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Course Descriptions

The list below includes descriptions of all undergraduate courses offered by the Department of Sociology, though some courses may be taught more often than others.

Visit the undergraduate page for course requirements for specific programs. For up-to-date information on course offerings, schedules, room locations and registration, please visit the Student Information System (SIS).

SOC 001 Introduction to Sociology: The Scientific Study of Society. Introduction to the systematic and scientific study of human social behavior. Topics include how history and social structure shape individuals’ daily interactions and experiences in the world, how individuals co-create social categories and cultural meanings together through interaction, and how human behavior varies across large and small groups. How societies maintain social control, set up stratification systems based on class, race, and gender, and regulate daily life through institutions such as families, schools, politics, and labor markets.

SOC 006 Asian Americans in Contemporary Society. Sociological analysis of race, ethnicity, racism, immigration, and collective struggles of Asian Americans, frequently overlooked and implicitly posed as a group of people unscathed by discrimination. Negotiation of intra-group identities and mutual resistance, historically and today, to mistreatment through structural and micro-level approaches.

SOC 010 American Society. (Cross-listed w/ CVS 25) Sociological perspectives and social policy implications of current issues, such as poverty, education, mental health, crime, environmental pollution, and corporations. Analysis of selected social, political, economic, and legal institutions. Recent trends in American society.

SOC 011 Sociology of Race and Ethnicity. (Cross-listed as AFR 11 & CVS 23) Sociological perspectives on the history, structure and culture of race and racial stratification in the U.S. Exploration of the relationship between European colonization, slavery, racial capitalism and present day inequality. Patterns of immigrant incorporation into existing black-white colorline, social mobility and its implications for democracy are covered. Special focus on opposition to white racial domination such as the Civil Rights, Black-Power and Black Lives Matter Movements, and recent public policy debates and enactments.

SOC 012 Sports Sociology. Examines the world of sports and athletes through a sociological lens. Identification and exploration of social meanings through the world of sport - both how society and culture shapes sport and vice versa - through writing, popular media, and personal experiences and observations.

SOC 020 The Ties that Bind: Families, Romance & Intimacy. Understanding the contemporary American family, defined broadly as those with whom one shares resources and values and to whom one has a long-term commitment. Topics include historical and cross-cultural variations, dating and romantic love, cohabitation and marriage, parenting, family roles of men and women, divorce and family stability, and the future of the family.

SOC 023 Self And Society. Introduction to sociological contributions to social psychology, especially how social structure and culture shape personality. Topics include human nature and socialization, interaction and identity, attitudes and public opinion, social conflict and power, social perception, patterns of social bonds, sex differences, structure and dynamics of small groups, networks and organizations, collective behavior. Lectures emphasize recent empirical studies.

SOC 030 Gender and Society. (Cross-listed w/ WGSS 40 and CVS 30) Examination of gender and its prevalence in social life. Topics include the relationships between gender, sex and power relations; and how perceptions of gender change over time and help shape life opportunities and outcomes, and gender functions as a social construction. Consideration of gender expression through configurations of femininity and masculinity, and co-construction with race, sexuality, social class, ability, nation, and other lines of difference. Case studies may include the nature vs. nurture debate; gender and institutions, including families, schools, and religion; how gender shapes the nation state; masculinity; and feminist politics.

SOC 034 Disease, History and Society. (Cross-listed w/ HIST 38 & STS 34) Social history of disease outbreaks, from the 18th century to the present: why societies are often unprepared to cope with them, how and why governments and populations respond as they do. Examines social fault lines that disease tends to follow and exacerbate. Situates local outbreaks in comparative-historical and global context, tracing changes in scientific knowledge, as well as measures to contain the “same” disease in different times and nations. Introduction to research methods including archival research; locating and analyzing primary sources such as diaries, letters and government documents; and oral histories.

SOC 040 Media, Culture, and Society. (Cross-listed with FMS 43) Focuses on the relationship between media, culture, and power in society. Examination of the complex interactions between media technologies, cultural goods, those who create them, those who consume them, and the social context in which these relationships are embedded. Students use a sociological lens as they explore the role that media users, texts, and industries play in maintaining/reproducing as well as in resisting/eroding existing social inequalities. Topics relate to the United States and may include the relationship between production and content, influencers, digital harassment, struggles over visibility and representation, consumer culture, the political information landscape, and cultural stratification and taste.

SOC 050 Globalization and Social Change. Review of progress and social problems associated with the development of globalization. Alternative interpretations of the core features of the world system. Exploration of specific issues including distribution of economic and political power, role of multinational businesses, movement of peoples, cultural flows, intersection of global and local, the negative features of globalization, global cities, "anti-global" social movements, and different models for reform.

SOC 060 Social Inequalities/Social Justice. (Cross-listed as PJS 130) Inequalities of class, race, and gender and intersections among them. Mainly U.S. with attention to global context. Unequal distribution of income, wealth, power, and status. Social mobility. Public policy and other efforts to address inequalities and seek social justice.

SOC 070 Immigration, Race, and American Society. (Cross-listed w/ AMER 30, AFR 70, & CVS 27) The United States as a lens for understanding the movement of people across nation-state boundaries and their settlement in various receiving societies. Why people migrate across international borders; ability of the nation-state to control migration flows; assimilation and incorporation of foreign outsiders into American social life; ways that migrants build and sustain lives across international borders; and challenges to two traditional types of membership: race and ethnicity, and citizenship and national belonging.

SOC 072 Sociology of Latinxs. Overview of the diverse social, economic, political, and cultural histories of individuals who are now commonly identified as “Hispanics/Latinos” in the United States. Exposure to the political and historical development of the Hispanic/Latino panethnic category and group in the late 20th century, including tension between racialized and immigrant histories. Attention to the range of variables  (such as nationality, nativity, generation, class, skin tone, gender) that create diversity within the group. Analysis of Latinxs' experiences across key social institutions – particularly schools, neighborhoods, the labor market, media, the immigration and criminal justice systems, and the American racial hierarchy. Look forward to ways that Hispanic/Latino category may now be moving outside the U.S.

SOC 075 Sociology of Violence. (Cross-listed w/ CVS 22) Causes and consequences of different types of violence and hate, from individual acts of aggression to large-scale episodes of inter-group conflict. Topics may include serial and mass murder, gendered violence, workplace violence, hate crimes and prejudice, juvenile violence, gun violence, and school violence.

SOC 080 (Mis)Information and Democracy. Examination of the troubled information landscape in the US. Role of political polarization, proliferation of media sources, and new communication technologies that increase the speed and scale of misinformation. Interactive course that combines academic research, related writings from NGOs and think tanks, major newspapers, and students’ own curated information to analyze the sources and targets of misinformation. Examination of the social contexts in which misinformation thrives, its consequences, and questions of responsibility and regulation. Role of individuals and institutions in the goal of revitalizing our political culture.

SOC 085 Deviance and Conformity. Foundational theories and methods in the study of deviance. Social construction of deviant categories. Role of social power and social order. Consequences of the deviant label and deviance of the powerful. Development of deviant identity and stigma management. Efforts to contest and transform deviant categories.

Soc 094-9 Sociology of Emotions. Film constitutes what Talcott Parsons has termed an “expressive symbol system. That is to say, it is a symbol system in which the expressive orientation is dominant... and directed towards something.” This course will foster the capacity to analyze cinema sociologically by pairing carefully selected films that address central sociological issues such as class, gender, sex, sexuality, race, ethnicity, deviance, urban life, and immigration with topical scholarship in sociology and film. We often watch movies for entertainment, paying little attention to the sociological aspects of movies. Yet, cinema influences and is shaped by ideology, social structure, norms, and social relations. And the film industry reveals the tensions between the drive to profit, make art, send a message, influence the audience, and establish power. The course delves into the way films have reproduced and challenged social conventions by contextualizing current sociological developments in cinema. We will cover topics such as feminism; masculinity in crisis; trans bodies and the horror genre; urban poverty, race, and policing; and immigration and identity in global perspective. This course will enhance students’ understanding of culture, media, and sociology by examining classical, contemporary, independent, and foreign films and related scholarship. No prerequisites.

Soc 094-10 Fashion and Society.  The course explores key institutes of fashion such as haute couture houses, magazines, fashion weeks, influencers and street fashion bloggers, clothing manufacturers, and fashion consumers as part of society. In order to do that course brings together recent empirical cases from the fashion industry as Met Gala events, the rise of Balenciaga and Vetements under Gvasalia's directorship. representation of fashion in film (Cruella, Devil wears Prada), and classical theories and novel research in fashion studies. One of the course goals is dewesternization of knowledge about the fashion and clothing industry, as well as giving more visibility to less ‘glamorous’ sides of fashion production as low paid labor, including historical example of sweatshops and contemporary maquiladoras.   

Soc 0094-35: Sociology Of Asian Americans. (Cross-listed w/ AAST 094-01) This course places Asian Americans at the center of sociological analysis of race, ethnicity, racism, immigration, and collective struggle. Sociological investigations of race, ethnicity and inequality have frequently overlooked Asian Americans and thus implicitly posed them as a group of people unscathed by discrimination. To correct this error, we will employ structural and micro level approaches that unpack how Asian Americans, historically and today, have negotiated a diverse set of intra-group identities and contested the mistreatment to which they have been subjected. No prerequisites

SOC 099 Internship. Opportunity for students to apply a body of sociological knowledge in a practical setting, including community-based, profit or nonprofit, governmental, or other sites. Individual faculty sponsor internships in their areas of expertise. Students must have an on-site supervisor, and complete a piece of meaningful scholarly work related to the internship area. Please see departmental website for specific details.

Recommendations: SOC 1 or 10, plus one additional course in sociology related to internship area. To be arranged by individual members of the department.

SOC 100 Research Design & Interpretation. Sociological research process:  introduction to common methods, crafting sociological questions and designing research to answer them. Methods include surveys, experiments, field work, in-depth interviewing, and secondary analysis of existing data. Applying evolving knowledge base to the interpretation and critical assessment of recent journal articles to become skilled consumers of sociological research.

Recommendation: Sophomore standing.

SOC 101 Quantitative Research Methods. Data analysis and statistics for the social sciences. Sampling, describing data, and logic of inference, especially with surveys. Introduction to microcomputer tools for analysis and graphic display. Answering research questions through individual or group projects.

Recommendations:  One introductory social science course.

SOC 102 Qualitative Research Methods. Epistemological foundations of qualitative methods and related ethical issues. Research project, including formulation of a researchable sociological question, review of sociological literature, identification of a research site, conduct of systematic observations, taking and coding of field notes, qualitative interviews, analysis of data, drawing of conclusions, and development of a sociological argument.

Recommendations: Two Sociology courses.

SOC 103 Sociological Theory. (Cross-listed w/ CVS 112) Introduction to major classical and contemporary theories of society and human behavior.

SOC 104 Education, Diversity, and Justice. (Cross-listed w/ ED 171) Core ideas in the sociology of education. Focus on the role of education in reducing or exacerbating social inequality. Topics include persistence of racial and ethnic inequality in education, the role of education in social change, the cultural role of schools in shaping world view, and the influence of youth cultures and identities on student behaviors and achievement. Consideration of reform movements in education and their contribution to broader social change. 

SOC 105 Popular Culture, Politics, and Pedagogy. Social role of culture in the shaping of individual behavior. Controversies surrounding the definition and impact of cultural explanations of social outcomes ranging from Asian Americans’ academic achievement to the dearth of women in leadership positions. Theories and critiques of “the culture of poverty.” Examination of particular subcultures. Contrasts between cultural and institutional explanations for racial discrimination and other forms of inequality.

SOC 106 Political Sociology. (Cross-listed w/ CVS 180) Sociological theories of distribution of power in the United States. Sources of institutionalized power, especially economic, military, organizational, and cultural. Relationship between state and society, influence of popular forces such as social movements, the emergence of the surveillance society, and impact of inequality on the overall distribution of power. Role of gender, the influence of emotions on political life, and examination of the body as a site of power.

SOC 108 Epidemics: Plagues, Peoples, and Politics. (Cross-listed w/ CH 108 and STS 108) Origins and evolution of epidemics, rooted in biology, social organization, culture, and political economy. Societies' efforts to contain diseases with a global reach, their effects on world history, their record in literature and art. Cases from early plagues (syphilis, smallpox, bubonic plague), the recurrent threats of influenza, malaria, and tuberculosis, 19th century famines and cholera, to AIDS, emergent diseases like SARS, Ebola and the "epidemics" of globalization spawned by changes in work, living conditions, and the environment.

SOC 110 Latin American Society. Examines how sociological dynamics related to race, class, gender, and sexuality impact the lived experiences of people across contemporary Latin America. Considers themes within the broader historical, economic, and political situation. Explores the impact of colonial legacies in current social issues; uneven powers relations produced by race, class, gender and sexuality; forms of resistance employed by marginalized populations to survive or subvert forces of domination, as well as other topics.

Prerequisites: Sophomore standing and one social science course or permission of instructor. Recommendations: One sociology course.

SOC 111 Making Social Change Happen. (Cross-listed w/ PJS 111).   Social change and social justice work often begins at the local level. Historic struggles of workers, racial-ethnic groups, women, immigrants, low income people, and others started in local communities. This course focuses on theories and practices of community-based activism and local grassroots organizing. Why and how do people organize? What are the limits and potential of grassroots organizing? How do grassroots efforts connect to larger social change and to politics?

SOC 112 Criminology. Sociological findings and perspectives on crime and the processing of criminal offenders. Problems of definition and statistical assessment, public reaction to crime, theories of causation, penal institutions, and treatment programs. Examination of white-collar crime, organized crime, and professional theft.

Recommendations: Sophomore standing or one Sociology course.

SOC 113 Urban Sociology. Sociology Cities as global phenomena, studied with classic texts on U.S. urban social life and transnational comparisons. Analysis of economic globalization, redevelopment, and landscape formation in cities.  Case studies of local politics and planning, socioeconomic inequality, urban cultural change, and citizenship struggles.

Recommendations: SOC 1 or 10 or consent.

SOC 114 Environmental Sociology. (Cross-listed w/ ENV 114 and CVS 124) Analysis of environmental problems from a sociological perspective. Theories of the relationship between human societies and their natural environments. Topics may include the social origins and effects of environmental decline and destabilization; environmental justice and inequalities; environmental movements, culture, and politics; and the relationship between environmental expertise and public attitudes. Critical evaluation of proposals to address climate change and related environmental crises.

Recommendations: one sociology course, or ENV1, or sophomore standing.

SOC 120 Sociology of War and Peace. (Cross-listed w/PJS 120 and CVS 127) Dynamics of war and peace. Theoretical perspectives on the cold war and the nature of post-cold war armed conflicts. The process of constructing enemy images. Recovery and reconciliation following violence. Feminist perspectives on war, military training, and peace. Impact of peace movements, especially at the end of the cold war. Movements to ban land mines and abolish nuclear weapons. Debate over the meaning of national and global security.

Recommendations:  One sociology course, or PJS 1, or junior standing.

SOC 121 Law and Society. Examines the connections and relationships between law and the social world using an interdisciplinary approach to understand the lived experience of law. Topics include legal institutions and the legal profession; law and social control; and law’s role in promoting or hindering social change.

SOC 122 Race and the Criminal Justice System. (Cross-listed w/ CVS 122) Foundational concepts in the study of race, crime, and justice. Social construction and measurement of race and crime. Historical evolution of institutions of racial social control and rise of mass incarceration. Current practices in policing, courts, and punishment. Efforts to reform and transform the criminal justice system.

Prerequisites: Sophomore standing and one sociology course, or permission of instructor.

SOC 125 Social Organization Of Sexual Behavior. No description at this time.

Recommendations:  Junior standing and two sociology or psychology courses.

SOC 135 Social Movements. (Cross-listed w/ CVS 171) Social circumstances under which organized efforts by powerless groups of people to affect history are attempted, motivations for such efforts, processes by which such efforts are implemented and controlled, and the impact such efforts have on society. Major sociological perspectives on social movements. Selected use of films to illustrate major themes.

Recommendations:  SOC 1 or 10 or other introductory-level social science course.

SOC 141 Medical Sociology. Sociopolitical context within which health, illness, and medical care are defined. Training and role delineation of health workers. Benefits and liabilities of becoming a patient. Social control implications of increasing medical intervention. Analysis of medical transactions in the examining room. Economic and organizational structure of the health-care delivery system.

Recommendations: Sophomore standing.

SOC 145 Social Policy In America. Introduction to social policy in the United States as a "top-down" agent of social change in the realms of class, race, gender, and immigration. How social policy is created and implemented, and its effects on poverty and racial inequality; the well-being of families and children; and immigration and citizenship. Consideration of the relationships among academic research, politics, and the policymaking process.

SOC 149 Selected Topics In Sociology. Social organization of selected institutions and/or analysis of current issues. Please see Department website for detailed information.

SOC 180 Seminar on Intimate Violence. (Cross-listed w/ CVS 160) Examines intimate violence as a product of and contributor to broader structures of inequality. Focuses on causes, forms, and costs of abuse committed in the context of intimate relationships in the US and globally. Considers the influence of the media, economics, segregation, politics, gender, race, nationality, and history on intimate violence. Prerequisites: Junior standing and declared major in sociology or permission of instructor.

SOC 181 Body, Culture & Society. How the body influences our understanding of the social world, the ways we interact with others, and self-perception. Examination of the body as a product of complex social arrangements and processes. Topics may include how bodies are regulated by social forces; how individuals use bodily knowledge to understand the social world; and whether a “right” body exists. Prerequisites: Two sociology courses or instructor permission.

SOC 182 Seminar: Comparative Social Inequality. Examines the existing research about the production and reproduction of social inequality in a variety of contexts. Roles of macro-level processes (e.g. political economy and the welfare state) and meso-level (e.g. economic organizations) in explaining social inequality in comparative perspective. Manifestations of social inequality, including employment discrimination on the basis of race, gender, parental status, immigrant status/nativity, and employment histories; the links between globalization and inequality; the role of social origins; and the role of neighborhood contexts in limiting economic opportunities.

Prerequisites: Junior or senior standing.

SOC 183 Theories and Practices of Justice. Comparative survey of approaches to justice. Analysis of the impacts of state use of punitive justice. Exploration of community-led practices of accountability, healing, and repair. Interdisciplinary perspectives on experiences of justice and injustice at structural, institutional, interactional, and embodied levels. Prerequisites: Two sociology courses.

SOC 184 US Meritocracy: Myth or Reality? Sociological exploration of meritocracy, a system in which individuals are rewarded for their merits. Topics include how selection systems distinguish applicants, how ideas about merit have changed over time, and beliefs about equal opportunity. Consideration of access and inclusion, especially related to race and class, in systems of meritocracy. Prerequisites: Junior standing or instructor permission.

Recommendations: Two sociology courses.

SOC 185 Digital Dystopias: Hate and Extremism Online. (Cross-listed w/ FMS 161) Exploration of topics related to digital hate (e.g., digital harassment, extremist propaganda, de-platforming, technologically-facilitated violence, content moderation). Examines the complex balance between freedom of speech, civil rights, democratic vitality, and personal safety. Focus on digital experiences of those from historically marginalized groups.

Recommendations:  Junior standing, SOC 40, or permission of instructor.

SOC 186 Seminar: International Health Policy. (Cross-listed w/ CH 186.) Health-related dilemmas faced by nations in a global era. How political economy, social structure, international organizations, and cultural practices regarding health, disease and illness affect policy responses. Focus on health threats perceived to cross borders in products (eg. beef and blood) and bodies (migrants and travelers).

SOC 187 Unmasking Masculinities. Defining masculinity through examination of historical and contemporary definitions of "manliness" and “manhood”. How masculinity has (and has not) changed over time and how masculinity interfaces with other systems of identity and power. Case studies may include the American presidency, childhood, schools, extremism and violence, style and embodiment, and trans and queer masculinities.

SOC 188 Sociology of Food. Food through the lenses of identity, meaning, community, and power. How food nourishes and harms people, their bodies and minds, their communities, and the larger world. Topics may include the strange careers of common food products (e.g., white bread, coffee, fast food), food and media, cultural food traditions, and sites of struggle (fair trade, food sovereignty, carcerality). Examination of personal relationships to food.

SOC 188-1 Seminar In Current Sociology: Anti-environmentalism in America. Contemporary problems in selected areas of sociology. Topics will be determined by the instructor in consultation with student members of the seminar. Emphasis on group discussion and student reports. Recommendations:  Junior standing, at least two previous courses in sociology, and permission of instructor

SOC 189 W.E.B. and the Souls of Sociology. W. E. B. Du Bois's extraordinary universe of thought as a sociologist, historian, novelist, propagandist, radical thinker, and defender of democracy. Exploration of Du Bois’s inauguration of rigorous empirical study of the social world in the United States; and his fight to unite the colonized peoples of the world. Development of tools for understanding racism and other systems of power and oppression.

SOC 190 Immigration: Public Opinion, Politics, and Media. (Cross-list w/ AMER 175, PS 190, and AFR 190) American public opinion on immigration and its relationship to the political process. Role of traditional media (newspapers, magazines, network TV), new media (cable TV, internet, social media), and ethnic media in reflecting and shaping public opinion on immigration. Methodological approaches (including surveys of public opinion, content analyses of media portrayals, and experiments linking the two) to controversies surrounding immigrant assimilation, integration, and the impact of immigration on the American economy, culture, and security.

SOC 192 Seminar: AIDS: Social Origins, Global Consequences. (Cross-listed w/ CH 192). Explores the emergence, meaning, and effects of the HIV/AIDS pandemic at different moments in continents and nations.  Topics may include: how/whether scientific and epidemiological information is factored into policy decisions; how the disease and people living with it acquire varying identities in different cultures.  Uses the formidable challenges the pandemic poses to global health initiatives, to security and to economic survival in many regions to study societies' capacities to mobilize collective resources and protect human rights.

SOC 193 Special Topics. No description at this time.

SOC 194 Special Topics. Social organization of selected institutions and/or analysis of current issues. 

SOC 195 Seminar: Politics, Policies, and Risk in Science and Technology. (Cross-listed w/ STS 195) How do democratic governments cope with risks? How does science find its way into policymaking? Dilemmas of decision-making in realms such as: climate change, financial regulation, nuclear power, biotechnology, and pandemics, where trade-offs entail putting some groups at risk in order to reduce the risks faced by others. Examines how the relevant science is produced and how policy-makers evaluate it. Traces ideas about the appropriate roles of government, experts, and citizens in policy-making. Explores the interdependence and efforts of local, national, and international knowledge communities at global governance.

SOC 197 Independent Study. No description at this time.

SOC 198 Directed Research in Sociology. Open to properly qualified advanced students through consultation with a member of the faculty. Please see departmental website for specific details.

SOC 199 Senior Honors Thesis A. Senior Honors Thesis. Please see departmental website for specific details.
This is a yearlong course. Each semester counts as 4 credits towards a student’s credit load. Students will earn 8 credits at the end of the second semester.

SOC 199B Senior Honors Thesis. Senior Honors Thesis. Please see departmental website for specific details.
This is a yearlong course. Each semester counts as 4 credits towards a student’s credit load. Students will earn 8 credits at the end of the second semester

SOC 213 Seminar: Research Methods. No description at this time.