Race, Sex, and Love

The U.S. Supreme Court rendered its landmark decision in Loving v. Virginia invalidating prohibitions on interracial marriage more than 40 years ago. But race still plays a significant role in the intimate lives of most Americans. Decisions regarding whom we date, marry, or with whom we enter into other long-term intimate commitments are very much colored by race and prevailing racial norms. This course will consider why this is so by exploring the role that laws and practices regarding the family and intimate associations have played in the social construction of race and racial identity. We will also consider the influence of race and racial norms on our attitudes about sexual intimacy, gender roles, and commonly-held conceptions of and approaches to issues such as marriage, reproduction, and parenting. Students will be encouraged to explore a range of issues relating to race and intimate associations, including how structural issues affect our intimate choices; the role that state laws bearing on family and intimate relations have played in policing racial identity; and the utility of analogies drawn between race and gender-based restrictions on marriage in the current debate concerning the extension of marriage rights to same-sex couples.
Credits: 3

Type: SEM