Fall 2019. Exact dates TBA
This course examines the intersecting transformations in the meanings and possibilities of kinship and family life. Bringing history and sociology into conversation, the seminar grounds its inquiry in the United States, from the colonial period to the present. Through this lens, we will explore crucial interactions between economic and political structures and changing notions of gender, sexuality, caregiving, work patterns, and relationships between family members. Taking an intersectional approach, we will examine families over time and across groups, considering how gender, race/ethnicity, class, and sexuality shape their dynamics. We will explore dominant family ideologies and practices but also alternative forms-- from the Oneida community’s experimentation with Christian communism and group marriage in the mid-nineteenth century to twenty-first century marriage equality and “equal regard families.”
Karen V. Hansen researches the intersection of kinship, community, and inequalities. At Brandeis University she is Professor of Sociology and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Director of the Women’s Studies Research Center. Her most recent book is Encounter on the Great Plains: Scandinavian Settlers and the Dispossession of Dakota Indians, 1890-1930.
Marilynn S. Johnson is Professor of History at Boston College where she teaches modern US urban and social history. She has published several books including, most recently, The New Bostonians: How Immigrants Have Transformed the Metro Area Since the 1960s (2015). She now directs a digital history project called Global Boston, which explores and documents immigration history in greater Boston.