SOC 306. The Changing Family

Examines family as a pivotal institution in cross-cultural and American perspectives. Covers historical changes, contemporary issues, relation to structured inequalities, and social justice. Majors also take SOC 306M. [DCG-d. GE.]

This is an upper level GE course, with a “Diversity and Common Ground” designation. There are no prerequisites but it does assume a basic knowledge of social science.  The family, as a basic social institution, will be examined from historical, social and cultural variations. This course provides an opportunity to examine the transformation of family life and norms associated with the role of the family.  The aim of this course is to provide multiple perspectives on the changing nature of American family relations. We will discuss the history of the American family, present relations, and the directions of future changes. There will be material asking the student to consider the diverse ethnic, racial, and class differences among American families. Through readings, presentations and writing assignments, you will gain an overview of the theories and research dealing with individual and family development.


Cherlin (2013) Public & Private Families. 7th Edition, McGraw Hill.

Coontz (2000) The Way We Never Were , Basic Books.

Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss (2004) Gotham Books.

Sidel (2006) Unsung heroines: Single Mothers & American Dream University of Ca Press.

The Elements of Style by Strunk, W. & White, E.B. 

Ciabattari (2017), Sociology of Families: Change, Continuity, and Diversity

Gawande (2014), Being Mortal