SOCIOLOGY 260 -- Sociology of Marriage and the Family


The Course

Michael R. Leming, Ph.D.
Professor of Sociology
Fall Semester 2000

Class Related Links



Course Assignments (Syllabus)

Related News Articles

Discussion Questions

Library - Autobiographical Project



I. The Course:

The major focal point of this course will be upon the family as viewed as a social institution. We will be interested in the tacit dialogue between the institution of the family and that social situation of which the family is a part. This will not be a course which is designed specifically to prepare the student for marriage. If the student feels the need for such a course, I would suggest that he or she should look into the curriculum of the Department of Family Resources.

II. Purposes of the Course:

  1. To introduce students to the sociological perspective as it applies to the understanding of familial phenomena.
  2. To present various sociological theories regarding marriage and family systems.
  3. To present the relationship between family systems and the other social institutions found in contemporary American society.
  4. To familiarize students with the results of empirical research of social scientists who study marriage and family behavior.

III. The Classroom:

The class will consist of lectures, discussions, films, and tests. Your attendance is requested at the times the class meets. Attendance will be taken and grades will be lowered one letter grade for each absence above three (e.g., If you earned an A in the course and were absent 4 times, you would receive an A-.). If you come to class unprepared to discuss the reading, you December be asked to leave and this will counted as an absence. Ideas, comments, questions, and disagreements are welcomed in class, during lectures, and in discussions. Student participation in class is expected and therefore will be subjectively evaluated on borderline cases.

IV. Evaluation:

Each student will write a short term paper. The subject of the paper will be an autobiographical family experience about which you give sociological analysis and interpretation. The paper will not exceed seven pages and not be shorter than four pages in length. All papers will be TYPED and double-spaced and in the American Sociological Review Footnoting Format. The paper will be worth 100 points.

The grade for the course will be also influenced by three exam scores. The graded activities are as follows:

2 Mid-Term Exams

200 Points


100 Points

Final Exam

100 Points

Total Points

400 Points

The final grade for the course will be assigned in the following manner:
         A	 = 91%			   C+	= 79% 
         A-	= 90%			   C	 = 71% 
         B+	= 89%			   C-	= 70% 
         B 	= 81%			   D+	= 69% 
         B-	= 80%			   D 	= 61% 

V. Assigned Readings:

Wolfe -- The House of Lim
Dickinson and Leming -- Understanding Families (Second Edition)
Hochschild -- Second Shift
Rubin -- Families on the Fault Line

Go back to Mike & Ann Leming's Home Page

If you have any questions or comments please email: