Review Essay: Social Scientific Approaches to Polygamy, Polyandry & Polyamory
Sexuality Studies 400/Psychology 450/Sociology 400
I. Due Date and Submission Requirements:
Monday, May 9th in class. Students will submit both an electronic copy to iLearn
and a hard copy to your TA before class on that Monday. The written and the electronic
versions must be EXACTLY the same or we will not consider any points for the paper.
We do not accept late work.
II. Essay Topic/Content Expectations for the five-page paper (five pages not
A. Carefully follow these steps:
1. Read and outline the following article available at eReserves @ iLearn:
Emens, “Monogamy’s Law: Compulsory Monogamy and Polyamorous
Existence” from University of Chicago Public Law and Legal Theory Working
2. You will be using Google Scholar for this assignment. Read the entry in
Wikipedia about “Google Scholar”. This entry will help you understand how
Google Scholar works: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Scholar. Read this
entry before conducting a search in Google Scholar.
3. Log into your SFSU Library account and you will be able to access full articles
for free from your computer at home, as well as on campus. Here are instructions
for on and off campus access to library materials: http://www.sfsu.edu/login.htm
4. Log into the SFSU Library using your student name, number and password. Once
you have logged in go to the following SFSU Library Google Scholar page:
https://scholar-google-com.jpllnet.sfsu.edu . Accessing Google Scholar from the
SFSU library will enable Google Scholar to let you know if the SFSU Library has
access to any given article you might find in Google Scholar. You should not
have to pay for access to articles.
5. Use Google Scholar and locate a primary research article on the topic of
polygamy, polyandry and/or polyamory published in the last 10 years in a peerreview
journal. The article you locate must be primary (not secondary) research.
You will need to read about “primary” research at Wikipedia:
6. Choose a “primary” research article that addresses some aspect of polygamy,
polyandry and/or polyamory and helps you answer the essay prompt. Visit your
Teaching Assistant and/or Dr. Carrington during office hours if you have
questions about the article you choose.
B. Essay Prompt:
In order to understand why different sexual cultures, and subcultures, organize their
sexual and intimate lives the way they do, it’s useful to recognize the economic,
ecological, historical, legal, political and sociological contexts that often define, regulate
and control what kinds of sexual and intimate behavior will be allowed and/or celebrated
and what will not. This review essay enables students to reflect upon and analyze how
our society organizes and regulates our intimate relationships. Your ‘review essay”
should integrate the Emen’s essay, a primary research article, and Ryan and Jetha’s book
Sex at Dawn to answer the following essay questions: What factors (e.g., ecological,
economic, historical, legal, psychological, and/or sociological) explain the societal
attitudes toward polygamy/polyandry and/or polyamory within modern Western
societies? Are these attitudes changing over time? If they are changing, what social
scientific factors are most salient to explaining why attitudes might be changing or if
attitudes are not changing, explain why.
In answering the essay prompt above, your essay might also explore the following
questions: How does the debate over same-sex marriage influence, and/or mirror, the
debates over polygamy, polyandry and polyamory and vice versa? Explain the various
meanings of “monogamy”, “non-monogamy”, “polygamy” and “polyamory.” What
does “compulsory monogamy” mean and how is it relevant to explaining attitudes toward
polygamy, polyandry and/or polyamory? Are there particular social characteristics (e.g.,
class, race, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, educational level, age, religion,
occupation, etc.) of people that correlate with and possibly explain their attitudes? Please
remember, you are not looking for the ‘right’ answer here, but you are making a plausible
case for yourself, an informed argument, an argument that reveals that you have read and
understand the readings and the arguments within them.
Write the essay as if you were writing to someone who is literate, but who has never
heard the essay prompt or read the book or the article, and you want to explain how the
concepts/evidence would help them understand the topic and the questions.
a.). Use a thesis statement in the introductory paragraph to frame the essay. Read up
on thesis statements:
2. Application of Course Concepts
a). Compare and contrast the perspective of the articles with one another in how they
explain societal and legal approaches to regulating intimate relationships.
b). Apply theoretical perspectives covered in course lectures/readings that would
help illuminate the issues addressed by the question.
III. Essay Format Guidelines:
A. Length: 5 pages give or take ¼ page (no longer, no shorter) not including the
references/bibliography page. Use 12 point Times New Roman font. Use standard 1.25
margins (In Microsoft Word, Go to File, Page Set Up to set margins).
B. Thesis and Introduction: A clear, focused and well-developed Thesis Statement must
appear in the first paragraph of the paper. Underline the Thesis Statement.
All work must be typewritten (Size 12 point font: Times New Roman), double-spaced
with 1.25-inch margins. Use standard indentation of three or five spaces. Please write in
essay form. Begin the essay in an inviting, enticing, perhaps provocative, way: provide
an interesting quotation, begin with a startling statistic, ask a provocative question,
recount a story, or tell a joke pertinent to your topic. Then move toward a thesis or a
controlling statement. The thesis should provide a framework for the entire essay. In
addition, the introductory paragraph should briefly state what the essay will cover and
suggest a tone for the paper. You can read about thesis statements on-line at The Guide
to Grammar and Writing website:
C. Paragraph and Sentence Style
Each paragraph within the essay should possess a topic sentence. The topic sentence
links the paragraph to your paper thesis and reinforces the thesis of the essay. One
should accompany the topic sentence of each paragraph with at least five sentences
illustrating and elaborating upon your topic sentence. Effective paragraphs usually
consist of at least five solid sentences. Please make smooth transitions between
paragraphs. One can locate information about transitional sentences and phrases at the
The Guide to Grammar and Writing website:
D. Please write in gender inclusive language
Please use accurate scientific language to identify sex and gender in the paper. For
example, please use ‘human’ instead of ‘man’ if you mean all hominids. Don’t use ‘he’
or ‘she’ as generic terms. Be cautious about assuming you actually know the sex and/or
gender of animals, including humans.
IV. Citation Expectations: Five Per Page (on average).
Use accurate and extensive citation. Five citations per page, on average, are required.
Graders will count up the citations and make sure they are accurate. We do not mean
five quotations, but rather five citations (on average) per page. Please seek assistance if
you find the distinction between citation and quotation confusing. Citation enables a
write to identify for their readers where they get their facts and from whom they
appropriate ideas and evidence. Citation prevents plagiarism.
Please use the Chicago Manual of Style or the American Psychological Association
(APA) citation formats. These two citation forms are commonly used in the social
sciences including human sexuality studies. You can choose either style, but not others.
I recommend the Chicago style given its simplicity, ease of use, and widespread use in
sexuality research. One can locate the rules for and examples of each style at the
following website: http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html
If one follows the Chicago style, one simply includes the following information at end of
the sentence in which the citation appears: (author’s last name, year of publication,
colon, two spaces, and the page number).
For example, here is a sentence using the Chicago Manual of Style format:
Laws intended to strip women of autonomy and control over their own bodies
proliferated with the rise of the patriarchal states (Carson 1991: 136).
Notice, the sentence above is not a direct quotation, but rather a paraphrase of
Carson’s point. This citation prevents plagiarism as well as gives credit to Carson for
the ideas and evidence.
Please do not use extensive quotation. Paraphrase quotations. If you must use a
quotation, because you cannot accurately rephrase the quote without plagiarizing, follow
the quote with the author’s name, a comma, the year of publication, a colon, two spaces,
and the page number, all in parenthesis, same as above. However, one also provides
quotation marks around the quoted materials. The Harvard Guide to Summarizing,
Paraphrasing and Quoting provides a clear and thorough explanation of when to
summarize, paraphrase and/or quote materials:
The essay must provide a references page that includes the assigned article, the assigned
book and the primary research article. No other references are needed for this paper. The
reference page does not count as part of the minimum number of pages for the essay.
V. Major Check List: Major Compositional And Organizational Concerns.
Students will lose at least 10pts for each one of these six criteria if missing or
1. ___Does the introductory paragraph use an easily identifiable and well-developed
thesis statement? Please refresh your knowledge about using a thesis statement
2. ___Does the essay contain the required number of citations (25 total or 5 per page
on average)? Providing this citation prevents plagiarism and keeps the essay
closely knit to course readings. Do not use footnotes, use in text citations.
3. ___Do most paragraphs use clear topic sentences linking the paragraph to the
4. ___Does the essay make extensive use of empirical evidence (quantitative or
qualitative) from multiple research sources?
5. ___Does the essay use a transitional sentence or transitional phrase between
every paragraph? Such transitions enable smooth and logical flow across
paragraphs. See http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/transitions.htm for
assistance with transitional words, phrases and sentences.
6. ___Does the essay contains the required number of pages within ¼ page?
VII. Minor Check List: Students will lose 2pts each for failing to abide by each of
these twelve criteria:
1. ___Remember to underline the thesis statement!
2. ___Does the essay open with an enticing and inviting quotation, question,
observation, or fact?
3. ___Does the paper use a 1.25 inch margin (standard) on all sides of every page?
4. ___Does a page number appear on every page of the essay?
5. ___Do most paragraphs consist of at least five sentences, and rarely more than
6. ___Does the essay italicize (not underline or quote) book/journal/website titles?
7. ___Does the essay include a well-developed conclusion paragraph?
8. ___Does the essay indent each new paragraph (3 or 5 spaces)?
9. ___Does the essay avoid skipping lines between paragraphs?
10. ___Does the essay use 12 point font type, Times New Roman style, and double
11. ___Does the essay use block quote (indent all text 5 spaces on both right and left
margins and single space the type) for quotations extending three or more lines?
12. ___Do not use report covers or title pages. Simple print your full name and
student ID on the top right of page 1 of the essay.
VIII. Final Submission Issues
Before submission, ask someone reasonably literate to read the essay. Turn in a hard
copy to one’s assigned Teaching Assistant on the due date and an electronic copy to
Ilearn. Instructions for electronic submission are on the next page.
IX. Electronic Submission Procedures for Plagiarism Detection at ILearn:
1. Any paper that exceeds 20% similarity to another paper or other sources will simply be
ignored and will earn 0 points. This paper must be your own original work and put in
your own words (i.e., paraphrased).
2. When you’re done with your essay, save it in one of the following formats: Microsoft
Word (.doc), WordPerfect (.wpd), Rich Text Format (.rtf), Adobe Acrobat (.pdf),
PostScript, Hypertext Mark-up Language (.htm), or plain text (.txt)
3. Log onto iLearn (iLearn.sfsu.edu) using your SFSU ID and PAC.
4. Click on the class (SXS400).
5. Scroll down the course page to Review Essay Instructions. Click on the link:
“Review Essay Plagiarism Detection”.
6. Read the instructions and click: “My Submissions”.
7. Key your name in as the file name, click “Browse” to select the file with your essay,
click “Add Submission”.
8. If you have loaded the wrong paper, click “no, go back” and return to step 6.
9. If this is the correct paper, click “yes, submit”.
10. Do other work while Turnitin searches through its databases, which include billions
of web pages, essays and articles, paper mills and the papers of other students in this
course and other SFSU courses.
Viewing and Using the Originality Report
1. Log onto iLearn (iLearn.sfsu.edu) using your SFSU ID and PAC.
2. Click on SXS400.
3. Click the assignment “Review Essay Plagiarism Detection”.
4. Click “My Submissions”.
5. If the report box under contents is still grey, Turnitin is not finished analyzing your
work. Try again later.
6. When the report box turns to green/red, click the report box (the colored square).
7. Turnitin displays your essay, color-coding those parts that exactly match any of its
sources. You may explore this online if you wish. Note the percentage of your essay that
matches other sources. Academic essays, even research papers, should be mostly your
own writing. I would expect no more than 20% of any assignment to be direct quotations
and, for some essays, even less. That said, 0% is not necessarily better than 20%—it’s
how you use other people’s work to support your own ideas. But, in every case, do not
exceed 20%. Revise and resubmit the paper until it is under the 20% threshold.