Faculty of Arts

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2015 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
Organisational UnitAustralian Centre for Jewish Civilisation
OfferedNot offered in 2015
Coordinator(s)Dr Daniella Doron


The unit will examine developments that have shaped the modern family and the often heated debates that encircle it. By tracing the history of the family from the pre-modern to modern era, it will ask a series of questions that seek to challenge commonly held assumptions about past and present families: How has the state intervened in the "private" realm of family life? What are the range of forms that families take and why? To what extent has the social reality of family life conformed or deviated from dominant cultural ideals? Topics may include: family life in pre-industrial settings; the nineteenth century domestic ideal and the rearing of future citizens; world wars, revolutions, and family upheaval; the sexual revolution; birth control; the feminist critique of the family; the one child family policy in China; family dissolution, divorce, and the state; new innovations in biological knowledge and technology; and the rise of unconventional families.


  1. An understanding of the various social, political, and economic forces that have contributed to shaping the institutions of family.
  2. Critical insights on the specific differences between early modern and present day families and gender roles.
  3. A sophisticated understanding of how the cultural meanings and experiences of family have varied across time and space, but also across race, class, gender, and ethnicity.
  4. A knowledge of how modern technologies and evolving biological knowledge have altered the composition of and cultural expectations for the family.
  5. A familiarity with how interventions of the state in the formation and dissolution of families.
  6. The acumen to critically analyse different kinds of primary sources.


Within semester assessment: 70%
Exam: 30%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study