Study Guide for the Final in American Family, Spring 2017, with Dr. Maria Schmeeckle
The Final Exam consists of 50 multiple choice questions (2 points each), and 2 bonus questions
(2 points each). The exam is divided into 2 sections. There is a cumulative section covering
material from earlier in the course (30 questions). There is also a section covering the last few
weeks of the course (20 questions). The focus in the latter section will be on readings and
presentations since Exam 3 material. This includes the last three chapters (assigned in Week 13),
the lecture on The Marriage-Go-Round, and the final lecture about the future.
To do well, you will need to have a strong familiarity with the readings (beyond what was
reinforced in class, although in-class review will be very helpful to you) as well as class
presentations from each class meeting (beyond what you see on the posted Powerpoint slides).
You need to be able to assess carefully all the possible answers to the multiple choice questions,
recognizing when an answer is wrong so you can eliminate it and identify the correct answer.
Push beyond surface understanding to achieve a strong comprehension of course material.
Section on the last portion of the course
Reading 10: “Families ‘In-Law’ and Families ‘In-Practice’: Does the Law Recognize Families
as They Really Are?” by Karen Struening
~ concepts: surrogate, genetic mother, gestational mother
- Surrogate: mother who is not the biological mother but carries the baby in her stomach
for a mother who hires her.
- Genetic mother: a mother who is the one who gave the egg
- Gestational mother: the mother who carries the baby
~ historic legal ways of defining motherhood and fatherhood
- Motherhood: carried the child, biological or gestational
- Fatherhood: the man who is married to the woman
~ the general impact of recent court decisions and government policies on how families are
- The right to marry (slaves, interracial, gays), the right to birth control, rights for abortion,
~ it will help to be familiar with the court cases we discussed in class, and what their outcomes
meant, especially the Michael H. v. Gerald D. case and the Johnson v Calvert and In re marriage
of Buzzanca cases, and the In re Baby M case
- Stanley v. Illinois: supreme court ruled under the equal protection clause that unwed
fathers could not be treated differently than unwed mothers.
o Stanley mother died and father was seen as a stranger to his kids who were put
into foster care
- Michael H. v. Gerald D.: a woman was married to Gerald while having an affair with
Michael and lived with him and their biological child. The court ruled that Michael was
not the father of the children because of who the woman was married to.
- Elisa B. v. Superior Court & Kristine H. v. Lisa R.: Elisa and Emily were married and
had a kid, as Emily being the biological mother. When they split, Elisa didn’t want to pay
child support because she technically wasn’t related to the kid. Using the case of Krisi
and Lisa, the court ruled that she did have to pay child support because California gave
same-sex parents the same rights as heterosexual parents.
- Mary Beth Whitehead case (In re Baby M):
- Johnson v. Calvert: the wife provided genetic material and another woman agreed to be
the surrogate. The court adopted and intent-based theory of parentage. This gave
parenting rights to the commissioning couple only, not the surrogate. - In re marriage of Buzzanca: California awarded custody to a commissioning woman who
had no genetic connection to the child.
~lecture material about the Baby M case, and Mary Beth Whitehead is also important –
understand the story and its outcome
- Mary Beth was hired to be a surrogate mother, agreeing to give up the baby at the end of
the pregnancy. When the time came for her to give up the child she did not want to give
up the child. They went to court over the case and it ruled that she could be the mother.
Reading 21: The Case for Divorce, Virginia Rutter
~ main points from across the reading, and her conclusions
- Comparing the result of a tense marriage continuing instead of divorcing. Effect on kids.
- Concluded that distressed marriage is worse than getting divorced.
~ her criteria for good research on divorce
- you have to compare two couples with the same background. If one couple who divorced
married at a young age, living in poverty, and not having a college degree, then those
things are already associated with divorce.
- She wanted to find the effect divorce had on couples.
~ who should we compare to children of divorced parents when doing research?
- The most effective way the study them is to do research over the course of their life so
that you can see how they were before the divorce and after.
- Predisruption effects had a large part in the effect.
~ how and why past research about the impact of divorce gave an incomplete picture
- Some researchers had selection bias in their research, some only researched after the
divorce and didn’t research how the kids were before the divorce.
- Each researcher had different research methods
- *They didn’t take into account selection bias
~ understand what “sleeper effects” are
- When something tragic happens but the effect of it doesn’t have an effect until later in
- For divorce, children were fine at first but had problems later in their adult life.
~ groups more likely to divorce (due to selection effects)
- Getting married at a young age, living in poverty, not having a college degree
Reading 22: “Stepfamilies as They Really Are” by Coleman and Ganong
~ concepts: affinity building, LAT unions
- Affinity building: being supportive, doing activities with the child, supporting the other
parent, not bossing the child around.
- LAT Unions: “living apart together” couples, couples who are in a committed
relationship but who live on their own in separate homes.
~ differences between first marriages and remarriages (mentioned throughout the reading)
- First marriages are more stable
- Stepfamilies are usually preceded by losses.
- Parent child relationships predates the marriage (parent child relationship already has so
many traditions and inside things that the couple has to accommodate to that)
- Children in step-families often are members of two households because of widespread
legal preferences for joint physical custody.
- Unlike the relationship between parents and their children, there was no (or few) legal
ties between a stepparent and a stepchild.
- Unlike the first married families, stepfamily members do not share a history
- The lack of institutionalization of stepfamilies is often confusing and uncomfortable for
~ gender differences in remarriage and in ease of stepparenting - Stepmothers have a harder time being liked by the children.
~ why were stepfamilies common earlier in American history? How is that different from why
stepfamilies are common today?
- Life expectancy was shorter and so parents would die at a young age and the other parent
would remarry with kids.
- Fathers would get killed in war and disease was not well understood
- Replacing the parent was essential to survival back then
- Today, people get divorced because they are not happy with the marriage
- The chance of being in a stepfamily are greater for Americans who are young, black, and
do not have college degrees.
~ what conditions lead to stepchildren liking and accepting a stepparent?
- Stepchildren who were raised by a stepparent from infancy are likely to accept that
stepparent as a parent
- Some stepchildren like their stepparent from the beginning (but don’t necessarily accept
them as a parent)
- If the stepparent invests time into the relationship with the stepchild by doing things the
stepchild likes then the relationship will grow stronger
- If the child is close to their parents then they will likely experience greater well-being.
- Stepparent-stepchild relationships generally work best when stepparents support the
parent rather than taking parental roles, especially disciplinary roles.
Presentation on Andrew Cherlin’s book, The Marriage-Go-Round
~ understand the trends that Cherlin highlights, comparing relationships and families in America
with those in other Western nations (there are five trends that were discussed)
- Americans marry and cohabit for the first time sooner than people in most Western
- A higher proportion of Americans marry at some point in their lives than in most other
- Marriages and cohabitating relationships in the U.S. are far more fragile than elsewhere.
- Because of these fragile partnerships, American children born to married or cohabitating
parents are more likely to see their parents’ break up than children in most other countries
- After their breakups, Americans are more likely to repartner.
~ how does Cherlin explain the high rates of partnering, unpartnering, and repartnering in
- Cultural model of marriage
o Americans place a high value on marriage
- Cultural model of expressive individualism
o Americans value personal growth, life satisfaction, self-expression, and individual
o Americans believe that those who are unhappy with their marriages should be
allowed to end them
~ Why are these trends and cultural tendencies in America a problem, and what does Cherlin
recommend should be done about them?
- Relationship turbulence in America can lead to problems for children
- Recommends that we spend less effort promoting stable family lives for children
- Suggests that rather than “getting married”, we should “slow down”.
~ how do divorce rates of religious Americans compare to the national and international trends
- Religious people have lower rates of divorce than others, but their rates are still high by
Presentation about future studies, trends, predictions and prescriptions ~ be familiar with the various methods used in future studies, and which ones are used for short
or long term forecasting
- Short-term: extrapolation of current linear trends
o Cross-impact analysis: considering how multiple trends may interact
o Scanning: looking at many sources for new developments
o Scenario building: exploring several possible futures
~ understand the expected upcoming trends in America that were presented, drawing from
National Geographic, the Pew Research Center, and the Global Trends: Paradoxes of Progress
- National Geographic: predicted that by 2050, most people will be of a mixed race. They
will look mixed.
- Pew Research Center: predicts that the population will become less white and that the
population is aging.
o Also predicts that immigrants and descendants will drive most of the population
growth in the next 50 years
o By 2065, Asians will be the largest immigrant group
- Global Trends: the world’s population will become larger, older and more urban
o Women will slowly attain more equality, their participation in political and
economic realms is increasing, and the pay gap will narrow
o Technological changes will be impactful but unpredictable
- U.S. trends: stagnant wages and rising income inequality are fueling doubts about global
economic integration and the American dream of upward mobility
o Fertility is expected to remain the same, at its average of 1.9 children.
~ in general, be familiar with the predictions and prescriptions of the six thought leaders who
were discussed in the lecture(s)
- Ali Riaz, political scientist: “uncertainty is the only certain thing. Shun the idea that the
U.S. is the most powerful country; we are now on a multiplayer world stage. The most
important instrument of global influence is ideas that can win hearts and minds.”
o Prescriptions on dealing with uncertainty: adaptability, transferable skills, lifelong
- Steven weber and Bruce Jentleson, political scientists: astue that the U.S. must take a
different stance toward the rest of the world in the 21 century. Now that we can’t
dominate others, we must compete in the global marketplace of ideas, at the core of our
efforts must be a new conception of the world order based on mutuality, and of a just
society that inspires and embraces people around the world.
- Yuval Noah Harari, historian: Homo Dues
- Thomas Friedman, New York times columnist: accelerations in the world
- Barbara Marx Hubbard, futurist: Cocreation
~ in his book, Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow, what does historian Yuval Noah Harari see
as past accomplishments, neglected areas of endeavor, and expected new areas of human
collective effort? What does he say about algorithms?
- Argues that famine, plague, and war have become manageable challenges in the past
- Rather than focus on pollution, global warming, and climate change next, humans are
likely to reach for immortality, happiness, and divinity, trying to upgrade from homo
sapiens to homo deus.
- Algorithm: a methodical set of steps that can be used to make calculations, resolve
problems, and reach decisions.
- We might interpret this as his prescription:
o All the predictions that pepper this book are n more than an attempt to discuss
present-day dilemmas, and an invitation to change the future. ~ in his book, Thanks for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of
Accelerations, Thomas Friedman has recommendations for how individuals might deal with the
accelerating systems of our times. What are these recommendations? In addition, what does he
mean by “stempathy”?
• 3 large forces are accelerating at once: technology, globalization, and climate change
• accelerations outpace the ability of people and governing systems to adapt to them
• he has recommendations for societies and communities
o Mother nature’s political platform, politics of inclusion and collaboration, trust as
a foundation for communities
• For good jobs and wages, higher performance and more skills are expected
• To thrive, maintain dynamic stability:
o Engage in rapid and continuous learning
o Develop “stempathy”: combination of technical and interpersonal skills
o Cultivate self-motivation, creativity, persistence, personal responsibility,
o Pause, reflect, and engage based on your values
~ perspective and prescriptions of Barbara Marx Hubbard
- The Wheel of Cocreation: conceived of renowned thought leader Barbara Marx Hubbard
and based on a whole systems worldview.
- Connect that which is working
- Helps system to break through rather than breakdown
- Get excited to contribute to the next stage of evolution, cocreative culture, universal
humanity, homo spiritualus.
Presentations about the course from the beginning of the semester
~ concepts of diversity, inequality, social identity, intersectionality, and change, and how they
relate to our course themes
• Intersectionality theory focuses on social divisions, identifications, and power relations
that structure people’s lives, ESPECIALLY THOSE THAT ARE MARGINALIZED.
• It takes into consideration the multiple facets of identity and how these intersect with one
~ historical origin of intersectionality theory
- Grew out of black feminist critiques of White feminism, which neglected race and class
- Intersectionality drew attention to the multiple areas of marginality experienced
simultaneously by people.
~ story of Sebastien de la Cruz
- was criticized about singing the national anthem while wearing a Mexican outfit.
Supplement to the book: New York Times article by Natalie Angier: The Changing American
~ review the major trends in family life that were discussed in the article
• Birthrate of unmarried woman having kids in increasing
• Divorce rate is going down but still high
• Gay parents are having more kids
• People are getting married later
• Asians have the lowest divorce rates
• More children are growing up with incarcerated parents
• Single vs. married in contact with loved ones, single were more in contact • Social class differences in stability of marriage, order of having kids and marrying, lower
class families were less stable and had kids before marriage
• Husbands and wives and level of education, women have higher education now
• Same sex parents vs. heterosexual parents and wellbeing of children, they are the same
• Fastest growing areas of immigration, Asians
• Racial groups and marital stability, blacks have highest rates of divorce, Asians have
“New Couples, New Families” (Chapter 12) by Smock and Manning
~ group differences in cohabitation
• The most highly educated are less likely to cohabitate, people who have less income are
more likely to cohabitate
• Marriage tends to be selective of those with better economic prospects and more financial
• Less likely to happen with those whose religion is against cohabitation, who are more
conservative, and who are less supportive of equality between men and women
• Blacks and Hispanics are more likely to cohabit
~ how cohabitation typically evolves within relationships
• People see it as a way to get to know their prospective partner and evaluate marriage
• Many do it for financial reasons
• Many people are scared of divorce
“The Evolution of American Families” (Reading 5) by Coontz
~ major changes in family organization that accompanied industrialization
• Separation of home and work
• Reduction of household membership to its nuclear core
• The fall in marital fertility
• The more extended residence of children in parents’ home
• The lengthened time that husbands and wives live together after their children left home
• The reintegration of women into productive work
• The regulation of marriage
Presentation about structural and ideological rules about sexuality during the 1950s and 1960s
~ 1968 story of Linda LeClair and Peter Behr
• These two lived with each other off campus which was not allowed, they got caught and
60 other women decided to state that they also did something that was not allowed so the
court didn’t know what to do.
• Linda said that cohabitating wasn’t about sex, it was about security and family and
partnership and their lives being intertwined
Presentation about historic generations/age groups across the 20 century
~concepts: baby boomers, “pig in a python”
• Baby boomers: LOTS OF THEM, high proportion raised with 2 parents intact
• “Pig in a python”: There is a huge chunk of the population that is moving through time
“Men’s Changing Contribution to Family Work” by Oriel Sullivan (Reading 36)
~ changes in men’s contributions to housework and child care over the past few decades
• Men have increased their contribution to housework and childcare but women still do
o Due to a men’s change in the perception of masculinity Reading 35 by Gerson: Falling Back on Plan B: The Children of the Gender Revolution Face
~ converging ideals and diverg