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Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

2014-2015 Symposium on The Future of Marriage and the Family

Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

future of marriage and family symposium

The Boisi Center is pleased to announce its fifth annual student Symposium on Religion and Politics, which provides an opportunity for informal reflection and conversation among graduate students from different disciplines on the relationship between religion and politics in the United States. This year’s symposium will consider the future of marriage and the family.

THE 2014-2015 STUDENT

The Future of Marriage
and the Family

American marriage and reproductive rates are at historic lows. This unprecedented situation invites thoughtful observers to reflect on whether or not this is a welcome trend, as well as whether anything can be done to affect it.

In this non-credit graduate student symposium, we will explore the issue of the family from political, philosophical, and theological perspectives. We will examine what marriage is; what the arguments are for having children; the downsides of marriage and children; and the downsides for both society and the individual of the postponement, or ultimate foregoing of, these life events. We will also explore new developments that are changing the model of traditional marriage, such as the rise of cohabitation and the legalization of gay marriage, as well as examine trends in divorce.

In six sessions over the course of the academic year, the group will read a mixture of essays, articles and literary texts. Reading packets will not be long; there should be about one- to two-hours’ worth of reading per session. No expertise or previous coursework in the subject is expected or required. Discussion will be facilitated by political science Ph.D. candidate Yael Levin Hungerford, and led each week by symposium participants. Breakfast, lunch or dinner will be provided by the Boisi Center at each session, depending on the meeting time. 

To apply please submit (to a brief statement that describes your course of study, relevant experience, and your interest in the symposium and this year's themes. Applications are due September 22, 2014.

Reading Packets

Current Trends and Potential Problems


Marriage Supplemental Material


Children Supplemental Material

Marriage, Childbearing, and Culture

Comparative Look at Having and Raising Children

Comparative Supplemental Material

symposium recapsymposium recap