This course explores family life and couplehood from a cross-cultural perspective. The primary aim is to better understand how family life and couplehood varies from country to country and culture to culture. As we travel, we will focus in particular on intimate relationships and family life. We will develop an understanding of the diversity of family interactions, roles, norms, expectations, responsibilities, celebrations and struggles across the globe. Additionally, specific tasks and topics relevant to family life and structure will be explored including dating and mate selection, marriage and partnering, gender roles and socialization, parenting, stress, violence, divorce, remarriage, kinship, aging, and death. The countries on our voyage will serve as opportunities to learn and explore what family life is like in various places. Attention will be given to what role religion, culture, and economics play in shaping family life. Methods of evaluation will include exams, research paper, field reports, and in-class global reflections.
Field ClassCountry: Spain
Day: 1 - Monday, 3 October
In this field class, we will visit the Fundació Maria Raventós, an NGO that for more than sixty years has been dedicated to helping single mothers without resources, who are “at risk of social exclusion” and in need of help. We will meet with the NGO’s current president, who will explain the group’s current projects and how they try to help women suffering from difficult circumstances. We will then eat lunch in a local vegetarian restaurant. Finally, we will cap off the field lab with a walking visit to Barcelona’s famous market La Boqueria, passing through Las Ramblas and the Gothic Quarter Each student will write a reflection paper about their time at the center. The paper will be 3 pages double spaced and follow an outline given in class. This reflection paper will be due on A8, October 17. Learning objectives:
- To Read and reflect upon the multiple factors generating both the proliferation and the experience of low-income single mothers in advanced industrialized countries
- To observe the efforts of one enduring NGO focusing on women in need, evaluating the way they analyze and conceive of how and why the women are there, and how best to help them
- To observe instances of gender on the Barcelona street, at tourism sites, and at La Boqueria market.