Lower Division

20. Population and Society

(course syllabus)

18W, 18F: 10A

The world’s population will more than double from 7 to 16 billion people by 2100.  What are the implications of this for public policy, population health and aging, fertility and reproduction, immigration, and social inequality?  This course answers these questions and more.  It will introduce students to the study of social demography and population studies, with a focus on understanding how population processes influence and shape social problems. Students will learn how to use the basic demographic tools used to study population processes, as well as the important debates surrounding the causes and implications of such changes. Dist: SOC. Lin.

21. Introduction to Political Sociology

(course syllabus)

17S: 11

This course examines the relationship between the social and political order with a view towards identifying and examining how politics is shaped by other events in societies and in turn shapes them. Readings and discussions will focus on the close connection between the political arena and its actors and social institutions. Attention is given to sociological aspects of the family, communities, economic institutions, and political parties. Special emphasis is placed on the dynamics of political power, participation, socialization, communication, and recruitment. Dist: SOC; WCuIt: W. DiGrazia.

22. The Sociology of International Development

(course syllabus)

17X, 18X: 10 

This course will introduce students to the major sociological perspectives on economic and political development, with emphasis on developing countries. Among the views to be considered are modernization, which assumes that later developing countries will follow paths once traveled by today's advanced countries; and dependency and world system theories, which view the integration of less developed countries into the world market as problematic and, under certain conditions, even disadvantageous. We will test these theories by applying them to specific cases. A major part of the course will focus on the economic miracle of East Asian countries, as well as cases that have not been so successful. Other important topics to be studied include the influence of states, markets, and multinational corporations in economic development; the relationship between different modes of development and income distribution; and political development and the prospects for democratization. Open to all classes. Dist: INT. Parsa.

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23. Social Movements

(course syllabus)

17F, 18F: 12

Social movements are collective attempts to promote or resist social change, from the way people live their lives, to how governments govern, to how economic systems distribute rewards. This course examines why and when social movements come about, the organizations and strategies they adopt, and the circumstances in which they are most impactful. We explore these issues by researching individual political movements and engaging larger theoretical explanations for their development.  Dist: SOC; WCult: W. Dixon.

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25. Democratization in Developing Countries

(course syllabus)

17X, 18X: 2  

The road to democratization in most countries in recent years has been marked by large-scale social movements. This course will begin with an examination of various theories of democracy and democratization . It will specifically analyze the role of class, culture, ideology, and religion in the democratization process. Finally, we will apply the theories to the three cases of South Korea, Indonesia, and Iran, three countries with mixed successes. Open to all classes. Dist: INT; WCuIt: NW. Parsa.

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26. Capitalism, Prosperity and Crisis

(course syllabus)

17S, 18S, 19S: 10

Capitalism in the last five centuries generated great wealth and prosperity in Western societies. In the last few decades, capitalism assumed a global character affecting social and economic life of the vast majority of the people in the world. Yet, capitalism has also been plagued by economic decline and failures, causing massive human suffering. This course will study the nature of capitalism, sources of prosperity and crisis, inequality in distribution of economic and political power. Dist:  SOC; WCult:  W.  Parsa.

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27. Organizations in Society

(course syllabus)

17F:  10

Much of modern life takes place within a wide variety of complex, formal organizations, from multi-national corporations, to churches, from social service agencies to volunteer organizations. In this course we will learn about the structure, internal processes, and environments of different forms of organization. Our focus is on sociological theories and empirical research, from a macro-sociological perspective. Our objective will be to learn about how organizations work, as well as to gain an understanding of the impact of organizations on society and in our lives. Dist: SOC; WCult: W. Anthony.

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28. Health Care and Health Care Policy

(course syllabus)

Not offered 16X through 18S

This course examines the health care system in the United States, focusing on the roles and operations of health care institutions and providers. The objective throughout the course is to develop a comprehensive and critical perspective on current fields and issues in medical sociology. The course consists of five sections, progressing from macro-level to micro-level analyses of the delivery of health care, and returning to the macro-level to discuss recent policy changes and debates in the health care system. Dist SOC; WCult: W. Anthony.

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29. The Sociology of Work

(course syllabus)

Not currently offered

This course examines the sociological dimensions of work, occupations, and employment relations. Specific topics may include: the structure of work, historical and contemporary changes in the organizational context of work, ways in which work both creates and reflects social divisions, occupations and professions, occupational socialization and choice, and the intersection of work and family. Dixon 10W, Hollister 10F.

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30. Deviance and Social Control

(course syllabus)

18S: 12

Students of society seem always to have been fascinated with explaining why some members deviate from commonly accepted rules. This course examines the major sociological explanations of deviance. We will explore the identification of certain behaviors as deviant, the process of becoming deviant, the management of a deviant identity, and the development of deviant subcultures. The course concludes with an examination of societal reactions to and the treatment of deviance and deviants. Examples of deviant and social control activities that may be considered include prostitution, religious cults, youth gangs, witchcraft, the handicapped, and asylums. Open to all classes. Dist: SOC; WCuIt: W. King.

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31. Youth and Society

(course syllabus)

18W: 2A   19W: 10A

This course explores central themes and features of children's preschool, preadolescent, adolescent, and college peer cultures.  We will discuss what it means to study youth from a sociological lens and research methods for doing so.  This course focuses on the importance of family and peer experiences for youth's social development.  Specific topics may include: what it means to be a child or adolescent historically and in contemporary society; how gender, socioeconomic class, race, ethnicity, and sexuality shape youth's experiences; what it means to be "popular"; the role of culture (through toys, games, books, music, television, movies, etc.) in youth's lives. Dist: SOC; WCult: CI. McCabe.

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32. The Social Meanings of Home

(course syllabus)

Not offered 17X through 19S

This course is an exploration of the economic, cultural, social and political dynamics of "home" in contemporary U. S. society. The concept, "home" invariably invokes multiple and sometimes conflicting ideas -- a physical dwelling, family, economic property, birthplace, nationality, environment, haven, etc.. We speak of "home sweet home," "dream home," "home is where the heart is," "sweet home Alabama" "homeland," "there's no place like home," and "homies." In the course, we will consider the home as a social context that profoundly shapes our personal and collective identities, gender roles and interpersonal relationships, class status and divisions, racial-ethnic memberships and conflicts, plus values and political ideals. The course will emphasize the homestead as economic property and the implications of its location, design, artifacts and domestic lifestyles for the cultivation of model subjects, consumers or citizens. Theoretical, empirical and interpretative materials in the course may touch on subjects as varied as housing and home ownership, shopping and hyperconsumption, food & kitchen culture, family values and the modeling of marriage and family life, the home improvement industry, and home and self makeovers on reality television. Dist: SOC. WCult: W. King

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33. Self and Society

(course syllabus)

18S, 19S: 2A

Social Psychology is the study of the relationships between the individual and society. It is an interdisciplinary field to which the work of sociologists, psychologists, and occasionally scholars from other disciplines is relevant. This course introduces students to social psychology primarily, although not exclusively, from a sociological perspective. First, the course will acquaint students with the range of theoretical perspectives that have been used to study social psychology. Second, it will familiarize students with empirical research that has been done to examine these theories. Third, it will permit students to explore particular social psychological issues in greater depth both within and across particular perspectives within social psychology. Dist: SOC. Lively.

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34. Health Disparities

(course syllabus)

17S, 18W, 19W: 2

Social, economic, and political forces powerfully influence who gets sick, the types of diseases that affect them, the treatments that are available, and the outcomes of those treatments. In this course, we will study how discrimination, marriage, and social ties may contribute to gender, racial and ethnic, and socioeconomic health disparities. We will also examine the ways in which neighborhood and community context shape health and access to health care services. Dist: SOC. Walton.

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35. Sociology of Mental Health

(course syllabus)

17F, 18F: 2

Poor mental health and mental illness are often viewed as biological flaws. Sociologists, however, argue that mental illness is socially constructed, and that population mental health is profoundly shaped by social conditions. In this course, we will explore sociological understandings of mental health and illness. We will focus on a range of topics, including: the social construction of mental illness, how social inequality contributes to mental health, and how society responds to the mentally ill. Dist:  SOC. Houle.

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36. Sociology of Family (Identical to WGSS 33.08)

(course syllabus)

18S: 2

The sociological study of the family involves our ability to take a step back to assess structures that pattern our personal experiences and how the private decisions that happen in families matter to society as a whole. We will examine how private affairs in family life interact with important public issues, particularly discussing intersections with gender, social class, race and ethnicity, marriage and cohabitation, divorce, remarriage and stepfamilies, childhood and adolescence, work, and social policy. Dist: SOC; WCult: W. Walton.

Students engage in an oral history research project where they investigate their parents’ experiences with work/family balance. Click here for some examples of the projects past students have created.

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38. Status and Power in Social Interaction

(course syllabus)

17S, 18S, 19S: 12

How do our interactions with others cause and result from inequalities in society? This course explores how status and power dynamics shape social life, using theories and research from sociological social psychology. We will learn how status beliefs emerge from social differences in resources and power, and how they perpetuate inequalities over time by shaping our interpretations of events and our behavior and emotions toward others. We will also consider how these inequalities can be overcome. Dist: SOC; WCult: CI. Rogers.

42. A Sociological Introduction to the Asian American Experience

(course syllabus)

19S: 2

Within the last decade, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) have become the nation’s fastest-growing racial group. But, AAPIs come from nearly 50 countries and ethnic groups, so the AAPI experience is immensely dynamic and heterogeneous. This course examines key issues in AAPI communities, including global-historical context of migration; ethnic and racial consciousness; economic, social, and political status; cultural production; and family and gender relations. Sociological contributions about inequality, assimilation, and identity will be highlighted.  Dist: SOC; WCult: CI. Walton.

44. Complexities of Latino Identity in the United States (Identical to LATS 5)

(course syllabus)

17X, 18X:  10A

The Latino population currently consists of approximately 38 million people in the United States; by the year 2050 the Census estimates that the Latino population will makeup at least 25 percent of the total U.S. population. This diverse group traces its origins to a variety of countries; and, its experience in the United States is quite varied. This seminar will explore issues of race, class, and gender within the Latino community in the United States. It will examine the socio-economic experiences of various Latino groups (Chicanos, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Dominicans, Central and South Americans), as well as issues of identity, pan-ethnicity, representation of group politics, language, and gender & class conflicts. Dist: SOC, WCult: W. Gomez.

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45. Inequality and Social Justice

(course syllabus)

Not offered 17X through 19S

Social stratification refers to the unequal distribution of socially valued resources such as wealth, prestige, and power, across different groups in society.  This course examines sociological research on the extent of these inequalities, how they are generated, and the consequences they bear.  With an emphasis on historical and contemporary patterns of inequality in the United States, specific topics may include:  wealth and income inequality; poverty; the intersection of class, race/ethnicity, and gender; educational attainment; and social change.  Dist:  SOC. Dixon.

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46. Constructing Black Womanhood (Identical to AAAS 25 and WGSS 33)

(course syllabus)

18W: 2   19S: 3B

This course is a critical examination of the historical and contemporary status of black women in the United States, as presented in fiction, primary accounts, and social science literature. We will explore the nature, extent, and consequences of the multiple discriminations of race, sex, and class, as the context in which these women shaped their social roles and identities within the black community and the larger society. We will consider the themes of family, motherhood, and sexuality; educational, economic and political participation; aesthetics and religious traditions; self and social images. Dist: SOC; WCult: CI. King.

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47. Race and Ethnicity in the U.S.

(course syllabus)

17S, 18W, 19W: 10

To many eyes, racial distinctions are self-evident, natural, and objectively-defined.  In this course, we problematize this practice of defining racial categories based on phenotypic differences, instead taking a sociological approach to understanding the ways in which racial differences are socially constructed.  Throughout this course, we will explore how race matters by studying racial identity and experience, immigration and assimilation, diversity, and inequality. Dist: SOC; WCult: W.  Walton.

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48. Immigration, Race and Ethnicity (Identical to Geography 28 and Latino Studies 40)

(course syllabus)

18S, 19W: 10A

This course examines twentieth-century immigration to the United States. This course pays special attention to issues of race and ethnicity. The course begins with a brief history of US immigration and then thematically covers specific topics such as economic impacts and costs, social mobility, citizenship, transnationalism, assimilation, and religious issues and their relationship to the immigrant experience. We feature nativist reactions to immigration and highlight differences within and between Latino, Asian, and European groups throughout the course. Dist: SOC; WCult: CI. Wright.

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Lower Division Special Topics Courses

17S: 2 

49.12 Israeli Society--Structure, Institutions, Identities and Dynamics (Identical to JWST 68.01 and AMES 41.08)

(course syllabus)

Not offered in 17X through 19S

The goal of this course is to study  Israeli society from a sociological perspective. The course analyzes the economic, political and social factors that shaped Israeli society from its inception, its historical transformation at the structural and institutional levels, and in the changing relations among different social groups. This course examines the establishment of the state, absorption of immigrants, ethnicity, messianic politics, Palestinian uprisings, peace process, and redefinitions of nationalism.  Dist: SOC; WCult:  CI. Grinberg.

49.13 Science and Religion in American Media (Identical to FILM 46.3)

(course syllabus)

Not offered in 17X through 19S

The public life of science and religion seems to be characterized by intractable conflict.  In this course we examine case studies from current controversies over stem cell research, reproductive genetics, environmental policy, human origins, and sexuality.  We will explore who is creating and maintaining these public controversies and why.  We will examine "science and religion" as a defining confrontation in the development of American democracy, and consider how the American public sphere shapes possibilities for political participation.  Dist: SOC; WCult: W. Evans.

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49.15 Sociology of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (Identical to JWST 68.02 and AMES 41.09)

(course syllabus)

Not offered in 17X through 19S

The course aims to comprehend Israeli-Palestinian relations from the first moments of Zionist-Palestinian encounter. It presents different approaches to the interpretation of these relations, the beginning of the conflict before the establishment of the Jewish State, and its further developments. The course will enter key debates on  military-society relations, Jewish democracy,  economic relations, and the failure of the peace process, ending with a discussion of options for the future. Dist: SOC. Grinberg.

49.17 Religion and Political Economy

(course syllabus)

17S, 18S: 11

What is religion’s role in the wealth and poverty of nations? Is there really a “Protestant ethic” and a “spirit of capitalism?” Or is human prosperity completely independent of religious belief, institutions, and “spirit”? How do Western and non-Western societies seeking their place in the modern world reconcile religious traditions with the demands of economic globalization? This course will explore a wide gamut of past and present perspectives on this important, controversial subject. Dist: SOC; WCult: W. Clark.

49.19 Sport and Democratization in the Ancient and Modern Worlds (Identical to CLST 11)

(course syllabus)

Not offered in 17X through 19S

The relationship between democratization in society and in sports forms the subject matter of this course.  We will begin to explore that relationship by looking at the various ways in which democratization in society and in sports influence each other in the modern world.  Then we will turn our attention to the past and examine the relationship between democratization in society and in sports in sixth- and fifth-century BCE Greece, in nineteenth-century CE Britain, and in twentieth-century CE America.  The course will end with a consideration of the lessons we have learned about democratization in society and in sports for public policy in the United States and elsewhere.  Dist: SOC; WCult: W. Christesen.

49.21 The Black Church and Black Bodies:  Race, Sexuality and Class in Religious Culture (Identical to AAAS 81.04, WGSS 43.07, REL 74.04)

(course syllabus)

Not offered 17X through 19S

Black churches are challenged to better understand and respond to subjects that are often considered taboo.  This course will focus on ideas and approaches that have informed the historic and current Black Church around race, sexuality, and class (and their nexus).  Informed by Cultural Theory, it will consider how such churches have endeavored to understand, socialize, and in some instances, control Black bodies as well as some of the broader implications for critically assessing inequality, diversity, and social justice. Barnes.

49.22 Social Justice and the City (Identical to GEOG 25 and WGSS 37.03)

(course syllabus)

18W: 10

This course explores issues of social justice and cities in terms of the spatial unevenness of money and power within and among cities, between cities and their hinterlands, and between cities of the world. We will examine how multiple dynamic geographic processes produce spatial and social inequalities that make cities the locus of numerous social justice issues. We will also look at how urban communities and social groups are engaged in working for social change.  Dist: SOC; WCult: CI. Gerlofs.

49.23 Critical Political Economy

(course syllabus)

Not offered 17X through 19S

Political economy was formulated as a central field of research since the 19th century, designed to comprehend both fields - politics and economics - and how they interact, at the local, regional and global level. Since the 2008 financial crisis it became a very popular field of research, highlighting varied and opposed theoretical approaches. The course will focus on critical perspectives to political economy, including a. class conflict, race and ethnic relations and the world system; b. state institutions and their relation to civil society, capital and labor organizations; and c. late developments of the neoliberal economy, the social and economic implications of inequality, and global protests of the 99%. Dist: SOC; WCult: W. Grinberg.

49.24 Human Rights

(course syllabus)

17S: 2A

In 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights called on the world’s nations to respect the “inherent dignity and…the equal inalienable rights” of all people. But while the declaration helped globalize human rights, the world continues to experience genocide, torture, slavery, discrimination, and the wide-scale displacement of people. The course seeks to gain a greater appreciation of the complex social forces that impede human rights while also imagining new strategies to address current-day human rights challenges. Students will critically examine human rights case law, develop a non-governmental organization, and participate in a simulation of the United Nations Security Council. Dist: SOC/INT; WCult: W. Salam.