Tuesday and Thursday 12:40–2:05PM
Room: Wimberly 141
Social analysis, critical thinking, and problem solving are introduced as basic social science skills. These skills are applied to major contemporary social problems related to deviant behavior, social inequality, social change, and problems associated with major societal institutions. A variety of individual and collective responses and social policy strategies at local, national, and international levels are examined. This course invites students to the field of sociology through the examination of social problems in the contemporary world. Students will become introduced to the sociological imagination as a unique way to understand the world from the global problems of today to the personal orbits of our own lives. We will cover a wide variety of topics that include an analysis of capitalism and democracy, wealth and power, population growth and inequality, demography and immigration, urban and rural issues, race and gender inequality, poverty and the welfare state, “crime” and drugs, and other issues facing the world. We look at social problems particularly from the unique perspective of sociology and learn how to diagnose the causes of social problems. We will discuss some of the most pressing problems of the world and, after theorizing about their causes, make attempts to think about how to solve them. At the end of this course, students will be able to think like a sociologist about social problems using the sociological imagination.
Foundations of Sociological Analysis
Tuesday and Thursday 2:15–3:40PM
Room: Wimberly 212
Designed for sociology majors, this course focuses on: (1) learning to think sociologically, including deeper comprehension of core sociological perspectives and concepts; (2) understanding the scientific methods in sociology; (3) the formulation of sociological research questions; (4) the resources and skills needed to effectively write a critical literature review; and (5) professionalization including how to build a curriculum vitae/resume, careers in sociology, presenting at professional conferences, and applying to graduate school. Sociology majors should take this course as soon as possible after completing SOC 110, as the skills taught in this course will benefit students in their upper division sociology courses. Prerequisite: SOC 110. Open to sociology majors only. Offered annually.
Room: Wimberly 305
This course provides an overview of the sociological study of crime in the United States, with a special emphasis on patterns of criminality, competing theoretical explanations of crime, and societal responses to crime. As part of the examination of crime in the U.S., the course explores the definitions, measurement, and patterns of various types of criminal behavior; theory and research on crime; the roles of the victim and offender and the implications of public policy. Specific crimes covered include homicide, hate/bias crime, assault, and white-collar crime. The first part of the semester covers the major sociological theories used to understand “crime” in contemporary society. This includes an analysis of the major theoretical perspectives, classical approaches, and past and present theories used to understand the concept of crime. The class moves on to offer a critique of the field that critically analyzes the nature and meaning of criminal and transgressive behavior in this late-modern world. This involves developing a sociological imagination to understand “crime.” The last part of the semester turns towards a criminological ethnography that applies and critiques various theories to understand the everyday lives of people labeled as criminal who live in the fringes of the inner city. At the end of the semester, students will write a paper showcasing their approach to understanding crime and present it to class.