This course will explore the definitions, concepts, processes, symbolism, differences and similarities in dating, marriage, and family forms in the Mediterranean region from a cross-cultural perspective. Differences and similarities that exist in specific Mediterranean cultures will be highlighted as they pertain to the following: desired qualities in a potential mate, dating practices, engagement ceremonies, marriage and marriage celebrations, the importance and changing trends in the giving of dowry, the importance of having children, family life cycle stages, divorce, child custody issues, spousal support, remarriage, choice of being single, and widowhood. The countries on our voyage will serve as the platform and vehicle that will be used to examine the customs, cultural variations, traditions, norms, and mores that have dictated, shaped, and influenced dating, marriage and family life for people in the Mediterranean region. The Symbolic Interaction Theory, The Systems Theory, The Structural Functional Theory, The Exchange Theory, and the Family Strengths Model will be addressed and discussed throughout the course. In addition, specific contemporary changes that are occurring in relation to dating, marriage and family life, i.e. laws affecting women’s issues, divorce, polygamy, child support, and dowry, will be discussed with specific examples from experts from the region when students attend the field directed practicum (FDPs).
An introductory course in Sociology or Family Studies is required.
Field WorkCountry: Morocco
Dating, marriage, and family life in Islamic countries are based on the basic tenants of the Islamic faith. The mosque in Casablanca is the third largest mosque in the world and is considered to be one of the most modern mosques with superb architecture. Students will receive an explanation about the basic beliefs of the Islamic people. Religion has a significant influence on everyday life of Islamic people, especially family life. Students will have the opportunity to compare and contrast this mosque with some of the other older mosques that they might have visited in Istanbul, Turkey. Basic precepts of Islam will be reiterated as students walk through the mosque. They will learn the protocol that Muslims have to go through when they come to worship on Fridays. Students are probably curious and intrigued about the structure and functioning of the Moroccan family. How is the Moroccan family different from other families in the Mediterranean region? Students will have the opportunity to see "first-hand" how a Moroccan family lives. In this Field Lab, participants will have the opportunity to visit the home of a middle-class Moroccan family, spend an evening with them and have dinner with them. The ideal way to see how a family functions is to personally spend time with them, interact with them, and see how they live. The families that we will be visiting will speak English so communicating with them and asking them questions about their lifestyle will not be problematic. The participants will be able to ask them questions and find out more about their dating practices, marriage expectations, marriage customs, family life and Moroccan lifestyle.