Child and Family Studies (Bryn Mawr)

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The Child and Family Studies (CFS) minor provides a curricular mechanism for interdisciplinary work focused on the contributions of biological, familial, psychological, socioeconomic,  political, and educational factors to child and family well-being. The minor not only addresses the life stages and cultural contexts of infancy through adolescence but also includes issues of parenting; child and family well-being; gender; schooling and informal education; risk and resilience; and the place, representation, and voice of children in  society and culture.

Students may complete a Child and Family Studies minor as an adjunct to any major at Bryn Mawr, Haverford or Swarthmore pending approval of the student’s coursework plan by the Director of Child and Family Studies, Leslie Rescorla.

Minor Requirements

The minor comprises six courses: one gateway course (PSYC B206: Developmental Psychology; PSYC B203: Educational  Psychology; EDUC B200/EDUC H200: Critical Issues in Education; or SOCL B201: Study of Gender  in Society), plus five additional courses, at least two of which must be outside of the major department and at least one of which must be at the 300  level. Advanced Haverford and Swarthmore courses typically taken by juniors and seniors that are more specific than introductory and survey courses will count as 300-level courses. Only two CFS courses may be double-counted with any major, minor, or other degree credential.

Students craft a pathway in the minor as they engage in course selection through ongoing discussions with the CFS Director. Sample pathways might include: political science/child and family law; sociology/educational policy; child and family mental health; depictions of children/families in literature and film; child and family public health issues; social work/child welfare; anthropology/cross-cultural child and family issues; gender issues affecting children and families; social justice/diversity issues affecting children and families; or economic factors affecting children and families.

The minor also requires participation in at least one semester or summer of volunteer, practicum, praxis, community-based work study, or internship experience related to Child and Family Studies. Students are expected to discuss their placement choices with the CFS Director.

To foster the interdisciplinary nature of Child and Family Studies, students enrolled in the minor must also complete the following requirements:

  • Attendance at periodic CFS evening meetings for discussion sessions, guest speakers, “minor information sessions”, etc..
  • Participation during senior year in an annual CFS Poster Session during which students will share highlights of their CFS campus and field-based experiences.

(Note: it is important to check the Trico course guide for updated course information as not every course is taught every year. In some cases, courses relevant to the CFS minor will have changed, or been added. Students should explore freely and consult with their advisor on curricular choices).

Courses that can be counted toward the Child and Family Studies Minor

Bryn Mawr College Courses and Seminars

ANTH B102Introduction to Cultural Anthropology1.0
ANTH B268Cultural Perspectives on Marriage and Family1.0
ANTH B2791.0
ARTW B269Writing for Children1.0
EDUC B200Community Learning Collaborative: Practicing Partnership1.0
EDUC B210Perspectives on Special Education1.0
EDUC B260Reconceptualizing Power in Education1.0
EDUC B266Critical Issues in Urban Education1.0
EDUC B311Fieldwork Seminar1.0
ENGL B247Shakespeare’s Teenagers1.0
ENGL B2701.0
ENGL B271Transatlantic Childhoods in the 19th Century1.0
POLS B375Gender, Work and Family1.0
PSYC B203Educational Psychology1.0
PSYC B206Developmental Psychology1.0
PSYC B209Abnormal Psychology1.0
PSYC B2501.0
PSYC B3030.5
PSYC B3221.0
PSYC B340Women’s Mental Health1.0
PSYC B346Pediatric Psychology1.0
PSYC B350Developmental Cognitive Disorders1.0
PSYC B351Developmental Psychopathology1.0
PSYC B375Movies and Madness: Abnormal Psychology Through Films1.0
SOCL B102Society, Culture, and the Individual1.0
SOCL B201The Study of Gender in Society1.0
SOCL B205Social Inequality1.0
SOCL B217The Family in Social Context1.0
SOCL B225Women in Society1.0
SOCL B229Black America in Sociological Perspective1.0
SOCL B235Mexican-American Communities1.0
SOCL B258Sociology of Education1.0
SOCL B266Schools in American Cities1.0
SOWK B552Perspectives on Inequality1.0
SOWK B554Social Determinants of Health1.0
SOWK B571Education Law for Social Workers1.0
SOWK B574Child Welfare Policy, Practice, and Research1.0
SOWK B575Global Public Health1.0

Haverford College Courses and Seminars

ANTH H103Introduction to Anthropology1.0
ANTH H209Anthropology of Education1.0
ANTH B263Anthropology of Space: Housing and Societ1.0
EDUC H200Community Learning Collaborative: Practicing Parnership1.0
EDUC H275Emergent Multilingual Learners in U.S. Schools1.0
PSYC H215Personality Psychology1.0
PSYC H223Psychology of Human Sexuality1.0
PSYC H335Narrative Identity1.0
SOCL H204Medical Sociology1.0
SOCL H226Sociology of Gender1.0

Swarthmore College Courses and Seminars

EDUC S014Introduction to Education1.0
EDUC/PSYC S021Educational Psychology1.0
EDUC/PSYC S023Adolescence1.0
EDUC S023AAdolescents and Special Education1.0
EDUC/PSYC S026Special Education1.0
EDUC S042Teaching Diverse Young Learners1.0
EDUC S045Literacies and Social Identities1.0
EDUC S053Language Minority Education1.0
EDUC S064Comparative Education1.0
EDUC S068Urban Education1.0
EDUC S070Outreach Practicum1.0
EDUC S121Psychology and Practice Honors Seminar1.0
EDUC S131Social and Cultural Perspectives Honors Seminar1.0
EDUC S151Literacies Research Honors Seminar1.0
EDUC S167Identities and Education Honors Seminar1.0
PSYC S034Psychology of Language1.0
PSYC S035Social Psychology1.0
PSYC S039Developmental Psychology1.0
PSYC S041Children at Risk1.0
PSYC S050Developmental Psychopathology1.0
PSYC S055Family Systems Theory and Psychological Change1.0
PSYC S135Advanced Topics in Social and Cultural Psychology1.0

Faculty at Bryn Mawr

Dustin Albert
Assistant Professor of Psychology

Jodie Baird
Teacher - Phebe Anna Thorne

Kimberly Cassidy

Debbie Flaks
Instructor in the Bryn Mawr/Haverford Education Program

Chloe Flower
Assistant Professor of English

Fran Gerstein
Field Education Liaison

Marissa Golden
Associate Professor of Political Science on the Joan Coward Chair in Political Economics

Jillian Graves
Instructor, Social Work

Tom Hurster
Instructor in Social Work

David Karen
Professor of Sociology

Alice Lesnick
Director and Term Professor in the Bryn Mawr/Haverford Education Program and Faculty Convener for International Programs

Julia Littell
Professor of Social Work

Veronica Montes
Assistant Professor of Sociology and Co-Director of Latin American, Iberian, and Latina/o Studies

Amy Neeren
Lecturer in the Department of Psychology

Stephanie Newberg
Instructor and Field Education Liaison

Heejung Park
Assistant Professor of Psychology

Melissa Pashigian
Associate Professor of Anthropology

Justine Polster

Leslie Rescorla
Professor of Psychology on the Class of 1897 Professorship of Science and Director of Child Study Institute

Marc Schulz
Chair and Professor of Psychology

Janet Shapiro
Dean of the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research, Professor of Social Work, and Director of the Center for Child and Family Wellbeing

Piper Sledge
Assistant Professor of Sociology

Robert Washington
Professor of Sociology

Amanda Weidman
Associate Professor of Anthropology

Chanelle Wilson-Poe

Robert Wozniak
Professor Emeritus of Psychology

Nathan Wright
Chair and Associate Professor of Sociology

Kelly Zuckerman
Program Coordinator, Advisor, and Lecturer


Anthropology Courses


Amanda Weidman

Division: Social Science
Domain(s): B: Analysis of the Social World

This course will explore the basic principles and methods of sociocultural anthropology. Through field research, direct observation, and participation in a group’s daily life, sociocultural anthropologists examine the many ways that people organize their social institutions and cultural systems, ranging from the dynamics of life in small-scale societies to the transnational circulation of people, commodities, technologies and ideas. Sociocultural anthropology examines how many of the categories we assume to be “natural,” such as kinship, gender, or race, are culturally and socially constructed. It examines how people’s perceptions, beliefs, values, and actions are shaped by broader historical, economic, and political contexts. It is also a vital tool for understanding and critiquing imbalances of power in our contemporary world. Through a range of topically and geographically diverse course readings and films, and opportunities to practice ethnographic methodology, students will gain new analytical and methodological tools for understanding cultural difference, social organization, and social change.

(Offered: Fall 2020, Spring 2021)


Susanna Fioratta

Food is part of the universal human experience. But everyday experiences of food also reveal much about human difference. What we eat is intimately connected with who we are, where we belong, and how we see the world. In this course, we will use a socio-cultural perspective to explore how food helps us form families, national and religious communities, and other groups. We will also consider how food may become a source of inequality, a political symbol, and a subject of social discord. Examining both practical and ideological meanings of food and taste, this course will address issues of identity, social difference, and cultural experience.


Melissa Pashigian

Division: Social Science

An examination of social and cultural constructions of reproduction, and how power and politics in everyday life shapes reproductive behavior and its meaning in Western and non-Western cultures. The influence of competing interests within households, communities, states, and institutions on reproduction is considered. Prerequisite: ANTH B102 (or ANTH H103) or permission of instructor.

(Offered: Fall 2020)

Education Courses


Alice Lesnick

Division: Social Science
Domain(s): B: Analysis of the Social World

Designed to be the first course for students interested in pursuing one of the options offered through the Education Program, this course is open to students exploring an interest in educational practice, theory, research, and policy. The course asks how myriad people, groups, and fields have defined the purpose of education, and considers the implications of conflicting definitions for generating new, more just, and more inclusive modes of "doing school". In collaboration with practicing educators, students learn practical and philosophical approaches to experiential, community-engaged learning across individual relationships and organizational contexts. Fieldwork in an area school or organization required

(Offered: Spring 2021)


Division: Social Science
Domain(s): B: Analysis of the Social World

The goal of this course is to introduce students to a range of topics, challenges and dilemmas that all teachers need to consider. Students will explore pedagogical strategies and tools that empower all learners on the neurological spectrum. Some of the topics covered in the course include how the brain learns, how past learning experiences impact teaching, how education and civil rights law impacts access to services, and how to create an inclusive classroom environment that welcomes and affirms all learners. The field of special education is vast and complex. Therefore, the course is designed as an introduction to the most pertinent issues, and as a launch pad for further exploration. Weekly fieldwork required.

(Offered: Fall 2020)



Division: Social Science
Domain(s): B: Analysis of the Social World

This course examines issues, challenges, and possibilities of urban education in contemporary America. We use as critical lenses issues of race, class, and culture; urban learners, teachers, and school systems; and restructuring and reform. While we look at urban education nationally over several decades, we use Philadelphia as a focal “case” that students investigate through documents and school placements. Weekly fieldwork in a school required.

(Offered: Spring 2021)

English Courses


Chloe Flower

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Meaning, Interpretation (Texts)

This class explores what we can see anew when we juxtapose American and British experiences of, and responses to, emergent ideas and ideals of childhood in the child-obsessed nineteenth century. After setting up key eighteenth-century concepts and contexts for what French historian Philippe Ariès called the "invention of childhood," we'll explore the ways in which children came to be defined between 1800 and 1900, in relation to such categories as law, labor, education, sex, play, and psychology, through examinations of both "literary" works and texts and artifacts from a range of other discourses and spheres. We'll move between American and British examples, aiming to track the commonalities at work in the two nations and the effects of marked structural differences. Here we'll be especially attentive to chattel slavery in the U.S., and to the relations, and non-relations, between the racialized notions of childhood produced in this country and those which arise out of Britain's sharply stratified class landscape. If race and class are produced differently, we'll also consider the degree to which British and American histories and representations of boyhood and girlhood converge and diverge across the period. We’ll close with reflections on the ways in which a range of literary genres on the cusp of modernism form themselves in and through the new discourses of childhood and evolving figures of the child.

Linguistics Courses


Katherine Riestenberg

It is estimated that at least 60% of the world population speaks more than one language, while this is true of only around 15-20% of Americans. Misconceptions about multilingualism, multidialectalism, and language learning are common in American society, and these can often lead to bias and discrimination. This course examines these topics from a variety of sociocognitive angles, including language learning, language processing, dialectal variation, language contact, language and identity, and language policy. The following types of questions will be considered: What do multilingual speakers' linguistic resources mean to them? What are the linguistic ‘rules’ of code-switching? How is learning languages as a child different from learning languages as an adult? Can you ‘forget’ a language you once knew? How can public policies discourage or support multilingualism? This is a seminar-style course that will use a mix of discussion, lecture, and interactive activities to give students a strong foundation in both classical and recent research on these topics while also inviting students to explore personal curiosities and multilingualism in their own lives. It is also a writing intensive course that will guide students to analyze the style and structure of academic works, offer low-stakes opportunities to improve writing skills, and provide feedback on how to polish written work into a strong final version. Prerequisites: At least one previous Linguistics course (any course)

(Offered: Spring 2021)

Political Science Courses


Marissa Golden

Division: Social Science

Studying education politics and policy provides insights into some central concerns of political science and highlights some tensions within the American political system such as: power & influence, government v markets, federalism, equity & accountability, and expertise & citizen participation. This seminar uses education politics as a window into these broader concerns

Psychology Courses


Kimberly Cassidy

Division: Social Science
Domain(s): B: Analysis of the Social World

Topics in the psychology of human cognitive, social, and affective behavior are examined and related to educational practice. Issues covered include learning theories, memory, attention, thinking, motivation, social/emotional issues in adolescence, and assessment/learning disabilities. This course provides a Praxis Level II opportunity. Classroom observation is required. Prerequisite: PSYC B105 (Introductory Psychology)

(Offered: Fall 2020)


Jodie Baird

Division: Social Science
Domain(s): B: Analysis of the Social World

A topical survey of psychological development from infancy through adolescence, focusing on the interaction of personal and environmental factors in the ontogeny of perception, language, cognition, and social interactions within the family and with peers. Topics include developmental theories; infant perception; attachment; language development; theory of mind; memory development; peer relations, schools and the family as contexts of development; and identity and the adolescent transition. Prerequisite: PSYC B105 or PSYC H100. Interested students can take this course or PSYC B211, but not both.


Marc Schulz

Division: Social Science
Domain(s): B: Analysis of the Social World

This course examines the experience, origins and consequences of psychological difficulties and problems. Among the questions we will explore are: What do we mean by abnormal behavior or psychopathology? What are the strengths and limitations of the ways in which psychopathology is assessed and classified? What are the major forms of psychopathology? How do psychologists study and treat psychopathology? How is psychopathology experienced by individuals? What causes psychological difficulties and what are their consequences? How do we integrate social, biological and psychological perspectives on the causes of psychopathology? Do psychological treatments (therapies) work? How do we study the effectiveness of psychology treatments? Prerequisite: Introductory Psychology (PSYC B105 or H100).


Dustin Albert

A topical survey of psychological development across the lifespan, focusing on the interaction of personal and environmental factors in the ontogeny of perception, language, cognition, and social interactions within the family and with peers. Topics include developmental theories; infant perception; attachment; language development; theory of mind; memory development; peer relations and the family as contexts of development; identity and the adolescent transition; adult personality; cognition in late adulthood; and dying with dignity. Prerequisite: PSYC B105 or PSYC H100. Interested students can take this course or PSYC B206, but not both

(Offered: Fall 2020, Spring 2021)


Thomas Wadden

An examination of the causes and consequences of obesity at individual and societal levels. Focuses on mechanisms of body weight regulation along with the wide-scale changes in diet, eating habits, and physical activity that have contributed to the obesity epidemic. Prerequisites: PSYC B105 or PSYC H100 or PSYC AP Score 5.


Leslie Rescorla

Division: Social Science

This course will examine emotional and behavioral disorders of children and adolescents, including autism, attention deficit disorder, conduct disorder, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, anorexia, and schizophrenia. Major topics covered will include: contrasting models of psychopathology; empirical and categorical approaches to assessment and diagnosis; outcome of childhood disorders; risk, resilience, and prevention; and therapeutic approaches and their efficacy .Prerequisite: PSYC 206 or 209.


Leslie Rescorla

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Meaning, Interpretation (Texts)

This writing-intensive seminar (maximum enrollment = 16 students) deals with critical analysis of how various forms of psychopathology are depicted in films. The primary focus of the seminar will be evaluating the degree of correspondence between the cinematic presentation and current research knowledge about the disorder, taking into account the historical period in which the film was made. For example, we will discuss how accurately the symptoms of the disorder are presented and how representative the protagonist is of people who typically manifest this disorder based on current research. We will also address the theory of etiology of the disorder depicted in the film, including discussion of the relevant intellectual history in the period when the film was made and the prevailing accounts of psychopathology in that period. Another focus will be how the film portrays the course of the disorder and how it depicts treatment for the disorder. This cinematic presentation will be evaluated with respect to current research on treatment for the disorder as well as the historical context of prevailing treatment for the disorder at the time the film was made. Prerequisite: PSYC B209.

Sociology Courses


Division: Social Science
Domain(s): B: Analysis of the Social World

The definition of male and female social roles and sociological approaches to the study of gender in the United States, with attention to gender in the economy and work place, the division of labor in families and households, and analysis of class and ethnic differences in gender roles. Of particular interest in this course is the comparative exploration of the experiences of women of color in the United States.


Amanda Cox

Division: Social Science
Domain(s): B: Analysis of the Social World

Introduction to the major sociological theories of gender, racial-ethnic, and class inequality with emphasis on the relationships among these forms of stratification in the contemporary United States, including the role of the upper class(es), inequality between and within families, in the work place, and in the educational system.

(Offered: Spring 2021)


Division: Social Science
Domain(s): B: Analysis of the Social World

The family represents a fundamental and ubiquitous institution in the social world, providing norms and conveying values. This course focuses on current sociological research, seeking to understand how modern American families have transformed due to complex structural and cultural forces. We will examine family change from historical, social, and demographic perspectives. After examining the images, ideals, and myths concerning families, we will address the central theme of diversity and change. In what ways can sociology explain and document these shifts? What influences do law, technology, and medicine have on the family? What are the results of evolving views of work, gender, and parenting on family structure and stability? Prerequisite of one Social Science Course

SOCL B225  WOMEN IN SOCIETY  (1.0 Credit)

Veronica Montes

Division: Social Science

In 2015, the world’s female population was 49.6 percent of the total global population of 7.3 billion. According to the United Nations, in absolute terms, there were 61,591,853 more men than women. Yet, at the global scale, 124 countries have more women than men. A great majority of these countries are located in what scholars have recently been referring to as the Global South – those countries known previously as developing countries. Although women outnumber their male counterparts in many Global South countries, however, these women endure difficulties that have worsened rather than improving. What social structures determine this gender inequality in general and that of women of color in particular? What are the main challenges women in the Global South face? How do these challenges differ based on nationality, class, ethnicity, skin color, gender identity, and other axes of oppression? What strategies have these women developed to cope with the wide variety of challenges they contend with on a daily basis? These are some of the major questions that we will explore together in this class. In this course, the Global South does not refer exclusively to a geographical location, but rather to a set of institutional structures that generate disadvantages for all individuals and particularly for women and other minorities, regardless their geographical location in the world. In other words, a significant segment of the Global North’s population lives under the same precarious conditions that are commonly believed as exclusive to the Global South. Simultaneously, there is a Global North embedded in the Global South as well. In this context, we will see that the geographical division between the North and the South becomes futile when we seek to understand the dynamics of the “Western-centric/Christian-centric capitalist/patriarchal modern/colonial world-system” (Grosfoguel, 2012). In the first part of the course, we will establish the theoretical foundations that will guide us throughout the rest of the semester. We will then turn to a wide variety of case studies where we will examine, for instance, the contemporary global division of labor, gendered violence in the form of feminicides, international migration, and global tourism. The course’s final thematic section will be devoted to learning from the different feminisms (e.g. community feminism) emerging out of the Global South as well as the research done in that region and its contribution to the development of a broader gender studies scholarship. In particular, we will pay close attention to resistance, solidarity, and social movements led by women. Examples will be drawn from Latin America, the Caribbean, the US, Asia, and Africa.

(Offered: Spring 2021)


Robert Washington

Division: Social Science
Domain(s): B: Analysis of the Social World

This course presents sociological perspectives on various issues affecting black America as a historically unique minority group in the United States: the legacy of slavery and the Jim Crow era; the formation of urban black ghettos; the civil rights reforms; the problems of poverty and unemployment; the problems of crime and other social problems; the problems of criminal justice; the continuing significance of race; the varied covert modern forms of racial discrimination; and the role of race in American politics. Prerequisite: at least one additional sociology course or permission of instructor. Course is not available to freshmen.


Veronica Montes

This course will use the lenses of sociology to critically and comparatively examine various immigrant communities living in greater Philadelphia. It will expose students to the complex historical, economic, political, and social factors influencing (im)migration, as well as how migrants and the children of immigrants develop their sense of belonging and their homemaking practices in the new host society. In this course, we will probe questions of belonging, identity, homemaking, citizenship, transnationalism, and ethnic entrepreneurship and how individuals, families, and communities are transformed locally and across borders through the process of migration. This course also seeks to interrogate how once in a new country, immigrant communities not only develop a sense of belonging but also how they reconfigure their own identities while they transform the social, physical, and cultural milieus of their new communities of arrival. To achieve these ends, this course will engage in a multidisciplinary approach consisting of materials drawn from such disciplines as cultural studies, anthropology, history, migration studies, and sociology to examine distinct immigrant communities that have arrived in Philadelphia over the past 100 years. Although this course will also cover the histories of migrant communities arriving in the area in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a greater part of the course will focus on recent migrant communities, mainly from Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean and arriving in the area of South Philadelphia. A special focus will be on the Mexican American migrant community that stands out among those newly arrived migrant communities.

(Offered: Spring 2021)


David Karen

Division: Social Science
Domain(s): B: Analysis of the Social World

Major sociological theories of the relationships between education and society, focusing on the effects of education on inequality in the United States and the historical development of primary, secondary, and post-secondary education in the United States. Other topics include education and social selection, testing and tracking, and micro- and macro-explanations of differences in educational outcomes. This is a Praxis II course; placements are in local schools.

(Offered: Fall 2020)