Gender & Family Policy

SLN #: 11941
Course Prefix: LAW-791
Course Section: 009
Credit Hours: 2
Instructor(s): Ellman

Course Description:
This seminar will focus on selected topics in family law, gender issues, and family policy that are the subject of current debate in public policy or intellectual forums. While some topics will emphasize traditional legal materials, many of the assigned readings will be taken from other disciplines, such as psychology, demography, economics, public policy and biology. During approximately the first ten weeks of the semester we will discuss readings assembled by the instructor, and drawn from topics such as these: (1) Changing demographics of who marries, when they marry, and the economics of marriage; (2) Gender relations and gender definition, biology, and evolutionary psychology; (2) How should the law assign parentage in nontraditional situations (assisted reproduction, arrangements between same-sex couples; conflicts between social and biological parentage); (3) Child support and paternal rights (What are the limits of the child support obligation? Why are the rules for identifying men responsible for child support different than the rules for identifying men entitled, as fathers, to access to their child? Are men and women treated differently, and are any differences appropriate?; (4) Child support and custody issues arising from same-sex relationships; (5) How are child support guidelines constructed? Why are there enormous uncollected support arrearages owed to public agencies, and does that make sense? (5) Public policies for addressing household poverty for families with children. (6) Are child custody allocations based exclusively on the child's interests, and should they be? (7) How do American trends in marriage and divorce compare with trends in other countries, and to what extent legal policies affect those trends? (8) The Indian Child Welfare Act—recent Supreme Court opinions. (9) The changing law of same-sex marriage.

Students will give presentations on their paper topics during the final weeks of the semester.

In the past I have required short papers each week that addressed that week’s assigned readings. I will not require such papers this semester, because the class is now a two credit rather than a three credit class. Weekly reading assignments will also be shorter, to reflect this reduction in credit. However, I do expect regular attendance and participation in weekly class discussions. It is the student’s obligation to demonstrate, through their observations or questions about the readings during the class discussion, that they have prepared that week’s assignment.

Additional Information:
Credit Hours: 2
Grading Option: Letter Grade Only
Written Assignment: Yes
Graduation Writing Requirement: Yes, With Instructor's Approval*
Flexible Writing Requirement: Yes*
Skills Requirement: No
Note: Only one of the above listed requirements can be fulfilled with this course.
Experiential Learning: No
Special Withdrawal Course: No
Limited Enrollment Number: 15
Final Exam Given: No
Paper Or In-Class Presentation: Yes
Participation Points: Yes
Attendance Policy: Per Statement Of Student Policies
Additional Attendance Policy: Attendance expected

* The law school has a policy that Is used To calculate credit hours. Please see the Statement of Student Policies.