Accessibility statement



Tutor: Jeremy Goldberg

Module type: Comparative Histories

Module Code: HIS00010H

Family is too familiar a concept. It is a basic building block of society. Modern, western families are small and nuclear. Politicians (and others) praise ‘traditional’ family values and bemoan the ‘breakdown’ of family. Comparative history challenges some of these givens. The western, nuclear family is not modern. For North American Indian peoples the ties of kinship extend far beyond the co-resident group, but the traditional Japanese family welcomed strangers as heirs if biological children were not considered up to the job. This course is about challenging preconceptions, opening minds, and trying to make sense of the apparent diversity of cultural understandings of who we should live with, what makes a home, how to raise children, or how to set up a household.

Seminar topics are likely to include the following:

  • What is Family?
  • Household and Household Structures
  • Kith and Kin
  • Houses and Households
  • Childhood
  • Taking in Strangers
  • Marriage
  • Sex and Sexuality
  • The Family at Work


For more information, please visit the module catalogue.