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Mount Holyoke College (South Hadley, MA 01075-1461)
Elizabeth Markovits (Project Director: September 2009 to May 2014)
NEH Enduring Questions Course on "What Is Family?"

The development of a first-year seminar on the changing meanings of "family" from classical to modern times.

What is family? I propose to teach a course that examines this question. Students would engage a number of classic works of literature and moral philosophy, as well as contemporary works, in order to reflect on the ways the family shapes private and public life and is, in return, shaped by them. We will cover such questions as: how does the family create and then influence the individual? What does it mean to be part of a family? What do individuals owe their families and are those obligations fair? How do we form families? Can the family insulate individuals from politics and society -- in good ways and bad? Is political order like familial order? Are the state and society a threat or support for the family? How have these understandings changed over time?

Project fields:
Interdisciplinary Studies, General

Enduring Questions: Pilot Course Grants

Education Programs

$18,535 (approved)
$18,487 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2010 – 12/31/2011