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School of Natural and Social Sciences

The Sociology BA Program | Academic Requirements & Concentrations | Student Learning Outcomes | Minor in Sociology | Courses | Faculty

The Sociology Program: Courses

1000–1999 (lower level, freshman)
2000–2999 (lower level, sophomore)
3000–3999 (upper level, junior)
4000–4999 (upper level, senior)


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 domurga 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.

Introduction to Sociology
SOC 1500
/ 3 credits / Every semester
An introduction to sociological thinking and to key concepts in sociology. Attention is given to social life, inequality, movements, action, change, institutions, and contemporary social issues.


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.

Art and Outsiderness
SOC 2105
/ 3 credits / Alternate years
Students explore the social construction of the genre of outsider art through an examination of institutional discourses and practices. Emphasis is placed on how the work of marginalized people comes to be viewed as artistically legitimate. Works of asylum art, folk art, prison art, and other genres are analyzed in relationship to creativity, local cultural tradition, and mental illness.

Race and Politics
POL 2130
Refer to 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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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Feminism, Art, and Performance
SOC 3005
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
An examination of the impact of feminist thinking on the visual and performing arts. Emphasis is placed on the historical absence of women in art worlds and the creation of work that critiques dominant modes of cultural production. A plurality of feminisms and attention to the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality inform investigations of craft, performance, and collaboration.

Proseminar in Sociology I and II
SOC 3015
and 3016 / 1 credit (per semester) / I: Fall; II: Spring
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.

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.
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.
Prerequisite: SOC 1500

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

Riot Grrls and Radical Women
MSA 3120
Refer to Media, Society, and the Arts Courses (School of Film and Media Studies) for description.

Social and Cultural Studies of Food
SOC 3125
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
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

Outsider Art
MSA 3150
Refer to Media, Society, and the Arts Courses (School of Film and Media Studies) for description.

Sociology of the Body and Embodiment
SOC 3155
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
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

Images in the Social World
SOC 3225
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Explores the visual dimensions of social life. Using photographs and video, students collect visual data that examines sociological issues such as race, gender, and power. Students also learn how to critically analyze culturally available images, applying theories and visual research methods aimed at understanding the place and force of images in contemporary life.
Prerequisite: SOC 1500

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

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.
Prerequisite: SOC 1500 or equivalent

Urban Ecology and Animal Studies
SOC 3265
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Students and faculty, humans and animals, subjects and objects collaborate in this rigorous seminar on the “animal problem,” as it is particularly important to urban environments and urban dwellers (human and nonhuman animals). What are nonhuman animals? How do people account for their animal nature while reconciling their cultural aspirations? What are human primary desires with respect to nonhuman animals?
Prerequisite: SOC 1500

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 and Technology Studies
SOC 3287
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Examines the “meeting” of scholarship in science and technology studies and queer theory. Topics include social constructionist approaches; the reception of queer theory in the social sciences; feminist critiques of scientific methods; the role of language in science; the scientific construction of bodies and identities, differences, communities, and boundaries; sexual morality and social control; and science, medicine, and the production of sexual subjects.
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor

Social Movements, Action, Advocacy
SOC 3365
/ 4 credits / Alternate years (Spring)
Forms of social movement, action, and advocacy, which are critical to social transformation and social justice, are examined. Essential components, such as fundraising, training, publicity, and movement building, are included, along with coverage of effective forms of social activism and advocacy. The course integrates theory and research with practical applications.
Prerequisite: SOC 1500

Global Inequalities
SOC 3375
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Examines economic inequality and social stratification in global perspective. Sample topics include the egalitarian welfare states of Northern Europe, shantytowns with ultra-luxury high-rises in the mega-cities of Brazil and China, and the effects of social policy on the marginalization of ethnic and racial groups.
Prerequisite: SOC 1500

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
HIS 3466
Refer to 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

Art Worlds and Their Discontents
SOC 3495
/ 4 credits / Alternate years (Fall)
Students explore the relationship between art and society through an investigation of cultural objects and practices, and within the context of individual and collective identity. Emphasis is placed on the social production, consumption, and distribution of art, the role of art institutions, and the relationship between art and social change.

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

The Arts for Social Change
VIS 3500
Refer to General Visual Arts Courses (School of Art+Design) for description.

Education Across Cultures
SOC 3515
/ 4 credits / Every semester
Incorporates service learning and examines immigration and the U.S. school system. Combining hands-on work within local schools with academic readings that address children of immigrants in schools, this course emphasizes applied sociology. Throughout the course, students analyze how school structures, peer networks, relationships with teachers, and familial interactions influence the incorporation and educational trajectories of first- and second-generation immigrants.
Prerequisite: SOC 1500

Making Community: Art and Urban Renewal
VIS 3550
Refer to General Visual Arts Courses (School of Art+Design) for description.

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.
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

Public Health: Selected Topics
SOC 3595
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Public health has the goal of preventing disease, prolonging life, and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society. This course focuses on a specific public health topic that might unexpectedly become significant or an interdisciplinary topic that integrates sociological considerations in relation to the goals of public health (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease, abortion, synthetic biology, DNA testing).
Prerequisite: SOC 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

Sex, Drugs, and Gray Hair
SOC 3625
/ 4 credits / Alternate years (Spring)
Examines the ways in which age is socially constructed, and how social factors influence how bodies develop over time and shape our social order. Studies include various ideologies and inequalities related to aging.
Prerequisite: SOC 1500

Sociology of Childhood
SOC 3655
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Considers the ways in which children and childhood differ across cultures, what those cultural differences mean, and what childhood means in a larger developmental and cultural sense. Among other topics, students examine children as active social agents, independent of families, and incorporate ideas around children as products, childhood innocence, and children in need of protection.
Prerequisite: SOC 1500

Border Wars and Transnational Human Rights
SOC 3661
/ 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
POL 3665
Refer to 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.
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.
Prerequisite: SOC 1500 or equivalent

Sexualities 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.
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 3995
/ 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

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Critical Race Theory
SOC 4025
/ 4 credits / Alternate years (Spring)
An advanced seminar in critical race studies specifically designed for juniors and seniors interested in reading theory, history, and research. Focuses on key works that have defined the field and shaped understandings of race in the 21st century, including those of Du Bois, Wacquant, Fanon, hooks, Crenshaw, Davis, Hall, and Said.
Prerequisite: SOC 1500

Seminar in Sociological Issues
SOC 4030
/ 4 credits / Every year
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

Senior Project I and II
SPJ 4990
and 4991 / 4 credits (per semester) / Every year
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

Updated May 3, 2016

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