TEACHING

Course descriptions along with recent
syllabi appear below. Click course titles
to access syllabi.

 

POLITICAL SOCIOLOGY

Political Sociology is centrally concerned with political relations, policies, and practices as well as larger questions of conflict, cooperation, power, influence, and authority. Drawing on innovative methods of instruction, class discussions, and group activities, this course aims to provide a fun and intellectually stimulating environment in which to survey the dynamic field of political sociology, including: the nature and roles of power, influence, and authority; citizenship, nationalism, the state and nation; the sociology of law; class, the power elite, and political economy; transnational processes, imperialism, and hegemony; social movements and social change; gender; race, culture, and identity politics; and a wide array of other topics that impact our world today. The course aims to critically survey the dominant theories in the field and will, in the latter portion of the course, briefly introduce students to a selection of research methods that can be used in the study of politics. This course is directed at critically engaging the world around us. Given the breadth and depth of the field, our topical coverage will necessarily be uneven and incomplete. Over the course of our time together we will explore many topics together, asking questions like: What is power? How are political institutions held together or torn apart? What does it mean to be a nation, state, or empire? How are our identities and relationships affected by the political institutions? How and why do some societies exert power and domination over others--and how do others resist?

 


SOCIAL PROBLEMS

Despite the considerable progress our society has made, many problems continue to confront us. Members of the GLBTQ community are still denied basic rights and services. Many Americans do not enjoy religious freedom. Women are not paid the same wages as men. And many people continue to be harassed and murdered for the color of their skin. Superficially, such events may seem unrelated, but they often have similar sources, and often prompt similar responses. This course will introduce you to the sociological study of contemporary social problems in the United States. By taking this course, you will learn to examine social problems from a larger perspective and see how our personal lives are connected with larger social realities. The goal of the course is to develop your ability to make sense of social problems that confront our society. The course will help you develop your critical thinking and writing skills, and will challenge you to think through social problems to make informed arguments and find pragmatic solutions. Confronted with perplexing and often damaging social problems, we will ask questions like “How can I help myself and those I care about?”, “Why do some people turn out to be deeply prejudiced while others become egalitarian?”, and “Why do social problems persist, and what can we do about it?"

 


SOCIETIES

In an age of shifting global alliances and international conflict, future professionals are increasingly seeking to develop more thoughtful and informed global perspectives. This interactive six-week summer course is open to all undergraduates who wish to explore global issues in a dynamic and multicultural environment. The course enables students to critically analyze forces pulling and pushing societies apart—including topics such as race, gender, culture, politics, conflict, economics, and globalization.

 


INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY

This course will introduce you to sociology, its theories, research methods, and perspectives. In this class, you will learn how to think sociologically with different theoretical lenses about world events and major social problems around topics like class, gender, race, sexuality, and inequality. Due to time constraints and the impressive breadth of topics we will explore together, content coverage will necessarily be incomplete. This is no worry, however, as our goal is not to be exhaustive, but rather to develop your ability to think sociologically about the world around you. With a sociological perspective, we can find new ways to critically analyze world events and find solutions to many of today’s most pressing social problems.

 


CRIMINOLOGY

This course will introduce you to the sociological study of crime, its causes and consequences, theories, research methods, and perspectives. In this class, you will learn how to think sociologically with different theoretical lenses about criminal behavior. You will learn to think critically about what law and crime are, the relationships between law, crime, and society, the organization of our legal system, the interaction between people coming into contact with our legal system (citizens) and the system’s representatives (police, judges, lawyers, etc.), and how we construct meaning of law and crime, formal and informal mechanisms of control, the roles of the police, courts, lawyers, and justice system.

 


ELEMENTARY STATISTICS

This interactive course is open to all undergraduates who wish to explore how to do sociology by using statistics in a dynamic environment. Statistics gives us a powerful tool with which we can cut through the hype and propaganda that is so often thrown at us by biased interests. With statistics, we can find new ways to critically analyze events and find solutions to many of today’s most pressing social problems. This course will give you an introduction to basic statistics employed in the sociological analyses, covering descriptive statistics, probability, sampling distributions, inferential statistics, tests of significance, contingency tables, measures of correlation, and more.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

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