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Course Descriptions

Until we all get used to the new course numbers, feel free to use this page when planning a course schedule for the coming term. The courses listed here are courses that have been offered recently; they are not all on the course list for next year. To see whether a course is on the list for upcoming terms, or who the instructor is for a given course, you will have to check the course list in Agora. Note that the levels are as follows:

  • SOCY1001-SOCY1099: Core courses
  • SOCY2000-SOCY2999: Lower level undergrad electives (with some courses required for majors mixed in)
  • SOCY3000-SOCY4999: Upper level undergrad electives
  • SOCY5000-SOCY6999: Mixed grad/undergrad
  • SOCY7000 and Above: Grad students only (advanced undergraduates can attend with permission from instructor)

Student Services also maintains a course number translator page that provides information about course numbers in all departments.

Level Old number New number Title Description
Core SC001 SOCY1001 Introductory Sociology This course presents the basics of sociology. It conveys a sense of the history of sociology, how research is conducted, and various theoretical approaches to the field. Attention is given both to micro-level (interpersonal) and macro-level (organizational) behavior. Special topics may include interaction in everyday life, sociology of the family and gender roles, education, race and ethnic relations, and sociology of work and occupations, among others. One of the major goals of the course is to enable students to ground themselves and their families sociologically, by examining their own community and social class origins.
Core SC001.01 SOCY1001.01 Introductory Sociology for Majors Although the content will be the same as a "regular" introductory course, the class will be limited in size and will emphasize class participation. The class will introduce students to the most essential concepts, ideas, theories, and methods of the discipline. The goal of class discussion, lecture, and readings will be to convey the distinctive features of the ""sociological imagination."" We will deal with fundamental questions about what it means to be a human being living in a society at a given moment in history.
Core SC002 SOCY1002 Intro to Sociology for Healthcare Professions This course is designed to present the fundamentals of sociology to an audience of future healthcare professionals. Attention is given both to micro-level (interpersonal) and macro-level (organizational) behavior. One of the major goals of the course is to enable students to ground themselves and their families sociologically, by examining their own community and social class origins. It will highlight issues of interest to healthcare professionals, along with sociological concepts that appear on the MCAT exam.
Core SC003 SOCY1003 Introductory Anthropology This course introduces students to the main themes, methods, and intellectual traditions of cultural anthropology. We will explore concepts of culture, human origins, food procurement, marriage and the family, gender, political organization, social stratification, and globalization.
Core SC005 SOCY1005 Planet in Peril: Environmental Issues & Society Sociology points us beyond scientific issues to the social roots of contemporary ecological problems, as well as to the justice questions this circumstance entails. This course provides the foundation for an informed, critical approach to contemporary environmental issues in society. We cover the distinctive dimensions of modern ecological challenges, the role of economic systems, the history of the U.S. environmental movement, environmental justice, the role of culture and religion in shaping a society's environmental ethic, environmental issues abroad and in the global context, and the relationship between democracy and ecology. Throughout students learn a cross-section of sociological modes of analysis.
Core SC020 SOCY1020 Poverty in America In this class we will identify and move beyond stereotypes about the poor to look at contemporary lives of those who live at, below, and slightly above the poverty line. We will build understanding of the complexities of low-income lives, the realities of living with minimal resources and the experience of families as they draw on governmental, non-profit and other social supports to supplement those of their needs that cannot be met through their own income. Throughout this class we will consider variations in experience as marked by race, ethnicity, gender, ability, parenting status, and immigration and language issues.
Core SC021 SOCY1021 The Question of Consumer Society: Shop 'Til You Drop Consumer culture has become a central focus of US, and global society. After a debt-driven consumption boom, economic collapse has caused consumers to pull back on spending. In this course we look at the history, present and future of consumer culture, addressing questions such as: why and how did consumer culture emerge? How does it reflect and reproduce social inequalities of race, class and gender? What is the role of advertising and marketing? How is consumption affecting climate change, bio-diversity and ecological systems? Readings include Veblen, Bourdieu, Holt, Friedan, McKibben, and Frank.
Core SC024 SOCY1024 Gender and Society This course explores the formation, experience, and change of women's and men's social lives in history. Topics include (1) gendered differences in the organization of power, kinship, economic well-being, race, national identity, and ethnicity, religion, sexuality, and culture; (2) socialization into masculine and feminine social roles; (3) the impact of global economic and technological change on social constructions of gender; (4) gender, popular culture, and the mass media; (5) gender equality and social justice.
Core SC025 SOCY1025 People and Nature: The History and Future of Human Impacts on the Planet Not on core website: The twenty-first century opened with combined crises of climate, bio-diversity, and eco-system collapse. While it is not often recognized, human disruption of eco-systems is an old story, and environmental historians have identified major human impacts over the last 500 years. This course combines contemporary analyses of how humans are altering the planet with the historical record and explores both the familiar and the novel in the realm of ecological challenges. Topics include climate change, de-forestation, water shortages, the spread of disease, limits to growth, the global consumer culture, food systems, and culture and values.
Core SC026 SOCY1026 Consumer Society Discussion Group This is a discussion group that is taken along with SOCY1021: Consumer Society/Shop 'Til You Drop.
Core SC124 SOCY1027 Eco-Challenges and Sustainable Solutions Climate crisis and ecological overshoot have become humanity's most pressing challenges. Despite the contemporary nature of these problems, human disruption of the natural environment is not new. Environmental historians have identified major human alterations in ecosystems over the last 500 years. This course combines historical and contemporary perspectives to explore both the familiar and the novel as we study forests, climate, agriculture, water, and toxic pollution. We devote substantial attention to solutions and what will be necessary to achieve a sustainable future.
Core SC029 SOCY1029 People and Nature Discussion Group Discussion group for SOCY1025 People and Nature
Core SC030 SOCY1030 Deviance and Social Control This course explores the social construction of boundaries between the "normal" and the so-called "deviant." It examines the struggle between powerful forms of social control and what these exclude, silence, or marginalize. Of particular concern is the relationship between dominant forms of religious, legal, and medical social control and gendered, racialized and global economic structures of power. The course provides an in-depth historical analysis of theoretical perspectives used to explain, study and control deviance, as well as ethical-political inquiry into such matters as religious excess, crime, madness, corporate and governmental wrong-doing, and sexual subcultures that resist dominant social norms.
Core SC036 SOCY1036 Introduction to Latin American Societies The aim of this course is to introduce students to sociology while exploring Latin American societies. The course will start with a general presentation of both sociology and Latin America. We will discuss what sociology is, and the different ways of studying societies. We will take some time to study the birth of modern Latin American nations. Relying on this historical background, we will explore Latin American societies through sociological concepts such as race, gender, social violence, religion, sports, and culture. Finally, we will pay attention to US-LA relations and the fact of Latino people living in the United States.
Core SC037 SOCY1037 Introduction to American Indian Societies This course examines social institutions in American Indian societies, such as the family, religion, and government. Focusing on southeastern peoples, especially the Cherokee, the course begins with the period of ""first contact"" and investigates the impacts of European cultures. It pays special attention to the development of the institution of African American slavery in American Indian societies, and the consequences for contemporary legal-political controversies among White, Black, and Native Americans.
Core SC038 SOCY1038 Race, Class, and Gender Viewing race, class, gender, sexuality, and other identities as inseparable from discussions of inequality and power, this course will begin by discussing the social construction of these categories and how they are connected. We will then look at how these social identities shape and are also shaped by four general subject areas: (1) wealth and poverty, (2) education, (3) family, and (4) crime, law, and social policy. Although this course is separated into subject areas, we shall see that these areas greatly overlap and are mutually influenced by one other.
Core SC039 SOCY1039 African World Perspectives The aim of this course is to provide a broad overview of how Africa has impacted the world and how the world has impacted upon Africa. The course is divided into six basic topic of ""units"". Each unit deals with a major area of debate in the field of African studies.
Core SC040 SOCY1040 Global Sociology This course introduces a variety of sociological theories and themes through examining the processes of globalization, social change, and the formation of the modern world. Topics covered include colonialism and the rise of the West, economic development, global inequality, race and gender, and social movements. Although we will examine a variety of national experiences, the course focuses particularly on the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Core SC042 SOCY1042 Global Sociology Discussion Group Co-req with SOCY1040
Core SC043 SOCY1043 Introduction to African-American Society In 1896, distinguished scholar W.E.B. DuBois became convinced that the experience of Africans in the Americas was so distinctive that it was imperative to study Black people in order to understand power dynamics at all levels of society. This course will study those power dynamics. While paying particular attention to the many ways that racial power dynamics have impacted all people of African descent in the United States, this course does not assume a uniform Black experience. We shall see that gender, class, and sexuality greatly shape the differing experiences of African-Americans.
Core SC045 SOCY1045 Introduction to African Diaspora Studies A survey of the African continent and the Diaspora that would include geography, history, politics, economics and literature. The purpose of the course is to introduce students to specific historical, cultural, social and political topics related to Africa and the African Diaspora. Because the scope of the course is so vast, we will explore important issues and themes to give students a desire to further pursue more specific classes in African and African Diaspora Studies. Boston College faculty members will be invited to lecture in their area of expertise specific to Africa and the Diaspora throughout the semester.
Core SC046 SOCY1046 Technology and Society In an accelerated global culture driven forward by dramatic developments in technology, no aspect of culture and society is left undisturbed. Electronic voting, digital communication technologies, and work-related technologies all raise new questions of ethics, privacy and social responsibility, and impact how individuals prepare for employment, structure their daily lives, and think about the future. This course is designed to enable students to focus on the experiential aspects of where technologies intersect with their lives. Through readings, projects and class discussion, we explore social, cultural, and political issues as they pertain to technological transformations.
Core SC049 SOCY1049 Social Problems This course is an exploration of different sociological approaches to the study of social problems and social trends in contemporary society. It examines the linkages between social structures/institutions, culture and human experience. The course emphasizes theoretical research issues, especially how, and to what degree, the understanding of social problems are a direct result of the processes used to define social problems as well as the research methods and procedures used to investigate them. Students will learn to critique popular discourses from a critical sociological perspective and will be encouraged to form their own opinions and critiques.
Core SC058 SOCY1058 Sociology of the Family In recent years, U.S. public policy has focused on strengthening the nuclear family as a primary strategy for reducing poverty and improving the lives of America's youth. It is often assumed that this type of family is healthy, financially independent, heterosexual, violence-free, normative, and grounded in historical tradition. This course examines these assumptions sociologically while considering systemic variations in race/ethnicity, class, gender, ability, and sexual orientation within and among American families.
Core (pending) SC059 SOCY1059 Religion, Faith, and Social Change How does religion relate to social change? This course analyzes the role of religious organizations, movements, and ideals in social reforms, movements, and revolutions. We begin broadly by contrasting classic and recent sociological theories of religion, and then examine the social roots of prophetic religion, the globalization of religious concern, and the modern context of secularism. With this background we examine the religious dimensions of recent social change regarding homosexuality, immigration, and economic inequality. We also consider how social change shapes contemporary religion, especially the growth of new spiritual practices and the reform of religious boundaries.
Core (pending) SC067 SOCY1067 Sociology of Education This course will examine the relationship between education and society through the lens of sociology. Students will develop competency around sociological theories and methods that will allow them to deconstruct some of the perennial questions in education, such as: What is the function of schooling in modern society? Can education be relied upon to facilitate social mobility, or does it create social reproduction? How have changing definitions of childhood and family coexisted alongside education in U.S. society? Should everyone go to college? How will digital media and technological change influence institutional change in education?
Core SC072 SOCY1072 Inequality in America This course examines class inequity in American society. It not only describes how the rich, the poor, and the middle classes live, but also how they relate to one another. Topics include the strategies used by the rich for maintaining the status quo, the hopes cherished by the middle class for improving their position, and the obstacles that keep the poor in their place. Students can choose between readings that emphasize the dynamics of inequality as they are enacted by men or women, and by people of color or Caucasians.
Core (pending) SC073 SOCY1073 States, Markets, and Bodies An introduction to the Political Economy this course will introduce students to theories, concepts and tools for studying relations between states and markets that affects the structure of power relationships. Taking a global approach we will examine the different forms of state repression, the consequences of a neoliberal and decentralized global market, and its affects on individual people/workers. This course is motivated by three inter-related questions: (1) What is the appropriate role of the government in the economy? (2) How should states govern its citizens? (3) What is the role of individuals who make up civil society?
Core SC076 SOCY1076 Sociology of Popular Culture This course is dedicated to investigating popular culture and its role in American society and abroad. We'll be looking at a variety of sociological perspectives to examine the role of media and popular culture in everyday life, with a particular emphasis on mass media, the relationship between cultural consumption and social status, and the social significance of leisure activities from sports to shopping. We will explore definitions of "popular culture," as well as those who create it and consume it. We'll look at gender, race and ethnicity as they are expressed in mainstream popular culture and subculture.
Core SC078 SOCY1078 Sociology of Health and Illness The World Health Organization defines health as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. This course will consider this whole-person definition across the human life course using a range of sociological principles and perspectives. Major topics will include the structure of health care systems in the United States and globally, doctor-patient interaction, social and cultural influences on health and disease, and social disparities in the distribution of health and quality health care.
Core SC084 SOCY1084 Mass Media in American Society The purpose of this course is to increase the understanding of how the mass communication system operates in American society, and how and why media products take the form that they do. It focuses on the production of news, advertising and entertainment. We will examine how various media industries are organized and how such organization is sometimes transformed by regulation, competition, and/or technology. We will focus on media content and investigate factors that promote stability, change, and diversity. We will address the consumers of mass media products and how they utilize and are affected by media content.
Core SC087 SOCY1087 Social Movements Societies around the world are shaped by a politically diverse array of social movements: the environmentalist movement, the global women's movement, the civil rights movement in the U.S., and the fundamentalist movement to name just a few. This course examines the influence of social movements on policy and culture in the United States and beyond. It provides an introduction to the theoretical literature on social movements and to the specifics of several key movements which we will study more in depth as well as pragmatic discussion about how students can participate in social change through social movements.
Core SC089 SOCY1089 Women and the Body This course covers Western cultural pressures on women be super-slender. We analyze biological, sociological, and feminist perspectives on the body especially with regard to issues of beauty and body image and sexuality. We analyze how race, ethnicity and class intersect to create differences among womens relationship to their bodies. In what way do biological perspectives illuminate as well as cloud understanding of women's relationship to their bodies? We explore mass-mediated pressures on women's bodies through films, women's magazine, reality TV, and social networking sites. We examine the plastic surgery industry and the growing trend toward "designer bodies."
Core SC092 SOCY1092 Peace or War: United States/3rd World We analyze issues of war and peace before and after the Cold War, focusing on U.S. wars, largely in the Third World. In the first part of the course, we explore core theories of the roots of war. In the second part, we focus on the Cold War era, examining Vietnam, El Salvador, and other U.S. conflicts. In the third part, we focus on more recent wars: Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the "war on terrorism" as well as conflicts such as Rwanda and Sudan. The fourth section explores the United Nations, social activism among students, and other routes to peace.
Core SC093 SOCY1093 Comparative Social Change This course is an introductory level examination of social change, viewed from a theoretical, historical, and contemporary perspective. Significant trends in the United States are analyzed within a world wide context. These issues include the following: the decline of community, the impact of technology, the globalization of the economy, the persistence of inequality, the rise of new social movements, and the end of the Cold War. A critical examination of one's role as worker, consumer, family member, and citizen is encouraged.
Core SC094 SOCY1094 Social Conflict The end of the Cold War has not ended the threat of war or of violent conflicts within a society. Some conflicts that were dormant have now flared up. Problems of large-scale, violent conflicts unfortunately remain central in the modern world. The probability of nuclear proliferation and the use of poison gas make such conflicts even more scary. The purpose of this course is to increase your understanding of the conditions under which social conflicts tend to become violent and how they can be resolved non-violently.
Core SC096 SOCY1096 Aging and Society “Age doesn’t matter unless you’re a cheese,” quipped actress Billie Burke (the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz). Nevertheless, age does matter within societies. This class will cover specific topics in four general areas of sociological study: roles and relationships (e.g., within the family), inequalities (e.g., ageism), institutions (e.g., health care), and social change (e.g., the aging of the population). By the end of the course, you will have acquired a new approach to thinking about how you and others age in the social world and the ways in which age is portrayed in the media.
Core SC097 SOCY1097 Death and Dying The course presents an overview of the major issues, themes, and controversies in the death and dying literature. Historical, cultural, political, economic, and psychological aspects are considered, but the emphasis is on sociological dimensions and perspectives. Among the issues to be considered are the following: historical trends in attitudes toward death, cross-cultural and historical perspectives on death, the development of children's understanding of death, health care for the dying, hospice, patient-caregiver relationship, the social role of the dying patient, funeral practices, bereavement, truth-telling and the terminal patient, suicide, suicide bombers, genocide, homicide, the death penalty, near-death experiences, and social immortality.
Undergrad elective (lower level) SC148 SOCY1148 Language, Memory and Identity in the Middle East A broad-based overview of the role of language choice plays in the construction of national and cultural identity in the Middle East. We will examine the role of Modern Standard Arabic (or Fus-ha) in the elaboration of Arab Nationalism, and the role of local dialects in the conceptualization of competing national identities and territorial nationalisms. In particular, and in addition to Arab Nationalism and Zionism, we will examine the ideas of Greater Syria, the Egyptian Pharaonic idea, Lebanonism, Mesopotamianism, and the Canaanite movement in Israel.
Undergrad elective (lower level) SC150 SOCY1150 States and Minorities in the Middle East A general survey of Middle Eastern minority narratives within the context of the modern Middle East state system. The course will examine such topics as the political and cultural make up of the Middle East, the status of minorities, minority narratives, and minority rights.
Major SC200 SOCY2200 Statistics This course is an introduction to statistics, with some emphasis is on the SPSS statistical software. Statistical issues covered include measures of central tendency, measures of dispersion, probability and sampling, hypothesis testing, measures of correlation, simple regression, and one-way analysis of variance.
Major SC210 SOCY2210 Research Methods This course acquaints students with the range of research methods used in sociological work. We cover the philosophical assumptions which underlie a scientific approach to the study of social life, and consider the interplay of data method and theory. In addition to presentation of specific techniques, we will also consider questions surrounding the politics and ethics of research in the social sciences.
Major SC215 SOCY2215 Social Theory This course reviews the major lines of classical to contemporary sociological theory. The classical writers emphasized are Marx, Weber, and Durkheim. Twentieth-century authors highlighted include Mills, Dahrendorf, and Parsons. More contemporary figures, including Collins, Bourdieu, Foucault, and Giddens, are presented in the context of their intellectual forebears.
Lower level undergrad elective (lower level) SC225 SOCY2225 Introduction to Feminisms This introductory course offers both an overview and a foundation for understanding the various movements that make up what has come to be called the feminist movement in the U.S. Because systems of privilege and disadvantage shape women's and men's identities and social positions in multiple and unique ways, Introduction to Feminisms analyzes gender from an interdisciplinary approach and applies numerous academic disciplinary methods to the study of gender, including history, literature, psychology, and sociology, and explores women's and men's experiences within various cultural contexts, including socioeconomic class, race and ethnicity, religion and spirituality, nations of citizenship, origin and generation.
Lower level undergrad elective (lower level) SC250 SOCY2250 Perspectives on War, Aggression and Conflict Resolution This course develops an interdisciplinary approach to the study of war and conflict and investigates alternatives to their resolution in contemporary global society. The course is organized along multidisciplinary lines, with faculty members from various academic departments responsible for each topic of discussion. This interdisciplinary approach demonstrates the varied and complex perspectives on the causes of war and conflict and attempts to develop, out of the resources of these respective disciplines, intelligent insights into the resolution of conflicts, and the development of alternatives to war.
Lower level undergrad elective (lower level) SC254 SOCY2254 Community Service Research Seminar CRP is a two-semester program (SOCY2254 and SOCY2255) offering leadership, research, and public policy training for students interested in working with Latino, Asian American and/or African Diaspora communities. In Fall, students in SOCY2254 learn the process of community-based research and its methodologies, and begin to design a proposal for an independent study for Spring. In Spring, students sign up for SOCY2255 in conjunction with a Readings and Research to conduct their projects. The Spring seminar complements the R&R serving as a forum for students to discuss their research and continue to develop their oral presentation skills.
Lower level undergrad elective (lower level) SC255 SOCY2255 Advanced Community Service Research Seminar II CRP is a two-semester program (SOCY2254 and SOCY2255) offering leadership, research, and public policy training for students interested in working with Latino, Asian American and/or African Diaspora communities. In Fall, students in SOCY2254 learn the process of community-based research and its methodologies, and begin to design a proposal for an independent study for Spring. In Spring, students sign up for SOCY2255 in conjunction with a Readings and Research to conduct their projects. The Spring seminar complements the R&R serving as a forum for students to discuss their research and continue to develop their oral presentation skills.
Lower level undergrad elective (lower level) SC275 SOCY2275 Language and Ethnicity Folk theory holds that ethnic consciousness is "caused" by language differences. But ethnic differences can't reduce to Chomskyan unconscious mental grammar; and the public dimension including standardization, pragmatics and verbal art, itself manipulates linguistic structure. We will consider: one-to-one correspondence of languages/ethnicities (Italy since Dante); one-to-many (Slavic Balkans) and the converse (Southern Nigeria). Some sociologists reduce ethnicity to self-interested nationalist elites (poets, politicians), but there are intervening historical variables(missionaries, orthographies). In the Afrocaribbean, language death "detached civilizations from ethnicities which brought them" (Bastide) and new ethnic language emerged in poetry of Linton Kwesi Johnson.
Lower level undergrad elective (lower level) SC280 SOCY2280 Social and National Identity in the Balkans An overview of ethnic, cultural, and religious diversity among peoples of the Balkans (Albanians, Bosnians, Bulgarians, Croats, Greeks, Macedonians, Romanians, Serbs, Slovenes, Jews, Turks, and gypsies [Roma]). It is a study of what constitutes the various parameters of identity: linguistic typologies, religious diversity (Catholicism, Orthodoxy, Islam, and Judaism), culture, and social class. An analysis of the origins of nationalism, the emergence of nation-states, and contemporary nationalism as a source of instability and war in the Balkans will be considered.
Upper level undergrad elective SC303 SOCY3303 Social Construction of Whiteness This course explores the social construction of race through the lens of whiteness. By examining whiteness as both a race and historical system of privilege, students will gain a deeper understanding of the persistence of racism. We will examine the distribution of privilege within American society at both the interpersonal and institutional levels; as well as consider how whiteness operates within the social constructs of class and gender. Through writing and in-class group discussion, students will examine their own identities and consider how consciously or unconsciously they are affected by these processes, as well as consider strategies for challenging racism.
Upper level undergrad elective SC304 SOCY3304 Race, Ethnicity and Popular Culture This course will examine how racial and ethnic groups have been stereotyped in popular culture and how these stereotypes have changed over time. The course will look at stereotypes of Africans, African Americans, Native Americans, Asian-Americans, Asians, and European Americans. Students will also explore theoretical questions on the relationship between culture, politics, and ideology.
Upper level undergrad elective SC305 SOCY3305 Capstone: Doing Well and Doing Good Are you prepared to balance doing well in life and doing good in the world? I will argue that to answers life's challenges, you need good questions - those that reveal the intersection of biography and history, showing how personal choices are shaped by and mold societal forces. Good questions, in turn are connected to good answers: ones that allow you to act productively while respecting the fact that most knowledge is incomplete, ambiguous and, often, contested. In this course, we will use tools for individual self-assessment, group dynamics, and organizational impact to help build an effective life.
Upper level undergrad elective SC310 SOCY3310 Studies in Crime and Social Justice Crime and social justice is considered not as distinct, but indivisible constructs produced through specific knowable institutional/personal practices. Course allows students to analyze perspectives on the process through which laws and criminal justice institutions have been/continue to be constructed; situate crime study within a "power reflexive" framework, while being attentive to the operation of race, class, and gender as features of contemporary social relations/institutions; discuss contemporary intellectual and practical efforts challenging existing conceptual and political structures relating to crime and social justice; and imagine/articulate institutions paralleling the vision of social justice developed throughout the course.
Upper level undergrad elective SC311 SOCY3311 Diversity, Community, and Service What are the roles and responsibilities of individuals in addressing inequality in our society? This course will engage with several bodies of literature, including social movement, service learning, feminist, and critical race studies to better understand the dilemmas facing those working for social change. Drawing on case studies, personal accounts, and research, students explore various historical and contemporary forms of "service" and "activism" as well as reflect upon their own personal experiences with these various social change efforts. We will also explore the influence that various forms of privilege can have on building collaborative relationships that promote structural social change.
Upper level undergrad elective SC317 SOCY3317 Social Media and Social Research Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and search engines like Google, have become indispensable in our daily lives. Much of what we do on these sites generates large amounts of data: what we search for, what we "like," whom we "follow." Marketers, journalists, and researchers analyze these data for many different purposes and interests. In this course, we will use a sociological perspective to examine what these new forms of data are, how they are produced through our actions online, and how these data are then used, sometimes in questionable ways.
Upper level undergrad elective SC342 SOCY3342 Faith and Conflict: Religion and social change in Latin America Liberalism was a major political influence in most of the new Latin American republics during the 19th century. During most of the 20th century, the church stood itself against modernity and fought against progressive and liberal positions. However, during the Sixties, a very important renewal in theology took place in the church. This renewal had political consequences in Latin America, where wide portions of the faithful and clergy supported progressive theology. The seminar will study the progressive theological ideas and their impact in Latin America. We will frame this discussion in the debate about secularization and modernity in the continent.
Upper level undergrad elective SC342 SOCY3342 Faith and Conflict: Religion and social change in Latin America Liberalism was a major political influence in most of the new Latin American republics during the 19th century. During most of the 20th century, the church stood itself against modernity and fought against progressive and liberal positions. However, during the Sixties, a very important renewal in theology took place in the church. This renewal had political consequences in Latin America, where wide portions of the faithful and clergy supported progressive theology. The seminar will study the progressive theological ideas and their impact in Latin America. We will frame this discussion in the debate about secularization and modernity in the continent.
Upper level undergrad elective SC343 SOCY3343 Practice of Philanthropy (The Meaning and Practice of Philanthropy in Biography and Society) We examine philanthropy as a way of thinking, feeling, and acting in biography and society. A foundation has provided $10,000 for students to learn how to contribute grants wisely to people and causes they care about. In addition, we will study philanthropy's history; spiritual, philosophical, and sociological meaning; current and emerging patterns; motivations; implications for fund-raising, and effect of methodology on findings.
Upper level undergrad elective SC347 SOCY3347 Environmental History of Globalization It is no exaggeration to state that the industrialization project that originated in England led to some of the most significant transformations in socio-ecological conditions in human history. In many ways, the Industrial Revolution marked the beginning of the age of globalization. This was a tumultuous time, involving dramatic changes in social and economic relations, as well as relationships between societies and their surrounding environment. The global environmental problems facing societies today – global climate change, ozone layer depletion, biodiversity loss, water scarcity – are all tied to the industrialization project in one form or another. This course will explore globalization though an environmental history approach by focusing on the origins and consequences of the English Industrial Revolution. We use an interdisciplinary approach, drawing from environmental sociology, ecology, and history in order to understand some of the major changes that occurred with the Industrial Revolution.
Upper level undergrad elective SC348 SOCY3348 Environmental Sociology This course provides an overview of environmental problems and issues through the lens of various perspectives in social and environmental theory. Topics will include: economic globalization and the environment; social causes and consequences of global climate destabilization; population growth and over-consumption; the promise and limits of technological solutions to environmental problems; links between poverty, inequality, and environmental degradation; and competing visions of an ecologically-sustainable society. The contributions and limits of existing sociological theories in understanding environmental issues will be an important theme throughout.
Upper level undergrad elective SC349 SOCY3349 Environmental Studies: Selected Topics This course explores how ecology, technology, politics, economics, and culture intersect. By analyzing key contemporary environmental debates, students develop skills necessary for investigating any sophisticated social issue. Topics we cover: the environmental movement (is it effective?); the sustainable development debate (the tension between environmental protection and the plight of developing nations); capitalism and technology (friends or foes of the environment?); global warming (where science, economics, and politics collide). We employ a range of materials, including participant accounts, media coverage, movies, and sociological analyses. This course can build on but does not require prior coursework in environmental studies or environmental sociology.
Upper level undergrad elective SC350 SOCY3350 Black and Green: Race and Urban Ecology Race has been a controversial topic for the largely White and affluent environmental movement. In this course we will examine how this racial bias has arisen and what many are doing to promote more diverse and equitable strategies for sustainability. Using a historical and sociological perspective we will cover key modes of environmental thought coming from African American, Latino, Asian, and Indigenous communities. Themes include the legacy of slavery and its effect on participation in the environmental movement, the role of racialized modes of thought such as hip hop, and the environmental justice movement.
Upper level undergrad elective SC359 SOCY3359 Sports in American Society This course provides a critical entry point into the sociology of sport in American society that examines the sociological role of sport in the making of American society and culture, as well as the reverse. The purpose of the course is to better understand sport as a social institution, and to analyze the dynamic interplay of economic, political, social and other forces within which forms of sport and physical activity have been developed, implemented and contested in America.
Upper level undergrad elective SC360 SOCY3360 Animals and Society This course considers the social implications of the roles of animals in human societies. We will examine human-animal interactions in historical context and also contemporary social constructions of animals and the human/animal boundary. We will consider several human-animal interactions, such as the use of animals in commerce, scientific research, and pet-keeping, and the implications of such practices on human society. We will also examine links between animal cruelty and human-on-human violence, and how the abuse of animals may reflect or even contribute to systems of oppression and inequality. Finally, this course will explore shifting attitudes, norms, and practices toward animals.
Upper level undergrad elective SC361 SOCY3361 Family and Work This course will examine the links between family and work, both paid and unpaid. Social changes of the last few decades radically transformed the nature of work-family balance in the United States. We will consider these historical shifts as well as examine the contemporary patterns, asking: How do people manage multiple responsibilities of work and family and what are the consequences of different arrangements? How do the challenges of balancing work and family vary by gender, race, social class, and age? And how can policymakers, employers, and communities make this balancing act easier?
Upper level undergrad elective SC362 SOCY3362 Language in Society This course is an introduction to sociolinguistics, that is, to the study of language in its social context. We will examine a number of classic issues in sociolinguistics including the varieties of language associated with social class, ethnicity, and locale, bilingualism, pidgin and creole languages, proposals about the relationship of language, thought, and culture, and the structure and role of discourse in different cultures. The course concludes by investigating several sociolinguistic issues of contemporary interest including language and gender, the "U.S. English" controversy, and language and public policy.
Upper level undergrad elective SC363 SOCY3363 Poor Law to Working Poor From warning off paupers to getting welfare mothers to work, this course provides an overview of social attitudes, national debates and public policies toward low-income families and their communities. Readings examine relationships between poverty and race, gender, families with children and the low-wage job market. We will consider images and language describing the poor and how these may influence public opinion and social investment. Student research will explore and compare contemporary costs of living, wage levels, and family care needs in middle-class and low-income families.
Upper level undergrad elective SC367 SOCY3367 Social Justice in Israel/Palestine This seminar provides the intellectual underpinnings for an immersion trip to Israel/Palestine in January. Students in this course must commit to the trip and, upon their return, to a project that uses the knowledge they gained in Israel/Palestine. The seminar will include a review of the Israeli and Palestinian history, an analysis of the contested theological claims to the land, and an examination of conflict resolving strategies focusing on cross-border groups operating in Israel/Palestine (e.g. Prime, Combatants for Peace, Parents Circle). Finally, we will consider possible economic futures for the area under both one and two state scenarios.
Upper level undergrad elective SC369 SOCY3369 Masculinity, Femininity, and Sexuality This course will explore contemporary constructions of gender and sexuality in American culture. How are female and male sexualities enacted and reflected in current social trends? What are the common representations of masculinity, femininity, and male and female bodies in mainstream media and in politics? Students will apply a critical and sociologically informed lens to illuminate and analyze the gendered, raced, and classed aspects of contemporary cultural phenomena, including the increasing availability and prevalence of pornography; the sexualization of fashion; cosmetic surgery and other body-work practices; and patterns of social, romantic, and sexual interaction between women and men.
Upper level undergrad elective New Course SOCY3370 Gender, Health, and Inequality This course explores interactions between gender, health and inequality. Viewing gender (and race, class, sexuality and other identities as inseparable) and as inextricably linked to discussions of health and inequality, this course will discuss social constructions of these categories and how they are connected. For example, what does health even mean and who decides? Are unequal health outcomes due to life chances or life choices? How do we understand nature/nurture debates? While emphasis will be given to sociological approaches, health will be explored holistically and theories will be integrative (e.g. including psychology, biology and epigenetics). Applied topics range from mental and physical paradigms of health, alongside environmental and contested illnesses in a “post-natural” world.
Upper level undergrad elective SC371 SOCY3371 Gender, Environmental Health, and New Technologies This course explores the different ways that new technologies influence, and interact with, contemporary understandings of health and gender in American society. How does the marketing, prevalence, and use of cosmetic surgery, reproductive technologies, and pharmaceutical drugs both challenge and re-affirm traditional understandings of what it means to be male or female, and what a healthy body feels and looks like? Finally, the reciprocal relationship between new technologies, bodily health, and ecological health will be investigated. Modern agri-business practices, genetically modified foods, and plastics are among several of the technology industries that will be examined through this multi-lensed, sociological perspective.
Upper level undergrad elective SC372 SOCY3372 Gender and Consumer Society We live in a consumer society, where advertising, shopping, and having and displaying goods is central to everyday life. Society also is gendered—bodies enact masculinity and femininity and life chances are structured and unequal. This course examines the relationships between consumption and gender. Themes include: 1) histories of the gendered divisions of labor in society where "men work and women shop," 2) women's responsibility for family consumption in the (heterosexual) domestic sphere, 3) representations of men and women in advertising, 4) the role of commodities in the embodiment of gender (clothing, cosmetics, etc.) and 5) ecofeminism, consumption, and the environment.
Upper level undergrad elective SC375 SOCY3375 American Economic Crisis and Social Change This course offers a new way to think about America, focusing on our values, our intertwined economic and social crises exploding in the 2008 Wall Street meltdown, and systemic solutions. Our economic problems include growing poverty and inequality, a shrinking job market, and the failure of many of our industries and corporations to compete globally; our social crisis includes the growth of violence, family breakdown, global warming, overweening corporate power and erosion of democracy. We look at new visions and social movements to transform our socio-economic system.
Upper level undergrad elective SC377 SOCY3377 Sociology of Revolutions The word "revolution" is often used metaphorically to emphasize the dramatic nature of certain events, as in "the Reagan revolution," or "the Industrial revolution." However, this course will focus on "revolutions" in the literal sense of the term--that is to say, rapid, fundamental, and violent change in a society's political institutions, social structure, leadership, and government policies. The first two-thirds of the class will be devoted to the causes and consequences of revolutions; the final third will be devoted to in-depth case studies of the Cuban and Mexican revolutions, including the legacies of the Cuban and Mexican revolutions today.
Upper level undergrad elective SC388 SOCY3388 Culture Through Film We will explore contemporary issues, perception and reality, language, race, gender, sexual orientation, indigenous rights, marriage, colonialism, protest and chaos, and attempt to "think outside the box." Each week we will view one or more films that raise questions about the ways we understand these issues. The films have been selected to enable us to experience alternative ways of thinking about concepts with which we probably feel comfortable. The goal of the course is to allow us to realize that many of our beliefs are cultural constructions and in fact are always in the process of revision.
Upper level undergrad elective SC390 SOCY3390 Making Popular Culture This course explores popular goods, television, movies, music, dance, art, sports, festivals, and holidays from a sociological perspective. What is the difference between popular culture and high culture? Where does popular culture come from and what role does it play in society? What do people do with popular culture? How does popular culture intersect with race, class, and gender? The class will be framed around the theoretical traditions of conflict theory (how popular culture influences inequality) and symbolic interactionism (how people construct and interpret popular culture). Students will analyze a popular culture event of their choice through a field assignment.
Upper level undergrad elective SC391 SOCY3391 Social Movements Social movements have played a major role in U.S. history, helping bring about the end of slavery, votes for women, the 40-hour week, clean water laws and other social changes we take for granted. But movements are widely misunderstood, denigrated by some, and unrealistically glorified by others. In fact, movements face predictable strategic dilemmas; how much they reach their goals depends on choices made at key junctures. While the course spotlights progressive U.S. movements, right-wing and international movements will be used as examples as well. Students will apply concepts from social movement theory to current and historical movements.
Upper level undergrad elective SC394 SOCY3394 Social Conflict The end of the Cold War has not put an end to either war or violent conflicts within society. In fact, more than one-third of the world's countries have been directly affected by serious societal warfare since 1990. Not only do problems of large scale, violent conflicts remain central in the modern world, but the probability of nuclear proliferation and the possible use of chemical weapons make such conflicts even scarier. The purpose of this course is to increase your understanding of the conditions under which social conflicts tend to become violent and on how they can be resolved non-violently.
Upper level undergrad elective SC397 SOCY3397 Social Determinants of Health Across the Life Course In 2008, the World Health Organization declared that "Social injustice is killing people on a grand scale." Their report continued: "Avoidable health inequalities arise because of the circumstances in which people grow, live, work, and age [because of] the systems put in place to deal with illness. The conditions in which people live and die are, in turn, shaped by political, social, and economic forces." This course examines the effects of a wide range of social forces such as gender roles, cultural beliefs, and poverty in creating and sustaining health inequalities across childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age.
Upper level undergrad elective SC523 SOCY4400 Capstone: Sociology of the Inner Life Capstone and sociology course exploring the joys, hopes, fears, and anxieties of everyday life. Students will investigate aspects of daily life as a spiritual exercise simultaneously involving self, relationships, and community. Topics include unity of thinking, feeling, and acting; meditation; wisdom stories; Ignatian spirituality and discernment, meaning, and practice of care; and archetypal experience of the sacred. Assignments include commentary on readings, a interview and analysis about an other person's spiritual life; writing autobiographical narratives about one's personal history, and Christmas memories. Readings from sociological, theological, literary, and spiritual texts.
Upper level undergrad elective SC299 SOCY4901 Readings and Research Independent research on a topic mutually agreed upon by the student and professor. Professor's written consent must be obtained prior to registration.
Upper level undergrad elective SC550 SOCY4931 Important Readings in Sociology Ordinarily, students will take this course during the spring of their junior year. The purpose of this seminar will be to read and discuss a series of books that are generally thought to be important contributions to the field. The books chosen will reflect a range of substantive issues, methodological approaches, and theoretical perspectives. The abiding question throughout this seminar class will be the following: What are the characteristics of powerful and compelling sociological work?
Upper level undergrad elective SC455 SOCY4941 Sociology Senior Seminar This seminar will help students to understand the education they have received and provide direction for their career choices. The goals of the seminar are: a) to help students think through the intellectual, ethical and personal meaning of their sociology studies, and 2) to solidify their sociological knowledge. This course is open to all Senior majors in sociology, but is most appropriate for students who are not completing Honors theses and have not enrolled in another BC capstone course.
Upper level undergrad elective SC530 SOCY4942 International Studies Senior Seminar This seminar is required of seniors majoring in International Studies. It provides participants with a common vocabulary for analyzing the current international environment politically, economically, and socially. It also examines how to integrate cultural questions and expression into the discipline. Students will explore possibilities for future global relationships in an informed and constructive way and exchange their views, questions, and research in an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust.
Upper level undergrad elective SC555 SOCY4961 Senior Honors Seminar This course is required of participants in the Sociology Department Honors Program. Students develop a research prospectus that is to be the basis of the Senior Thesis. This is an interactive seminar stressing hands-on experience. Skills in topic selection, research design, and theory construction are emphasized.
Upper level undergrad elective SC399 SOCY4962 Advanced Independent Research Enrollment limited to candidates for Scholar of The College. This is not a classroom course.
Upper level undergrad elective SC556 SOCY4963 Senior Honors Thesis After having completed their research proposal in SC 555, Students in the Undergraduate Sociology Honors Program then complete the data collection, the analysis, and the writing of their senior thesis during the spring of the senior year. In SC556.01 students complete their thesis research under the direction of their faculty advisor. Although SC556.01 is normally a 6 credit course, students may opt to complete their thesis using only 3 credits. Ordinarily, students are expected to complete their thesis by April 15, approximately two weeks before all senior honors students present the findings of their research in a public meeting.
Mixed grad/undergrad SC510 SOCY5510 Approaches to Mixed Methods Mixed methods research is moving across the social science landscape. Funding agencies now require a mixed methods component in their funding guidelines. This course introduces mixed methods designs approached from a qualitative (symbolic interaction, postmodern, feminist, etc.) and quantitative perspective (positivism). We introduce a "hands on" pedagogy to explore elements of mixed methods projects - from the formulation of questions to data collection, analysis and interpretation. We utilize a computer assisted program to analyze and interpret mixed methods data. Students will develop a mixed methods research proposal project or conduct a critical review of existing research employing mixed methods designs.
Mixed grad/undergrad SC511 SOCY5511 Ethnography and Field Research This seminar-format course explores the theory and practice of ethnography. Students will develop and sharpen analytic and observational skills by doing supervised fieldwork. Topics covered include: gaining access, establishing rapport, creating theory inductively from data, taking and organizing field notes, and developing action research strategies. There will also be a thorough analysis of research ethics.
Mixed grad/undergrad SC513 SOCY5513 Introduction to Postcolonial Studies This course will be a broad exploration of the major issues and themes in the field of postcolonial studies. We will examine such issues as images and representation, gender and sexuality, and resistance. The course will be a broad based exploration of the different theoretical approaches within the discipline of postcolonial studies, as well as the major critiques.
Mixed grad/undergrad SC516 SOCY5516 Survey Methodology This applied course is designed for undergraduate students with a prior background in statistics at the level of SOCY2200 (Statistics) and for graduate students with a prior background in statistics at the level of SOCY7702 (Introduction to Statistics and Data Analysis). The course will lead students through the design, collection, and analysis of their own surveys. Major topics will include research ethics, sampling, item selection, modes of response, interviewer effects, nonresponse, and data management and analysis. Qualtrics and SPSS will be used to design internet surveys and analyze the resulting data, respectively.
Mixed grad/undergrad SC518 SOCY5518 Participant Observation This seminar introduces students to qualitative methods of inquiry. This is a "hands on course" in which you will collect and analyze your own data. We will examine the scope and principles of qualitative inquiry, and the basic techniques of ethnographic observation, interviewing, recording and transcribing, data analysis, and writing reports. We will discuss strategies for gaining entry into your research site, identifying key informants, selecting respondents, and considering the ethical responsibilities of qualitative researchers. To understand what constitutes good research, we will first read and critique key qualitative studies and then discuss hands-on research conducted by seminar participants.
Mixed grad/undergrad SC519 SOCY5519 Applied Policy Research This course introduces students to techniques for carrying out public policy research in an applied setting. The course covers a range of qualitative and quantitative approaches to public policy research, providing an overview of experimental design, econometric techniques, and ethnographic practices, and examines how various methodological approaches lend themselves to specific research questions. The course is structured around lectures and case discussions. Student will receive training and practice in the skills of applied policy analysis using practical, real-world examples of public policy research. Prerequisite: SOCY7702, SOCY2200 or equivalent statistics coursework.
Mixed grad/undergrad SC520 SOCY5520 Gender and Society Although biological and psychological approaches will be considered, this reading and participation intensive course will examine gender primarily as a social and structural construct. The course will begin with central debates in gender studies (e.g., the merits of biological explanations of gender) and how feminisms--mainstream, Black, and others--have shaped theoretical and empirical studies of gender. We will then move into specific topics, such as family and sex work, and students will be required to lead a class discussion. The course will be highly attuned to differences based on race and class.
Mixed grad/undergrad SC525 SOCY5525 Social Gerontology This course provides thorough coverage of current topics in social gerontology. We'll begin the class by discussing theories of aging and the life course from multiple social scientific disciplines. Then we will cover specific topics in four general areas of sociology: roles and relationships (e.g., within the family), inequalities (e.g., ageism), institutions (e.g., health care), and social change (e.g., the aging of the population). By the end of the course, you will have comprehensive knowledge of classic and current social gerontological literature, and you will be able to identify emerging topics of importance for future basic research and applied practice.
Mixed grad/undergrad SC532 SOCY5532 Images and Power This seminar involves an historical sociological exploration of social technologies of image-making in art, science, religion, advertising, politics and everyday life. Of particular concern is the cognitive, moral and bodily power of images in relation to the cultural politics of class, race, sex and gender. Course participants are expected to engage with a wide range of critical literatures pertaining to the material and imaginary power of images and to engage in ethnographic fieldwork, resulting in a mixed-media study of the power of imagery in a particular social scene or institution.
Mixed grad/undergrad SC533 SOCY5533 Social Psychoanalysis and the Unconscious This seminar explores social psychic repetitions at the heart of everyday life and how unconscious social forces affect the ritual organization of power, culture, and history. Inviting a dialogue between sociology and psychoanalysis, the course encourages a critical examination of suggestive social phantasms and fears, compulsive fascinations and desires, selective memories and forgettings. Intended as an advanced introduction to the theories and methods of social psychoanalysis, the seminar pays particular attention to the unconscious haunts of gendered, racialized, erotic, and class-based forms of power in a global historical context.
Mixed grad/undergrad SC540 SOCY5540 Internship in Sociology I This internship program is designed for students who wish to acquire practical work experience in a human service, political, social research, or social policy agency--private or governmental, profit or nonprofit. Students have the primary responsibility of locating their own placement setting; however, both the instructor and the BC Internship Program Office in the Career Center can be of help. Students must meet with the instructor before registering to receive permission to register for the course, make sure that they will be available at the time the seminar will meet, and receive the details about the course and placements.
Mixed grad/undergrad SC541 SOCY5541 Internship in Sociology II This internship program is designed for students who wish to acquire practical work experience in a human service, political, social research, or social policy agency--private or governmental, profit or nonprofit. Students have the primary responsibility of locating their own placement setting; however, both the instructor and the BC Internship Program Office in the Career Center can be of help. Students must meet with the instructor before registering to receive permission to register for the course, make sure that they will be available at the time the seminar will meet, and receive the details about the course and placements.
Mixed grad/undergrad SC554 SOCY5554 Qualitative Methods for Applied Settings This course situates the researcher as practitioner and provides a foundation in the application of qualitative methods to applied settings. It offers training in social research designs connected to social issues and problems central to public health, clinical, social science and educational settings. It provides a "hands on" approach to learning methods--focus groups interviews, in-depth interviews, case studies and evaluation designs--that are deployed to answer complex social questions and issues. The course introduces mixed methods designs that bring together qualitative and quantitative methods especially as this relates to randomized control trial (RCT) experimental designs.
Mixed grad/undergrad SC558 SOCY5558 Qualitative Methods This is an upper level research methods course. Students will be introduced to the techniques of carrying out qualitative research. We will compare and contrast the major analytical approaches to different qualitative research designs. Students will carry out a qualitative research project, data collection (e.g., conduct intensive interviews, participant observation) and analysis, and writing/presenting qualitative research.
Mixed grad/undergrad SC559 SOCY5559 Economic Sociology What are markets and how do they work? Whereas economists tend to assume that markets are anonymous, and more or less universal, economic sociologists study how markets are shaped by other social structures, such as law, culture, and social networks. This advanced mixed graduate-undergraduate seminar examines these issues in readings from sociology, economics, anthropology, and history. Some specific themes covered include corporations, social networks, globalization, economic development, the role of race and gender in labor markets, how culture shapes consumption, and how markets and human emotions intersect and collide. Please contact the professor about permission to register.
Mixed grad/undergrad SC560 SOCY5560 Consumption and Sustainability As ecological degradation intensified, this course addresses the role of consumption in achieving sustainability, considering issues such as the scale of consumption in the global north, the spread of consumer culture globally, and the role of damaging goods and services. We begin with social theory and apply it to sustainable consumption practices. While much of the literature is pessimistic, consumer culture is remarkably dynamic. Students will develop a strong analytic context and learn to evaluate the growing literature and applied activity in this field. Readings include Bourdieu, Giddens, Shove, Sachs, Holt, Thompson, Seyfang and others.
Mixed grad/undergrad SC561 SOCY5561 Occupy Economics The 2008 global economic collapse, the Occupy movement and the specter of climate change have re-kindled interest in critiques of conventional economics. They are also fuelling interest in “new economics,” which is a small scale, egalitarian, ecologically-light alternative. Occupy Economics will be a collaborative weekly seminar exploring what’s wrong with the dominant brand of economics and what alternatives exist. We will read and discuss classics by authors such as Marx, Keynes and E.F. Schumacher, as well as contemporary writers and thinkers such as Elinor Ostrom, Paul Hawken, Gar Alperovitz, Stephen Marglin and others. Requirements are flexible.
Mixed grad/undergrad SC562 SOCY5562 Environmental Sociology I This course reviews some of the major literatures and lines of research in environmental sociology. The literature emphasized here (1) pioneered the formation of environmental sociology, (2) directed its various trajectories, and (3) represents recent developments. Classical readings include the works of Karl Marx, Kautsky, and Adam Smith. Early environmental sociology works include those of Catton, Dunlap, Freudenberg, Buttel, Schnaiberg, Merchant, and others. Contemporary trajectories explored include ecological modernization, treadmill of production, ecology of the world-system, world polity theory, eco-Marxism, eco-feminism, actor-network theory, environmental justice, critical studies of global environmental governance, and political ecology.
Mixed grad/undergrad SC563 SOCY5563 Trauma, Culture, and Coping This seminar will introduce students to various theoretical approaches to trauma and traumatic impact and examine the sociological, psychological, and service oriented implications of these approaches. Multiple types of trauma will be conceptualized and investigated; from interpersonal level traumas like child sexual abuse and rape, to mass level traumas such as the Holocaust, U.S. slavery, and the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack against the U.S. Larger socio-cultural forces will be examined in analyzing both the exposure to and recovery from traumatic events. The course will be highly attuned to differences based on race, class, and gender.
Mixed grad/undergrad SC378 SOCY5565 Introduction to Social Work Starting with a discussion of its history and the relevance of values and ethics to its practice, the course takes up the various social work methods of dealing with individuals, groups, and communities and their problems. In addition to a discussion of the theories of human behavior that apply to social work interventions, the course examines the current policies and programs, issues, and trends of the major settings in which social work is practiced.
Mixed grad/undergrad SC568 SOCY5568 Sociology of Education This course will examine the scope and usefulness of the sociology of education. A number of critical problems will be examined such as the following: How does schooling influence socialization, the social organization of knowledge, and the structure of economic opportunity? How do schools as formal organizations transmit and institutionalize social norms and habits? How do the dynamics of educational organization work? Does education generate inequality by reproducing social classes? Are there any relationship between educational achievement and economic opportunity? What role does schooling play in modernization and social change in less developed societies?
Mixed grad/undergrad SC570 SOCY5570 Political Sociology An intensive examination of foundational texts representing pluralist, elite, and class theories of the state in industrialized capitalist democracies. The course includes lecture and seminar-style discussion of the historical dimensions of political sociology as well as its application to current areas of inquiry. After revealing its foundations, the course will explore how political sociology is used in studies on governmentality, globalization and state crises, and environmental history. Students will be expected to participate in course discussions, provide weekly write-ups, and write a final paper.
Mixed grad/undergrad SC572 SOCY5572 Sociology of Science Studies This course offers an introduction to the Sociology of Science Studies in the actor-network tradition. Actor-Network Theory (ANT) is becoming quite influential in many areas, from sociology to techno-science studies, to feminist studies, to economics, to geography/environmental sociology. The course focuses on the contributions of Bruno Latour to ANT, but will include other contributions. Initial readings will follow the trajectory of some of Latour's foundational works. Subsequent readings will include debates in and around ANT as applied to environmental problems from within ANT, and from "ANTish" critical environmental sociology/geography. Final set of readings visits Latour's book, Reassembling the Social.
Mixed grad/undergrad SC573 SOCY5573 Sociology of Culture This course has three main foci: (1) to understand what constitutes culture and how it is constructed, (2) to examine how culture influences, or co-constitutes, social processes and structures, and (3) to examine culture as a tool for social action. We will discuss several active debates in the literature on culture: structure vs. agency, form vs. content, and coherence vs. incoherence. Culture touches many sub disciplines in sociology (race, gender, social movements, politics, nationalism, etc.). The theoretical works we will read are broadly oriented towards many areas of social like. The empirical readings emphasize inequality, race, class, gender, and work.
Mixed grad/undergrad SC574 SOCY5574 Globalization, Gender and Development Over the past two decades the concept of “globalization” has taken academia by storm. The movement of people, capital, and cultures across borders has profoundly reshaped local structures transforming the everyday lives of people in every corner of the globe. In this course we will explore several factors that shape a global world include the role of nation states, economic capital, and laws that permit or inhibit the movement of people across borders. We consider theory and policy oriented towards addressing not just material deprivations but also gender, racial and ethnic disparities, health status, education, human rights, and political freedoms.
Mixed grad/undergrad SC577 SOCY5577 Sociology of Religion TBD
Mixed grad/undergrad SC578 SOCY5578 Corporate Social Responsibility Contemporary capitalism is in a crisis because of the general lack of social responsiveness on the part of corporate executives, shareholders, investors, and other economic stakeholders. In response, movements have arisen in recent decades to respond to this crisis including socially responsive investing, shareholder and consumer action, and corporate social responsibility. This seminar, through shared readings and discussions, will consider the ways in which these movements are responding to the crisis in capitalism. We will consider alternative and more productive forms of economic and business conduct.
Mixed grad/undergrad SC583 SOCY5583 Postmodernity and Social Theory This seminar will examine recent theoretical and historical claims concerning the emergence of postmodern social formations. It will also explore the implications of postmodernity for the practice of sociological theory and methods. Of central concern will be critical theoretical attempts to understand shifting configurations of economic, gendered and racialized forms of power within a global context of information-driven capital.
Mixed grad/undergrad SC590 SOCY5590 Carework and Inequality This course explores work and family conflicts and the tension between carework as private responsibility versus carework as a public good. We examine the private cost of motherhood and the social and economic consequences of child-raising, including those faced by low-income parents without public provision of family welfare. We return to the question, does the larger society have care responsibilities for its people? We also focus on purchased care and paid careworkers, exploring the race/class identity of this fastest-growing labor market and their care-impoverished families.
Mixed grad/undergrad SC591 SOCY5591 From Poor Laws to Working Poor: Low-Income America and Public Policy From warning off paupers to getting welfare mothers to work, this course provides an overview of social attitudes, national debates and public policies toward low-income families and their communities. Readings examine relationships between poverty and race, gender, families with children and the low-wage job market. We will consider images and language describing the poor and how these may influence public opinion and social investment. Student research will explore and compare contemporary costs of living, wage levels, and family care needs in middle-class and low-income families.
Mixed grad/undergrad SC593 SOCY5593 Advanced Topics: Transnational Feminisms This course is an advanced seminar restricted to second-semester senior Women's & Gender Studies minors. Enrollment is by permission only.
Mixed grad/undergrad SC596 SOCY5596 Black Families and Society This course will examine Black families within the United States. This reading and participation intensive seminar will analyze family dynamics from a race, class, and gender perspective and will not assume a uniform Black family experience. Although we will pay careful attention to the historical foundations for many of the contemporary issues now facing families of African descent, we will primarily focus on modern-day dynamics and debates within and outside of Black families.
Mixed grad/undergrad SC597 SOCY5597 Contemporary Race Theory This class will explore how various contemporary writers engage with the question of race, both in the United States and transnationally. We will look at social constructionist theories of race, postmodernism, feminist theory, critical legal studies, and the intersection between contemporary race theory and queer theory.
Mixed grad/undergrad SC598 SOCY5598 Politics of Black Sexuality Using Black bodies as a focal point, this course will examine the intersections of race and sexuality in the U.S. on both an inter-personal and national level. Although we will pay careful attention to the historical foundations for many of the contemporary issues now facing people of African descent, we will primarily focus on modern day dynamics and debates within and outside of African-American communities. Topics covered include: poverty and social policy, family and sex education, religion, hip-hop, and public health.
Mixed grad/undergrad SC664 SOCY6664 Colloquium: Teaching Women's Studies Students meet weekly with the faculty advisor to discuss assigned readings—interdisciplinary feminist pedagogy—and with their respective seminar groups from SOCY2255. [This course is for "Intro. to Feminisms" TAs.]
Mixed grad/undergrad SC670 SOCY6670 Technology and Culture This interdisciplinary course will first investigate the social, political, psychological, ethical and spiritual aspects of the Western cultural development with a special emphasis on scientific and technological metaphors and narratives from the Greeks to the present. We will then focus on the contemporary world, examining the impact of our various technological creations on cultural directions, democratic process, quality of the lifeworld and on the emergent meanings for the terms "citizen" and "ethics" in our so-called post-modern society.
Grad SC799 SOCY7101 Readings and Research Independent research on a topic mutually agreed upon by the student and the professor. Professor's written consent must be obtained prior to registration.
Grad SC798 SOCY7102 Research Practicum In this apprenticeship-style course, students will do substantive reading, contribute to research design/instrumentation, conduct fieldwork and collaborate in data analysis and writing. With a focus on research about inequality, the professor will work closely with students as they learn about undertaking complicated social inquiry and working on a collaborative research team.
Grad SC701 SOCY7701 Ethnography Practicum This is a hands-on practicum. Class participants engage in ethnographic research projects of their own choosing. During the semester, students read and comment on each other's field notes and analyses, as do I. By the end of the semester, everyone produces a research paper based on their ethnographic work. Many of these projects become masters papers or parts of dissertations. During class sessions, we discuss theory and data, fieldwork and writing, emotions and analysis, as required by the specific project at hand.
Grad SC702 SOCY7702 Introduction to Statistics and Data Analysis This course will introduce the basic statistical concepts used in social research including centrality and dispersion, correlation and association, probability and hypothesis testing, as well as provide an introduction to the BC computer system and the SPSS data analysis package.
Grad SC703 SOCY7703 Multivariate Statistics This course assumes knowledge of material covered in SOCY7702; that is, a solid background in SPSS and a basic course in statistics. We will focus on two general statistical procedures multiple regression and logistic regression (maybe including multinominal logistic regression). In this context we consider data transformations, analysis of residuals and outliers, covariance analysis, interaction terms, quadratic regression, dummy variables, stepwise regression, path analysis, and if time permits multiple imputation to deal with missing data. Our focus is on data analysis, not on the mathematical foundations of the statistical procedures considered.
Grad SC704 SOCY7704 Regression Models for Categorical Data (formerly called Topics in Multivariate Stats, although it's still the same course) This applied course is designed for students in sociology, education, nursing, organizational studies, political science, psychology, or social work with a prior background in statistics at the level of SOCY7703 Multivariate Statistics. It assumes a strong grounding in multivariate regression analysis. The major topics of the course will include OLS regression diagnostics, binary, ordered, and multinomial logistic regression, models for the analysis of count data (e.g., Poisson and negative binomial regression), treatment of missing data, and the analysis of clustered and stratified samples. All analyses in the course will be conducted using Stata, but no previous Stata experience is necessary.
Grad SC705 SOCY7705 Advanced Statistics This applied course is designed for students in sociology, education, nursing, organizational studies, political science, psychology, or social work with a prior background in statistics at the level of SOCY7703 Multivariate Statistics. It assumes a strong grounding in multivariate regression analysis. The major topics of the course will include hierarchical linear modeling and structural equation modeling. We will use HLM and LISREL to conduct the analyses.
Grad SC706 SOCY7706 Longitudinal Analysis This applied course is designed for students in sociology, education, nursing, organizational studies, political science, psychology, or social work with a prior background in statistics at the level of SOCY7703 Multivariate Statistics. It assumes a strong grounding in multivariate regression analysis. The course will focus on panel data management and analysis, with topics including change models, fixed and random effects models, GEE models, and mixed models. All analyses in the course will be conducted using Stata, but no previous Stata experience is necessary.
Grad SC708 SOCY7708 Hierarchical Linear Modeling This applied course on hierarchical linear modeling is designed for graduate students with a thorough knowledge of OLS regression. It will cover 2-level models for continuous, categorical, and count outcomes, 3-level models, growth curve models, and models for couple data. The goals of the course are to develop the skills necessary to identify an appropriate technique for multilevel data analysis, estimate models, conduct diagnostics, and interpret results. We will use HLM 6 to perform the analyses; no prior knowledge of this software is required.
Grad SC709 SOCY7709 Quantitative Data Management This course will provide a comprehensive introduction to quantitative data management using Stata; the focus will be on working with complex datasets (both cross-sectional and longitudinal) and preparing them for analysis. This course is intended for students who need to manage data for academic or non-academic projects.
Grad SC710 SOCY7710 Social Inquiry Research Seminar This course presents the wide range of alternative research methods available to and widely used by the social researcher. Among those considered are the following: survey research, observational field research, intensive interviewing, experimental research, historical analysis, and content analysis. Considerable attention will be given to comparisons among these alternative methods, to an assessment of the relative strengths and limitations of each, and to issues related to research design and proposal writing. In the context of these alternative research methods, attention will be given to problem formulation, measurement, reliability, validity, sampling, and ethical considerations.
Grad SC715 SOCY7715 Classical Social Theory Focusing on the work of Marx, Durkheim, and Weber, the course traces the philosophic, intellectual, and social history of the ideas, themes, concepts, and schools of thought we now call "classical sociological theory." Supportive thinkers will also be discussed as they contributed to the emergence and establishment of modern sociological thought.
Grad SC716 SOCY7716 Contemporary Social Theory This seminar is a graduate level introduction to contemporary social theory. It concerns the historical context and development of a wide variety of perspectives used by social theorists to make sense of multiple social worlds. It also concerns the ways in which social theories are themselves sociologically constructed. Theoretical frameworks addressed include: functionalism and cybernetics; symbolic interactionism and pragmatism; exchange, behavioral, and conflict perspectives; feminism; Marxism; phenomenology and ethnomethodology; critical race theory; queer theory; structuralism and poststructuralism; as well as postcolonial and postmodern theories of the subject and power.
Grad SC735 SOCY7735 Research at the Margins This is a graduate-level, social research course focusing on inquiry into the lives and knowledge of low-income people, immigrants, people of color and all others who experience marginalization. We consider methodological, representational, personal and ethical issues. All students should be (or will be during the term) engaged in field research that, along with readings, will be central to a collaborative learning approach.
Grad SC737 SOCY7737 Contemporary Issues in Curriculum&Instruction (CONTEMP ISSUES:CURR&INST) This course is designed to provide doctoral students (and advanced masters students) with an overview of current issues in the field of early childhood/elementary education by reviewing and discussing a wide range of theory and research relevant to the period of development from 0-8 years of age. The course will review theoretical frameworks that are influential in early childhood/elementary education including constructivist, contextualist, and developmental systems theories. In addition, the course will explore current early childhood programs and models. Particular attention will be given to the domain of language and literacy development across models and research in this area. Finally, contemporary debates and controversies in the field will be explored, with a specific focus on policy implications. Emphasis will be given to how theory, models and research in this area address the needs of all learners, including culturally and linguistically diverse children.
Grad SC744 SOCY7744 Philanthropy in Biography and Society: History, Trends, Meaning, Motives, Spirituality, and Practice An interdisciplinary course designed for graduate students from across the university seeking to understand the personal meaning and financial trends of philanthropy, especially among wealth holders; and for those who may become donors, fundraisers, or nonprofit executives. Philanthropy is one component of moral biography by which individuals freely allocate resources to achieve their discerned vocational purposes. Topics include: the history of philanthropy; its philosophical, spiritual, and sociological underpinnings; its patterns and trends in the U.S. and globally; its motivations; how research methodology affects findings; the daily personal assistance we provide to others; and how to conduct biographical conversations with donors.
Grad SC751 SOCY7751 Quest for Social Justice This seminar draws on the literature in political sociology and social movements to address sustained efforts to bring about social and political change. It is geared toward the problems and issues faced by groups involved in such efforts: (1) diagnosing the opportunities and constraints provided by the system in which they are operating; (2) analyzing the problems of mobilizing potential supporters and maintaining their continued loyalty and commitment; (3) devising effective strategies for influencing targets of change; and (4) dealing with counter-efforts at social control.
Grad SC761 SOCY7761 Second Year Graduate Writing Seminar The writing seminar is intended for second year M.A. and Ph.D. students working on their M.A. theses/papers and second-year papers. The 3 credit, two semester seminar begins in fall and continues into the spring term. Students are encouraged to take the seminar in the fall term immediately following their completion of the spring Research Methods course (SC 710). The writing seminar employs a supportive structure and a collaborative learning environment to help students to carry out their own independent projects. Students will be graded on the drafts of their research papers submitted at the end of the spring semester.
Grad SC763 SOCY7763 Topics in Environmental Sociology This course is designed as both a stand-alone class and a follow-on to Brian Gareau’s graduate Environmental Sociology seminar. We will look at a series of topics within environmental sociology, broadly defined. These include the sociology of climate change, food and agriculture, water, environmental activism, sustainable consumption and its politics (including the politics of fair trade), environmental justice, the debate about limits to growth, and the emerging field of “new economics.” Some of the authors we will read include Kari Norgaard (Living in Denial), Julie Guthman (Agrarian Dreams), Goodman, DuPuis and Goodman (Alternative Food Networks), Gibson-Graham (Post-Capitalist Politics), Daniel Jaffee (Brewing Justice), Andrew Szasz (Shopping Our Way to Safety).
Grad SC771 SOCY7771 Understanding Consumer Society This course will examine debates about consumer society and culture, with emphasis on sociological literature. In addition to classic texts (Veblen, Adorno and Horkheimer, Bourdieu, Baudrillard), we will consider more recent contributions (Holt, Bordo, Thompson). We will also consider how consumer culture structures identities, including by class, race, and identity. The latter part of the course will address particular topics such as globalization, the politics of consumption, and ecology.
Grad SC781 SOCY7781 Dissertation Seminar This is a continuing research workshop which covers all stages of the research process, from conceptualization and theory development through data analysis and writing. The workshop is intended primarily for sociology graduate students working on dissertations. Others will be welcomed on a case-by-case basis. The group meets bi-weekly, with individual meetings with the professor as necessary. All students who are writing dissertations are strongly recommended to enroll in this workshop, at least for one semester.