For Wednesday, 5/23 (SOC 1103 MW)

May 22, 2018

Prep

  • Review Benokraitis (2015), Ch. 16 (‘Families in Later Life’)

In Class

For Next Time

  • The final exam is due by 23:59 (end of the day) on Thursday, 5/24
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For Saturday, 5/26 (SOC 1103 CN)

May 22, 2018

Prep

  • Benokraitis (2015), Ch. 16 (‘Families in Later Life’), esp. Sections 16.1 (‘Our Aging Society’); 16.2 (‘Health and Ageism’); 16.6 (‘Dying, Death, and Bereavement’); 16.8 (‘Caregiving in Later Life’)

In Class

For Next Time

  • Final Exam

Lions in Winter: Akira Kurosawa’s ‘Ran’, ‘King Lear’, and the Care of Aging Parents

May 18, 2018

My mother has early onset Alzheimer’s.  She received this diagnosis several years ago, when there were already signs of cognitive decline. Had I read the ‘Ten Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease’ inset in our textbook back then (Benokraitis 2015:470), I would have recognised those signs — e.g., memory loss and disorientation as to time and place — for what they were, instead of reacting so peevishly to what I took to be something that she could control. In any event, some months after her diagnosis she called me up and explained that she wanted me to have powers of attorney over her affairs; she foresaw then that a time would come when she could no longer run her own life. In the years since I’ve taken up this responsibility, I’ve found that it requires a delicate balancing act between doing what she can’t do for herself, on the one hand, and trying not to strip away all her feelings of agency, on the other (e.g., controlling her access to her own life’s savings).

I haven’t always gotten this balance right — far from it, in fact: I’m often too quick to patronise her, or to dismiss her pleas for more control. And this is a dilemma that’s well portrayed in Ran: I think of the conflict between Hidetora and Taro, which occurs fairly early on (so no real spoilers there) over the right of the former to retain his personal retinue within the castle walls, along with the insignia and title of ‘Great Lord’.  We can see that stripping these things away would be to strip Hidetora not only of the trappings of his success and station, but of his very identity; they are the markers of a long, bloody climb to the top. But we can also readily understand Taro’s concerns and desire to assert his own authority, to be his own man. So this is one example of the way in which Ran dramatises the issues facing families in later life — among them depression and dementia among the elderly, caregiving of elderly relatives, caregiving styles, sibling relationships in later life, generational transitions— in a way that adds flesh to what would otherwise be an awfully dry textbook recitation of facts and figures.

(Another classic dramatization of these issues is of course Shakespeare’s King Lear, which grew into one of Kurosawa’s most important source materials about a year or two after he had begun work on the screenplay for Ran back in the seventies.)

But of course, even though Kurosawa deals with these topics brilliantly, he’s also asking the most profound questions any human being can ask. What do parents owe to their children, and what do children owe to their parents? How do we balance the obligations and responsibilities of family with all our other needs, desires, and ambitions? What do we owe to each other in general? And finally, what sense are we to make of a world that is so often cruel and unjust? Ran suggests answers to all of these questions — although as with any great work of art, understanding these answers takes a great deal of excavation and interpretation, and deciding whether we agree with the magisterial director can be a lifelong work of reflection.

You will see, then, that Kurosawa is a masterful storyteller; but the video essay below is very helpful in terms of understanding and appreciating some of the things that Akira Kurosawa does as a filmmaker. Bonus insights for you if you’re a fan of the Marvel Avengers franchise.

Further Reading/Notes Toward a Personal Canon

Debussy, Claude. Music from Le Roi Lear.

Shakespeare, William. [1606?]. King Lear.

 

REFERENCES

Ran. 1985. Directed by Akira Kurosawa.

For Monday, 5/21 (SOC 1103 MW)

May 18, 2018

So it turns out that, despite some very misleading announcements posted around the building, we are to meet for class on Monday. Fear not: Monday’s agenda will be pretty relaxed. We’ll continue a bit with the movie, then stop to talk about writing.

Prep

  • Review Benokraitis (2015), Ch. 16 (‘Families in Later Life’)

In Class

For the Final Exam Period

  • Ran: Conclusion

For Thursday, 5/17 (SOC 1103 MW)

May 16, 2018

Prep

  • Review Benokraitis (2015), Ch. 16 (‘Families in Later Life’)

As I mentioned in class, the video essay below is very helpful in terms of understanding and appreciating some of the things that Akira Kurosawa does as a filmmaker. Bonus insights for you if you’re a fan of the Marvel Avengers franchise.


In Class

  • Ran (1985), cont’d

For the Final Exam Period (Wednesday, 5/23)

  • Ran (1985), cont’d
  • Discussion

 

 

For Wednesday, 5/16 (SOC 1103 MW)

May 15, 2018

Prep

  • Benokraitis (2015), Ch. 16 (‘Families in Later Life’), esp. Sections 16.1 (‘Our Aging Society’); 16.2 (‘Health and Ageism’); 16.6 (‘Dying, Death, and Bereavement’); 16.8 (‘Caregiving in Later Life’)

In Class

  • TBA

For Thursday, 5/17

  • Families in Later Life, cont’d

For Saturday, 5/19 (SOC 1103 CN)

May 13, 2018

Prep

  • Benokraitis (2015), Ch. 10 (‘Marriage and Communication in Intimate Relationships’), esp. Sections 10.2 (specifically the subsections on ‘Wedding and Pre-Wedding Rituals’, ‘Engagement’, ‘Bridal Showers and Other Pre-Wedding Festivities’,  ‘Prenuptial Agreements’, ‘The Wedding’); 10.3 (‘Contemporary Marriages’), 10.7 (‘Communication: A Key to Successful Relationships’); 10.8 (‘What Couples Fight About and How They Deal with Conflict’); and 10.9 (‘Effective Communication Strategies’)
  • Benokraitis (2015), from Ch. 15 (‘Separation, Divorce, Remarriage, and Stepfamilies’), esp. Sections 15.2 (‘Divorce: Process and Rates’); 15.3 (‘Why Do People Divorce?’); 15.4 (‘How Divorce Affects Parents’), 15.5 (‘How Divorce Affects Children’), 15.6 (‘Remarriage: Rates, Process, and Characteristics’)

In Class

  • Domestic Abuse
  • Q&A: Marriage, Divorce, & Remarriage

For Next Time

  • Benokraitis (2015), Ch. 16 (‘Families in Later Life’), esp. Sections 16.1 (‘Our Aging Society’); 16.2 (‘Health and Ageism’); 16.6 (‘Dying, Death, and Bereavement’); 16.8 (‘Caregiving in Later Life’)
  • Film: Ran (Akira Kurosawa, 1985)

For Monday, 5/14 (SOC 1103 MW)

May 13, 2018

Prep

  • Benokraitis (2015), from Ch. 15 (‘Separation, Divorce, Remarriage, and Stepfamilies’), esp. Sections 15.2 (‘Divorce: Process and Rates’); 15.5 (‘How Divorce Affects Children’), and 15.6 (‘Remarriage, Rates, Process, and Characteristics’)

In Class

  • Q&A: Divorce, Separation, & Remarriage
  • Course Evaluations

For Next Time

  • Benokraitis (2015), Ch. 16 (‘Families in Later Life’), esp. Sections 16.1 (‘Our Aging Society’); 16.2 (‘Health and Ageism’); 16.6 (‘Dying, Death, and Bereavement’); 16.8 (‘Caregiving in Later Life’)

For Friday, 5/18 (SOC 303)

May 11, 2018

Prep

  • HW: Informed Consent Form
  • Patten (2014), Topic 36 (‘Ethical Issues in Measurement’)
  • Patten (2014), Topic  39 (‘Ethical Issues and Procedures’)
  • Patten (2014), Topic 45 (‘Writing a Discussion Section’)
  • Patten (2014), Topic 47 (‘Preparing an Abstract’)
  • Patten (2014), Topic 48 (‘Developing a Timeline’)

In Class

  • Oral Presentations
    • The instructions can be found via the link above, but note that I waived one requirement: you don’t have to use presentation software.

For Next Time

  • The final draft will be due a few days after the final exam period, just to give you all a little breathing room; I’ll give you the exact date presently.

For Saturday, 5/12 (SOC 1103 CN)

May 10, 2018

Prep

  • Ansari, Modern Romance (2015), Chs. 1 (‘Searching for Your Soul Mate’), and 5 (‘International Investigations of Love’)
  • Benokraitis (2015), Ch. 10 (‘Marriage and Communication in Intimate Relationships’), esp. Sections 10.2 (specifically the subsections on ‘Wedding and Pre-Wedding Rituals’, ‘Engagement’, ‘Bridal Showers and Other Pre-Wedding Festivities’,  ‘Prenuptial Agreements’, ‘The Wedding’); 10.3 (‘Contemporary Marriages’), 10.7 (‘Communication: A Key to Successful Relationships’); 10.8 (‘What Couples Fight About and How They Deal with Conflict’); and 10.9 (‘Effective Communication Strategies’)

In Class

  • TBA

For Next Time

  • Benokraitis (2015), from Ch. 15 (‘Separation, Divorce, Remarriage, and Stepfamilies’), esp. Sections 15.2 (‘Divorce: Process and Rates’); 15.3 (‘Why Do People Divorce?’); 15.4 (‘How Divorce Affects Parents’), 15.5 (‘How Divorce Affects Children’), 15.6 (‘Remarriage: Rates, Process, and Characteristics’)