Spring 2019 - SA 331 J100

Politics of the Family (S) (4)

Class Number: 3157

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 3 – Apr 8, 2019: Wed, 5:30–9:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    SA 101 or 150 or 201W.



A sociological examination of the contested nature of contemporary domestic and intimate relations. The course will focus on debates arising from equality movement politics (e.g. gender, sexuality, race).


This course will explore sociological approaches to the study of contemporary domestic and intimate relations in the Canadian context. We will consider the modern family as an institution with a social, economic, and cultural history that has been exclusionary to some groups while providing privileges to others. We will explore the history of marriage and the family and how the state, public policies, laws, and economic and social structures have impacted and changed the institution of marriage and the family. This will include the critical study of family as it intersects with class, race, indigeneity, gender, sexuality, queerness, and nonmonogamy. We will use anti-colonial, critical intersectional feminist, and queer theoretical analysis to investigate how families are shaped and constrained by state policies, economic structures, and social norms. We will examine the transformations of intimacies and family by focusing on topics such as: changing gender roles; cohabitation and divorce; reproduction and parenting; and diversity of families including gay and lesbian or queer families, immigrant families, Indigenous families, solo/single people, chosen families, and multi partner families. We will approach our exploration of the family from a social justice framework, questioning our taken for granted ideas and beliefs about family and intimacy.


  • Participation 15%
  • In-class presentation 20%
  • Critical journal reading responses 25%
  • Final project 40%


Grading: Where a final exam is scheduled and you do not write the exam or withdraw from the course before the deadline date, you will be assigned an N grade. Unless otherwise specified on the course outline, all other graded assignments in this course must be completed for a final grade other than N to be assigned.

Academic Dishonesty and Misconduct Policy: The Department of Sociology and Anthropology follows SFU policy in relation to grading practices, grade appeals (Policy T 20.01) and academic dishonesty and misconduct procedures (S10.01‐S10.04). Unless otherwise informed by your instructor in writing, in graded written assignments you must cite the sources you rely on and include a bibliography/list of references, following an instructor-approved citation style.  It is the responsibility of students to inform themselves of the content of SFU policies available on the SFU website: http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student.html.    



Courses readings for each week will be available via Canvas and the SFU library.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html