Links to Original Sources 1. The Advice of an Akkadian Father to His Son, c.2200 BCE
A father provides advice to his son about marriage, manners, emotions, running his household, and religious life.
www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/2200akkad-father.html 2.Code of Hammurabi, c.1780 BCE
Introductions to the code, with extensive discussion of its regulations regarding marriage, family, inheritance, and sexual relations, as well as a good translation of the entire code itself. Sections 128–84 refer to issues regarding marriage and family life.
www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/hamcode.html#text Another introduction to the Code and discussion of its regulations regarding marriage and gender relations.
http://chnm.gmu.edu/worldhistorysources/d/267/whm.html 3. Egyptian Love Poetry, c.2000–1100 BCE
A collection of Egyptian love poems.
www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/2000egypt-love.html 4. Egyptian Documents about Family Issues, c.2500 BCE
A series of documents relating to spouse abuse, inheritance of property, family disputes, and other matters. With a good introduction.
www.stoa.org/diotima/anthology/wardtexts.shtml#I 5. Roman Children’s Sarcophagi, 2nd century CE
Two Roman marble sarcophagi from children’s tombs provide evidence about family, gender, representations, and changing notions of childhood over time.
http://chnm.gmu.edu/cyh/case-studies/52 6. Medieval Jewish Marriage Contract, 13th century CE
Jewish, Muslim, and Christian marriages in the postclassical period often involved a contract, for they were a union of two families as well as two people.
http://chnm.gmu.edu/wwh/p/207.html 7. Children in the Codex Mendoza, 16th century
In Mexico City, toward the middle of the 16th century, Nahuatl-speaking painters created the Codex Mendoza, one of the most lavish indigenous accounts of history and moral behavior known today. This shows the conquests of Mexica (Aztec) rulers and other political events, but also boys and girls being raised by elders.
http://chnm.gmu.edu/cyh/case-studies/275 8. Orphaned Boys and Girls and Colonialism, 17th century
A suggestion for handling orphans, devised in 1655 by Manoel Severim de Faria, an official for the bishop of Evora in Portugal. In this source he speaks specifically about the role orphaned children could and should play in the Portuguese empire.
http://chnm.gmu.edu/cyh/case-studies/84 9. Legal Cases Related to Family, Gender and Race in Spanish America, 18th century
Three legal cases that highlight masculinity, femininity, racial ideologies and honor in 18th-century Latin America, in the context of the casta system.
http://chnm.gmu.edu/wwh/d/124/wwh.html 10. Age of Consent Laws, 19th–20th centuries
Since the 19th century the age of consent – the age at which an individual is treated as capable of consenting to sexual activity – has occupied a central place in debates over the nature of childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, and been drawn into campaigns against prostitution and child marriage, colonialism, struggles to achieve gender and sexual equality, and the response to teenage pregnancy. A series of sources relating to age of consent debates from several places around the world.
http://chnm.gmu.edu/cyh/teaching-modules/230 11. Family Issues and Women’s Health in Latin America, 20th century
A series of sources on women’s health, covering such issues as reproductive rights, domestic violence, contraception, and maternity leave.
Sections from the 1956 Code of Law in Tunisia, which governed such critical matters as marriage, divorce, inheritance, alimony, child custody and adoption.
Suggestions for Further Reading The books in this list are organized by the topics noted below, and then in alphabetical order by author within each topic. Most of them have descriptions taken from the book jacket or from the publisher’s website. These descriptions are written by the author or the publisher to sell the book as well as to explain its contents. They thus do not necessarily represent my opinion of the book, but I have included them here so that you can get an idea of a book's contents and approach and thus better judge whether it would be useful for your purposes.
The Classical Cultures of China, India, and the Mediterranean (600 BCE–500 CE)
Medieval and Early Modern Europe and the Mediterranean (500 CE–1600 CE)
The Colonial World (1500 CE–1900 CE)
The Industrial and Postindustrial World (1800 CE–2010 CE)
General Studies Anderson, Gordon L. ed., The Family in Global Transition. St. Paul: Professors World Peace Academy, 1997.
It should not be accepted a priori that the institution of the family is in decline or dying. Yet both liberals and conservatives tend to start with assertions - yes, the family is collapsing or, no, it is merely changing - to which they attribute empirical validity. Anderson's reader gives us an excellent overview of this debate, and much more. Some of the contributing authors are on the "left," - favoring homosexual marriages (Pfluger); viewing the traditional bourgeois family as oppressive, racist, and sexist (Perry); or questioning the decline thesis and expressing a more optimistic view (Garrett). Other articles assume a more conservative stance - criticizing gender feminism (Lanca) or homosexuality (Khattab), viewing the late twentieth century Western family with great concern (Elshtain and Davies), or deploring the rapid rise in fatherlessness (Pearlstein). Others travel a middle road, seeing both perils and promise for the future (Pournelle). Most of the articles consist of solid, scholarly presentations about the family as an institution throughout history - tribal society, antiquity, the Middle Ages, the modern era - and throughout the contemporary world - Africa, China, India, the Middle East, Latin America, the former Eastern bloc and the West.
Awe, Bolanle et.al. eds, Women, Family, State and Economy in Africa. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991.
Balmori, Diana. Notable Family Networks in Latin America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984.
Buxbaum, David C. Chinese Family Law and Social Change in Historical and Comparative Perspective. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1978.
Although "law and social change" is a current topic of scholarly discussion, little research has been undertaken on the role of family law as an instrument of social change. This multidisciplinary volume now makes available recent research conducted in this field.
The first section includes an examination of the standards and rules for marriage during Han times, and of divorce in traditional Chinese law. The second section, devoted to family partition procedures, discusses the nature of family property in traditional China; the results of a field investigation on ancestral sacrifice in Manchuria; and the partition of family property in villages in southern Taiwan and in Tibet. The third section, dealing only with Taiwan, examines marriage in rural areas, summarizes field research on rural to urban migration, and looks at modernization and household composition. An investigation of marriage and divorce in the People's Republic of China, and comparisons of developments in marriage law in the USSR and in the People's Republic of China are dealt with in the fourth section. In the fifth section the authors indicate some factors that influence the relationship of law and social change in India and Indonesia.
Chapman, Tony. Gender and Domestic Life: Changing Practices in Families and Households. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.
This text explores men's and women's changing experiences of home. Drawing on a wide range of contemporary, comparative and historical material, it reassesses a range of mainstream sociological, historical and feminist interpretations of marriage, the family and home life. It looks in depth at the relationship between men's and women's paid work, consumption and leisure; and at other household forms, including gay/lesbian households, older people, single people and communal living.
Demos, John. Past, Present, and Personal: The Family and the Life Course in American History. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986.
With this book, John Demos, the author of A Little Commonwealth--a landmark study of Pilgrim family life--and the award-winning Entertaining Satan, makes a major contribution to the rapidly growing literature on "family history." Covering the entire span of American history, he discusses topics such as the changing nature of fatherhood, the experience of middle age in colonial times and in the present, and the historian's role in discussions of present-day policy making. Demos sparks controversy by challenging many prevalent views, including the premise that past eras witnessed more child abuse than the present day, and the belief in the constancy of "storm and stress" as a part of adolescent development. In clear, straightforward prose that will appeal to both the specialist and general reader, Demos explores the subtle relationship between past and present, between the historian and his subject, and between practical and theoretical concerns.
De Vos, Susan M. Household Composition in Latin America. New York: Plenum Press, 1995.
Susan M. De Vos uses comparative and life course perspectives to provide an in-depth demographic study of the household. Based on data gathered by the World Fertility Survey, this illuminating reference explores household composition in six Latin American countries and compares the situation with that in the United States and western Europe as well as with each other. The study examines the complex household; non-family household living; and the living arrangements of children, young adults, middle-aged people, and elderly people.
Doumani, Beshara, ed. Family History in the Middle East: Household, Property, and Gender. Albany: State University of New York, 2003.
Despite the constant refrain that family is the most important social institution in Middle Eastern societies, only recently has it become the focus for rethinking the modern history of the Middle East. This book introduces exciting new findings by historians, anthropologists, and historical demographers that challenge pervasive assumptions about family made in the past. Using specific case studies based on original archival research and fieldwork, the contributors focus on the interplay between micro and macro processes of change and bridge the gap between materialist and discursive frameworks of analysis. They reveal the flexibility and dynamism of family life and show the complex juxtaposition of different rhythms of time (individual time, family time, historical time). These findings interface directly with and demonstrate the need for a critical reassessment of current debates on gender, modernity, and Islam.
Dupaquier, Jean et. al., eds., Marriage and Remarriage in Populations of the Past. New York: Academic Press, 1981.
Freedman, Maurice ed. Family and Kinship in Chinese Society. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1970.
Jelin, Elizabeth, ed. Family, Household, and Gender Relations in Latin America. London: Routledge, 1991.
This study of family, household and gender relations in Latin America by leading specialists illustrates new approaches to the subject developed by researchers from the region over the last decade and reflects advances made in studies that concern the work and place of women in society. The volume is divided into four sections: analytical perspectives on family and gender; production and reproduction; family and kinship networks; and social classes and lifestyles. Each of the sections is prefaced with an introduction that highlights the essential contribution that women make to society in Latin America. The methods and research findings presented by the authors make and important contribution to the understanding of Latin American society and the research paradigms underlying the contributions which provide new and valuable insights into the relationship between the family and the wider institutional context, the links between the social processes of production and reproduction and the mutual determinants of private and public domains have important implications for the study of family sociology and society in other parts of the world.
Kertzer, David, et. al., eds. The Family in Italy from Antiquity to the Present. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1991.
In this important new book original contributions from an international panel of experts offer historical and anthropological perspectives on the Western family, focusing on family life in Italy from ancient Rome to the present. Using methods ranging from symbolic to quantitative analysis, the authors discuss a wide variety of topics, from matchmaking, marriage, and divorce to childrearing, sexual mores, and death.
Kidd, Colin. The Forging of Races: Race and Scripture in the Protestant Atlantic World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.
This book revolutionizes our understanding of race. Building upon the insight that races are products of culture rather than biology, Colin Kidd demonstrates that the Bible - the key text in Western culture - has left a vivid imprint on modern racial theories and prejudices. Fixing his attention on the changing relationship between race and theology in the Protestant Atlantic world between 1600 and 2000 Kidd shows that, while the Bible itself is color-blind, its interpreters have imported racial significance into the scriptures. Kidd's study probes the theological anxieties which lurked behind the confident facade of of white racial supremacy in the age of empire and race slavery, as well as the ways in which racialist ideas left their mark upon new forms of religiosity.
Laslett, Peter and Richard Wall, eds., Household and Family in Past Time. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983.
This is an extremely important collection of essays in historical social structure. The volume represents the first attempt to examine in historical and comparative terms the general belief that in the past all families were larger than they are today; that the nuclear family of man, wife and children living alone is particularly characteristic of the present time and came into being with the arrival of industry.
Netting, Robert, et. al., eds. Households: Comparative and Historical Studies of the Domestic Group. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984.
Outhwaite, R.B., ed. Marriage and Society: Studies in the Social History of Marriage. London: Europa Publications, 1981.
Parkin, Robert and Linda Stone, eds. Kinship and Family: An Anthropological Reader. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2004.
Drawing on their complementary areas of expertise, Parkin and Stone have produced the most comprehensive reader on kinship available. Kinship and Family: An Anthropological Reader is a representative collection tracing the history of the anthropological study of kinship from the early 1900s to the present day: from the classic works of Evans-Pritchard, Lévi-Strauss, Leach, and Schneider, to the electrifying contemporary debates on such issues as surrogate motherhood, and gay and lesbian kinship. By bringing together for the first time such an array of articles on kinship and its relation to social organization, this volume offers students and professionals a survey of the most important and critical work in the field. Kinship and Family: An Anthropological Reader includes extensive discussion and analysis of the selections that contextualizes them within theoretical debates.
Rotberg, Robert I. and Theodore K. Rabb, eds. Marriage and Fertility: Studies in Interdisciplinary History. Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1980.
Sabean, David Warren, Simon Teuscher and Jon Mathieu, eds. Kinship in Europe: Approaches to Long-Term Development (1300-1900). New York: Berghahn Books, 2007.
Since the publication of Philippe Aries' book, "Centuries of Childhood", in the early 1960s, there has been great interest among historians in the history of the family and the household. A central aspect of the debate relates the story of the family to implicit notions of modernization, with the rise of the nuclear family in the West as part of its economic and political success. And some historians have pushed the idea of the nuclear family back in time for the most successful regions of Europe. During the past decade that synthesis has begun to break down as historians have begun to examine kinship, the way individual families are connected to each other through marriage and descent, finding that during the most dynamic period in European industrial development, class formation, and state reorganization, Europe became a "kinship hot" society. The essays in this volume explore two major transitions in kinship patterns - at the end of the Middle Ages and at the end of the eighteenth century - in an effort to reset the agenda in family history.
Smedley, Audrey. Women Creating Patrilyny: Gender and Environment in West Africa. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira, 2004.
Audrey Smedley offers a unique interpretation of the role of women in traditional patrilineal societies. Her research with the Birom people of Nigeria reveals that many of the critical features of patrilyny were in fact invented by women. Her work contributes to the new global studies of women that document the realities of their lives that often contradict current Western assumptions. It is a valuable resource for researchers in anthropological kinship and theory, gender studies, and African studies.
Stockard, Janice E. Marriage in Culture: Practice and Meaning across Diverse Societies. Fort Worth: Harcourt, 2002.
Marriage in Culture is an innovative text that makes accessible to a broad audience the rich insights anthropology provides into the meaning of marriage in different cultures. Marriage practices in the four societies discussed contrast with each other in dramatic ways—from number of spouses to the meaning of postmarital residence arrangements. The author provides compelling ethnographic accounts of the !Kung San (Bushman), Chinese, Iroquois, and Tibetan societies to familiarize students with anthropologists' unique perspective on marriage in culture. Each chapter places marriage within the context of the whole culture, exploring the ways in which different economic, political, family, and gender systems shape the practice and meaning of marriage. The author makes an original contribution by highlighting the importance of postmarital residence in defining different experiences of marriage for husbands and wives in each society.
Stone, Linda. Kinship and Gender: An Introduction, 2d ed. Boulder, CO: Westview, 2000.
In this revised and updated edition of Kinship and Gender, Linda Stone uses anthropological kinship as a framework for the cross-cultural study of gender. Connecting kinship with gender, she focuses on human reproduction and the social and cultural implications of male and female reproductive roles. Her insightful narrative introduces new ways of approaching and understanding cross-cultural variations. Stone provides coverage of the field of kinship at the introductory level, but she also explores the major issues and debates in the study of the interrelation of gender and culture. She reviews studies of primate kinship, considers ideas about the evolution of human kinship, and looks at kinship and gender in relation to different modes of descent as illustrated through ten in-depth ethnographic case studies. Stone examines marriage through case studies of marriage in ancient Rome and Himalayan polyandry and she offers a history of Euro-American kinship and gender, as well as an examination of the repercussions of the new reproductive technologies on both kinship and gender. In this new edition, material on primate kinship and new reproductive technologies has been updated; three new case studies on primate kinship, American kinship, and new reproductive technologies have been included.
Stone, Linda, ed. New Directions in Anthropological Kinship. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2001.
Following periods of intense debate and eventual demise, kinship studies is now seeing a revival in anthropology. New Directions in Anthropological Kinship captures these recent trends and explores new avenues of inquiry in this re-emerging subfield. The book comprises contributions from primatology, evolutionary anthropology, archaeology, and cultural anthropology. The authors review the history of kinship in anthropology and its theory, and recent research in relation to new directions of anthropological study. Moving beyond the contentious debates of the past, the book covers feminist anthropology on kinship, the expansion of kinship into the areas of new reproductive technologies, recent kinship constructions in EuroAmerican societies, and the role of kinship in state politics.
Swerdlow, Amy, et.al., eds., Household and Kin: Families in Flux. Old Westbury, Conn.: Feminist Press, 1981.
Challenging the concepts of the "typical" family, the authors illustrate the diversity of household forms and kinship ties throughout history and in the present. Peeling away layers of emotion and ideology, they explore the social, political, emotional, and economic functions of the family as well as the importance of gender, class, race, and culture in shaping it. A variety of contemporary family forms-nuclear, single parent, communal-are described, and provocative questions raised about families of the future.
Wall, Richard, Tamara K. Hareven and Josef Ehmer, eds. Family History Revisited: Comparative Perspectives. Newark: University of Delaware, 2001.
This collection of original essays by the leading scholars on the historical study of the family covers topics ranging from the timing of marriage and childbearing to love, family relations, gender roles, aging, the relations between generations, and family and household dynamics among various social classes. The essays point to new directions in the field by examining the dimensions of family relations such as the role of love in the life of peasants, the interaction of children born out of wedlock with their fathers, the impact of property on family relations and the role of culture, as well as social structure in explaining family and life course patterns. Essays by Tamara Hareven and Peter Laslett discuss general developments in this field and their relationship to the larger understanding of social change.
Zeitzen, Miriam Koktvedgaard. Polygamy: A Cross-Cultural Analysis. New York: Berg, 2008.
Forms of plural marriage, or polygamy, are practiced within most of the world's cultures and religions. The amazing variation, versatility and adaptability of polygamy underscore that it is not just an exotic non-Western practice, but also exists in modern Western societies. Polygamy: A Cross-Cultural Analysis provides an examination and analysis of historical and contemporary polygamy. It outlines polygamy's place in anthropological theory and its rich socio-cultural diversity in countries ranging from the US and UK to Malaysia, India, regions of Africa and Tibet. The book also addresses often difficult and controversial issues facing modern polygamists such as prejudice, HIV/AIDS and women's emancipation. Polygamy: A Cross-Cultural Analysis offers an anthropological overview of the fascinating yet often misunderstood institution of polygamy.