Displaying courses for Spring 2015
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|10664||SOCY 106.00||Soc Issues/Cultrl Intersection|
The objective of this introductory-level course is to critically examine social problems in the United States by using sociological perspectives to investigate the cultural and structural foundations of our society. Toward that end, students will learn sociological and criminological perspectives that provide a basic understanding of the principles of social-problems research from a sociological perspective. Accordingly we will discuss the social problems endemic to social institutions in society. Among the topics to be covered are education, crime, the family, and work, using examples from the Age of Enlightenment up to the present day. The most fundamental expectation of students in this course will be to use their sociological imaginations each and every class period to engage in focused discussion of the readings and assignments completed outside of class. This is expected to aid students in the goal of mastering the necessary skills of critical thinking and discussion, both verbally and in their writing about contemporary topics of interest and concern. Prerequisite: first- and second-year students only. Offered every other year.
|WF||8:40 am-10:00 am||Samuel Mather Hall 201|
|Seats filled/limit: 15/25|
|10105||SOCY 107.00||Institutions and Inequalities|
This introductory course will focus on an analysis of social structure and its impact on the experiences of individuals. We will look at the ways in which social structures construct and constrain reality for individuals and how society and social institutions shape individual values, attitudes, and behaviors. The course will examine sociological concepts through an analysis of culture, social inequality, and social institutions. The first portion of the class will focus on understanding culture and how we come to be social beings. We will then move to an examination of social stratification and inequalities, paying particular attention to the impact of race, class, and gender on the lives of individuals in American society. We will look at recent changes in many social institutions and the impact these changes have had on individuals and society. By the end of the course, you should understand common sociological concepts and perspectives and be able to consider aspects of the social world through the sociological lens. Offered every year.
|TR||9:40 am-11:00 am||Ralston House 100|
|Seats filled/limit: 22/25|
|10106||SOCY 108.00||Public Life|
Sociologists study the intersection of private troubles and public concerns. We argue that participating in a vibrant public life is important to a free and democratic polity. But what is "the public"? Who belongs to it? And can public discussion and participation really affect social and political change? By examining the ways in which public life has changed from the Middle Ages to the present day, this course introduces the core theories, concepts, and approaches that form the basis of modern sociology. Students will explore the idea of America as "a nation of joiners," the sociology of a social gathering, the tensions inherent in the civilizing effects of modernity, the forces that exclude people from public life, and how we might innovate ways to make our publics--and our democracies--more inclusive. No prerequisite.
|WF||2:10 pm-3:30 pm||Cheever SEM|
|Seats filled/limit: 24/25|
|10107||SOCY 223.00||Wealth and Power|
People in the United States are keenly aware of social differences, yet few have a very precise understanding of "social class," the magnitude of social inequality in U.S. society, or why social inequality exists at all. This course provides a semester-long examination of social stratification--a society's unequal ranking of categories of people--in historical, comparative, theoretical, and critical terms. The historical focus traces the development of social inequality since the emergence of the first human societies some ten thousand years ago; the Industrial Revolution; and, more recently, the Information Revolution. The comparative focus explores how and why societies differ in their degree of inequality, identifies various dimensions of inequality, and assesses various justifications for inequality. Attention is also given to the extent of social differences between high- and low-income nations in the world today. The theoretical focus asks how and why social inequality comes to exist in the first place (and why social equality does not exist). This course offers a true diversity of political approaches, presenting arguments made by conservatives, liberals, libertarians, and radicals about the degree of inequality in the United States and in the world. This course fulfills the "institutions and inequalities" requirement for the major. Prerequisite: 100- level sociology course or permission of instructor.
|WF||2:10 pm-3:30 pm||Olin Library AUD|
|Seats filled/limit: 20/20|
|10111||SOCY 225.00||Notions of the Family|
We all come from families, and the family is therefore a familiar social institution. But family is constituted not just by our individual experiences but also as a product of historical, social, and political conditions. This course will examine how these conditions have shaped family life as we know it today. We will look at the social construction of the family, the psychosocial interiors of families, and how governmental policy has shaped and will continue to shape families in the future. In addition, we will discuss the increasing diversity of family structures, the institution of marriage, and the social construction of childhood and parenting as represented in empirical research and legal decisions. Our underlying framework for analysis will be the gendered nature of family systems. This course fulfills the "culture and identity" or " institutions and inequalities" requirement for the major. Prerequisite: 100- level sociology course. Offered every two years.
|MWF||11:10 am-12:00 pm||Ralston House 100|
|Seats filled/limit: 21/20|
|10108||SOCY 233.00||Sociology of Food|
This course explores the social world(s) we live in by analyzing what we eat, where it comes from, who produces it, who prepares it, and how. In the first few weeks of class, we examine the patterned culinary choices of ordinary Americans like ourselves; how American foodways are differentiated by gender, race/ethnicity, and class; and how political, social, and historical forces have shaped these patterns in ways that are not necessarily obvious to the sociologically untrained eye. We then shift our focus away from ourselves and our own sociologically conditioned eating habits to analyze the local, regional, and global processes and factors that bring food to our table. One of the major themes here is the greater social and spatial distances that our food travels from field, farm, or factory to consumers in the United States and in other parts of the Western Hemisphere, and how these distances complicate and sometimes obscure the unequal power relations at the root of food production and consumption. Our exploration of the global ties that bind consumer and producer ends with a look at how social activists around the world have organized collectively to reduce these distances and inequalities. This course fulfills the "culture and identity" or "institutions and inequalities" requirement for the major. Prerequisite: 100- level sociology course or permission of instructor. Offered every other year.
|TR||1:10 pm-2:30 pm||Ralston House 100|
|Seats filled/limit: 18/20||Permission of Instructor Required|
|10112||SOCY 237.00||Borders and Border Crossings|
Popular conceptions of globalization often allude to the growing magnitude of global flows and the stunning rapidity with which capital, commodities, culture, information, and people now cross national borders. From this characterization, one might conclude that national borders--and indeed nation-states themselves--are becoming increasingly porous and irrelevant as sources or sites of social regulation and control. This course examines the material reality of border regions and movement across them as a means of interrogating these assumptions and exposing how globalization rescales and reconfigures power differentials in human society but does not eliminate them. It scrutinizes technological, economic, political and ideological forces that facilitate border crossings for some groups of people under particular circumstances, then explores the seemingly contradictory tendency towards border fortification. Topics include: regional trade integration and political economy of border regions; the global sex trade and illegal trafficking of economic migrants; global civil society and sanctuary movements; paramilitary and vigilante border patrols; and the technology of surveillance. This course includes a required off-campus experiential component at the U.S.-Mexico border that takes place during the first week of spring break. This course fulfills the "institutions and inequalities" requirement for the major. Prerequisite: 100- level sociology course or permission of instructor. Offered every other year.
|TR||9:40 am-11:00 am||Treleaven House 101|
|Seats filled/limit: 12/12||Permission of Instructor Required|
|10113||SOCY 262.00||Classical Trad to Contemp Thry|
The purpose of this course is to guide students to draw linkages from classical theory to the formation of contemporary sociological theory. Discussion will be guided by the personal biographies of the theorists: their family background, where they were educated, and what events or persons they were influenced by as they formulated the theories for which they are known. The emphasis is placed upon acquiring breadth of knowledge, rather than depth. (For a more comprehensive understanding of many of the theorists discussed in this class, students are directed to SOCY 361: Classical Social Theory and SOCY 362: Contemporary Social Theory.) This course is not intended for seniors, although it is required for all majors. Students are advised, then, to enroll in this class as soon as they begin to consider majoring in sociology. This course fulfills the "theory" requirement for the major. Prerequisite: 100- level sociology course or permission of instructor. Offered every year.
|MWF||10:10 am-11:00 am||Ralston House 100|
|Seats filled/limit: 20/15||Permission of Instructor Required|
|10621||SOCY 291.02||Special Topic: Hip Hop in Urban America|
Hip hop music is, if nothing at all, about the life experiences of urban youth. From Melle Mel to Jay-Z, MCs have provided listeners with intimate details of what it means and how it feels to live in Urban America, especially in the portions of it that are poverty stricken. So what has hip hop taught us about urban communities in places like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Atlanta? What has it taught us about racial, class, and gendered dynamics that make up these locales? What has it taught us about macro-level structural forces and micro-level interactions that are responsible for the transformation of these urban spaces? These are some of the questions we will take on in this class. To do so, we listen to a number of "classic" hip hop albums and read a wide range of journalistic and scholarly writings about hip hop. In addition, we consult sociological works in urban sociology, including ethonographic works, to help us make sense of and evaluate what hip hop music says about urban America. Prerequisite: Any 100-level sociology.
|WF||8:40 am-10:00 am||Samuel Mather Hall 215|
|Seats filled/limit: 17/20||Permission of Instructor Required|
|10651||SOCY 291.04||Special Topic: Social Determinants of Health|
There is more to our health than biology. In this course, we investigate social factors that influence physical and mental health. Specifically, we look into how various social factors shape race and class health disparities. In four main units, we discuss the influences of globalization, economics, neighborhoods, family and culture. At the end of the semester, students will write a paper that integrates the various perspectives to provide their own explanation of race and class health disparities. Prerequisite:100-level sociology course or permission of instructor.
|MWF||2:10 pm-3:00 pm||Ralston House 100|
|Seats filled/limit: 20/20|
|10115||SOCY 373.00||Qualitative Methods|
This course focuses on learning to use qualitative methods to answer questions about social life. We will discuss individual and group interviews, observational techniques, and content analysis of documents and visual images. Students will practice using these techniques by carrying out a semester-long research project using these methods. We will also discuss the "nuts and bolts" of designing a research project, writing research proposals, collecting data, analyzing data, and writing up qualitative research. Finally, we will contextualize this practical instruction with discussions of research ethics, issues of reliability and validity in qualitative research, the relationship between qualitative methods and theory-building, and the place of qualitative methods in the discipline of sociology. This course fulfills the "methods" requirement for the major. Prerequisite: sophomore standing, 100-level sociology course, and SOCY 271. Offered every two years.
|TR||2:40 pm-4:00 pm||Acland House SEM|
|Seats filled/limit: 10/14|
|10117||SOCY 491.01||Special Topic: Race Theory|
What do sociologists mean when they talk about race? How has the meaning of race changed since the birth of the discipline? Beginning in the late nineteenth century, we will examine influential theories of race put forth by sociologists as well as other social scientists, philosophers, novelists, activists, and public figures. We will explore in particular ethnicity and immigration theory of the early twentieth century, dominant race theory in early twentieth century, race theory of the Chicago School and in the 1950's, 60's, and 70's; structuralist race theory in the 1970's, social constructionist theory, intersectional analysis, whiteness theory, ethnicity theory since the 1970's, and postcolonial and multicultural theory. We will also consider how contemporary scholarship operationalizes race and makes use of it in their analysis. Specifically, we look into how race is lived in qualitative works and measured in quantitative research. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.
|R||7:00 pm-10:00 pm||Lentz House 104|
|Seats filled/limit: 9/12||Permission of Instructor Required|
|10665||SOCY 491.02||Special Topic: Public Schools & Punishmnt|
The mid 1990's in the United States bore witness to "moral panics" over isolated, but severe acts of school violence and baseless predictions of the so-called "juvenile super predator." In response, public schools districts across the United States systematically enforced zero tolerance education policies that have fundamentally changed the disciplinary and educational structure of public schools across the country. Almost 20 years later, these changes have led to the creation of a "school-to-prison-pipeline," which is believed to streamline certain public school students, in particular, low-income, black and Latino boys into prison. This course examines the socio-policital underpinnings of the mass enforcement of zero-tolerance school policies and their creation of school institutions that replicate disciplinary practices typical of the criminal justice system. Throughout the course, we will read three ethnographies on school discipline: John Devines' Maximum Security, Ann Arnett Ferguson's Bad Boys, and Kathleen Nolan's Police in the Hallways. As a collective, we will explore the consequences of zero-tolerance education policies on students, the school-to-prison-pipeline, and explore the provocative question of whether or not some schools operate more as prisons than institutions of learning. We will begin with several select, but key theoretical readings in sociology of education, followed by studies in criminology on rehabilitative and retributive approaches to incarcerating juveniles. Next, we will examine the historical moment in which the shift toward punitive policies took root, specifically focusing on the influences of predominant racial and gendered ideologies. We will end the course with a discussion of urban education reform and alternatives to punitive school policies. This course fulfills the "institutions and inequalities" requirement for the major. Prerequisite: 100-level sociology course or permission of instructor.
|W||7:00 pm-10:00 pm||Treleaven House 101|
|Seats filled/limit: 12/12|