Department of Sociology

Amias Maldonado

MA, The University of Texas at Austin

Amias Maldonado



SOC 308J • Romantic Rltns/Fam Formatn

44905 • Spring 2015
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am CLA 1.104
(also listed as WGS 301)


This course draws upon sociological and demographic perspectives to explore romantic relationships. Specifically, the course aims to foster understanding of the social dimensions which structure romantic relationship development. Throughout the course students will be encouraged to develop a critical view of the complex and culturally-conditioned arena of human dating and mating. The college experience will provide a central context for considering romantic relationships and family formation from a cultural framework. In addition to general discussion of relationship formation patterns among young adults, the course considers historical transformations of romance, socio-economic perspectives on sexual relationships and family formation, the impact of demographic transitions on both, the emergence of cohabitation as a relationship form, the economics undergirding relationship decision making, common narratives, practices, and gender differences about entry into marriage in the West, and population-level implications of contemporary patterns.

Required Texts:

Bogle, Kathleen A. 2008. Hooking Up: Sex, Dating, and Relationships on Campus. New York: New York University Press.

Edin, Kathryn, and Maria Kefalas. 2005. Promises I Can Keep: Why Poor Women Put Motherhood Before Marriage. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Lewin, Ellen. 2009. Gay Fatherhood: Narratives of Family and Citizenship in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press


Grading Policy

Course Requirement               Points              Grading Scale

12 Reading Quizzes*              30                    90-100 points = A

Exam #1                                  15                    80-89 points = B                                           

Exam #2                                  15                    70-79 points = C

Final Exam                              20                    60-69 points = D

Response Paper #1                 10                    59 and below = F

Response Paper #2                 10

*The lowest two quiz grades will be dropped

**There will be one extra credit opportunity

SOC 308 • Romantic Rels & Family Formatn

46305 • Spring 2014
Meets MWF 1200pm-100pm CLA 1.104


This course aims to gives students a historical overview of the ways in which families and romantic relationships have been conceptualized in the United States.  We will consider changing definitions of “normal” relationships and how these definitions have been shaped by race, class, gender, and sexuality.  We will also analyze current developments in family and relationship forms, including such topics as cohabitation, cyberdating, and same sex marriage. Through this course, students will gain an understanding of how social and economic factors shape what we consider “good” relationships and families. 

Required Readings:

Promises I Can Keep, by Kathryn Edin and Maria Kafalas

Hooking Up, by Kathleen Bogle

Gay Fatherhood, by Ellen Lewin

 Additional Readings will be made available on Blackboard

Grading and Requirements:

• Class Participation/ Engagement: Students are responsible for reading all assigned materials before coming to class. Once in class, students are required to demonstrate engagement with the material. This means, above all, respect for our learning environment. Please be respectful of others’ opinions and experiences, please arrive on time, and stay the entire class period unless you have informed the Professor that you will need to leave early. Attendance is not required. The use of email, social networking sites, and phones during class are strictly prohibited.

Course Requirements and Evaluation:

• Exams (60%): There will be three exams in this course, each worth 20% of your total grade. Exams will be a mixture of multiple choice and short answer. No make-up exams will be given without prior approval from the Professor. 

• Group Project (30%): 30% of your grade will come from a group project based around a topic suitable for this course.  Of this 30%, 10% will come from a research assignment where students will be asked to conduct a literature review of their topic and 20% will come from a presentation to the class of your group’s findings at the end of the semester.

• Participation (10%): Participation will consist of “pop” papers where students will be asked to reflect on that day’s reading. There will be five observation papers throughout the semester, each worth two points each. No makeup papers will be given, barring 1) a religious holiday 2) a serious illness or death in the family (documentation is required)


Curriculum Vitae

Profile Pages

  • Department of Sociology

    The University of Texas at Austin
    305 E 23rd St, A1700
    CLA 3.306
    Austin, TX 78712-1086