Dr. Annette Lareau: First Presidential Dream Course Speaker

On February 12th and 13th, Dr. Annette Lareau visited the University of Oklahoma as a Presidential Dream Course speaker. Lareau is the Stanley I. Sheerr Term Professor of the Social Sciences and Professor of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of the award-winning book, Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life (University of California Press, 2003), which is based on participant observation of families with children in the third and fourth grade. Her research shows that middle-class parents seek to develop their children’s talents and skills through a series of organized activities, reasoning and language development, and close supervision of their experiences in school. By contrast, working-class and poor families work hard to feed, clothe, and protect their children, but they also presume their children will spontaneously grow and thrive. The second edition of this book, published in 2011, includes the results of a follow-up study examining the lives of these children as young adults. During her visit to OU, Dr. Lareau gave three talks: a public lecture, an academic presentation for the Sociology Department, and a lecture for a sociology of the family class.