The course explores father-daughter relationships in contemporary American society. Through an exploration of the psychological research, documentary films, and short stories by several famous American writers, the course addresses such questions as:
What impact does sex role socialization have on father-daughter relationships?
What impact do fathers have on daughters’ academic achievements and cognitive development?
How can public school teachers and counselors work better with fathers for the benefit of their daughters?
What impact do fathers and father absence have on daughters’ psychological and social development?
In what ways do societal memes and stereotypes damage or limit father-daughter relationships?
What role does the father play in the development of a daughter’s eating disorder or depression?
How are father-daughter relationships affected by the parents’ marital unhappiness or divorce?
How are attachment theory and family system’s theory relevant to father-daughter relationships?
How and why are African American daughters’ relationships with their fathers often unique?
How and why is adolescence usually the most difficult time for fathers and daughters?
How can mental health workers work more effectively with fathers and daughters?
What issues create the most stress or do the most damage to father-daughter relationships?
How can these issues or situations be prevented, minimized or resolved?
Nielsen- Fathers and daughters: Contemporary Research & Issues – Routledge Press, 2012
Nielsen – Between Fathers & Daughters: Enriching or Rebuilding Your Adult Relationship – 2009
Ten articles from refereed journals- see directions for research presentation
Requirements & Grading
Two written tests – 70 points
You will be tested over the statistics, research, and ideas presented in the assigned readings. The tests will be a combination of multiple choice and essay questions.
Homework assignments & Participation – 5 points
To earn an A you have to attend at least 90% of the classes, 85% for a B & 70% for a C. Since this is a seminar course, you are expected to voluntary participate in every class. You will keep a weekly record of how much you participate. Come prepared to answer these two questions in every seminar: (1) What surprised or upset you most in the assigned reading? Why? (2) What part of the reading was most relevant to your relationship with your father?
Papers based on interviews with your father – 15 points
Using the questions provided for you in Nielsen’s book, you will conduct two interviews with your father during the semester. Afterwards you will write a 3-5 page paper answering these questions: In what ways did the assigned readings relate to your conversation with your father? From what you learned from your conversation, what specific things can you do to strengthen your relationship with him? What did you find most surprising and most rewarding about your conversation? What did each of you find most meaningful and most difficult to talk about?
** If for whatever reason you and your dad are not able to do this particular assignment, Dr. Nielsen will design an alternate assignment for you.
Research Paper = 20 points
Choose one aspect of father-daughter relationships that interests you most from among the topics presented in the assigned readings or documentaries. Using American Psychological Association or American Sociological Association journals, the Journal of Marriage and Divorce, and the Family Court Review Journal, read ten articles published after 2001 related to your chosen topic. Write a 5-7 sentence synopsis of each article to hand in to Dr. Nielsen after your presentation. Present your findings and conclusions in a 20 minute presentation to the class. Design your presentation in whatever way you feel will be most interesting to your classmates.
A = 90-100 points B = 80-89 points C = 70-79 points