Department of Sociology

Chelsea Smith

M.A., University of Texas at Austin

Chelsea Smith



Families; Children, Youth, and Adolescents; Demography; Longitudinal Quantitative Methods


Chelsea Smith is pursuing her doctoral degree in the Department of Sociology and is a graduate student trainee with the Population Research Center. Her research interests are in family, children/youth/adolescents, and demography. Specifically, her work focuses on the effects of family instability on various aspects of children's well-being as well as the correlates of family formation during the transition to adulthood.

Chelsea's dissertation will identify ecological environments that foster and reduce exposure to child maltreatment during critical developmental periods, examining how child maltreatment arises within and across different kinds of families and neighborhoods. Funded by a Doris Duke Fellowship for the Promotion of Child Well-Being, her dissertation will identify the types of neighborhoods that may be most responsive to policy interventions that build off of communities' strengths and assist parents and children whose family lives are in flux.

Before entering graduate school, Chelsea earned a B.A. in Sociology and French Studies from Rice University. She completed her M.A. thesis in the summer of 2013 as part of her current graduate program at UT-Austin.


SOC F307C • Amer Families Past And Present

85877 • Summer 2016
Meets MTWTHF 1000am-1130am SAC 5.102

Course Overview

The family is one of the primary organizing social institutions, yet the makeup and relationships of families varies over time and across groups. In this course, we will examine families at the macro level (large-scale social processes) and micro level (small-scale interactions) of society to determine common threads and changes throughout history. While looking at broader trends as well as more intimate interactions, we will pay particular attention to different types and experiences of families.

First, we will establish the foundations of family sociology, by defining basic terms and concepts, exploring theories and constructions, and looking at historical changes over time. Next, we will consider macro-level and micro-level trends in family formation and family relationships. Finally, we will connect all of these threads to situate families within broader society and look forward to the future of families. There are no pre-requisites for this course.

Goals. Upon completing this course, my learning goals are for you to be able to:

1.      Understand historical changes in the family through both trends and theories.

2.      Organize families within the broader aspects of society in which they are situated.

3.      Classify, differentiate, and explain the causes and consequences of family change for individuals and society at large.

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