Thought questions for everyone:
- How you would answer Stephanie Coontz's questions about balancing work and family? You don't need to write this up, but our conversation will return to our opening questions about where marriage, parenting and "household government" fit in your life plans. How do you think current legal debates about marriage are likely to affect you?
- Imagine yourself writing as a historian 50 years from now. How might you use the New York Times articles listed as optional readings for this week? How about the Goodrich Historians Brief? Or Nancy Cott's book?
If you are writing a response paper, focus on ONE of the following. Be sure to make appropriate reference to the readings in your answers.
- Which of the historians you read for this week offers the most compelling assessment of our current situation? What do you most like about their analysis? Why is this more compelling than the other readings?
- Identify and explain a point of disagreement between two of the assigned readings. (You can look for this in what they suggest about future trends, as well as in how they analyze the past.)
- What would it mean to "disestablish" marriage? Why might we want to do this? Why not? (An alternative take on this question: Does Stephanie Coontz advocate "disestablishment" in her recent New York Times Op-ed piece? What would other commentators say about her proposal? What do you think of it?)
- Are the roles of husband and wife interchangeable? How about mother and father?
- Write a question that you would like to see on a take home exam for this course and answer it using material from across the semester.