This class explores how social expectations of both married and single men and women changed throughout the twentieth century. Gender roles, economic independence, and conceptions of marriage, sexuality and proper behavior were only some of the social norms affected by the century’s sexual revolutions and movements. Students will engage with a wide variety of sources from depictions of marriage and single life in both popular culture and scholarly writings, students and develop critical thinking skills through the analysis of these works. The course will pay special attention to varying experiences of men and women, people with and without children, and working and middle class people.
Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage
Age of the Bachelor
Ladies of Labor
Women’s magazines, 1940-1960 : Gender Roles and the Popular Press
Sex in the Heartland
Bachelors and bunnies : The Sexual Politics of Playboy
Why Marriage? The History Shaping Today’s Debate over Gay Equality
How to Murder Your Wife (1965)
Old School (2003)
The Kids Are Alright (2010)
A textbook, other short readings, and selected episodes of various TV shows will supplement these main texts.