1 Introduction to the study of family, gender and sexuality  
Part I: Family And Gender As Social-Economic Institutions
2 Gender acquisition: Learning (and unlearning) the "facts of life"  
3 Arranged marriage, ascribed status, inheritance and gendered divisions of labor in pastoral and agrarian societies  
4 Gender, agency, and virtue Reader response due
5 Chosen marriage, achieved status, and gendered divisions of labor in wage labor societies  

Social reproduction: Reproducing formal and informal class relations

Guest: Brandyn McKinley, Pre-Doctoral Fellow at MIT, Anthropology program

7 The racial and gendered economy of social reproduction  
8 Family, class and social mobility in the U.S. (1) Argumentative essay 1 due
9 Family, class and social mobility in the U.S. (2)  

Immigration, dislocation and legal limbo


Which Way Home. Directed by Rebecca Cammisa. Color, 90 min. 2009.

11 Consumption and social citizenship Reader response due
12 Rethinking the meaning(s) of love  

Searching for a happily ever after?


In The Name of Love. Directed by Shannon O'Rourke. Color, 46 min. 2003.

Part II: Sex, Sexuality, Reproduction And Kinship
14 Marriage and heteronormativity  

The history and role of birth control


Tommy Mabry. "American Experience The Pill."  February 28, 2017. YouTube.

Reader response due
16 Is "the family" a cultural universal?  

De-essentializing motherhood

Guest: Emily Xi Lin, Post-Doctoral Fellow at MIT, History program

18 Not all happily ever after: Anger, violence & harm Argumentative essay 2 due
19 Making families, making citizens  
20 The problem of childlessness, the problem of 'familylessness' Argumentative essay 3 proposal due (1 paragraph theses statement + bibliography)

Infertility, secrecy and silence

Guest: Burcu Mutlu, MIT Doctoral Program in History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology, and Society (HASTS).


Sperm Donor X: A Different Conception. Directed by Deirdre Fishel. Color, 56 min. 2011.

22 The labor of reproduction: Surrogacy  
23 Reproductive rights, redux  
24 Where to go next: "Having it all," or reframing the question?  
25 Student presentations  
26 Student presentations (cont.) Argumentative essay 3 due