English | PROJECTS IN READING AND WRITING
W170 | 1845 | Hidalgo


Title: FROM "LEAVE IT TO BEAVER" TO "MURPHY BROWN": REPRESENTATIONS
OF THE FAMILY IN AMERICAN CULTURE

What comes to our minds when we hear the word, "family"? Do we think
first of Dad, Mom, Brother and Sister before we think of Mom, Sister,
Brother, Baby?  What is the relationship between representations of
the family found in media and "the real world" of families?  Does the
average American family look like the one you see on the screen?
How "average" is the modern American family?  This course is designed
to work through these questions of the family and the conception of
it in American culture.  Specifically, the course will focus on
images of the family in media (TV, film, literature) and the changing
face of the American family, from the idealized conception of
the "All-American family" portrayed in the 1950s and 1960s television
sitcoms, to the current depictions of single motherhood ("Murphy
Brown") and other Šalternative' families (gay-lesbian parenting,
surrogate motherhood, etc.)  Through analyses of essays, articles, TV
shows, movies, and short works of fiction, we will address questions
of ethnicity/race, gender and class and the family; "acceptable"
and "unacceptable" types of family units; and social structures which
shape the American family unit and our perception of it.