The Nature of Values: HCOL 4033
Topic for Fall 1999--Family Values
Tuesday 3:30-5:30, Beasley Hall 204

Professor David Gunn
Beasley Hall 207 or 221; tel: 257-7441; email:
Class web site:

Course Description

In this colloquium we shall explore the nature of values by focusing on a term much in vogue today, namely "family values." Among questions to be asked:

· What is a "family"? Where are its boundaries?
· What are "biblical" family values?
· Are certain gender roles essential for families?
· Should gay and lesbian marriages be allowed legally?
· Do values change in line with physical and psychological development?
· Should traditional models of marriage be encouraged?
· Are values specific to race or ethnicity?

Our goal will be to establish some viable categories and modes of argument that better enable us both to frame our specific questions and to address more cogently the underlying issue of what constitutes "values."

Class Schedule

August 31 Introduction to the Course
Families of Origin / Family Values

September 7 Identity and Others
View Babe
Read Orwell, Animal Farm (132 pp)

September 14 Race/Ethnicity
View My Family (Mi Familia)
Read Appiah (in Critical Terms), "Race" (14 pp.)
Read Sollors (in Critical Terms), "Ethnicity" (18 pp.)
Read Tekiner, "Race and the Issue of National Identity in Israel" (14 pp.)

September 21 Gender Roles
View Fried Green Tomatoes
Read Male/Female Roles (Opposing Viewpoints), ch. 1, "How are Sex Roles Established?" (66 pp.)
Read Berger (Ways of Seeing), chs. 2, 3, and 4 (46 pp.)

September 28 Development and Boundaries
View Slingblade
Read Crossin (About Virtue), ch. 4, "Structural-Developmental Approaches" (23 pp.)
Read Langdale (in Approaches to Moral Development), "Moral Development, Gender Identity, and Peer Relationships in Early and Middle Childhood" (25 pp.)
Read Gilligan (in Approaches . . .), "Adolescent Development Reconsidered" (29 pp.) (cont.)

October 5 The Family in America
View Stepmom
Read The Family (Opposing Viewpoints), ch. 2, "How Have Divorce Law Reforms Affected the Family?"; ch. 3, "How Do Work-Related Policies Affect the Family?"; ch. 5, "Which Values and Policies Most Benefit the Family?"

October 19 Family/Community: Seeing and Believing
View The Apostle
Read Berger (Ways of Seeing), ch. 7 (26 pp.)

October 12 Families/Values
Due at noon October 11: assignment (10 pp.) on a family service organization.

October 26 Family and Biblical Values
View The Handmaid's Tale
Read Genesis 16-17; 21-22; 25; 28:1-30:24; 35
Read Countryman (Dirt, Greed & Sex), "Woman and Children as Property in the Ancient World" (20 pp.)

November 2 Family and Biblical Values (cont.)
Read Leviticus 11-15; 18; Exodus 20-21
Read Grabbe, Leviticus, ch.3, "Clean and Unclean, Purity and Pollution" (14 pp.)
Read Fewell and Gunn (Gender, Power, and Promise), ch. 5, "The Subject of the Law" (19 pp.)

November 9 Homosexuality
Read Homosexuality in the Church: ch. 1, Hays, "The Witness of Scripture Concerning Homosexuality" (14 pp.); ch. 2, Furnish, "The Bible and Homosexuality" (15 pp.)
Read Homosexuality and Christian Community: Miller, "What the Scriptures Principally Teach" (10 pp.); Duff, "How to Discuss Moral Issues Surrounding Homosexuality When You Know You Are Right" (12 pp.)
Read Boswell (in Sexuality and the Sacred), "Homosexuality and Religious Life" (13 pp.)

November 16 Homosexuality (cont.)
View Priest

Read Homosexuality in the Church: ch. 7, Jones and Workman, "Homosexuality: The Behavioural Sciences and the Church" (10 pp.); ch. 8, Burr, "Homosexuality and Biology" (17 pp.)
Read Greenberg (Construction of Homosexuality), "The Medicalization of Homosexuality" (37 pp.)

November 23 Workshop Planning

November 30 Workshop: Sex and Singles

December 7 Workshop: Families and Media (Last class )

December 14 Due at noon: final review.

Assessment will be based on:

(1) An electronic journal (at giving (i) a report of reading/viewing - of relevant books, articles, films, etc. - in preparation for each class; (ii) preparatory analysis of the material being discussed; and (iii) critical reflection after the class on the discussion as a whole or some selected item of particular interest arising from the class discussion. Clearly regular attendance is vital if requirement (iii) is to be met. Details on how to post the journal entries will be given in class. [Worth 50% of final grade]

2) A midterm assignment (c. 2000 words) on a family service organization, to be posted on the web site by noon October 12. Further details will be given in class. [Worth 20% of final grade]

(3) A workshop (designed in consultation with the instructor). This will involve cooperation in a small group to present a topic for the whole class. Presentation may take various forms, including oral presentations, distribution of written reports or documentation, visual or other art. Creativity is encouraged. Further details will be given in class. [Worth 20% of final grade]

(4) A critical review (c. 1500 words) of central issues raised in the class over the semester. Further details will be given in class. Due on the web site by noon December 14. [Worth 10% of final grade]

Required Reading and Viewing

Listed above under each topic. There may be some additional material occasionally. Directions for obtaining the required reading will be given in class. Likewise arrangements will be made in class for obtaining and viewing videos (which will be viewed outside class times).

There will be no set office hours for this class; students are welcome to come to Dr Gunn's office (Beasley Hall 207) at any time (he may or may not be available) or to arrange a meeting either directly with Dr Gunn (email or through his secretary, Ms Link (Beasley Hall 221; tel 257-7441; email


Addendum for workshop on Sexuality and Singles:

Read Nelson (Body Theology), "Sexuality and Spirituality: Agenda for a Continuing Revolution" (14 pp.)

Read Rosenau (in Christian Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender), "Sexuality and the Single Person" (8 pp.)