Introduction to Sociology
An introduction to the basic nature of society and the relationship between society
and the individual. This course focuses on how society functions and is organized,
and how society impacts and influences individual motivation, understanding, action,
and well-being. Basic sociological ideas regarding social relations, social interaction,
social structure, and social change are examined. Students are introduced to key issues
addressed by contemporary sociologists; class, race, gender, sexuality, religion,
globalization, education, health care, crime, the media, and the environment. The
knowledge gained in these course will aid students in future studies within a variety
of fields and careers, and encourage the development of critical thinking about important
Current Social Problems in America
A course designed to prepare students to think critically and participate intelligently
in public debates on contemporary social problems. Topics may include the causes and
consequences of structural inequality, institutional and financial crises, sexual
harassment and rape, illicit drug use, racism and hate crimes, unplanned population
growth, terrorism, homelessness, residential and educational segregation, and environmental
Doing Sociology: An Introduction to Social Research
An introduction to basic concepts and tools central to social scientific data analysis,
including: basic forms of presentation (e.g., tables, charts, trendlines, scatterplots);
basic tools of analysis (e.g., cross-tabulations, correlation, regression, statistical
significance); and fundamental concepts of research design (e.g; sampling, causation,
independent and dependent variables). This course provides a foundation for subsequent
courses throughout the Sociology major. It is organized around online exercises addressing
basic issues of sociological interest and teaches students to explore patterns in
data, to conduct analyses, and to interpret findings.
Sociology of Film
The primary goal of this course is to use movies, documentaries, and docudramas to
illuminate sociological phenomena and events in terms of sociological theory, concepts,
and research, and thus help students to understand and apply core sociological concepts
and theories and apply them to a number of movies watched in class and outside of
class. Students will also evaluate movies in terms of the extent to which they uncritically
transmit bias, stereotypes, ideology, and misinformation regarding gender, race ethnicity,
poverty, and important social problems. The films addressed in the course will include
dramas, comedies, foreign films, musicals, contemporary Hollywood films, older films,
classics, foreign films, documentaries, silent films, animated films, and docudramas.
In their analysis and criticism of movies, students will be encouraged to utilize
what C. Wright Mills described as "The Sociological Imagination," to more deeply understand
the relationship between individual well-being and the nature and structure of society.
This course introduces students to systematic methods that organize the research process
and the multiple forms of research that it includes. The course explains the logic
of research design, explores some common forms of data-gathering (such as interviews,
surveys, observation, etc.), and links them to issues of data reporting. The course
provides basic research skills for use to students as either original producers or
critical consumers of social research.
The goal of this course is to enable students to both calculate and interpret statistical
analyses within the context of social science research. The course introduces basic
concepts of statistical analysis, both in theory (lectures) and practice (labs). The
course begins with a discussion of descriptive statistics, including frequency distributions,
graphs, and measures of central tendency and variability. Next, the course examines
relationships between variables and measures of association, including bivariate regression
and correlations. The course concludes with an introduction to inferential statistics,
including t-tests, ANOVA, and chi-square.
Introduction to Sociological Theory
This course provides students with a specific background to a wide variety of perspectives
and theories inherent to sociology as a discipline, and identifies different points
of view that provides multiple interpretations of major global and national social
changes and their impact on social structure, cultures, and social institutions.
Sociology of Gender and Sexuality
Through readings, lectures, discussions, and film, students explore theories and research
on sex and gender differences, gender inequality, and sexuality across societies.
Using a sociological lens, students examine how gender and gender inequality shape,
and are shaped by, a variety of institutions, such as families, schools, and the workplace.
The course also addresses how gender is implicated in cultural definitions of work,
violence, intimacy, sexuality, physical attractiveness, and other social phenomena.
In this course we will take a social scientific approach to critically discuss and
evaluate societal changes and their impact on local environmental conditions as well
as the global ecosystem. We will primarily (but not exclusively) focus on structural
issues in macro-comparative context since these are the professor's areas of expertise.
Environmental sociology is a relatively diverse area that crosses trivial disciplinary
boundaries-it would be impossible to introduce all its key theoretical perspectives
and research agendas in one quarter. Thus, we will address some of the most salient
macro-level human/environment topics in contemporary environmental degradation, contemporary
theories in environmental sociology, systemic causes and social consequences of environmental
disruption, collective responses to environmental disruption, global challenges to
climate change policy, and the effects of globalization on environmental degradation
(e.g. greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, water pollution) and human well being
(malnutrition, hunger, infant mortality). Indeed, we will see that the structural
causes of environmental degradation and human suffering are often not mutually exclusive.
Who are you more likely to be victimized by-a stranger or someone known to you? How
realistic are TV crime shows? These and other questions regarding crime, its context,
and its causes will be answered in this class. Four major areas of criminology are
explored: the history of criminology, theory of crime causation, typologies of crime,
and crime prevention efforts. Specifically, students will be introduced to the nature
and extent of crime, the criminal justice system, various theories explaining why
crime occurs, different types of crimes, and recent efforts to deal with and prevent
Society and the Criminal Mind
Interested in profiling? This course explores the etiology, development, and current
practice of the criminal thinking approach. The course begins with a brief overview
of sociological and criminological theory as it relates to the criminal thinking perspective.
The origin of this approach will be trace through the works of early contributors
to the criminal thinking perspective. Specific criminal thinking patterns and errors
will be discussed. Specific topics covered include: the criminal thinking perspective,
the criminal personality, behavioral thought patterns, psychopathic and sociopathic
behavior, criminal profiling, and crime and the life course.
Terrorism, Violence, and Aggression
As citizens of an increasingly complex and often terrifying world, we live with daily
threats of terrorism, violence, and aggression to greater or lesser degrees. Students
of sociology and criminology have long been concerned with these uneasy topics, and
continue to pursue some understanding of perpetrators, conditions, societal structures,
and political regimes that may encourage such hostility toward one's fellowman. This
course will explore various aspects of these subjects as they relate primarily to
contemporary life and society.
Gangs and Gang Violence in the U.S.
This course will examine the history and development of gang culture in America. From
the beginnings of immigrant gangs in the 1800's to present day gang activity, classified
as "organized crime" by many in law enforcement, we will examine the development of
modern gang activity and violence in contemporary society. We will explore the effects
of race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, and family structure on the growth
affiliation and activity. Sociological theory will used to gain an understanding of
gangs and gang activity historically and in contemporary society.
Population and Society
Not only is the overall world population growing, the composition of the earth's population
is constantly changing. These changes exert powerful influences on society, impacting
the well-being of people in many ways. For example, population growth and population
change influence economic development, the natural environment, health care, and other
important social phenomenon. This creates a need for studying and understanding population
dynamics. This course is devoted to the study of demographic processes, their causes,
and their consequences. We will review population trends across time and across cultures,
learn how to empirically measure changes in the population, and discuss how these
trends impact society, policy, and culture.