In this course, students will explore the nature and psychology of love in parent-child and sexual relationships. Three questions are addressed, including: (1) Why is the nature of a child’s tie to her parents critical to human adaptation from cradle to grave? (2) How does culture and biology interact to inform variations in mate selection and sexual bonding? (3) What are the biological and cultural mechanisms that transmit individual expectations for love from our parent relationships to our sexual relationships and then to our own children? Student observations made during port of call excursions will be used to examine universal themes and cultural variations on the above questions.
Field WorkCountry: Ghana
Ghana is in the beginning stages on a massive social reform effort aimed at deinstitutionalizing care among orphaned and abandoned children through the promotion of extended-family care and foster care. In this field lab, we will visit with government officials at the Department of Social Welfare in Accra to learn about the Child Care Reform Initiative and its current stage of implementation. Next, we will travel to a children's home that is registered with the Department of Social Welfare (currently less than 10% of the 148 children's homes in Ghana are registered). We will have the opportunity to observe a "model" institutional care environment and the opportunities for children to form healthy attachments within this setting. Following the visit to the children's home, we will return to Tema for a debriefing, which will include a discussion on current and future prospects for healthy attachments among the vulnerable child population in Ghana and other countries with similar and different child-welfare policies.