Sociology

  • Department Information

    Sociology

    Department of Sociology and Anthropology

    Matthew Oware, Chair
    Professor Diaz-Barriga, Dorsey, Oware
    Associate Professors French, Grollman, Hass, Nourse, Richards, Sweis
    Professionals from the field also are employed as adjunct faculty

    Sociology is the systematic study of social life in order to understand the causes and consequences of human action. Sociologists study the structure and processes of modern, industrial societies. They examine how social structures (groups, organizations, and communities) and social institutions (family, education, religion, etc.) affect human attitudes, actions, and life-chances. Sociologists use various theoretical perspectives to understand such areas as culture, socialization, conformity and deviance, inequality, family patterns, race and ethnic relations, and social change. Combining theoretical perspectives with empirical research allows constant testing and refinement of the body of knowledge that comprises the field of sociology. Sociology offers students an opportunity to develop new insights and a different perspective on their lives and to understand everyday social life as a combination of both stable patterns of interaction and ubiquitous sources of social change.

  • Major

    The Sociology Major

    Note: The grade point average of the sociology coursework comprising the major must be no less than 2.00 with no course grade below C- (1.7).

    10 units, including:

    SOC 101 Foundations of Society: Introduction to Sociological Analysis

    SOC 211 Sociological Research Methods and Data Analysis

    SOC 221 Sociological Theory

    SOC 401 Capstone Experience

    Six elective units in Sociology, with a minimum of four at the 300 level or higher

    Notes:

    • Students must earn a grade of C- or better in either SOC 211 or SOC 221 in order to take 300 or 400-level sociology courses.
    • No more than two 200-level courses, excluding SOC 211 and SOC 221, may be taken for credit toward the sociology major.
    • No more than three courses may be taken at other institutions, including study abroad institutions.
    • SOC 326, SOC 327, SOC 388, and SOC 389 are offered for .5 unit in the majority of circumstances.
  • Minor

    The Sociology Minor

    Note: The grade point average of the coursework comprising the minor must be no less than 2.00 with no course grade below C- (1.7). A maximum of two courses may be taken at another accredited institution or through an approved study abroad program, with departmental approval.

    Six units, including:

    SOC 101 Foundations of Society: Introduction to Sociological Analysis

    SOC 211 Sociological Research Methods and Data Analysis

    SOC 221 Sociological Theory

    Three elective units in Sociology, with a minimum of two at the 300 level or higher

    Notes:

    • Students must earn a grade of C- or better in either SOC 211 or SOC 221 in order to take 300 or 400-level sociology courses.
    • No more than one 200-level course, excluding SOC 211 and SOC 221, may be taken for credit towards the sociology minor.
    • No more than two courses may be taken at other institutions, including study abroad institutions.
    • SOC 326, SOC 327, SOC 388, and SOC 389 may not be counted toward the sociology minor.
  • Honors

    Honors Program

    The goal of the Sociology honors program is to give those students with superior interests and talents in the field to explore both sociology and personal intellectual interests and themes beyond the limits of typical courses offered. This will prepare these advanced students for possible graduate work or more advanced career prospects. Successful completion of the Honors Program is shown on the student's permanent academic record and on the diploma.

    Eligibility and Admission

    To qualify for the honors program in Sociology, a student should have:

    1. 18.5 or more units completed overall
    2. At least a 3.30 cumulative grade point average for all courses
    3. Excluding coursework primarily for first-year students, 4 or more units completed with distinction in the major field and a 3.5 cumulative grade point average for Sociology courses

    To enter the honors program, the student must submit a letter of intent, with nominating support from one faculty member, by March 15 of his or her junior year. These materials must be submitted to the department's Honors Committee coordinator for inspection, after which the chairperson and student discuss the details and demands of the honors program.

    A student who does not meet these qualifications may be admitted to the Program with the special recommendation of the department and the approval of the Faculty Committee on the Honors Program.

    Students may request consideration by their department, or the department may invite a student to apply.

    Program of Study

    To receive credit for the Honors Program, the student must:

    • Fulfill the normal BA requirements for Sociology, with required Theory & Methods courses (Sociology 221 and 211) completed by the end of the junior year to facilitate work on the senior thesis (see below). There are two additional upper-level one-unit courses (one of which can be outside the department and must be related to the topic of the senior thesis), and independent study for the senior thesis (see below), to be completed by the end of the senior year. (This will allow juniors with a clear program of study to take a useful course that might not be offered in his or her senior year.) The program of study for Honors is 12 units (10 units for the BA + 2 units for Honors Independent Study).
    • Complete a senior thesis that addresses an original question or issue and that produces some original research (so as not to be a pure literature review of existing work). The thesis should be data-driven and demonstrate a grasp of existing literature and theory related to the issue at hand. While the senior thesis need not explicitly test sociological theory, it should engage relevant theory and not be purely empirical (although a purely empirical thesis is permissible if the student's advisor deems the project of having scholarly value). In preparation for undertaking the senior thesis, the student must agree with a faculty member, whose interests and expertise have the best possible fit with the student's intended thesis topic, to be his or her advisor for the thesis. The student and advisor should devise a basic plan for the project by the end of the spring semester of the junior year.
    • For credit for the thesis, the student will take two one-unit Honors courses in the senior year, both involving work on the senior thesis: Honors Independent Study (autumn) and Honors Thesis (spring). This will involve at a minimum meeting once a week with the thesis supervisor to discuss and monitor progress in data collection, analysis, and write-up. (The former will involve monitoring and assessing progress in data collection and analysis through regular reports--the timetable depending on the particular project, in agreement with the student and advisor. Assessment for the latter will be the thesis product itself.) The thesis will be due in time for a final grade to be submitted to the registrar--preferably the Friday before the School of Arts & Sciences Student Symposium (April). The grade for the independent study is that for the senior thesis. The department encourages students who are prepared sufficiently early to apply for a University summer grant to facilitate research. This two-unit combination is in addition to the 10 units required for the Sociology BA.
    • The senior thesis will be assessed and graded by the student's thesis advisor and the chair of the Honors Program. If one person fulfills both these roles, an outside person whose expertise is sufficiently close to the thesis topic will be asked to aid with assessment. In case of disagreement, another member of the department will be asked for his/her opinion on the appropriate grade to resolve the disagreement.
    • The student must take two standard one-unit upper-level courses for Honors credit that include additional extra work agreed upon by the student, the course instructor, and the Honors program coordinator. One of those must be related to the intended senior thesis topic. This one course may be in any department, but in any case it should meet with the approval of the student's thesis advisor or Honors Program chair.

    The student may withdraw at any time. Should he/she not complete required additional work or maintain an overall 3.3 grade point average and a 3.5 grade point average for Sociology coursework, the student will not receive credit for the Honors Program, and the department will submit a request for withdrawal to the Faculty Committee on the Honors Program.

    The department will encourage students in their junior year who appear qualified to consider the Honors Program seriously as soon as possible, to facilitate preparation for the senior thesis and any required summer work/research.

    The Honors program coordinator will meet with participating students no less frequently than one time per month (or via email or other means of communication in the summer) to assess progress. The student and his/her advisor should develop a schedule for meetings and assessment they find most appropriate.

Courses

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  • SOC 101 Foundations of Society: Introduction to Sociological Analysis

    Units: 1

    Fulfills General Education Requirement (FSSA)

    Description

    Fundamental concepts and principles of sociology. Culture, socialization, social structure, stratification, social control, institutions, population, and social change.

  • SOC 207 Crime and Justice in a Post-Modern Society

    Units: 1

    Description

    Prevalence and distribution of crime, theories of crime, forms of criminal behavior, overview of the criminal justice system.

    Prerequisites

    Sociology 101.

  • SOC 209 Social Problems

    Units: 1

    Description

    Sociological examination of major social problems. Emphasis is on the structural causes, manifestations, patterns, consequences, and policy dimensions of social problems.

    Prerequisites

    Sociology 101 or permission of instructor.

  • SOC 211 Sociological Research Methods and Data Analysis

    Units: 1

    Description

    Introduction to the major methods of conducting sociological research with a primary emphasis on quantitative data collection and analysis.

    Prerequisites

    SOC 101 with a grade of C- or better.

  • SOC 216 Social Inequalities

    Units: 1

    Description

    Examination of how class, race, and gender structure everyday life experiences and social institutions.

    Prerequisites

    Sociology 101.

  • SOC 218 Sociology of the Black Experience

    Units: 1

    Description

    Focuses primarily on understanding the social realities of people of African descent living in the United States. Examines historical, social, and cultural issues that connect them to their Diaspora counterparts from the Caribbean islands.

    Prerequisites

    Sociology 101.

  • SOC 221 Sociological Theory

    Units: 1

    Description

    History of sociological thought; major theoretical perspectives, both classical and contemporary.

    Prerequisites

    Sociology 101.

  • SOC 231 Across the Pond: Europe vs. USA

    Units: 1

    Description

    An examination of social structures, social identities, political cultures, and economies in contemporary Europe. Focuses on the interaction between variation among European countries and the creation and operation of the European Union. Compares structures and policies in Europe and the United States.

    Prerequisites

    Sociology 101.

  • SOC 232 Postsocialism in Russia and Eastern Europe

    Units: 1

    Description

    Examines issues in postsocialism in Russia and Eastern Europe, including historical context and legacies of Soviet socialism, collapse of the USSR and East Europe, logics and policies of economic reform, political and social change, and a brief comparison with China's experience.

    Prerequisites

    Sociology 101.

  • SOC 250 Organizations and Institutions

    Units: 1

    Description

    Examines the nature of organizations and institutions, how they emerge, and how they operate and change. Topics include organizations, institutions, and power; states and the organizational basis of social class; cross-national variation in corporate structures and practices; micro-institutions such as families; and the impact of organizations and institutions on people's everyday lives, identities, and actions.

    Prerequisites

    Sociology 101.

  • SOC 252 Race and Crime

    Units: 1

    Description

    Focuses substantively on policing and prisons, while also covering related subjects: the war on drugs, the war on terror, educational institutions, and the production of knowledge through social structures. Reveals the deep impact of poverty, dispossession, and disenfranchisement in society. Studies reformist and abolitionist approaches.

  • SOC 255 Sport in Society

    Units: 1

    Description

    Foundation for critical understanding and appreciation for centrality and importance of sport in contemporary society.

    Prerequisites

    Sociology 101.

  • SOC 279 Selected Topics in Sociology

    Units: 1

    Description

    Various topics in the field of sociology. Course may be repeated for credit if topics are different.

    Prerequisites

    Sociology 101.

  • SOC 302 Social Movements

    Units: 1

    Description

    Examination of various types of social movements and theoretical perspectives that explain them. Includes movement origins, structure and organization, goals and strategies, how movements change, and how they affect the larger society. Analysis of social, economic, and political contexts in which movements develop.

    Prerequisites

    Sociology 211 or 221 with a grade of C- or better.

  • SOC 304 Power, Control and Resistance

    Units: 1

    Description

    Examines the many facets of the structure and operation of power, using case studies to illuminate such issues as the three dimensions of power, the construction of and challenge to authority, the relation between power and discourse, power and the body, and tactics and opportunities of everyday passive resistance.

    Prerequisites

    Sociology 211 or 221 with a grade of C- or better.

  • SOC 305 Conformity, Deviance and Institutions of Social Control

    Units: 1

    Description

    Informal and formal pressures to conform to, as well as deviate from, societal norms; social control institutions.

    Prerequisites

    Sociology 211 or 221 with a grade of C- or better.

  • SOC 306 Social Change in a Global Perspective

    Units: 1

    Description

    Addresses the processes and forces underpinning the rise of modern nation-states and capitalist economies in the developed and developing worlds. Topics include: the coming of European modernity; dependency and development in Latin America and East Asia; the communist experiment; and globalization.

    Prerequisites

    Sociology 211 or 221 with a grade of C- or better.

  • SOC 311 Juvenile Delinquency

    Units: 1

    Description

    Meaning of juvenile delinquency; measurement, prevalence and distribution of juvenile delinquency; theories of delinquency; police actions; court actions; and juvenile institutions.

    Prerequisites

    Sociology 211 or 221 with a grade of C- or better.

  • SOC 316 Race and Ethnicity in America

    Units: 1

    Description

    Native peoples; immigration and settlement of U.S.; racial and ethnic groups; prejudice and discrimination; race relations in a racially and culturally diverse society.

    Prerequisites

    Sociology 211 or 221 with a grade of C- or better.

  • SOC 319 Sociology of Gender and Sexuality

    Units: 1

    Description

    Advanced course serving as an introduction to the sociology of gender and sexuality. Draws from a social constructionist perspective to understand how gender and sexuality are shaped, influenced, and regulated by society in general, as well as particular social institutions and social norms. Examines how gender and sexuality serve as organizing principles in society. Draws on feminist and queer theoretiocal frameworks to explore the diversity in gender and sexuality, particularly at their intersections with sex, race, ethnicity, age, social class, disability, and weight.

    Prerequisites

    Sociology 211 or 221 with a grade of C- or better.

  • SOC 320 Race, Class, and Schooling

    Units: 1

    Description

    Deepens students' understanding of the various ways in which race and class inequality manifest in schools and shape the educational experiences of students.

    Prerequisites

    Sociology 101 and 211 or 221

  • SOC 326 Directed Independent Study

    Units: .5-1

    Description

    Intensive study of a specific topic within sociology under the direction of a member of the faculty. Requires approval by the department chair.

    Prerequisites

    Sociology 211 or 221 with a grade of C- or better and department approval.

  • SOC 327 Directed Independent Study

    Units: .5-1

    Description

    Intensive study of a specific topic within sociology under the direction of a member of the faculty. Requires approval by the department chair.

    Prerequisites

    Sociology 211 or 221 with a grade of C- or better and department approval.

  • SOC 330 Science, Technology, and Society

    Units: 1

    Description

    Sociologically investigates science as a social institution that intersects with other social institutions, with an emphasis on exploring how social inequalities affect the use of technology and the construction of scientific knowledge.

    Prerequisites

    Sociology 101 and 211 or 221

  • SOC 335 Feast and Famine: Inequalities in the Global Food System

    Units: 1

    Description

    Analyzes the socio-economic, political, and cultural construction of food systems. Topics include global institutions that impact the flow of food around the world; regional relationships pertaining to food trade; and local relationships between producers, retailers, and consumers.

    Prerequisites

    Sociology 211 or 221 with a grade of C- or better.

  • SOC 340 Sociology of Health and Illness

    Units: 1

    Description

    Advanced course serving as an introduction to the sociological study of health and illness. Draws upon a critical sociological perspective to understand how society shapes health and health disparities. Investigates social factors that harm our health and well being, particularly those that produce disparities along major social strata (e.g., race and ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation).

    Prerequisites

    SOC 211 or 221 with a grade of C- or better.

  • SOC 341 Malcolm X and Black Internationalism

    Units: 1

    Description

    Approaches Malcolm X as a theoretician, a mobilizing force in his generation and after, and as a tour guide through the discourses and institutions of his time. Studies Black internationalism through Malcolm X as a window into understanding large-scale mid-twentieth century shifts with regard to race, decolonization, global capitalism, class, gender, sexuality, war, social movements, and religion. Follows Malcolm X through his individual life and the times in which he lived.

  • SOC 379 Selected Topics

    Units: 1

    Description

    Various topics in the field of sociology. Course may be repeated for credit if topics are different.

    Prerequisites

    Sociology 211 or 221 with a grade of C- or better.

  • SOC 388 Individual Internship

    Units: .5

    Description

    Supervised independent field work. Requires permission of a supervising faculty member and approval by the department chair. No more than 1.5 units of internship in any one department and 3.5 units of internship overall may be counted toward required degree units.

    Prerequisites

    Sociology 211 or 221 with a grade of C- or better.

  • SOC 389 Research Practicum

    Units: .5-1

    Description

    For junior- or senior-level majors. Work closely with professor on research project: design, data collection, data analysis. Requires permission of a supervising faculty member and approval by the department chair.

    Prerequisites

    Sociology 211 or 221 with a grade of C- or better.

  • SOC 401 Capstone Experience

    Units: 1

    Description

    Senior capstone experience to complete sociology major. Builds upon what students have learned about sociology as a discipline: its central themes, theoretical perspectives, research methods, and substantive research findings. Examines various topics and issues that comprise subject matter of sociology and reflects on its major contributions.

    Prerequisites

    Senior standing and Sociology 211 and 221 with a grade of C- or better.

  • SOC 406 Undergraduate Summer Research

    Units: 0

    Description

    Documentation of the work of students who receive summer fellowships to conduct research [or produce a creative arts project] in the summer. The work must take place over a minimum of 8 weeks, the student must engage in the project full-time (at least 40 hours per week) during this period, and the student must be the recipient of a fellowship through the university. Graded S/U.

    Prerequisites

    Approval for summer Arts and Sciences fellowship by faculty mentor

  • SOC 490 Honors Independent Study

    Units: 1

    Description

    Students work one-on-one with faculty advisor in constructing a research design and collecting data for a senior thesis for the Sociology Honors program.

    Prerequisites

    SOC 101, 211, 221 and admission to the Honors program.

  • SOC 491 Sociology Honors Thesis

    Units: 1

    Description

    Student work individually with a faculty advisor in analyzing data and writing up results for a senior thesis for the Sociology Honors program.

    Prerequisites

    SOC 490.