What is family? Who can or cannot constitute a family? How do external forces—ranging from war to social media to the economy—affect families around the globe today? And why have so many writers throughout the ages, whether comedian or critic, philosopher or politician, been inspired to take up the topic? In this writing seminar, we will examine the institution and the concept of family through a range of scholarly lenses including history, law, literature, psychology, and sociology. Taking our cue from the signs and symbols of family that proliferate in the world around us, a selection of academic texts on the subject, and our own experiences as well as the lives of those around us, we will deconstruct the term “family” in an effort to analyze its many facets and implications. Through our writings and in our class discussions, we will ask: How do I define family—and how does family define me?