Course Offerings

Spring 2018 Course Offerings 
SOCI #
Title
Instructor
Days/Times
Building/Room
001-01
Introduction to Sociology
Guidroz MW 9:30 - 10:45 AM WAL 390
001-02
 Introduction to Sociology
Guidroz MW 12:30 - 1:45 PM WAL 391
001-03
Introduction to Sociology
Andaç-Jones MW 3:30 - 4:45 PM
WAL 491
001-04
Introduction to Sociology
Andaç-Jones
MW 5:00 - 6:15 PM
WAL 491
001-05
Introduction to Sociology
DeRose
TR 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
WAL 390

001-06

Introduction to Sociology

Kato
TR 12:30 - 1:45 PM
WAL 390
109-01

Sociology of Health and Illness

Burke
TR 5:00 - 6:15 PM
WAL 390
111-01
Flourishing: College & Community Stiles & Day
MWF 11:00 - 11:50 AM
CBN 202
136-01

Religion and Society

Hsu
MW 12:30 - 1:45 PM

WAL 397

139-01
Race, Color, Culture Wickham-Crowley
TR 2:00 - 3:15 PM
CBN 303
154-01
Sociology of the One Percent Cookson
MW 8:00 - 9:15 AM

REI 264

157-01

Global Power Elites

Cookson
MW 9:30 - 10:45 AM

REI 264

164-01
Japanese Society
Imamura
W 3;30 - 6:00 PM

WAL 398

171-01

Culture and Consumption

Kato
MW 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM

CBN 203

171-02
Culture and Consumption
Kato
MW 12:30 - 1:45 PM
WAL 491
192-01
Law and Society
Stiles
TR 2:00 - 3:15 PM
CBN 201
192-01
Law and Society Stiles
TR 3;30 - 4:45 PM
CBN 201
194-01
Crimonology McDonald TR 9:30 - 10:45 AM WAL 490
202-01
Sociological Theory Fields MW 12:30 - 1:45 PM MAG 202
220-01
Global Development and Social Justice
Hsu
MW 3:30 - 4:45 PM

WAL 498

250-01
Race and Politics Fields
M 2:00 - 4:30 PM

WGR 411

261-01
Seminar in Transgender Issues* Guidroz F 11:00 AM - 1:30 PM T 6:30 - 8:30 PM*

WAL 390/ WAL 397

304-01

Sociology Senior Seminar

Wickham-Crowley
TR 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM

WAL 396

*indicates A Different Dialogue

SOCI 001-01: Introduction to Sociology

Professor Guidroz
MW 9:30 – 10:45 AM
WAL 390

In this course you will learn in numerous ways that sociology is the systematic study of human society and social life.  This course is designed to be an introduction to the development of sociology, and an examination of the range of concepts, principles, and methods that comprise modern sociology using a core text and academic journal articles.  We will examine important issues and institutions of contemporary society, including culture, socialization, gender, race and ethnicity, education, family, social organization, inequality, and social change.  By the semester’s end, it is anticipated that students will understand the sociological perspective and be able to discuss sociological issues using the language of the discipline.

SOCI 001-02: Introduction to Sociology

Professor Guidroz
MW 12:30 - 1:45 PM
WAL 391

In this course you will learn in numerous ways that sociology is the systematic study of human society and social life.  This course is designed to be an introduction to the development of sociology, and an examination of the range of concepts, principles, and methods that comprise modern sociology using a core text and academic journal articles.  We will examine important issues and institutions of contemporary society, including culture, socialization, gender, race and ethnicity, education, family, social organization, inequality, and social change.  By the semester’s end, it is anticipated that students will understand the sociological perspective and be able to discuss sociological issues using the language of the discipline.

SOCI 001 03: Introduction to Sociology

Professor Andaç-Jones
MW 3:30 - 4:45 PM
WAL 491

Sociology is the systematic study of human social behavior.  Sociologists examine not only how social structures shape our daily interactions but also how society constructs social categories and social meanings.

The purpose of this course is to offer an overview of the major concepts, theories and methodologies of sociology, and enable you to think sociologically. Thinking sociologically enables us to make observations and offer insights about the social world that extend far beyond either common sense or explanations that rely on individual quirks and personalities; to develop an awareness of the connection between personal experience and the larger society. Throughout this course you will be introduced to “the sociological imagination” and be encouraged to develop this critical capacity to understand how the social world around you works.

By the end of the semester, students should be able to:

[*]     demonstrate knowledge of basic sociological concepts, social processes (e.g., socialization, deviance, social control, or stratification) and social institutions (e.g., the family, religion, or the state);

[*]     summarize several basic theoretical approaches used in sociology;

[*]     apply these concepts and theories to contemporary events or personal experience, i.e. develop a sociological imagination; and demonstrate a knowledge of cultural, class, religious, and other differences within and between societies, as well as scientifically-grounded ways to account for these differences. 

SOCI 001-04: Introduction to Sociology

Professor Andaç-Jones
MW 5:00 - 6:15 PM
WAL 491

Sociology is the systematic study of human social behavior.  Sociologists examine not only how social structures shape our daily interactions but also how society constructs social categories and social meanings.

The purpose of this course is to offer an overview of the major concepts, theories and methodologies of sociology, and enable you to think sociologically. Thinking sociologically enables us to make observations and offer insights about the social world that extend far beyond either common sense or explanations that rely on individual quirks and personalities; to develop an awareness of the connection between personal experience and the larger society. Throughout this course you will be introduced to “the sociological imagination” and be encouraged to develop this critical capacity to understand how the social world around you works.

By the end of the semester, students should be able to:

[*]     demonstrate knowledge of basic sociological concepts, social processes (e.g., socialization, deviance, social control, or stratification) and social institutions (e.g., the family, religion, or the state);

[*]     summarize several basic theoretical approaches used in sociology;

[*]     apply these concepts and theories to contemporary events or personal experience, i.e. develop a sociological imagination; and demonstrate a knowledge of cultural, class, religious, and other differences within and between societies, as well as scientifically-grounded ways to account for these differences. 

SOCI 001-05: Introduction to Sociology

Professor DeRose
TR 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
WAL 390

Sociology is the study of social life, social change, and the social causes and consequences of human behavior. Sociologists investigate the structure of groups, organizations, and societies, and how people interact within these contexts. (American Sociological Association, 2005) The course provides an introduction to social research methods, key sociological concepts, and sociological theories. The curriculum emphasizes understanding how individual behavior is conditioned by institutions, social stratification, policy, and culture. Students are expected to participate in class discussions and engage in critical thought on the social world to understand and develop their sociological imagination. Students will also be expected to apply the concepts examined during the course to interpret their everyday experiences and connect them the social world.

SOCI 001-06: Introduction to Sociology

Professor Kato
TR 12:30 - 1:45 PM
WAL 390

This course introduces the students to the discipline of sociology and a sociological perspective for understanding human behaviors and social structure. We will discuss a great variety of topics, such as social class, gender, race and ethnicity, culture, housing, family, and community. While topics are quite diverse, we will be consistent in applying a sociological perspective and attempt to understand how individual lives and social groups are shaped by social structures, cultural understandings and distributions of power. Rather than textbooks, this course will use three books as focal points of discussion (Outliers, Unequal Childhoods, and Evicted). In order to exercise our sociological imagination, the course assignments challenge the students to dissect the current events from sociological perspectives.

SOCI 109-01: Sociology of Health/ Illness

Professor Burke
TR 5:00 - 6:15 PM
WAL 390

This is a medical sociology course that will examine how social and institutional forces shape and define experiences of health and illness in the United States (US). We will cover central questions in the study medical sociology and key theories that will help us understand and answer these questions. Specifically, we will cover topics such as the social demography of health, health behaviors, illness as deviance, and health care and health care institutions, all from a sociological perspective. This course will provide you with a comprehensive introduction to historical and contemporary issues in medical sociology. It will also allow for a deeper understanding of how health and illness are socially constructed and addressed in the US.

SOCI 111-01: Flourishing in College and Community

Professor Stiles
MWF 11:00 - 11:50 AM
CBN 202

A student culture of excellence and ambition can become counterproductive when it escalates to the extent students seriously compromise their health — mental, physical, and spiritual — in the name of grades and resume-building. National survey data show Georgetown students suffer more than their fair share of stress. This course aims to pre-empt the stress and negative sequelae, by providing incoming students with the knowledge, self-care skills, and support systems they can call on to maintain a successful and healthy lifestyle well into their post-graduate life.

Students can expect to read scientific studies about resiliency, self-care, health promotion, health behaviors, risk taking, and positive psychology and positive sociology. Students will learn research-based correlations between stress management, life balance, and leadership. Campus climate norms around coping, stress, alcohol and sexual assault, and the prevalence of mental health issues will be analyzed. The class will consider ways to optimize health and relationships, and how to cultivate a successful lifestyle throughout college and beyond.

SOCI 136-01: Religion and Society

Professor Hsu
MW 12:30 – 1:45 PM
WAL 397

Is religion important? If religion is about how people organize and make sense of their lives in relation to life, death, the supernatural, and the afterlife, then it is obvious that religion is important. In this class, we will study how the standard categories for "world religions" (including Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, and sometimes Confucianism), were created and began to be used. However, there is "religion" in a lot more of our activities than just what is obviously associated with churches, temples, mosques, holy books, spirituality, or questions about the afterlife. Many seemingly nonreligious things (such as sports, schools, families, and workplaces), contain rituals, sacred texts, an aesthetic, and the maintenance of boundaries between right and wrong. There are taken-for-granted assumptions about what is real, what is good, and what we ought to do. And importantly, there are commonly agreed-upon expectations of people—what they do and what they are. Across human societies, there is an astonishing range of how people would describe what a person is. What is power? What is freedom? What makes life worth living? What ought to be? The answers to these questions lie in the answer to “What is a person?” We will examine a range of research on religion, including the history of its study, theoretical questions (what is religion, in the first place), and empirical questions about what people actually do.

SOCI 139-01: Race, Color, culture

Professor Wickham-Crowley
TR 2:00 – 3:15 PM
CBN 303

In the 1850s, New York establishments advertising for new employees often added the coda, “No Irish need apply,” reflecting Americans’ widespread fear of being swamped by low-class, Catholic immigrants from Éire. In 1857 in the Dred Scott decision, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney described black Americans as follows: “so far inferior, that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect, and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his own benefit.” In the 1920s, the U.S. Congress passed deeply restrictive immigration laws for the first time since our independence, certainly targeting and limiting immigrants then arriving from East Asia, but more so the larger numbers from eastern and southern Europe, notably peasants from Italy and Jews from Russia and Poland. In 1939, the U.S. government refused to allow a ship loaded with German Jewish refugees to dock at our ports; the ship was forced to return to Germany, and its passengers to their fates. By the 2050s, some demographic prophets tell us, fully half of the U.S. population will (may?) be Latinos, due to current -- and for many native-born Americans, much feared -- waves of immigration from Latin America.

Such political targetings of selected “suspect” groups are thus a near-constant in U.S. history: plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose (the more things change, the more they stay the same). Yet a closer historical look suggests that adage to be both deeply right and thoroughly wrong. By 1960, a wealthy Catholic of Irish descent, John F. Kennedy, won the presidency of the United States; less than a half-century later, a Harvard-educated African-American repeated the unlikely story, as Barack Obama rose to assume the title, Mr. President. We no longer wring our hands over the huge numbers of our fellow citizens who ethnically identify with the Irish, Italians, or Germans (the last being the most common national heritage that Americans claim). Instead, we live in world where a spate of books tells us how, over time, the Irish, the Italians, and the Jews each “became white,” and where a 1992 novel, perhaps also portending a thoroughly assimilated future for Latinas (and their brothers), describes How the García Girls Lost Their Accents.

To better instruct ourselves about the hues of our humanity, we will also consider other societies where race, color, and culture intersect in intriguing ways. In Peru, an old racist adage declared that “[t]he indian is the animal that most resembles man,” yet Peruvians elected a full-blooded Inca-descendent to the presidency early in this century. Brazil has recently instituted quota-systems by (dark) skin-color for greater access to the public universities, a matter tricky to implement given the complex skin-tone spectrum that prevails there. (The policy is attacked by critics as injecting into Brazilian society’s vaunted “racial democracy” some previously unknown forms of tension, i.e., American-style race-mongering.) Brazil’s race-mixture has long included Japanese-descent Brazilians from early 20th-century immigrant waves. Now a recent wave of counter-migration, wherein hundreds of thousands of Japanese-descent Brazilians have gone back to their ancestral homeland, vividly shows the cultural differences between those of the Japanese “race” who stayed put, and the samba- and beach-loving returnees who are Brazilian born-and-bred.

Throughout this term we will critically and deeply explore the three concepts that compose its title, and how they relate to one another in our minds, in our cultural attitudes (both today and in the past), and (by term’s end) in some better understood social reality. Research from the fields of sociology, anthropology, and history may be central to our venture, but we also will draw fruitfully on materials and studies ranging from population genetics all the way to visual and verbal symbolic representations, such as caricatures, comedy routines, posters, and ethnic jokes.

Why is any of this important? Throughout the entire semester, we will be confronted with the “facts of life” for various races, skin-colorations, etc. in the U.S. and elsewhere. Precisely because different “types” of people often come into tension-filled contacts with one another, their life-courses are predictably apt to go down very different roads. Those differences, and our interactions with others of different races, colors, and cultures, are thus profoundly consequential for people’s life-styles and – far more importantly, in my view – for their life chances: their likelihoods of having good (or bad) jobs, high (or low) incomes, more (or fewer) years of education, better (or worse) health and life expectancy, and so forth.

SOCI 154-01: SOCIOLOGY OF THE ONE PERCENT

Professor Cookson
MW 8:00 - 9:45 AM
REI 264

Hardly a day passes when the one percent is not in the news arousing political and moral passions. Today less than one percent of Americans own nearly forty percent of the nations’ wealth. The wealthiest four hundred Americans are worth $1.37 trillion dollars. This amazing concentration of wealth has been accompanied by a shrinking middle class and a growing number of Americans living in poverty. All of us have feelings about social justice and fairness and it is easy to grasp at simple solutions to complex problems.

In this course, we move beyond moral and political posturing by examining the sociology of the one percent in order to understand the long-term significance of this concentration of wealth, its effect on our commonweal and our common destiny as a people.

The objectives of the course are:
• Objective One: To become knowledgeable about the emergence of concentrated wealth nationally and internationally and to apply this knowledge to social analysis.
• Objective Two: To embrace complexity and contradiction through the lens of history, economics, and social science, including social psychology.
• Objective Three: To assess the impact of macro level social change on social structure and human agency. • Objective Four: To identify significant policy issues arising from the concentration of wealth and suggest positive political and policy recommendations.
• Objective Five: To share in class and outside of class the questions, concerns and hopes that arise from open debate and inquiry.
• Objective Six: To contribute to the study of the one percent through research and writing.

Our class is a place of open discussion and debate. To maintain the highest standards of serious scholarly discourse our positions should be supported by facts and the thoughtful interpretation of facts.

SOCI 157-01: GLOBAL POWER Elites

Professor Cookson
MW 9:30 - 10:45 AM
REI 264

Global power today is exercised by an elite establishment that is networked together through institutions and interpersonal relationships. This concentration of power is hugely significant for all of us. When 85 billionaires worldwide have as much wealth as the bottom half of humanity we are experiencing a profound social and economic revolution that reverberates through all aspects of our lives.

This fact, however, should not blind us to the complex nature of power because power is never absolute but is consistently questioned and challenged by those without power and those eager for reform. In today’s complex and fast moving social and economic global environment, power is not one-directional; grassroots movements and democratic institutions are developing throughout the world, challenging the status quo and calling into question institutional arrangements that reinforce the concentration of power.

In this class, we will explore questions about the causes and consequences of concentrated power globally and resistance to it. Specially, in this course we will:
• Examine the origins of material and symbolic power;
• Identify the sources of power in the 21st century;
• Define the meaning of elite in the context of the exercise of global power;
• Analyze the networks that connect powerful decision-makers;
• Develop theories of change that take into account the scientific, communication, economic and social revolutions sweeping the globe;
• Advance hypotheses about the future and what they mean for the distribution of power.

SOCI 164-01: japanese society

Professor Imamura
W 3:30 – 6:00 PM
WAL 398

This course examines major principles of social organization in Japan and contrasts them with the United States and other societies. The course begins with an overview of social structure, norms and values then focuses more closely on family, gender, education, community, current social problems and social change. The purpose is to enable the student to better understand Japanese society through a process of comparative analysis.

Course Requirements

• Participate in two discussion groups and lead one discussion group.
• Post to class blogs.

The syllabus is posted on the Registrar’s website and provides detailed information. Texts and course packets are regularly updated. Students should not purchase texts based on prior year syllabi.

The texts for Spring 2018 are:
An Introduction to Japanese Society. Fourth Edition, Yoshio Sugimoto. Cambridge University Press, 2014. (also available as an e-book)
Understanding Japanese Society. Fourth Edition. Joy Hendry, Routledge Curzon, 2013.

SOCI 171-01: culture and consumption

Professor Kato
MW 11:00 AM – 12:15 PM
CBN 203

This course uses sociological theories to explore the production and consumption of culture. It introduces how sociologists answer central questions about the relationships between culture and society with a focus on three issues: institutional fads, how we talk about love, and children’s consumption. We will explore questions such as; What is the relationship between social change (e.g., economic, technological, demographic, geographical…) and the kinds of culture people produce and consume? Is there something unique about the contemporary America that produces a particular set of cultural practices, and if so what do these practices tell us about the immediate and distant futures of this society? How do everyday actions we take and decisions we make reflect and also shape the culture in which we live in? How aware are we of the structural forces and the relational contexts that guide our decisions? The course will primarily focus on the contemporary American culture, but with a keen awareness of how it is situated within a global context. Course readings and writing assignments will encourage students to question what we so often take for granted, or not recognize as being a powerful force that shapes and situates our everyday actions. Finally, the course treats culture as a serious and a concrete topic of academic inquiry, not something that is solely for entertainment and leisure or an abstract concept that cannot be defined or studied scientifically.

Primary readings for the course:
• Swidler, Ann. 2001. Talk of Love: How Culture Matters. Chicago: University of Chicago Press
  • Ansari, Aziz and Eric Klinenberg. 2015. Modern Romance. New York: Penguin Press.
• Kondo, Marie. 2014. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press.

SOCI 171-02: culture and consumption

Professor Kato
MW 12:30 – 1:45 PM
WAL 491

This course uses sociological theories to explore the production and consumption of culture. It introduces how sociologists answer central questions about the relationships between culture and society with a focus on three issues: institutional fads, how we talk about love, and children’s consumption. We will explore questions such as; What is the relationship between social change (e.g., economic, technological, demographic, geographical…) and the kinds of culture people produce and consume? Is there something unique about the contemporary America that produces a particular set of cultural practices, and if so what do these practices tell us about the immediate and distant futures of this society? How do everyday actions we take and decisions we make reflect and also shape the culture in which we live in? How aware are we of the structural forces and the relational contexts that guide our decisions? The course will primarily focus on the contemporary American culture, but with a keen awareness of how it is situated within a global context. Course readings and writing assignments will encourage students to question what we so often take for granted, or not recognize as being a powerful force that shapes and situates our everyday actions. Finally, the course treats culture as a serious and a concrete topic of academic inquiry, not something that is solely for entertainment and leisure or an abstract concept that cannot be defined or studied scientifically.

Primary readings for the course:
• Swidler, Ann. 2001. Talk of Love: How Culture Matters. Chicago: University of Chicago Press
  • Ansari, Aziz and Eric Klinenberg. 2015. Modern Romance. New York: Penguin Press.
• Kondo, Marie. 2014. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press.

SOCI 191-01: Law and society

Professor Stiles
TR 2:00 – 3:15 PM
CBN 201

This course has three complementary parts. Students begin with an overview of the U.S. justice system. Next we focus on “Hot Topics” in the law. Students read and brief landmark Supreme Court cases on such topics as, climate change, campaign finance, immigration, and voting rights. Students, in small groups, choose one topic they will be an expert in and create an informative website, infographic and accompanying short video informing fellow Millennials why they need to know about the issue and what they can do about it.

Finally, students have the opportunity to make it real through mock trials. Playing the roles of attorneys and witnesses, students learn the mechanics of a trial and create legal strategies to best represent their clients. It all comes together when students enact the trials in courtrooms at Georgetown Law with legal professionals serving as judges.

SOCI 191-02: law and society

Professor Stiles
TR 3:30 – 4:45 PM
CBN 201

This course has three complementary parts. Students begin with an overview of the U.S. justice system. Next we focus on “Hot Topics” in the law. Students read and brief landmark Supreme Court cases on such topics as, climate change, campaign finance, immigration, and voting rights. Students, in small groups, choose one topic they will be an expert in and create an informative website, infographic and accompanying short video informing fellow Millennials why they need to know about the issue and what they can do about it.

Finally, students have the opportunity to make it real through mock trials. Playing the roles of attorneys and witnesses, students learn the mechanics of a trial and create legal strategies to best represent their clients. It all comes together when students enact the trials in courtrooms at Georgetown Law with legal professionals serving as judges.

SOCI 194-01: criminology

Professor McDonald
TR 9:30 – 10:45 AM
WAL 490

The course is a survey of the nature and extent of crime and delinquency. It covers biological, psychological and sociological theories of crime causation; criminal typologies; legal and social definitions of crime; insanity defenses. Exercises based upon quantitative analysis of crime data are included. (Police, courts, and corrections are dealt with in a separate course, see Sociology of Criminal Justice.) The course has a mid-term and final exam; short quantitative exercises; and a research paper in which a criminological theory is tested with data.

SOCI 202-01: sociological theory

Professor Fields
MW 12:30 – 1:45 PM
MAG 102

This course is an introduction to the foundations of sociological theory. The goal of the course is to critically evaluate the major theorists and debates within the classical and early modern tradition and apply those theories to contemporary issues. Focus areas include: the problem of social order; the nature of social conflict; capitalism and bureaucracy; the relationship between social structure and politics; the social nature of religion; and the development and reinforcement of identity. To examine these topics, we will critically read selections of classic sociological theory (including, but not limited to, Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, W.E.B. DuBois, Karl Marx, Jane Addams, and Ida B. Wells) and then use those theories to better understand contemporary social, political, and economic issues. Readings will continually move between theoretical statements and contemporary journalistic pieces. In addition to becoming familiar with important theoretical traditions in sociology, students will learn to think and read more critically, and to learn communicate ideas more effectively, both as speakers and writers.  This course requires a fair amount of reading, and some of the material is dense, so students are encouraged to take care in budgeting their time. It is essential that students come to class prepared to discuss the assigned material.

SOCI 220-01: global development and social justice

Professor Hsu
MW 3:30 – 4:45 PM
WAL 498

Global development is a term that refers to efforts around the world to make societies better (by improving people’s lives), especially for people who have lower income and less access to important things such as education and health services. This course explores the efforts being made to alleviate the suffering of people around the globe. Some of the questions we will answer include: What are people doing to try to help people around the world? Are those efforts effective? Why or why not? What are some of the unintended consequences that occur as a result of these activities?

Out of the uneasy mix of missionaries, conquistadors, colonists, and humanitarians who populate its prehistory, poverty alleviation (in conjunction with the exercise of power) has evolved in the past six decades to become the field of global development as we know it today. Its dominant institutions became nationally and formally organized after World War II awakened the American conscience in a new way to the suffering of people in far-flung parts of the world, while at the same time, powerful national interests shaped the development enterprise more broadly. The goals of poverty alleviation have been realized to some extent; standards of living have risen to unprecedented levels since the 1990s. However, there are also apprehensions that global development is failing in some important ways. Some critics within the industry wonder how much people are really benefiting.

This course is organized in roughly three sections: First, we examine research on what development interventions look like on the ground. What do people do, and how do people respond? How effective are the programs and projects? What are the outcomes?

In the second section, we examine various explanations for why we are seeing particular outcomes, including those that focus on development’s historical roots, global political and economic structures, and organizational logics.

Finally, the last section will look at various answers to the question, “How, then, should we proceed with global development?” A core part of one’s answer to this question depends on the definition of well-being one assumes. We will examine what “development as freedom” implies, as well as other conceptions of the good life and the use of happiness indexes around the world.

SOCI 250-01: race and politics

Professor Fields
M 2:00 - 4:30 PM
WGR 411

This course combines lectures with seminar-form discussion to explore the complex ways that race impacts political behavior and attitudes in (primarily) American politics. The course takes a sociological approach that stresses the constructed nature of both race and politics. As a group, we will explore the mechanisms through which race informs political behavior, while also paying close attention to the ways that politics also informs our understanding of race. The course treats “race” as multifaceted construct, with multiple (and often times conflicting) influences on political behavior. The course is split into 3 parts. In the first portion of the course, we will explore the relationship between racial identity and political behavior at the individual level. The second part of the course will examine how ideas about racial groups shape political attitudes and behaviors, as well as policy outcomes. The third part of the course will explore how race is used to mobilize political and economic actors. Throughout the course, we will engage the debate concerning the role of race and racism in the formation of contemporary party coalitions in US electoral politics.  Additionally, we will examine the actual policy outputs of government, exploring the degree to which the presence or absence of racial and ethnic diversity shapes both the nature of policy-making institutions as well as the policies they generate.

SOCI 261-01: seminar in transgender issues

Professor Guidroz
F 11:00 AM – 1:30 PM; T 6:30 – 8:30 PM*
WAL 390/ WAL 397

This 4-credit seminar is based on a growing field of transgender/transsexual (or “trans”) studies. It starts with the idea that individuals are born into a society whereby gender is socially constructed. In this course we will discuss transgender identity and gender expression by challenging a gender binary. Specific topics we will address will include children and socialization, schooling and education, families, laws and legal challenges, media images and messages, the body, health (both physical and emotional), employment, and specific social institutions including the military and sports. Each member of the class is an equal participant and will participate in the class as co-learners. In this regard, we will be “meeting” individuals and groups that can teach us something about transgender(ism). Taught from a sociological perspective, students will examine social science research studies and other scholarship on relevant topics. As a requirement of this course, students will partake in A Different Dialogue as its 1-credit lab component. This intergroup dialogue lab will allow students to extend their understanding of the course materials and draw connections to social identities such as their own gender as well as other categories such as sexuality, race, ethnicity, nationality, and social class.

SOCI 304-01: sociology senior seminar

Professor Wickham-Crowley
TR 11:00 AM – 12:15 PM
WAL 296

The Sociology Senior Seminar is the most “signature” course within your sociology major, and is certainly a distinctive experience when compared with seniors’ typical obligations across the main campus. Every sociology major must craft a detailed research paper during the spring term, which most of us are wont to call a “thesis,” whereas in most other departments only a select subgroup of seniors in any field are called upon to have that privilege (and that duty). In this respect, then, you are following a path trod by very few colleges and universities in placing such a task before all seniors who wish to complete their major-obligations, e.g., Princeton University and Reed College. You should feel proud to face and overcome such a challenge as an entire group of majors, not just an elite (so-called!) few.

This is thus the “capstone” experience of your work as sociology majors, and into it we expect you to invest your accumulated sociological expertise and wisdom, with your energies directed for the next 3-1/2 months into producing a polished piece of original research which addresses new topics and/or looks into previously unsolved puzzles and unanswered questions. The task I placed before each of you in November was meant to orient you toward producing a statement which describes clearly to me – and soon to your fellow seminarians as well – just such a “thesis issue.” With that issue settled, you now begin this course in early January ready to dive into the topic you specified to me last year. By the time you have finished your writing, the best theses should make some of you close to expert on the issues with which you have grappled.