Lower Division Special Topics Courses
49.02 Theories of Democratization and the Case of Iran
Theories of democratization generally examine the nature of the state, economy, social structure, class, culture and religion. This course will begin with an examination of various theories of democracy and democratization. It will then apply these theories to the specific case of Iran. Despite two major revolutions and two movements, Iran is still facing problems democratizing. The latter part of the course relies on documentary films that contain actual footages of Iran's nationalist movement in the 1950s and the revolutionary struggles in 1979.
49.09 Critical Political Economy
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. Grinberg.
49.12 Israeli Society--Structure, Institutions, Identities and Dynamics (Identical to JWST 68.01 and AMES 41.08)
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)
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.
back to top
49.15 Sociology of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (Identical to JWST 68.02 and AMES 41.09)
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
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.
49.18 Third World Revolutions
This course presents a comparative analysis of the three major revolutions of the latter part of the twentieth century: Iran, Nicaragua, and the Philippines. The course begins with a discussion of major theories of revolutions, including works that focus on class analysis, ideological conflicts, and the state. In the second half of the term, the course explores the revolutions in Iran, Nicaragua, and the Philippines, focusing on the causes of the conflicts, the revolutionary processes, and their alternative outcomes: Islamic fundamentalism in Iran, revolutionary socialism in Nicaragua, and the restoration of liberal democracy in the Philippines. The latter part of the course relies on documentary films that contain actual footages of the revolutionary struggles and their outcomes in the three countries. Dist:SOC;NW;INT. Parsa.
49.19 Sport and Democratization in the Ancient and Modern Worlds (Identical to CLST 11)
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)
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)
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.
49.24 Human Rights
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.