Defining Marriage for the 21st Century

Reading/Writing Questions

Thought questions for everyone:

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.

  1. 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?
  2. 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.)
  3. 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?)
  4. Are the roles of husband and wife interchangeable? How about mother and father?
  5. 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.