Introductory Courses

There are two introductory-level courses in sociology: Sociology 1 (Introduction to Sociology) and Sociology 2 (Social Problems). Each provides a broad overview of issues that many sociologists—not to mention the general public—find fascinating. These include, for example, social inequality, political corruption, crime, deviance, and racism, among others. Both courses also examine the underlying causes of these things.

In addition, both courses pay attention to how we might think about handling and resolving some of these issues as a society. Each course is designed primarily for students curious about sociology but who have not previously taken a sociology course. Of course, others are also welcome.

1. Introductory Sociology

What is Society? How have societies developed historically? How do they distribute wealth, income and other resources? How do they organize political authority and economic power? How do they coordinate work? How do they socialize people to "fit in" with those around them? How do they produce popular culture? This course provides answers to these questions in ways that provide an introduction to the field of sociology. It focuses on a broad range of theory and research showing how sociologists think about and study these questions. In many cases, the topics covered in the course reflect the research interests and course offerings of faculty in the sociology department at Dartmouth. As a result, the course also provides an introduction to some of the curriculum offered in the department. Open to all classes. Dist: SOC; WCult: W. 

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2. Social Problems

course syllabus

Daily news reports direct much of our attention to social problems such as crime, poverty, prejudice and political corruption. Yet rarely are such reports accompanied by a discussion of the systematic causes of these problems. More often we become witness to an endless stream of media coverage reporting seemingly isolated incidents. Seldom are we informed of the decision-making process by which some social problems become selected for cover­age, while others are ignored. The purpose of this course is to subject the coverage of mod­ern social problems to an in-depth, critical analysis. We will attempt to answer such questions as: "how does a social problem become defined as such?" and "what are the causes or sources of various social problems?" Open to all classes. Dist: SOC; WCult: W. 

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