Sociology (2020 - 2022)
Courses are open to all interested students, and have no prerequisites unless otherwise specified.
Introduction to Sociological Analysis
Introduction to Sociology
SOC-UA 1 Offered every semester. 4 points.
Survey of the field: its basic concepts, theories, and research orientation. Provides the student with insights into the social factors in human life. Topics include social interaction, socialization, culture, social structure, stratification, political power, deviance, social institutions, and social change.
Methods of Inquiry Cluster
SOC-UA 301 Offered every semester. 4 points.
Studies the relationship between the sociological question addressed and the method employed. Topics: survey design and analysis, unobtrusive measures, historical sociology, interviews, content analysis, and participant observation. Introduction to quantitative data processing.
Statistics for Social Research
SOC-UA 302 Satisfies College Core Curriculum requirement in Quantitative Reasoning. Offered every semester. 4 points.
Introduces students in the social sciences (sociology, anthropology, political science, and metropolitan studies) to the logic and methods of descriptive and inferential statistics. Deals with univariate and bivariate statistics and introduces multivariate methods. Problems of causal inference. Computer analysis.
SOC-UA 111 Offered every semester. 4 points.
Detailed analysis of the writings of major social theorists since the 19th century in both Europe and America. Theorists study may include: Tocqueville, Marx, Durkheim, Weber, Simmel, Freud, Mead, Parsons, Merton, Goffman, Habermas, Giddens, Foucault, Bourdieu, or others.
Law, Deviance, and Criminology Cluster
Law and Society
SOC-UA 413 Identical to LWSOC-UA 1. Offered every year. 4 points.
Sociological perspectives on law and legal institutions: the meaning and complexity of legal issues; the relation between law and social change; the effects of law; uses of law to overcome social disadvantage. Topics: "limits of law," legal disputes and the courts, regulation, comparative legal systems, legal education, organization of legal work, and lawyers' careers.
Deviance and Social Control
SOC-UA 502 Identical to LWSOC-UA 502. Offered every year. 4 points.
How statuses and behaviors come to be considered deviant or normal; theories of causation, deviant cultures, communities, and careers. Functioning of social control agencies. The politics of deviance. Consideration of policy implications.
SOC-UA 503 Identical to LWSOC-UA 503. Offered every year. 4 points.
The making of criminal laws and their enforcement by police, courts, prisons, probation and parole, and other agencies. Criminal behavior systems, theories of crime and delinquency causation, victimization, corporate and governmental crime, and crime in the mass media. Policy questions.
Sex, Gender, and the Family Cluster
Sex and Gender
SOC-UA 21 Offered every year. 4 points.
What forms does gender inequality take, and how can it best be explained? How and why are the relations between women and men changing? What are the most important social, political, and economic consequences of this "gender revolution"? Examines a range of theories about gender in light of empirical findings about women's and men's behavior.
Sex and Love in Modern Society
SOC-UA 23 4 points.
Topics: dating and romantic relationships; relational and casual sex; contraception and unintended pregnancy; heterosexual, gay, lesbian, and bisexual sexualities; cultural attitudes toward sexuality; and changing meanings of marriage. Students engage with research on the topic and learn how social scientists draw conclusions from data analysis.
SOC-UA 451 Offered every year. 4 points.
Topics: What is the relationship between family life and social arrangements outside the family (in the workplace, the economy, the government)? How is the division of labor in the family related to gender, age, class, and ethnic inequality? Why and how have families changed historically? What are the contours of contemporary American families, and why are they changing?
Sexual Diversity in Society
SOC-UA 511 4 points.
Explores the social nature of sexual expression and how one arrives at erotic object choice and identity. Past and contemporary explanations for sexual variation. Heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, transvestism, transgenderism, incest, sadomasochism, rape, prostitution, and pornography. Origin of sexual norms and prejudices. Lifestyles in the social worlds of sexual minorities. Problems of sexual minorities in such institutions as religion, marriage, polity, economy, military, prison, and law.
Groups and Inequalities Cluster
SOC-UA 131 4 points.
Social life in its different forms, from the delicate equilibrium of triadic relation to the chaotic dynamic of a crowd, emerges from the interdependent behavior of multiple actors. Studying the web of relationships in which individuals and groups are embedded leads to understanding of important collective dynamics (such as interpersonal influence, social diffusion, the origin of social norms, group cohesion and intergroup conflict, political participation, and market exchange).
Race and Ethnicity
SOC-UA 135 Offered every year. 4 points.
The social meaning of the concept "race." Theories on sources of prejudice and discrimination. Considers the changing place of minority groups in the stratification structure, cultural patterns of various minority groups, acculturation and assimilation, social consequences of prejudice, and theories and techniques relating to the decline of prejudice and discrimination.
Blacks in American Society
SOC-UA 136 4 points.
Topics include: why economic and political progress for African Americans seems to coincide with certain historical events (such as war); how African Americans found a way to resist over 300 years of racial oppression to demand rights collectively; and how early patterns of economic, social, and political inequality contribute to contemporary patterns of inequality in wealth and access to power and privilege.
Wealth, Power, Status: Inequality in Society
SOC-UA 137 4 points.
Topics include: concepts, theories, and measures of inequality; race, gender, and other caste systems; social mobility and social change; institutional supports for stratification, including family, schooling, and work; political power and the role of elites; and comparative patterns of inequality, including capitalist, socialist, and postsocialist societies.
SOC-UA 452 Offered every two years. 4 points.
Provides an introduction to contemporary immigration to the United States, rooted in socio-behavioral science and placed in the context of immigration since the start of the Republic. Reviews U.S. law and policy governing immigration, and then examines the characteristics and behavior of foreign-born--especially immigrant--persons in the United States.
Political and Economic Sociology Cluster
Social Policy in Modern Societies
SOC-UA 313 4 points.
Controversies and research concerning the development of welfare states and public social provision. Special attention to the U.S. public social spending system in historical and comparative perspective. Developments in social policies and an assessment of their applicability to the American welfare state and those of other societies.
Economy and Society
SOC-UA 384 4 points.
Sociological perspectives on economic behavior. How economic concepts are socially constructed and culturally and historically specific. Difficult questions: Can we negotiate and purchase intimacy, love, or friendship? What is the relationship between money and morality?
American Capitalism in Theory and Practice
SOC-UA 386 Offered every year. 4 points.
How capitalist democracy affects the distribution of goods, rights, and powers. Asks whether capitalist markets are efficient and whether market outcomes serve the ends of democracy and justice. Explores how efficiency can conflict with justice and how just institutions can in turn have a beneficial impact on efficiency.
Capitalism and Democracy
SOC-UA 388 Offered every year. 4 points.
Is there a deep mutuality between capitalism and liberal democracy, or are market institutions and their effects corrosive to the culture and the practice of democratic politics? We assess arguments on both sides and examine both the historical record of the capitalism-democracy relationship and its current dynamics.
Politics, Power, and Society
SOC-UA 471 4 points.
Topics include: the iron law of oligarchy, theoretical and empirical considerations of democracy, totalitarianism, mass society theories, voting and political participation, the political and social dynamics of advanced and developing societies, and the political role of intellectuals.
Terrorism and Political Violence in the Modern World
SOC-UA 474 Offered every two years. 4 points.
How and for what purposes has the idea of “terrorism” been conceptualized and used by politicians, journalists, and scholars? How have scholars attempted to explain terrorism and political violence? Are terrorism and other forms of political violence ever justified? Does terrorism or violence actually work? To answer these questions, we will examine a wide range of historical cases of terrorism and political violence in the modern world.
Education, Art, Religion, Culture, and Science Cluster
Sociology of Medicine
SOC-UA 414 Offered every two years. 4 points.
Why do health and illness vary by class and race? Do early life experiences affect one's chances of being ill as an adult? How large a role does health care play in influencing health disparities? How has the profession of medicine changed over time? How can we improve the quality of health care that hospitals provide? Utilizes a case-based approach.
Education and Society
SOC-UA 415 4 points.
Considers such educational ideas as IQ, merit, curriculum, tracking, and learning, as well as the bureaucratic organization of education. Analyzes the role of teachers, their expectations, and how they interact with students (particularly those of different social genders, classes, and ethnic groups).
Sociology of Culture
SOC-UA 431 4 points.
What is culture? Ideas floating in our head? Ways of acting? Where do cultures come from? How do they affect our world? Topics: the role of power relations in culture, as well as the possibility for creativity and ways of challenging power; how cultural industries are organized; and how sub-cultures provide alternative ways for people to imagine their world.
Religion and Society
SOC-UA 432 4 points.
Examines the relationship between religion and society, not the ultimate truth of any particular religion or religion in general. What is religion? How is it related to other institutions in society, like science and politics? Is terrorism a natural result of some religions? What do people gain from being religious? How do religions change over time?
Sociology of Music, Art, and Literature
SOC-UA 433 4 points.
Production, distribution, and consumption of music, art, and literature in their social contexts.
Urban Communities, Population, and Ecology Cluster
The American Ghetto
SOC-UA 139 4 points.
Psychological, social, ecological, and political/economic approaches to: evolving forms of urban inequality; the contested meaning of localism; production and consumption of urban culture; immigration; segregation and ghettoization; suburbanization, fragmentation, and sprawl; environmental injustice; insecurity related to disasters and perceived health crises; and unchecked metropolitan growth.
The Social Challenges of Climate Change
SOC-UA 454 Offered every two years. 4 points.
Core themes: communication and cognition, cultural values and material consumption, politics and persuasion, mitigation and adaptation, economics and social justice, power and social movements, and the possibility of creating new, more sustainable ways of living on earth. Examines Superstorm Sandy and its aftermath, focusing on how to rebuild a more resilient city and region in anticipation of more extreme weather events.
Cities, Communities, and Urban Life
SOC-UA 460 Identical to SCA-UA 760. 4 points.
Historical development of American cities and ongoing processes of urban community life. Are cities sites of individual opportunity and rich communal life, or sources of individual pathology and community decline? What social, economic, and political factors promote one outcome or the other? How do different groups fare in the urban context, and why?
Advanced Seminar Cluster
Advanced Seminars in Sociology
SOC-UA 934 to SOC-UA 939 Prerequisite: junior or senior standing or written permission of the instructor. 4 points.
The Department of Sociology offers advanced seminars each semester. Recent seminar topics have included American families in transition; gender, politics, and law; the welfare state; the sociology of childhood; human nature and social institutions; and explaining September 11th. Please consult the department for a current listing.
Senior Thesis Course Cluster
Research Capstone Seminar
SOC-UA 940, 941 Required for all majors not taking the Senior Honors Research Seminar. Prerequisite: Research Methods (SOC-UA 301). Offered every semester. 4 points.
A one-semester seminar to develop an independent research project, conduct original research, and prepare a research paper summarizing the results.
Senior Honors Research Seminar
SOC-UA 950, 951 Prerequisite: Research Methods (SOC-UA 301). Required for all honors students. Offered in fall and spring respectively. 4 points per term.
Year-long seminar that provides support for honors students in researching, designing, and completing substantial thesis projects.
Topics Course Cluster
Topics in Sociology
SOC-UA 970, 971 4 points.
Topics vary. Please consult the department for current content.
SOC-UA 997, 998 Prerequisite: permission of the department. 2 or 4 points per term.
Intensive research under the supervision of a department faculty member. Students participating in an internship may petition the Department of Sociology to receive independent study credit; please refer to the petition guidelines on the "independent study/internship information" page at the department's website.
Graduate Courses Open to Undergraduates
Under special circumstances, courses offered in the sociology graduate program are open to qualified sociology majors with the permission of the instructor. These can substitute for required sociology elective courses for majors or minors.