328 Merrill Science
PO Box: AC# 2236
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Elizabeth J. Aries

Clarence Francis 1910 Professor in Social Sciences (Psychology)

Departmental affiliation: Psychology


Courses in Fall 2007

Courses in Spring 2008

Courses in Spring 2010

Courses in Fall 2010

Courses in Fall 2011

Courses in Spring 2012

Courses in Fall 2012

Courses in Fall 2013

Courses in Spring 2014

Courses in Fall 2014

Courses in Spring 2015

Courses in Fall 2015

Courses in Spring 2016

Professional and Biographical Information


Ph.D., Harvard University (1973)
M.A., Harvard University (1971)
B.A., University of Michigan (1969)
A.M. (honorary), Amherst College (1983)

Teaching Interests

The courses I currently teach concentrate on the period of adolescence and the complexities of the transition to adulthood in contemporary American society. In the Psychology of Adolescence, we examine the impact of biological changes at puberty, of the acquisition of new cognitive capacities, and of changing societal expectations at adolescence. We focus on the formation of identity and how that is shaped by race, ethnicity, gender, social class, and sexuality. We consider changes in intimate relationships with parents and peers, as well as schooling and adolescents at risk. The course readings include the major theorists on adolescence, empirical studies, first person accounts, and novels. A particular focus of my teaching is on the variability in adolescent behavior and why it takes the many forms it does. I also teach a First-Year Seminar titled Growing Up in America, which approaches coming of age from a broader interdisciplinary perspective. In that course, we examine the ways in which race, social class, and gender shape the experience of growing up in America through readings from history, psychology, sociology, and literature. We look back historically at some nineteenth-century lives to understand how the transition from an agricultural to an urban industrial society has influenced the experience of coming of age, and then focus on coming of age in the twentieth century, on the formation of identity, relationship with parents, courtship, sexuality, and the importance of the place in which one is raised.

Awards and Honors

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Grant, 1996-2001

Faculty Research Awards, 2003, 2006

Scholarly and Professional Activities

Programme Associate, Adolescent Department, Tavistock Clinic, London , England (1986-1987)


See also: Research Interests and Selected Publications