251578396-SO375-Syllabus-f09-Thesis.doc - SO375 Mothers and...

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SO375Professor Teresa ArendellMothers and DaughtersFall 2009(Special Topics in Contemporary859-4711 (no email)Family Relations)Diamond 205Office hours: T, R, 11:00-12:00, Wed. 2:30-3:30and by appointment“We could therefore say that every mother contains her daughter in herself andevery daughter her mother, and that every woman extends backwards into hermother and forwards into her daughter.” CG Jung, Essays on a Science of MythologyIn this course we explore the mother-daughter relationship as presented and investigated in sociological theories, case studies, ethnographies and autobiographical novels. We draw also upon depictions of mother-daughter dynamics in myth, fairy tales, memoir, fiction, poetry, and film. By situating mother-daughter relationships in their social and cultural contexts, we bring a broad sociological and social-psychological lens to our study. We move back and forth between a broad, relatively more objective perspective and the more immediately personal and experiential. Further, we engage in a collective construction of knowledge and understanding. We learn from what the authors of course readings and videos make available to us and, in turn, we discover and bring to each other’s attention resources – knowledge, insights, experiences – of our own. A caveat: The course readings are focused on mother-daughter relations in the West, particularly (and nearly exclusively) North America. As we’ll see in the materials, many argue or imply that many if not most of mother-daughter dynamics are universal in some profound ways and, thus, not culturally specific. Yet, we know that culture does shape family and mothering. We’ll consider these matters as we proceed through the course and will reach to other cultures as prompted. Also, I’ll be open to individual students substituting an autobiographical novel from another culture (not studied in another course, however) for either the Marshall or Tan books. This is to be discussed with me in advance, please. Films will also assist us in reaching beyond the North American cultural system (and sub-systems). Required Readings:This is a reading-based seminar. Thus, certain readings are requiredand must be read in preparation for class discussion as assigned. These books are:Carlson, Kathi. 1989. In Her Image: The Unhealed Daughter’s Search for Her Mother. Shambhala.Kid, Sue Monk. 2002. The Secret Life of Bees.Penguin. Marshall, Paule. 1981. Brown Girl, Brownstones. CUNY Feminist Press.Ortiz Cofer, Judith. 1990. Silent Dancing: A Partial Rembrance of a Puerto Rican Childhood Arte Publico Press. Shields, Carol. 2002. Unless: A Novel. Fourth Estate Paperbacks. Tan, Amy. The Bonesetter’s Daughter, Ballantine Books.Edelman, Hope. 1994. Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss. Delta. Coll, Cynthia Garcia, Janet Surrey, and Kathy Weingarten. 1998. Mothering Against the Odds: Diverse Voices of Contemporary Mothers. Guildford Press.

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