course
Defining Marriage

Jul 2017

Oh Professor Kenny. I find myself saying "YAS Gale" on a regular basis (not the most proper way to describe a professor but it's genuinely felt and this is anonymous, right?). Professor Kenny is my adviser as well as being my teacher for Defining Marriage. She is someone who is very approachable (if anything I wished she had lectured more in class instead of just having us talk-she's very knowledgeable) and when you talk to her you come away with good ideas and actual assistance. She challenges you to think in new ways without being unreasonable and is an excellent resource to have as a student of religion and gender, and as a student in general (she one time spent a class going over proper citations with us which was very helpful). The class itself was fun and the readings were amazing but I sometimes felt like she was giving us busywork just to make the class a 4 credit/seminar level course. Overall though, if you are interested in religion and gender (and are aware that this is primarily a religion class) you should take this class to better your understanding of this fascinating legal and social construct. We basically spanned the United States from the colonial era to today (working reverse chronologically) and talked about everything from polygamy to family values. The only criticism I have is that this class was quite Christian/Protestant-centric but that is Professor Kenny's specialty. I guess I just wish that had been clearer in the course description/syllabus.

Dec 2012

Professor Kenny’s “Defining Marriage” seminar was one of my all-time favorite Barnard classes! The course focuses on how marriage functioned throughout U.S. history (with a lot of attention to religious history), and the readings give a fantastic overview of both. Prof Kenny is extremely nice and great at encouraging dynamic class discussions. She is also that rare balance of someone well-organized and tightly structured in terms of syllabus, assignments, leading class discussions, grading, etc. (which means you’re ACTUALLY learning the material you’re supposed to be learning), who also manages to be a down-to-earth and reasonable teacher. As a bonus, I at least felt that the research paper I wrote for her class (she leads you through the process) totally taught me how to write research papers for the rest of my academic career. If you are at ALL interested in gender studies, marriage, American history, or religious history, I recommend this class and Prof Kenny as a fantastic teacher 100%!