The Sociology Program: Courses

Cultural Activism in Latin America
SOC 1030
/ 3 credits / Alternate years (Spring)
What does Latin American hip-hop have to do with social change? How do murga dances in Argentina and Uruguay or “theatre of the oppressed” performances in Brazil challenge “social authoritarianism”? Why are Greenpeace campaigns so successful in raising awareness about the Amazon? Why are carnivals in Oruro, Bolivia, or in Santiago del Estero, Argentina, still so lively and engaging? This course explores the relationship between activism and “culture” in different Latin American countries. Also offered as LST 1030.

Introduction to Sociology
SOC 1500
/ 3 credits / Every semester
An introduction to some basic ideas in sociology and the basic literature of the discipline. Attention is given to the interrelation of sociology and disciplines like psychology and anthropology and its relevance to public policy issues like crime.

Human Sexuality
SOC 2020
/ 3 credits / Fall
An overview of biological, psychological, and sociological approaches to understanding human sexual behavior. Topics include values in sexuality, sexuality through the life span, sexual dysfunction and therapy, sex and disability, sexual preferences, atypical sexualities, and sex and the law. Also offered as GND 2020.

Race and Politics
SOC 2130
Refer to POL 2130 in Political Science Courses for description.

Race and Ethnicity
SOC 2140
/ 3 credits / Spring
An examination of the state of race relations in the United States and other industrialized nations. Topics include racial and ethnic stratification, systems of oppression, mechanisms for integration, pluralism, assimilation, and racial politics.

Culture, Consumption, and the City
SOC 2165
/ 3 credits / Alternate years
An introduction to the development of consumer society and consumer culture, with emphasis on the city as a landscape of consumption. Topics include commodification, materialism, large-scale changes in cities and industries, the street as a site for identity, neighborhoods as contest spaces, and the environmental and social consequences of consumerism. Also offered as ENV 2165.

Sociology of Gender
SOC 2210
/ 3 credits / Alternate years
A cross-cultural examination of social constructions and expressions of gender. Students define gender, examine ideological tensions, and explore the flexibility of gendered systems. Also offered as ANT 2211.

Environmental Sociology
SOC 2255
/ 3 credits / Alternate years
This course brings a sociological perspective to environmental issues, both past and present, by asking: Who is civilized? Who is savage? What is nature? By addressing questions of how human societies, animals, and land have shaped each other, students better understand the root causes and consequences of today’s environmental crisis. Topics include world hunger, water, and environmental equity for all. Also offered as ENV 2255.

Self and Society
SOC 2365
/ 3 credits / Alternate years
Introduces microsociology from a social-interactionist perspective. Concepts covered include self; social construction of reality and the symbolic environments; culture and subculture; and identity, social location, and socialization. The interconnectedness of selves and societies is explored by examining the ways in which (a) social arrangements shape individuals and (b) individuals shape the social order of which they are a part.

Class, Power, Privilege
SOC 2440
/ 3 credits / Alternate years (Fall)
“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” The inequalities in status and class are examined. Literary, philosophical, and sociological works are used to explore the nature and morality of inequality and to provide composite pictures of the different social classes.

Urban Sociology
SOC 2500
/ 3 credits / Alternate years
An introduction to the study of cities in the U.S. and other countries. Using a “social problems” approach, the development of urban communities and the associated issues are explored. Topics include gentrification, poverty, housing, and public transportation. This course is designed to further develop students’ writing ability and capacity for critical thinking, research, and analysis. Also offered as ANT 2500.

America on Film
SOC 2610
Refer to POL 2610 in Political Science Courses for description.

Social Activism, Memory, and Human Rights in Argentina
SOC 2750
/ 4 credits / Summer (offered in Argentina)
Students learn about Argentina’s last dictatorship (1976–1983) and the socioeconomic processes that led to the 2001 crisis and explore the collective process of memory in which Argentineans both remember and forget their recent traumatic past. In the classroom and in daily field trips, students analyze and participate in social movements and cultural organizations struggling for human and citizens’ rights, which emerged during and after the dictatorship. Also offered as LST 2750.

Proseminar in Sociology
SOC 3015
/ 1 credit / Fall
This professional orientation for sociology majors includes sessions with each member of the sociology faculty on such topics as professional presentation and communication skills, preparation for graduate school, and faculty research. Graded on a pass/no credit basis.
Prerequisite: Junior standing or permission of instructor

Birth and Death
SOC 3035
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
An exploration of different sociological renderings of birth and death in contemporary societies. Understanding the concepts from a sociological perspective offers an opportunity to explore the intersections of race, class, gender, spirituality, and age. This course also focuses on recent biomedical technological innovations and their implications for birth and death representations. Students conduct an independent field trip and do extensive reading and writing. Also offered as GND 3035.
Prerequisite: SOC 1500, ANT 1500, or GND 1200

Community Organizing, Action, Service
SOC 3052
/ 4 credits / Alternate years (Spring)
The dynamics of community life and strategies for grassroots activism are explored. Readings include theoretical works and case studies about urban and rural community issues and organizations. Efforts, tactics, and successes are assessed. Coursework includes visits to local community organizations and guest lectures by grassroots leaders. Assignments include direct involvement with a campus or regional change organization.
Prerequisite: SOC 1500

Personal Transformation and Social Change
SOC 3054
/ 4 credits / Alternate years (Fall)
An investigation of the relationship between personal transformation and social change. Students examine theories of social change and read case studies of social movements and works by secular, spiritual, and religious leaders. Students also learn contemplative practices, apply techniques of mindfulness, assess activist efforts, and examine how internal experiences can nurture social activism.
Prerequisite: SOC 1500

Global Social Movements
SOC 3056
/ 4 credits / Alternate years (Spring)
How do groups mobilize to act for social change and against injustice? This course focuses on contemporary movements that emerge within and outside the United States, e.g., in Latin America. Case studies focus on human rights, feminism, environmentalism, landless rural workers, indigenous peoples, and global justice movements, with a particular focus on how these movements emerge, (re)create their identities, and frame injustice. The class analyzes how 21st-century movements are both global and local. Also offered as LST 3056.
Prerequisite: SOC 1500

Sex Radicals in the 19th-Century U.S.
SOC 3115
Refer to HIS 3115 in History Courses (School of Humanities) for description.

Social and Cultural Studies of Food
SOC 3125
/ 4 credits / Alternate years (Spring)
Investigates the meanings, production, distribution, and consumption of food by human beings. Special attention is paid to social solidarity—the racial, ethnic, and gender relations of food preparation and celebration. Social stratification is examined to understand social inequality in relation to food, particularly in terms of labor and hunger.
Prerequisite: SOC 1500, ANT 1500, or GND 1200

Social and Cultural Studies of Food: Italian Gastronomy
SOC 3126
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly, summer, in Italy)
Food—its production, consumption, and representation—is used as a lens to understand politics, culture, sociality, identities, geographies, and economies. Taking the geographical area of Pisciotta, Italy, as a starting point and ultimately as an ethnographic case study, this course engages students in the local and regional landscape. From visits to the local weekly market to field trips to the local mozzarella or olive oil producers, students interpret how food, as a way of life, has shaped the village.
Prerequisite: SOC 1500 or equivalent

Social Entrepreneurship
SOC 3145
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
A theoretical and practical introduction to social entrepreneurship. Students explore the larger political and social context of social entrepreneurship, the possibilities for creating social change through innovation, and how to measure social impact. Students also gain practical experiences through a semester-long project addressing a local social problem. Topics include product design and development, community engagement, and business development. Field trips and group presentations are included.
Prerequisite: SOC 1500 or equivalent

Action/Reflection in Indo-Tibetan Traditions
SOC 3151
Refer to PHI 3151 in Philosophy Courses (School of Humanities) for description.

Sociology of the Body and Embodiment
SOC 3155
/ 4 credits / Alternate years (new in Fall 2013)
Contemporary sociological studies of the body consider how bodies become social entities through membership in communities and how these bodies are valued according to their gender, social class, religion, and racial, ethnic, and national status. This course attends to bodies, engaging with a growing corpus of material on embodiment, embodied experiences, body regulation, bodywork, representations of bodies, and cultural exposures of the body.
Prerequisite: SOC 1500 or ANT 1500, and permission of instructor

Science, Medicine, Culture
SOC 3175
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
How is scientific and medical knowledge researched and developed? What is the relationship between science and medicine? What are the hidden premises or values that lie within different scientific and medical approaches? How is scientific and medical knowledge culturally represented? Additional topics include alternative medicine, epidemiology, and everyday lived experience of medicine and the relation to social inequality.
Prerequisite: SOC 1500 or equivalent

Introduction to Teaching
SOC 3203
/ 4 credits / Fall
What is teaching like? Would you make a good teacher? Designed to familiarize students with the profession of teaching, this course helps students consider whether they want to pursue a teaching career. In addition to addressing the motivation, training, and status of teachers, the course also provides an overview of educational policies and professional organizations. A child-observation component is included.
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor

Social Organizations
SOC 3235
/ 4 credits / Alternate years (Fall)
Focuses on what is meant by organizations, how organizations are shaped by their environment, and how organizations affect societies and individual lives. The World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and schools are among the organizations covered.
Prerequisite: SOC 1500

The Arts for Social Change
SOC 3237
Refer to VIS 3500 in General Visual Arts Courses (School of Art+Design) for description.
Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing

Global Populations, Local Problems
SOC 3255
/ 4 credits / Alternate years (Fall)
What happens when a country that has historically been very homogenous experiences a sudden growth in its immigrant population? Can the earth really sustain seven billion people? Drawing on concepts from social demography and population studies, students explore links between the composition of populations and social trends and problems. Also offered as LST 3255.
Prerequisite: SOC 1500 or equivalent

Critical Disability Studies
SOC 3275
/ 4 credits / Alternate years (Fall)
Sociological perspectives on the historical and cultural construction of disability and accessibility. Includes theory and research on the gap between the everyday experience of disability and public policies that address accessibility. The focus includes race, class, gender, and sexuality issues as well as social movement and advocacy efforts.
Prerequisite: SOC 1500 or equivalent

Science, Technology, and Queer Theory
SOC 3287
Refer to GND 3287 in Gender Studies Courses (Interdisciplinary Studies) for description.

Research Methods
SOC 3405
/ 4 credits / Fall
Students become acquainted with methods that social scientists in general and sociologists in particular use for different types of research. Goals include learning to identify, understand, and evaluate diverse research strategies; distinguish between qualitative and quantitative methods, the types of knowledge they produce, and the strengths and the weaknesses of each; and think critically about objectivity, researcher standpoint, and research ethics.
Prerequisite: Junior standing, and SOC 1500 or equivalent

Religion, Culture, and Society
SOC 3435
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
The role of religious institutions in the modern American social context. Topics include the role of religious influence on other institutions (especially the political), religious styles, new sectarian and revivalist movements, and conflict within the major religious traditions.
Prerequisite: SOC 1500

Conflict Management and Mediation
SOC 3455
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Conflict can signal either a disruption in an organization’s operations or an opportunity for change and growth. This course examines the causes, processes, costs, and benefits of social conflict, and methods for conflict resolution. Using sociological theory and research, the relationship of social issues to organizational and institutional conflict is also addressed. Students are given a broad perspective on making conflict an asset organizationally and interpersonally, including 25 hours of coursework needed for conflict-mediation certification. Provides the foundation for an apprenticeship with a conflict-mediation or dispute-resolution center.
Prerequisite: SOC 1500 or equivalent

To Enjoy Our Freedom: African-American History Since 1865
SOC 3466
Refer to HIS 3466 in History Courses (School of Humanities) for description.

Surveillance, Technology, Society
SOC 3475
/ 4 credits / Alternate years (Fall)
People’s everyday lives are monitored on multiple levels through mechanisms they take for granted. Surveillance systems and technologies provide knowledge about people through identification, monitoring, and analysis of individuals, groups, data, or systems. These systems are examined as social entities that organize and shape cultural values and norms. Issues of identity, security, fear, control, and vulnerability are also explored.
Prerequisite: SOC 1500 or equivalent

Sociology of Education
SOC 3500
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
An examination of the special relationship of education to other American institutions. Topics include the declining support for public education, attempts to privatize public education (vouchers), and race and class issues in public and private education.
Prerequisite: SOC 1500

Society and Public Policy
SOC 3565
/ 4 credits / Alternate years (Fall)
An analysis of public policy processes in the U.S. Students examine who is involved in policy formation and implementation, the tools used by governments to implement public policy, and why some policies are successful and others are not. This course specifically focuses on education, immigration, and welfare policies. Also offered as POL 3565.
Prerequisite: SOC 1500 or equivalent

Communities, Ethnicities, and Exclusion
SOC 3585
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Using the key concept of “boundary,” students explore the intersection of community studies and race/ethnicity studies. While community and race/ethnicity define who belongs within the boundary, they also construct who does not belong, creating social, economic, and political exclusions. Readings draw extensively from work done on immigrants in the U.S.
Prerequisite: SOC 1500 or ANT 1500

Families, Communities, Cultures
SOC 3615
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Focuses on the diversity of families, the challenges they face, their relationship to social institutions and communities, and how they interact with society at large. Students explore how social norms and public policy have benefited or constrained particular familial structures over time and examine how contemporary family formations are shifting normative social structures.
Prerequisite: SOC 1500 or ANT 1500

International Migration Today
SOC 3660
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
An examination of the various causes and consequences of international migration on migrants, their sending communities, and their destination countries. Topics include immigration debates, the social structures and economic and social conditions that facilitate labor migration, undocumented migration, refugee migration and forced migration. New York is an amazing place to explore migration, providing firsthand knowledge about migrant communities.
Prerequisite: SOC 1500 or ANT 1500

Immigration Debated: A Seminar
SOC 3665
Refer to POL 3665 in Political Science Courses for description.

Contemporary Sociological Theory
SOC 3670
/ 4 credits / Alternate years (Fall)
Beginning with the 20th century, this course introduces students to recent trends in social theory, including poststructuralist, feminist, critical race, neo-Marxist, postmodern, phenomenology, and transnationalism theories. Theorists may include Bourdieu, Foucault, Gramsci, Habermas, Hall, Hill Collins, Smith, and Wallerstein.
Prerequisite: SOC 1500 and 3850

Masculinities: Feminist Perspectives
SOC 3705
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Considers experiences and images of men in U.S. society. Recent feminist theory and research concerning men are studied, with attention to the various meanings of masculinity in American culture. This course provides a sociological understanding of gender and society, with attention to race, class, and other aspects of identity that shape men’s lives, including media representations of masculinity. Also offered as GND 3705.
Prerequisite: SOC 1500

Globalization, Culture, Social Change: Latin America
SOC 3725
/ 4 credits / Alternate years (Fall)
A global sociological examination of the contemporary debates and studies concerning the social organization of cultures that transcends national boundaries. This course examines the highly debated concept of globalization by studying transnational social organizations and the distinctive dynamics of global political economy and culture. Topics include colonialism and postcolonialism, social movements and social change, social inequality, labor, human rights, democracy, global capitalism, urbanization, and cultural identity. Also offered as LST 3725.
Prerequisite: SOC 1500 or equivalent

Sexuality and Society
SOC 3755
/ 4 credits / Spring
Sexuality is grounded in bodily experience, but meanings of both body and experience are socially constructed. This advanced seminar examines contemporary sexual constructions and their cultural and historical roots. Also offered as GND 3755.
Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing and either GND 1200, SOC 2020, or ANT 3750

Film and Society
SOC 3840
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Film as depiction and analysis of society. Popular, avant-garde, documentary, and social science genres are examined. The social basis of film production is a major focus.
Prerequisite: SOC 1500

Sociological Theory
SOC 3850
/ 4 credits / Fall
The meaning of theory, and the major theoretical perspectives in social science. Primary attention in reading and discussion is given to the works of Marx, Weber, and Durkheim. These thinkers have been chosen because of their seminal, interdisciplinary contributions to political, economic, sociological, and anthropological theory.
Prerequisite: SOC 1500

Sociology Junior Seminar
SOC 3885
/ 4 credits / Spring
In preparation for the senior project, sociology majors conduct an in-depth critical review of research and learn how to plan and write a research proposal within a particular area of interest. The goal is to develop critical-thinking skills and the ability to do close reading of primary sources and write in the style of the discipline.
Prerequisite: Junior standing and permission of instructor

Internship in Sociology
SOC 3980
/ 4 credits / Every semester
A supervised work experience in both on- and off-campus organizations where sociologists or social psychologists are employed. Organizations for community planning, mental health, legal aid, and local government are included.
Prerequisite: SOC 1500 or equivalent

Seminar in Sociological Issues
SOC 4030
/ 4 credits / Every semester
Offers an in-depth focus on a specific sociological issue, which varies each semester. Includes research, readings, and writings on a topic related to the particular expertise of the faculty member.
Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing, and permission of instructor

Sociology Senior Project
SOC 4990
/ 4 credits (per semester) / Every semester
A year-long project developed in consultation with advisors that usually involves empirical or library research, but may also include practical, applied, photographic, or creative efforts. Students are encouraged to speak with a member of the faculty regarding a possible project in the second semester of their junior year. Must be taken for two semesters (8 credits total).
Prerequisite: SOC 1500, PSY 2320, and SOC 3405

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