Sociology

Courses in Sociology

SOC-S 100 Introduction to Sociology (3 cr)

Most sections cover these core items: the perspective of sociology, its method of inquire, concepts such as culture, socialization and interaction, “social structure”, groups, and selected sociological theories. Most select additional topics from these categories: Sources of Power and Authority (Social Class, Gender, Age, Race and Ethnicity), Institutions (Family, Education, Religion, Work & Economy, and Political), and Social Change (including Mass Movements).
Offered every semester.

SOC-S 215 Social Change (3 cr)

Social change takes many forms, from gradual to accelerated change, from cultural change (new values and beliefs) to structural change (new forms of organization, changing statuses of women and minorities) and demographic change (people live longer and have fewer children; divorce rates increase). Sections of this course explore some of these and related topics, such as changes in race and ethnic relations, gender roles, the family and sexuality, reform and revolution, social movements, modernization of nations, and the changing role of government in society.
Generally offered every other fall semester.

  • Prerequisite: SOC-S 100 or consent of instructor.
SOC-S 217 Social Inequity (3 cr)

In this course we ask: Who gets what and why? How are power and privilege distributed among individuals and groups in society and why do some enjoy more than others? Who benefits from inequities? We examine how various inequalities (e.g., in income, wealth, property) have evolved over time and ask how these inequalities shape the life chances of individuals in different socioeconomic, racial/ethnic, and gender groups. Throughout the course we give particular attention to contemporary U.S.A. and to the challenges that recent developments pose for American society..
Offered spring semester.

  • Prerequisite: SOC-S 100 or consent of instructor.
SOC-S 230 Society and the Individual (3 cr)

Perched on the boundary between individuals and groups or society, the topic of this course is really “social psychology.” This course focuses specifically on the ways in which individuals develop within groups, shape and are shaped by group interaction. Topics listed in recent sections of this course include one or more of the following: how people interact with, think about, and feel about others, how children learn (“socialization”), cross-cultural differences in interactional styles, verbal interaction, friendship relations, negotiated order, pressures to conform to gender stereotypes, the processes of acquiring status in peer cultures, attitude change, interpersonal attraction, and prejudice and discrimination.
Generally offered spring semester.

  • Prerequisite: SOC-S 100 or consent of instructor
SOC-S 254 Qualitative Field Research (3 cr)

Covers the most salient aspects of field research, including taking field notes and coding, engaging in participant-observation, taking on a variety of research roles, creating topical guides and conducting in-depth interviews, and writing a publishable-quality research paper. Students must find a suitable setting in which to conduct their semester-long research project. Offered every fall semester.

SOC-S 308 Introduction to Comparative Sociology/Global Society (3 cr)

Introduction to methods of cross-cultural analysis; study of key theories derived from comparative analysis, with emphasis on determinants and consequences of industrialization. Offered every fall semester.

  • Prerequisite: SOC-S 100 or consent of instructor
SOC-S 313 Religion and Society (3 cr)

The nature, consequences, and theoretical origins of religion, as evident in social construction and functional perspectives; the social origins and problems of religious organizations; and
the relationships between religion and morality, science, magic, social class, minority status, economic development, and politics.
Offered occasionally.

  • Prerequisite: SOC-S 100 or consent of instructor
SOC-S 315 Work and Occupations (3 cr)

The workplace is changing. How did the present situation develop? What does it mean for our future as employees and or as self-employed? Most sections of this course devote some attention to "how we got here". The issues that were resolved in ways that have led to down-sizing, massive technological changes, and the prospect of careers looking very different than our grandparent's did are still with us—control of work and workers, the use of highly skilled vs. not so skilled workers, how new technology changes work (or not). Some courses also address such topics as work and family life, the history and role of unions; some survey different industries and occupations. Offered occasionally.

  • Prerequisite: SOC-S 100 or consent of instructor
SOC-S 316 The Family (3 cr)

What defines a family and how the family has changed historically is often a starting point for this course, as are broader trends in family formation, divorce and remarriage. Most sections of this course explore topics like the division of labor within families, the opposing demands of work and family (e.g., dual careers), the experience of forming relationships and marriages, rearing children and sibling relationships.
Offered occasionally.

  • Prerequisite: SOC-S 100 or consent of instructor
SOC-S 320 Deviant Behavior and Social Control (3 cr)

This course includes how different societies, groups and periods of history come to define any particular behavior as “deviant.” Similarly, how do they grapple with the problem of controlling or punishing such behavior? Even to consider such a question requires thinking about the extent to which “deviance” is socially constructed. Alternative theoretical explanations of deviant behavior are addressed. Alcohol and drug use, sexual deviance (heterosexual and homosexual forms, prostitution, pornography), violence, white collar crime, mental illness or disorder and gang behaviors are among those forms studied by particular sections in the past.
Offered Fall semester, even years

  • Prerequisite: SOC-S 100 or consent of instructor
SOC-S 325 Criminology (3 cr)

Criminal behavior in its many forms—interpersonal violence, property crime, white collar crime, etc.—is the focus of this course. How are various forms of behavior defined or measured as 'criminal'? Why do individuals or groups engage in this behavior? Why do crime rates vary across different groups and eras? Most sections consider the arguments, strengths and weakness of a variety of theories of criminal behavior in some detail, ranging from social learning theory, sub-cultural differences, labeling theory, to differential association and others. Some sections tackle one or more of these related issues: capital punishment, juvenile delinquency, and female criminality, as well as various aspects of the U.S. criminal justice system..
Offered occasionally.

  • Prerequisite: SOC-S 100 or consent of instructor
SOC-S 329 Women and Deviance (3 cr)

Using theoretical models of women and deviance, this course examines gender norms and roles in crime, historical conceptions, justice system response, and current issues regarding women’s participation in criminal activity.
Offered occasionally.

  • Prerequisite: SOC-S 100 or consent of instructor
SOC-S 335 Race and Ethnic Relations (3 cr)

Race and ethnicity are institutionalized features of our social world and therefore influence our very conception of who we are and social heritage. Among the topics usually covered are these. How have race and ethnic relations evolved in this country? What is the current extent of racial and ethnic inequalities in America? What are the consequences of racial and ethnic identities for individual's life chances? Sections differ in the degree to which each focuses on the experiences of particular ethnic groups or racial groups. U.S. society is the typical focus of this course. Some sections add a comparative look at relations in other societies.
Generally offered every other fall semester

  • Prerequisite: SOC-S 100 or consent of instructor
SOC-S 340 Social Theory (3 cr)

Theory courses focus on the thought and works of "great theorists"—Emile Durkheim, Max Weber and Karl Marx foremost among them, though some sections extend their focus to more contemporary theorists as well. But this course is really more than a history of ideas. Theory tries to make sense of problematic aspects of an ever changing social world. Works of theory have often grown out of massive political and institutional changes—such as the industrial revolution, the emergence of large bureaucracy. We need a theoretical understanding of the consequences of these developments. Most sections will examine the growth of individualism, the sources and consequences of economic inequality, the changing place of religion and science in society, and the implications of technological and economic change for our cultural life.
Generally offered every other spring semester.

  • Prerequisite: SOC-S 100 or consent of instructor
SOC-S 360 Topics in Social Policy (3 cr)

Specific topics announced each semester; examples include environmental affairs, urban problems, poverty, and population problems. May be repeated three times for credit with different topics.
Offered occasionally.

  • Prerequisite: SOC-S 100 or consent of instructor
SOC-S 410 Topics in Social Organizations (3 cr)

Specific topics announced each semester, e.g., social stratification, formal organizations, urban social organization, education, religion, politics, demography, social power, social conflict, social change, comparative social systems. May be repeated three times for credit with a different topic.

SOC-S410 Topics: Media and Society
The mass media (print, radio, and television) have come to play an increasingly important role in society. This course explores the effects of the mass media on public opinion, the promotion of fear, crime and violence, social integration, and values. Mass media messages and audiences will also be considered. We will compare and contrast US print media with global print media sources. This course will be a hybrid (in-class/on-line) course and as such the class will meet on Mondays and the final Wednesday of the Summer I session. Students will expected to engage in on-line research and forum chats.
Occasional offering.

SOC-S410 Topics: Queer Identities and Communities
The course explores issues of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer identities, as well as historical perspectives on LGBT communities and social movements for equal rights. Throughout the course we will contrast modern and postmodern conceptions of and discourse surrounding sexuality, identity and gender. The term “queer” will be used in this course in two principle ways: 1) as a term of inclusion, and 2) as a political and discursive movement to disrupt or otherwise deconstruct modern conceptions of sexuality, identity and gender.
Occasional offering.

SOC-S 413 Gender and Society (3 cr)

Explores several theories of sex inequality in order to understand the bases of female-male inequality in American society; examines the extent of sex inequality in several institutional sectors; and considers personal and institutional barriers women face, including those resulting from socialization, discrimination, and other structural arrangements.
Generally offered every other fall semester.

  • Prerequisite: SOC-S 100 or consent of instructor
SOC-S 427 Social Conflict (3 cr)

Origin, development, and termination of social conflict; its organizing and disorganizing effects; its control.
Offered occasionally.

  • Prerequisite: SOC-S 100 or consent of instructor
SOC-S 494 Field Experience in Sociology (1-6 cr)

Faculty-directed study of aspects of sociology based on field experience, in conjunction with directed readings and writing. Limited to a total of nine credit hours of both S494 and S495.

  • Prerequisite: consent of instructor and prior arrangement.
SOC-S 495 Individual Readings in Sociology (1-6 cr)

Limited to a total of nine credit hours of both S494 and S495.

  • Prerequisite: Consent of instructor and prior arrangement, usually in conjunction with honors work.