Start Genograms

5                 Chapter 4: Gender and Family 

6                 Movie: If These Walls Could Talk Part 2          

                  Tuesday Sept 29 Exam 1 Chapters 1-4      

7               Chapter 5: Friendship, Love, and Intimacy              

8               Chapter 6: Understanding Sex and Sexuaities

Midterm Oct 12 - Last day to drop with a grade of W

9               Movie: Kinsey     

10                Chapter 7: Communication, Power and Conflict

11               Chapter 8: Singlehood, Pairing, and Cohabitation

                  Tueday Nov 3 Exam 2 Chapters 5-8

12             Chapter 10: Choosing whether and How to Have Children

13              Chapter 11: Experiencing Parenthood

14               Chapter13: Family Violence and Sexual Abuse

15               Chapter14: Coming Apart; Separation and Divorce

16               Chapter 15: New Beginnings: Single-Parent Families,            

                                     Remarriages, and Blended Families

Last Class Thursday Dec 3.  Final Exam Dec 8 10:00-12:00 noon


1. Make-up Exams: Missed examinations are at the discretion of the instructor. Students are expected to notify the instructor as soon as possible and provide appropriate documentation of emergency (an emergency is death of family member or serious illness requiring hospitalization.)

2. Additional Assignments: Outside assignments are due when assigned and acceptance of late assignments is at the discretion of the instructor. Students who know in advance they will miss a class should email the assignment no later than the beginning of class on the due date. In class assignments cannot be made up. Professor is not responsible for any assignment handed in at a time other than with the rest of the class.

3. Attendance: Attendance affects your grade and is strongly encouraged as group activities occur in class, receive participation points, and may not be made up.  The professor will excuse two absences and one minor activity-you do not have to see me to receive these.  The only other excused absences are for jury duty, AMC school activities (please see me on what constitutes an acceptable school activity) or an ongoing issue AND you provide acceptable documentation-you must see me to get these excused. 

4.   Problems related to the grading policy for this course or other course management concerns should be first brought to the attention of the professor for the course.  However, a resolution of unsettled problems or concerns may be pursued by following the grievance procedures outlined in the AMC Student Handbook and the Academic Catalog.

5. Students are ultimately responsible for ensuring that the courses in which they enroll are included in the approved degree plan and program map for their program of study.  Students must periodically check their enrollment status in this course during the semester. The student is responsible for determining changes, if any, in enrollment status and taking necessary steps (e.g. pursing re-instatement in this course) following the procedures outlined in the AMC catalog

6. Cheating and Plagiarism: Cheating is passing off someone else’s work as your own and includes copying exam answers, using notes or books during examinations, and handing in someone else’s work. Plagiarism is the copying of materials directly from a source without quotation marks and the appropriate citations. It is claiming another person’s work, ideas as your own. If there is a suspicion of plagiarism, the students will be asked to submit notes and copies of research materials (books and articles). Cheating and plagiarism is grounds for failure in this class and dismissal from AMC!


Procedure regarding long-term emergency closure of the college for inclusion on syllabi (attendance policy):


In the event of an emergency that forces the college to close for an extended period, students must contact the instructor of this class within 48 hours using the contact information (e.g., email address, VISTA 8 Access Code or telephone number) on the syllabus to obtain directions for continuing the course.   The instructor will provide directions for the transmission and submission of course assignments and course assessments, including due dates. 


The student is responsible for submitting valid, accurate contact information, including an active AMC email address to the instructor by the end of the first week of the course.  Students can obtain an Atlanta Metropolitan College Student email address in the Academic Support Center on the third floor of the Library Building.


If the instructor for the course cannot be reached within the specified period of time (within 48 hours),  the chair of the division responsible for the course can be reached at the email address posted  on the college’s  website.




BooksBernard, Jesse. (1972). His and Her Marriage. In John J. Macionis and Nijole V. Benokraitis (eds.) Seeing Ourselves: Classic, Contemporary, and Cross-Cultural Readings in Sociology, 2nd edition, pp. 250-256. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Dorkenoo, Efua and Scilla Elworthy. (1992). Female Genital Mutilation. In John J. Macionis and Nijole V. Benokraitis (eds.) Seeing Ourselves: Classic, Contemporary, and Cross-Cultural Readings in Sociology, 4th edition, pp. 382-389. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Edgerton, Robert B. (nd) Sick Societies. In James M. Henslin (ed.) Down to Earth Sociology, 8th edition, pp. 347-354. New York: The Free Press.

Fernea, Elizabeth W. and Robert A. Fernea (nd). A Look behind the Veil. In Garth Massey (ed.) Readings for Sociology, 3rd edition, pp. 107-113. New York: W.W. Norton.

Friedan, Betty. (1993). My Quest for the Fountain of Age. In John J. Macionis and Nijole V. Benokraitis (eds.) Seeing Ourselves: Classic, Contemporary, and Cross-Cultural Readings in Sociology, 4th edition, pp. 251-257. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Gupta, Giri Raj, Love, Arranged Marriage, and the Indian Social Structure. (1979). In John J. Macionis and Nijole V. Benokraitis (eds.) Seeing Ourselves: Classic, Contemporary, and Cross-Cultural Readings in Sociology, 2nd edition, pp. 262-270. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Hostetler, John A. (1980). Amish Society. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Lopata, Helena Znaniecka. (1996). Widowhood in Israel. In John J. Macionis and Nijole V. Benokraitis (eds.) Seeing Ourselves: Classic, Contemporary, and Cross-Cultural Readings in Sociology, 4th edition, pp. 258-262. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Lorber, Judith. (1994). Paradoxes of Gender. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Mead, Margaret (1935). Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies. In John J. Macionis and Nijole V. Benokraitis (eds.) Seeing Ourselves: Classic, Contemporary, and Cross-Cultural Readings in Sociology, 3rd edition, pp. 209-214. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Mitford, Jessica. (1992). Fashions in Childbirth. In Sociology: Exploring the Architecture of Everyday Life, 2nd Edition, pp. 74-84. Newman, David M. (ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press.

Pipher, Mary. (1994). Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls. New York: Ballantine.

Reinharz, Shulamit. (1992). Feminist Research Methods. In John J. Macionis and Nijole V. Benokraitis (eds.) Seeing Ourselves: Classic, Contemporary, and Cross-Cultural Readings in Sociology, 3rd edition, pp. 22-28. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Richmond-Abbot, Marie. (1992). Masculine and Feminine: Sex Roles over the Life Cycle. 2nd Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Romero, Mary. (1992). Maid in the U.S.A. . In John J. Macionis and Nijole V. Benokraitis (eds.) Seeing Ourselves: Classic, Contemporary, and Cross-Cultural Readings in Sociology, 4th edition, pp. 277-283. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Sidel, Ruth. (1996). Keeping Women and Children Last: America’s War on the Poor. New York: Penguin.

Smith, Jane I. (1987). Women and Islam. In John J. Macionis and Nijole V. Benokraitis (eds.) Seeing Ourselves: Classic, Contemporary, and Cross-Cultural Readings in Sociology, 4th edition, pp. 340-346. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Stack, Carol B. (1990). "Different Voices, Different Visions: Gender, Culture, and Moral Reasoning." In Faye Ginsburg and Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing (eds.), Uncertain Terms: Negotiating Gender in American Culture. Boston: Beacon Press, pp. 19-27.

Tannen, Deborah. (1990). You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation. New York: Ballantine Books.

Thorne, Barrie. (1993). Boys and Girls Together…But Mostly Apart. In Sociology: Exploring the Architecture of Everyday Life, 2nd Edition, pp. 102-113. Newman, David M. (ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press.

Wolf, Naomi (1990). The Beauty Myth. In John J. Macionis and Nijole V. Benokraitis (eds.) Seeing Ourselves: Classic, Contemporary, and Cross-Cultural Readings in Sociology, 3rd edition, pp. 215-221. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Wikan, Unni. (1982). Behind the Veil in Arabia: Women in Oman. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.


Ahn, J. N. & Gilber, N. (1992). Cultural Diversity and sexual abuse prevention. Social Service Review, 66, 3, 410-427.

Amott, Theresa. (1993). Caught in the Crisis: Women and the U.S. Economy Today. New York: Monthly Review Press.

Blackwood, Evelyn. (1984). Sexuality and Gender in Certain Native American Tribes: The Case of Cross-Gender Females. Signs, 10, 27-42.

Jacobs, J. (1993). Gender, race, class and the trend towards early motherhood: A feminist analysis of teen mothers in contemporary society. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 22, 4, 442-462.

Lye, D. N. & Biblarx, P. J. (1993). The effects of attitudes toward family life and gender roles on marital satisfaction. Journal of Family Issues, 14, 2, 157-188.

Riley, Nancy E. (1997). Gender, Power, and Population Change. Population Bulletin, 52 (May): entire issue.

Rogers, Susan Carol. (1978). Women’s Place: A Critical Review of Anthropological Theory. Comparative Studies in Society and History, 20, 1, 123-162.

Simon, Rita J., Angela J. Scanlan, and Pamela Madell. (1993). Rabbis and Ministers: Women of the Book and Cloth. Sociology of Religion, 54, 1, 115-122.

Sociologist’s for Women in Society. (1986). Facts about Pay Equity. (April): entire issue.

Weitzmaq, Lenore J., Beborah Eifler, Elizabeth Hokkada, and Catherine Ross. (1972). Sex-Role Socialization in Picture Books for Preschool Children. American Journal of Sociology, 77, 1125-1150.

West, Candance, and Don Zimmerman. (1987). Doing Gender. Gender & Society, 1, 125-151.

Online resources

1. African-American Family History Texts Bibliography

2. African American-American Women On-line Archival Collections Special Collections Library, Duke University

3. All About Families

4. American Women’s Self Defense Association (AWSDA)

5. Angela Shelton-Break the Silence

6. Asian American Concerns and Issues 

7. Center for Multilingual, Multicultural Research: Native American Resources

8. Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education 

9. Colonial Life: Redefining Family

10. Complete Marriages

11. Dr. Phil

12. Family Dynamics Institute

13. Family Track 

14. Life Innovations, Inc.

15. Love and Relationships

16. Marriage and Family Processes

17. The Marriage Toolbox

18. The National Latino Fatherhood and Family Institute

19. The National Organization for Women at

20. Sociology Web site

21. Whole Family at

22. Women and Gender in Ancient Egypt

23. Women’s magazine founded by Gloria Steinem- leader in feminism http://msmagazine

24. Yahoo! Marriage Page