SOC 230 Principles of Sociology
An introduction to the concepts, methods and theories employed by sociologists to understand societies, social institutions and the myriad expressions of group life. The course explores the cultural contexts of human behavior to explain individual and group interaction, social mobility and inequality, relations formed by class, gender and race, and patterns of socialization, deviance and social change. This course counts for US perspectives in the General Education curriculum.
In the Fall of 2012 and Spring 2013, this class will use the book, Hooking Up: Sex, Dating and Relationships on Campus by sociologist Kathleen A. Bogle, which is the Sociology program's book ofthe year for 2012-2013. The book reviews on Amazon.com said: " This study by Bogle, an assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice at LaSalle University—based on 76 interviews with mostly white college students and recent graduates from 2001 to 2006—gives a wide range of voices and opinions on hooking-up culture. Bogle is a smart interviewer and gets her subjects to reveal intimate and often embarrassing details without being moralizing. She interrogates her subjects about alcohol use, the relationship of gay and lesbian students to hook-up culture, and opting out of hook-up culture. Bogle's work is important because it offers a complex portrait of young people grappling the best way they know how with the sexual realities of a rapidly changing world. "
SOC 260 Cultural Anthropology
Understanding the power of culture in shaping our lives depends on knowing the ways life is displayed all around the world. This course introduces students to the discoveries of anthropologists as they have lived among preliterate and preindustrial people, and as they apply their signature methodologies to culturally distinctive communities in today's world. Comparing how a range of cultures address the challenges of social existence sets the stage forenlightening dialogue. This course was last offered in Fall 2010 and counts as a Cultural Elective for General Education requirements.
SOC 231 Social Problems
This examination of American society places an emphasis on the institutional bases of social problems and conflict as well as the policies designed to address these problems. Topics include poverty, racism, environmental threat, crime and violence, and other contemporary challenges. Attention is consistently directed to the influences of htese social problems on women's lives as well as the ethical dilemmas and debates surrounding the solutions to these problems. This course is a US Perspectives Course in the General Education Curriculum.
In the Spring of 2012 this course used the book Sweet Charity?: Emergency Food and the End of Entitlement by Janet Poppendieck. According to a book reviewer on Amazon: "This book treats the emergency food system with fairness and offeres a balanced view of the strengths and weaknesses of the national shift toward in-kind food relief. The author does a wonderful job of exposing the problems with institutionalizing "emergency" food programs, while governmental agencies weaken the safety net for the poor. In addition to excellent ethnographic work, the author adds a number of nuggets of historical data to build context and meaning. A must read for those hungry for explainations as to why government had abandoned the needy and ignored the structural problems that produce what the author terms "food insecurity."
SOC 242 Deviance and Society
This course is based on the premise that deviance is a socially constructed phenomenon. This means that the attributes, behaviors and conditions humans label "deviant" vary over time and place, as do societal reactions to them. Students will be introduced to agents of social control, both formal and informal, as well as the role such control and power differentials plays in defining, labeling, and sanctioning deviant behavior. The material covered in the course examines theories of deviant behavior, how social scientists study deviant behavior, how deviant behavior is socially constructed, how people manage deviant identities, how relationships operate in deviant subcultures and countercultures, and the relationships between deviant subcultures and mainstream culture.
One book that will be used for this course in the Fall of 2012 is Brothel: Mustang Ranch and its Women A reviewer on Amazon.com said: It's too bad this isn't required reading for "I've got my mind made up, don't confuse me with the facts," anti-prostitution people. Alexa Albert is a graduate from the Harvard school of medicine, and she brings a balanced, non-emotional, non-judgmental perspective to the topic of legal prostitution in Nevada (which is pretty rare for this topic). This book adds a candid, human dimension to the lives of sex workers. Highly recommended reading for anyone who wants the real story.
SOC 299 Introduction to Research in Sociology
Open to first years and sophomores who have an interest in sociology and who would like to work individually with a faculty member on a project involving research from a sociological perspective. The student will formulate and execute a research project at an intermediate level of complexity and present the results to an appropriate public audience. A research proposal form completed by the student and faculty mentor is required for registration. May be repeated for credit for a maximum of six semester hours. Prerequisite: At least 3 credit hours in 200 level SOC.
SOC 332 Human Sexuality
The research literature on sexual interests, behaviors and relationships is reviewed through study of the changing practices and perceptions of sexuality in America. Topics include the cultural construction of sex, the process of learning to be sexual, sexual deviance, the influence of marriage and the interplay between sex and power in our society. Recognition of both risks and rewards associated with sexuality provides the context for studying controversial policies in society. Also offered as HED 332.
Iin the Spring and Summer of 2011, this class will use the book, Stripped: Inside the Lives of Exotic Dancers by sociologist Bernadette Barton. This book is based on hours of interveiws with strippers around the country and describes the economic, physical, social and psychological effects of being in the buisness.
SOC 335 Race and Ethnic Relations
Patterns of relationship among racial and ethnic groups in the United States are analyzed. This course explores inequalities of wealth, power, and status along with the persistence of racism, movements to advance civil rights and efforts by groups to maintain social boundaries. Current trends in intergroup relations are discussed to explore how changing demographic racial patterns may affect future definitions of race and ethnicity.This course is a Cultural Perspectives, Experiential Learning, and US Perspectives in the General Education curriculum.
In the Fall of 2011 students will read Just Like Us: The True Story of Four Mexican Girls Coming of Age in America by Helen Thorpe.
On Amazon a reviewer said "
Helen Thorpe presents an account of the lives of four young Mexican-American girls living in Denver in 2004. This is narrative non-fiction, in the spirit of works by Alex Kotlowitz, Tracy Kidder, Norman Mailer, or David Simon.
SOC 336 Criminology
This course explores questions about the criminal law, criminal conduct, the risks of criminal victimization and prevailing crime control policies. Theories are developed to explain why individuals offend and why crime rates vary are examined in light of research findings, so that students gain a thorough understanding of crime and its causes. These ideas are applied to conventional street crime as well as to organized crime and elite crime.
In the Fall of 2011, the class will be reading Let's Get Free: A Hip-Hop Theory of Justice . The publisher's description of the book said:
A reviewer on Amazon. com said: " I was half asleep when I picked up this book, but I was wide awake by the end of the introduction. Then I kept going. Wow. Lucidly written and vigorously argued, it combines hard-hitting political analysis with honest self-reflection. It's both insightful and fresh. Really an important, readable book. Give it to your friends. Let's Get Free!"
SOC 338 Sociology of Families
This course will provide students with an overview of the famliy from a sociological perspective. Students in the course will examine transformation of the family across time as well as its position as both a private and public institution. Topics include defining family, gender and power, courtship and marriage, parenting, divorce and remarriage, and work. Particular attention is placed upon the changing roles of women in the family and the ways in which families impact the lived experiences of the women in them. This course is a Global Perspectives in the General Education curriculum.
In the Fall of 2011 students read One Perfect Day: The Selling of The American Wedding by Rebecca Mead. From a Review on Amazon. com:"Reminiscent of Jessica Mitford's The American Way of Death (1963), although written in a considerably lighter vein, this eye-opening book looks at weddings not merely as unions of two people who are in love with each other but also as products of an industry that is in love with money.
SOC 340 Sociology of Aging
As the elderly population increases what challenges do these individuals face and what impact will they have on society? Students in this course will examine the physical, psychological, and sociological dimensions of the aging process in order to gain insight on these questions. Topics include retirement, poverty and old age, Social Security and Medicare debates, long term care and end of life decisions, and issues related to the growing elderly population in the United States.
SOC 346 Anthropology of Religion
Questions concerning religion have been central to the discipline of anthropology since its inception in the late nineteenth century. This course looks thematically at the concepts of myth and symbol, the body, ritual, identity, gender, religious practice and practitioners, using a range of anthropological approaches to the study of religion that have been developed and refined over the past hundred years. This course will not be a prerequisite for other courses. Cross listed as REL 346. Prerequisites: One 100 level Religion course.
SOC 360 Media, Self and Society
What is 'the media' and how can it impact the ways in which we see the world and ourselves in it? This course will examine these questions as we examine the roles that various media forms play in our society, particularly in regards to issues of identity across race, class, gender and sexuality. Students will examine historical and theoretical aspects of the media from both sociological and cultural studies perspectives, the ways in which mainstream and alternative media construct identities, and the impact that these images have on the society in which they circulate.
One book that was used the last time this course was taught is a book called Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenagers by Alissa Quart. The author examines how the industry sells not only products but images or ideals to American teens. The author interviewed teenages to get their stories and the book uses material from those interviews throughout as well as using theory and others research to support the author's arguments. One reviewer on Amazaon.com said, "Quart does an excellent job of disecting the corporate world's exploitation of children and teenagers. This book could have been just another indictment against advertising, but Quart examines multiple aspects of brand-mania. I especially liked how she includes a chapter on "brand-name" colleges and universities (this is not just about sneakers and jeans, folks)."
SOC 374 Social Research Principles
This course will explore the logic of scientific inquiry. Throughout the course students will explore the relationship between theory and methodology, the nature of causation, components of research design and a variety of methods for social science research. Guidance in retrieving information, reviewing and evaluating research reports, and constructing a research proposal is provided. Prerequisite: At least 3 credit hours in 200 level SOC.
SOC 420 Gender and Society
What does sex have to do with gender? What does gender have to do with social systems? This course explores these questions by looking at the ways in which sociologists have theorized and studied about gender. Students will explore what it means to understand gender as a social and cultural construct aswel as the impact that these constructions have on the lived experiences of individuals in society. Additionally the course will examine the complex ways in which gender intersects and interacts with other facets of our social identities including race, class and sexual orientation.
The last time the course was taught, Dude, You're a Fag: Masculinity and Sexuality in High School was used. Barrie Thorne, author of Gender Play: Girls and Boys in School says:
"In this superb ethnography of daily life in a contemporary high school, C. J. Pascoe highlights the sexualized dynamics of youthful masculinity. With vivid detail and perceptive analysis, she examines the 'fag talk' which pervades boys' conversations; the convergence of gender, sexual, and racialized practices in school rituals like the 'Mr. Cougar' contest; and the experiences of girls who display themselves as masculine. The result is a book that breaks fresh ground in masculinity and gender studies-and is a very good read!"
SOC 430 Population Dynamics
In this course we trace the effects of births, deaths and migration on population size, composition and distribution around the world. Examine the effects of population changes on the environment, the world's resources adn on global security. Socioeconomic, political and religious institutions will be explored and the status of women around the world will be related to demographic changes. Demographic trends in the United States are evaluated in the context of global influence. Prerequisite: At least 6 credit hours in SOC or at least 75 total credit hours. In the Fall of 2010, book More: Population, Nature and What Women Want is being used in the class. This class was offered as both a sociology/Social Science course but also as a Global Perspectives course in the General Education requirements. The course is also accepted as an elective for International Studies and Women's Studies.
SOC 431 Social Stratification
Explanationsfor social inequalities are considered along with current research on class, status, power and social mobiity. Both national and international patterns of wealth and poverty are inspected to explain 'who gets what adn why'. Inequalities of households, of population groups, and of nations as they participate on the global stage receive specific treatment.
SOC 437 Corrections
A study of the criminal justice system including police, attorneys, courts, judges, jails, prisons, parole. Attention is given to conflicting punishment philosophies and practices. Studies of inmate society are highlighted in this survey of America's attempts to correct the crime problem.
In the Fall of 2010, the class read Doing Time Together: Love and Family in the Shadow of Prison. As one reviewer said: “Ninety-three percent of the nation’s prisoners are men. So what happens to their wives and girlfriends? In her deeply insightful and beautifully written book, Megan Comfort gives us an unexpected answer. With their endless pre-visit waits in the ‘tube,’ dreaded encounters with hostile guards, and strict rules on clothing, they are ‘convicted’ too. But paradoxically, prison can also make once-violent or drug-addicted men into more stable, loyal, and loving partners. We put down this brilliant book wondering where the women’s prison really is—in or outside the prison walls?”
SOC 440-449 Selected Topics in Sociology
Customized by the professor to reflect specialized areas of knowledge or new advances in the field, this course introduces students to compelling publications and/or media that will extend their grasp of sociological analysis. Selections spotlight issues associated with active public dialogue with the objective of discovering how sociology speaks to those issues. Course numbers advance as topics shift to favor additional enrollments as desired.
SOC 442 The Color of Crime (Spring 2013)
This course examines the roles of minorities as offenders, victims, and employees in the criminal justice system. An assessment of statistics, research, and the literature as it relates to minorities and crime will be included. Public perceptions of race and crime and the interactions of police, courts and juries in terms of the race of victims and perpetrators will be examined. Research on racial bias in jury decisions, sentencing, and the death penalty will also be reviewed
In the Spring of 2011, students read The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander. One reviewer on Amazon said:
“A powerful analysis of why and how mass incarceration is happening in America, The New Jim Crow should be required reading for anyone working for real change in the criminal justice system.”
SOC 444 Social Interaction
This course is designed to introduce you to the basic sociological concepts underpinning the study of social interaction. Much of the study of social interaction is grounded in the field of social psychology. While social psychology is the province of both psychology and sociology, we will take a decidedly sociological approach to understanding the hows and the whys of social interaction. Early sociological theorists were particularly concerned with understanding the “rules” of social organization, i.e. how social behavior is negotiated as a learned, but often unrecognized, process. After exploring the foundational questions and theories in sociology and social psychology, we will examine the role of identity in producing social interaction, looking at patterns of interaction through the lenses of gender, race, class, and sexuality. We will examine the interplay between various levels of social interaction, particularly between the individual and the institutional settings of social life.
In the Spring of 2012 students read Damaged Goods? Women Living with Incurable Sexually Transmitted Diseases by Adina Nack. The publisher writes about the book: "Damaged Goods?" adds to our knowledge of how women are affected by living with chronic STDs and reveals the stages of their sexual self-transformation. From the anxiety of being diagnosed with an STD to issues of blame and shame, Nack - herself diagnosed with a cervical HPV infection - shows why these women, feeling that they are "damaged goods," question future relationships, marriage, and their ability to have healthy children."
SOC 446 Drugs and Society
This course will be offered in 2013 (Summer or Fall). The course will examine legal and illegal drug use and the effects of this use on our society in terms of drug trade, the criminal justice system, addictions and the drug industry. ONe book being used in this course is This is your Country on Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High in America. The book jacket says:
It's time to stock up on munchies, twist the caps off your water bottles, and get on the bus! You're about to embark on a cross-country tour of the complex, bizarre, and surprising history of drug use in America, a history that takes you from the Massachusetts Bay Colony, through New York's nineteenth-century opium dens, on to the Summer of Love, into the Midwestern "methedemic," and right up to today-where California has effectively legalized marijuana and the rest of the country is thinking of doing the same.
SOC 489 Social Theory
From the origins of sociological thinking to the current controversies regarding social action and social structure, explanations developed by sociologists to describe and demystify society are studied and applied. Ideas advanced by Durkheim, Marx and Weber are followed by extensions and alternatives up to and including the Frankfurt School, Feminism, and Postmodernism. Prerequisite: At least 6 credit hours in SOC. This course is Writing Intensive.
In Fall 2011 students will be using the textbook, Classical and Contemporary Sociological Theory by Scott Appelrouth and Laura Edles. The publisher described the book as: "Classical and Contemporary Sociological Theory is a “hybrid” between a core textbook and a primary source reader. This book builds on the authors’ Sociological Theory in the Classical Era and Sociological Theory in the Contemporary Era, to combine the major writings of sociology’s core classical and contemporary theorists with an historical and theoretical framework for understanding them."
SOC 496 Applied Research
This capstone course for the Sociology and Criminology majors is an opportunity for students to use their sociological imagination to formulate solutions to the problems that face our world today. Students in Criminology will complete an internship in the field of Criminal Justice while Sociology majors will complete an internship in a local community organization in an area of their own choosing. Students will utilize sociological theories, literature, methods and data to explore a macro-level social problem that relates to their field work. Findings of the semester long project will be presented to sociology/Criminology faculty, students at the end of the semester. Prerequisites: SOC 280, 374, and MAT 245.
SOC 498 Honors Thesis in Sociology
In conjunction with a sociology faculty mentor, the student will formulate and execute a research project at an advanced level of complexity that will culminate in a paper and presentation. The project must meet Honors Program requirements as well as expectations of the sociology faculty. A research proposal form completed by the student, faculty mentor, and Honors Program director is required for registration. Open to seniorswho are members of the Honors Program/Teaching Fellows Programs. This course may fulfill the SOC 496 requirement with the major advisor's approval. Prerequisites: 3 credits from SOC at level 200, SOC 374 and either MAT 245.
SOC 499 Research in Sociology
This course may fulfill the SOC 496 requirement with the major advisor's approval. In conjunction with a sociology faculty mentor, the student will formulate and execute a research project at an advanced level of complexity that will culminate in a paper and presentation. A research proposal form completed by the student and faculty mentor is required for registration. Open to junior and senior majors and others by permission. May be repeated for credit for a total of six semester hours. This course is oral perspectives and experiential learning for General Education requirements. Prerequisites: 3 credits from SOC at level 200, SOC 374 and either MAT 245.