Summer and Fall, 2021 Sociology Classes
Sociology core and elective courses for Summer and Fall, 2021.
We hope to see you in a sociology course soon!
Core Sociology Courses
SOC 201 Introduction to Sociology-SB
This course is designed to familiarize students with the sociological perspective of society, introducing them to the study of human societies, how societies are organized and changed – and the implications of social organization on everyday life. The course will cover basic concepts and theories used in sociology, discuss how sociologists conduct research, and examine several social institutions (e.g., economics, education, politics, media, etc.) and social issues (e.g., poverty, racial/ethnic conflict, environment, etc.). The overall objectives of the course are to understand sociological perspectives, foster critical thinking, analyze social phenomena using sociological approaches and concepts, and to gain an increased understanding of modern U.S. society.
SOC 202 Social Problems-SBD1
This course focuses on the major threats to social cohesion and order in society and how such social problems affect human behavior. Generally, when individuals have problems, they contextualize them in highly personal terms; their perspective is guided primarily by their immediate situation and personal circumstances. However, there are socially structured contexts out of which individuals emerge and in which social problems are created, sustained, and/or changed–and, thus, impact human behavior. The purpose of the course is to expand the student’s understanding of current social problems in the U.S., an examination guided by the “sociological imagination,” which assumes individuals are products of their social environments, and requires the adoption of a critical stance toward all social forms.
Summer, 2021 Electives
SOC 327/WGST 313 Sociology of Gender (Term I, online)
Are you interested in how your gender affects your family relations, educational prospects—like what you study—and job prospects—like the types of jobs you are likely to get and how much you are paid? This course will prepare you to be an informed decision maker in multiple areas of your life and an active member of the larger community. (For more information, contact Dr. Gul Marshall.)
SOC 343/WGST 312 Sociology of Women’s Health (Term II, online)
This course draws upon a variety of theories (including feminist and critical theories) and examines the intersections of gender identity, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, and power to understand the ways in which women experience health and illness and, how women’s health care is structured in the U.S. Although organized around specific biological conditions/ illness, the focus of the class is on gendered dimensions of key sociological concepts including the doctor-patient relationship, help-seeking behavior, the socialization of health care providers, and the cultural and structural dimensions of the health care system. Drawing upon a broader context, recent policy responses related to U.S. women’s and LGBTQ health also are addressed. (For more information, contact Dr. Debbie Potter.)
SOC 410 Sociology of Aging (Term I, online, CUE course)
As people tend to live longer and a larger proportion of the population is older (in the mid-to-later stages of life), the topic of aging becomes more prominent and important. However, aging is more than just a biological process, and the aged are more than just a demographic constituent. While this course will briefly examine aging from a demographic, historical, biological, and psychological perspective, we will then explore more thoroughly aging from a sociological perspective – such as those related to the quality of later life, particularly through major transitions and role changes; ageism and societal attitudes toward the aged, particularly how society structures experiences of aging related to class, gender, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, etc.; relationships and social support systems; family, love, and sex; living arrangements; care-giving; employment and retirement; poverty, welfare, income and housing; leisure activities; policies, programs, and services for the aging; health care; death, dying and bereavement; and the future of aging. The topic will be guided by the principles of the life course perspective, which suggests that to fully understand the phenomenon of aging, we must consider both the historical and social context in which an individual and/or groups experience their “life course,” or their existence from birth to death. (For more information, contact Dr. Jonetta Weber.)
Fall, 2021 Electives
SOC 315 Environmental Sociology (TR 11-12:15)
This course will take students through a critical analysis of the interactions between society and the environment, using sociological theoretical frames to explore environmental issues and including theories of political economy, policy development, environmental justice, social construction of the environment, cultural processes, social movement, globalization, sociology of knowledge and science, and social change. (For more information, contact Dr. Lauren Heberle.)
SOC 325 Human Sexuality (TR 9:30-10:45 and online)
The sociology of human sexuality is examined from a variety of theoretical perspectives. Topics covered in the course include the social and psychological nature of human sexual response, atypical sexual practices including bondage and transvestite fetishism, sexual dysfunction, sexual orientation and sexual identity, and the business of sex including pornography, prostitution, and strip clubs. The course also considers sexual response as part of romantic relationships and examines dating, marriage, divorce, and polyamory and other non-traditional forms of relationships. In light of COVID, the class is designed to be taught as a hybrid with in-class attendance available, however, it is also possible to complete the entire course online. (For more information, contact Dr. Jim Beggan.)
SOC 329 Sociology of Families (online)
This course examines structural foundations, theoretical explanations, and historical patterns of family formation to understand trends in family form and function in the U.S. We will explore families from a sociological perspective. We will briefly cover the history of the American family, and then the bulk of the course will examine contemporary U.S. families, considering issues of: dating and “hooking up,” cohabitation, marriage, divorce, parenting in traditional and non-traditional families, work and family issues, and social policies affecting the family. Throughout the course, we will emphasize how the experience of the family differs according to one’s structural position in society – particularly their gender, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and sexuality. While emphasizing how social forces affect contemporary families, we will also explore how individuals and groups have agency to change their experience of family life.
SOC 334 Sociology of Deviant Behavior (TR 1-2:15) This course introduces the student to the definitions, theories, and patterns of deviant behavior and is designed to teach students to think critically about social deviance and to acquire a better understanding of themselves and how they relate to others, social groups, and society at large. (For more information about the on-campus section, contact Ms. Nancy Steinmetz; for the online section, TBA.)
SOC 342 Medical Sociology (MW 3-4:15)
This course aims to provide an in-depth overview of the major theories and conceptual frameworks of medical sociology. At its core, medical sociology emphasizes the importance of moving beyond biological and medical understandings of health and illness by highlighting key social factors that influences individuals’ health experiences. This course will cover the interplay of biological, medical and sociological perspectives in addressing inequalities in health and illness by sex/gender/sexuality, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and other demographic characteristics. In doing so, we will cover a wide span of the health and illness experience, from examining how the meaning of illness is defined and redefined over time, to assessing how individuals’ interactions with various actors within healthcare systems impact health outcomes. Sample topics we will discuss this semester include: Why are some health-related behaviors labeled as “deviant” while others are not? In what ways can different types of stressors “get under the skin” and make you sick? How are technological innovations affecting the doctor-patient relationship? By the end of the course, students should be able to a) understand key classic and contemporary frameworks in medical sociology, b) to assess how factors such as gender, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status impact health inequalities across the life course, and c) understand the manner in which an individuals’ health and illness experience is shaped by their interactions with social and healthcare systems. (For more information, contact Dr. Latrica Best.)
SOC 350 Special Topics: Welfare Moms & Needy Poor (TR 11-12:15 and online)
This course focuses on social welfare policy in the United States. It traces the development of and social attitudes toward major U.S. social welfare programs for the poor, the elderly, families, and other vulnerable and marginalized groups. We will examine both theoretical and practical issues, including the values and beliefs that have influenced public policy. We will examine a range of social welfare policies in the US that address specific social problems, and examine both the strengths and weaknesses of the programs in light of addressing structural inequalities including those related to race, ethnicity, gender, and SES. (For more information, contact Dr. Debbie Potter.)
SOC 442/WGST 442 Sociology of Disabilities (TR 2:30-3:45)
This course examines the ways in which disability is socially defined, experienced, and addressed by policy. Incorporating theories from sociology, disability studies, and women's studies, this course adopts an intersectional perspective and explores disability through the lens of gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, and more. Topics will include: concepts of disability (including stereotypes); the history of disability in contemporary US culture; the medical vs. social model of disability; chronic illness and disability; media and disability; disability politics; the disability rights movement(s); and socio-legal institutional and policy responses to disability. (For more information, contact Dr. Debbie Potter.)
SOC 450 Special Topics: Immigrants and Identity (MW 2-3:15)
America is a nation of immigrants; colonists, indentured servants, slaves, undocumented workers, those fleeing their home countries, and other arrivals have entered the U.S. for centuries. U.S. history involving intersecting forms of oppression has affected public notions of immigrant identities and citizenship. This course explores the complex links between racial, ethnic, and citizenship statuses and identity formation and negotiation. We will begin with broader questions of membership, belonging, and citizenship and then discuss sociological work on the creation and negotiation of racial, ethnic, and citizenship boundaries, as well as the influence of U.S. policies, institutional practices, and public discourse in these processes. Students will engage with social and historical factors affecting immigrant identities today and the diverse responses of immigrants and organizations through their own claims-making and identity negotiations. (For more information, contact Dr. Melanie Gast.)
SOC 450 Special Topics: Sociology of Food (online)
Food plays a critical role in our lives, affecting us not just physiologically, but also socially, and what we eat and the way we eat it offers insight into who we are (e.g., our social identities as members of social classes, ethnic groups, gender groups, religions, etc.). The sociology of food examines food as part of our social life and how food consumption and interests in particular foods shape – and are shaped by – social institutions and organizations, e.g., our families, the media, religion, education, etc. Food can also play con play controversial and even confusing roles in our lives, and we will explore this and other topics related to the social significance of food and how food is socially constructed. (For more information, contact Dr. Jonetta Weber.)
SOC 456 Gender and Work (online)
This course explores paid and unpaid work and gender from a sociological perspective. It begins with theoretical frameworks: gender as a social structure that operates on the individual, interactional and institutional levels; and an intersectionality perspective, which explores the intersections of gender with race/ethnicity, social class, sexuality, and nationality. It then focuses on U.S. women and men, but will briefly explore social policies in different nations. Throughout the course, the class will approach the study of work from sociological and feminist perspectives – noting how social structures shape individuals’ experiences of paid and unpaid work – but also stress human agency, the dynamic nature of work, and social change. (For more information, contact Dr. Karen Christopher.)