Sociology

Professors: Norman Fainstein (Dean of the Faculty), Eileen Leonardb, Marque Miringoff; Associate Professors: Diane Harriford, William Hoynes (Chair), Robert McAulay; Assistant Professors: Pinar Batur-Vander Lippe, Seungsook Moon.

Absent on leave, second semester.

Requirements for Concentration: 101/2 units, including Sociology 151, 247, 254, 3 units at the 300 level, including Sociology 300a-301b.

After declaration of major, no NRO work is permissible in the major.

Senior-Year Requirements: Sociology 300a-301b (for a total of 1 full unit of credit), a senior thesis under the supervision of a member of the department.

Recommendations: Field Work 290.

Advisers: The department.


I. Introductory

151a or b. Introductory Sociology (1)

An introduction to the concepts of sociology rooted in the ideas and thinkers of the classical tradition, exploring their historical meaning and contemporary relevance. The department.

Open to all classes. Required of majors.


II. Intermediate

Sociology 151 is a prerequisite for all intermediate courses.

206b. Social Change in the Black Community (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 206a)

[208a. Sociology of the Afro-American Family] (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 208a)

Not offered in 1999/00.

215b. Perspectives on Deviance (1)

This course analyzes the concept of deviance within a historical and comparative framework. Various forms of behavior traditionally labeled as "deviant" are examined. Mr. McAulay.

[224b. Race and Ethnicity from a Global Perspective] (1)

This course is designed to explore diverse approaches to race, ethnicity and the racial and ethnic experience, and to provide a comparative analysis of race and ethnicity from a global perspective. It has two major aims: the first is to offer a historical perspective and examine theoretical debates on race and ethnic relations. The second is to provide current examples from the United States, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, to develop insights into the complexities of race and ethnic relations. Ms. Batur-Vander Lippe.

Not offered in 1999/00.

234a. Disability and Society (1)

(Same as Science, Technology, and Society 234a) This course addresses classic and contemporary conceptualization of disability in modern society. The course begins with Goffman's concept of stigma, then analyzes the conflict between the more traditional perspective of disability, as deviance, and the more modern concept of disability as a civil rights issue. Public policy analyses will include the origins of the civil rights movement in section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the passage and implementation of the Americans With Disabilities Act. Finally cultural issues of disability will be addressed, including the arts, literature, and film. Ms. Miringoff.

236b. Social Change in East Asia: Culture, Modernity, Gender, and Sexuality (1)

This course explores meanings and practices of culture, tradition, modernity, gender, and sexuality in the context of rapid social change in East Asia. Drawing upon case studies from China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, this course examines such multiple sites of social change as work, marriage/family, and popular culture. Its aim is also to gain critical understanding of both Eastern (self-) and Western (other-) representation of East Asia in various forms of knowledge produced about the region. Ms. Moon.

240a. Law and Society (1)

Law is analyzed in its social context focusing on the relationship between law and social control, and law and social change. Topics discussed include psychiatry and the law, Blacks and the law, and women and the law. The criminal justice system is examined in a comparative framework, emphasizing the role of judges, juries, and particularly lawyers, in society. Ms. Leonard.

[243a. Birth, Death, and Public Policy] (1)

(Same as Science, Technology, and Society 243a) An examination of social factors and public policy affecting birth, death, and population distributions. Special attention to such issues as contraception, sterilization, eugenics, genocide, genetic engineering, abortion, and population control. Coverage includes China's one-child family program and other international policies. Ms. Miringoff.

Not offered in 1999/00.

247a. Modern Social Theory: Marx, Durkheim, and Weber (1)

(Same as Anthropology 247a) This course focuses on a comparison of the principal assumptions and the central concepts contributing to the formation of modern social theory. Readings include selections from Marx, Durkheim, and Weber. Ms. Leonard.

[250a. Sex, Gender, and Society] (1)

In the context of general sociological theory, the course analyzes sex roles in various institutional settings. Topics include: the effect of social, cultural and scientific change on traditional notions of male and female; the social construction of masculine and feminine; implications of genetic engineering; interaction of sexual attitudes, sexual practices, and social policy. Ms. Harriford.

Not offered in 1999/00.

254b. Research Methods (1)

Examines dilemmas of social inquiry. On what basis are sociological generalizations drawn? What are the ethics of social research? Course includes a critical analysis of research studies as well as an introduction to and practical experience with participant observation, interviewing, questionnaire construction, sampling, experimentation, and available data. Mr. Hoynes.

[256b. Mass Media and Society] (1)

This course takes a critical approach to the study of the production and consumption of mass media, focusing primarily on the United States. Using case studies, the course examines the economic and social organization of mass media, the content of media messages, and the impact various media have on the public. Topics may include: the political economy of television, gender and Hollywood film, music television, competing theories of media spectatorship, the politics of romance novels, the role of noncommercial media. Mr. Hoynes.

Not offered in 1999/00.

[257b. Class, Gender, and Ethnicity/Race in Asian American Communities] (1)

This course studies the fastest growing social groups in contemporary American society. Drawing upon case studies of various Asian-American communities, it examines complexities of economic, political, and cultural positions of Asian Americans beyond the popular image of "model minorities." Throughout the course we study the use of class, gender, and ethnicity/race as categories of social analysis. Ms. Moon.

Not offered in 1999/00.

258a. Race and Ethnicity (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 258) An examination of racial and ethnic minorities in the United States. Focus is on the social forces behind institutional dominance and minority group responses, assimilation versus cultural pluralism, and collective movements for social change. Policy implementation of affirmative action, busing, I.Q. testing, genetic screening and birth control. Ms. Harriford.

[259a. Social Stratification] (1)

How social prestige and power are unequally distributed in various societies of the past and the present. The role of the propriety of the means of production and of the military is stressed. The formation of classes as subcultural units, status symbols, class consciousness and class struggles are analyzed. Ms. Harriford.

Not offered in 1999/00.

[260a. Sociology of Medicine] (1)

(Same as Science, Technology, and Society 260a) An examination of medicine as a social institution and health as a social construct. Includes an assessment of health policy, health care delivery, organ transplantation, women's health care, AIDS, TB, children's health care, and public health. Cross-cultural comparisons are utilized. Ms. Miringoff.

Not offered in 1999/00.

[[263b. Criminology] (1)

The course consists of a consideration of the nature and scope of criminology as well as an historical treatment of the theories of crime causation and the relation of theory to research and the treatment of the criminal. Ms. Leonard.

Not offered in 1999/00.

[264b. "The Nuclear Cage": Environmental Theory and Nuclear Power] (1)

The central aim of this course is to explore debates about the interaction between beings, including humans, animals, plants and the earth within the context of advanced capitalism by concentrating on the production, distribution, consumption, and disposal of nuclear power. The first question concerning the class is how does Environmental Theory approach nuclear power and its impact on the environment. The second question deals with how this construction interacts with other forms of debate regarding nuclear power, especially concentrating on the relation between science, market and the state in dealing with nature, and how citizens formulate and articulate their understanding of nuclear power through social movements. Ms Batur-VanderLippe .

Not offered in 1999/00.

265b. News Media in America (1)

This course joins the ongoing debate about the meaning of press freedom and explores the relationship between news and democracy. It will examine how the news media operate in American society and will assess how well the current media are serving the information needs of citizens. Topics may include: the meaning of "objectivity," the relationship between journalists and sources, news and public opinion, ownership of news media, the relationship between news and advertising, propaganda and news management, and the role of alternative media. Mr. Hoynes.

270b. Drugs, Culture, and Society (1)

An examination of drug use and its symbolic importance in American society viewed in light of pertinent historical and cross-cultural material. Includes discussion of problems linked with licit and illicit, recreational, social control, and medicinal use of drugs, as well as with political and legal dimension of drug controversies. Mr. McAulay.

271a. Forms of Social Conflict (1)

(Same as Urban Studies 271b) An analysis of mass social behavior under conditions of stress or unpredictability, with special attention to urban social conflicts. Theorists may include Le Bon, Freud, Smelser, Coser, Feagin. Case materials may include the 1919 Chicago race riots, the Kerner Commission Report, Bensonhurst, Howard Beach, Crown Heights, Korean grocer boycott, L.A. riots. Ms. Miringoff.

[272b. Genocide and Social Theory] (1)

Ralph Lemkin defined a new word, genocide, as a response to the atrocities of World War II. As a crime against humanity, this concept has become integral to the conceptualization of the killing of millions, and massive total destruction. It has also become synonymous with the rise of totalitarianism and the dissolution of the Enlightenment project. As Theodor Adorno asked, "How is poetry possible after Auschwitz?" This course is an examination of the complex discourse on genocide, focusing on debates about understanding the past and preventing genocide in the present and future. Ms. Batur-VanderLippe.

Not offered in 1999/00.

280a. Sociology of Art (1)

Building upon Max Weber's insight that "modern man tends to transform judgments of moral intent into judgments of taste ('in poor taste' rather that 'reprehensible')", this course explores the ways that public debates over art, aesthetics, and especially taste often mask more fundamental conflicts of culture, class, race, ethnicity, and gender. Special attention is given to the correlation of social hierarchies and "taste cultures" and to examination of the links between aesthetic appreciation and social mobility in the modern period. We compare the creation and appreciation of art in democratic and totalitarian states, examine controversies over the public funding of cultural projects in the 19th and 20th century United States, and explore the often fluid boundaries between the taste for "high" and "popular" culture.

281b. Workplace Culture: Life in Complex Organizations (1)

This course examines the cultures that emerge within workplaces, emotions and issues of identity at work, as well as the physical sites of work to better understand the nature of work in the late 20th century and its place in the moral order. We examine the consequences of bureaucratic reorganizations inspired by the globalization of work and consumption, changes wrought by technology in the workplace, as well as the relationship of work and other responsibilities to family and the larger society. Issues such as the emergence of temporary and contract work, the decline of manufacturing jobs and the rise of the service sector, and the impact of technology on how, when, and where work gets done are examined by focusing on the experiences of workers.

282b. Domestic Violence:Intimate Betrayal, Societal Condonement (1)

This course provides a general overview of the prevalence and dynamics of domestic violence in the United States and its effects on battered women. We examine the role of the Battered Women's Movement in both the development of societal awareness about domestic violence and in the initiation of legal sanctions against it. We also explore and discuss, both from a historical and present day perspective, ways in which our culture covertly and overtly condones the abuse of women by their intimate partners.

283a. High-Technology and Society (1)

(same as STS 283a) Technology is not distinct from society; indeed, technology embeds, mediates and gives meaning to human culture and organization. Although computers and the internet make this ever more apparent, humans have always had this relationship with technologies high and low. This course is divided into three sections. First, we engage classic sociological understanding s of technologies with case studies of assembly lines, nuclear power, space exploration, and biotechnology. Next we address the role of technology in various processes of globalization. Finally, we focus on how high-technology has transformed human identity and community.

284a. Urban Sociology: Building in the City (1)

(same as URBS 284a) The city is home for many, but it is also a source of profit, a market for goods and services, a site of leisure, and an arena of power. As these environments combine to constitute the city, political, economic, and cultural forces collide, often in conflicting ways. How this happens, and who wins or loses, is the subject of this course. With a comparative and international focus, we examine the changing roles of urban growth and development, architecture and planning, urban social movements, the natural environment, crime and security, globalization, and entertainment in the city. Mr. Nevarez.

285b. The Sociology of Popular Culture (1)

This course traces the history of critical social thought on popular culture. Major theoretical perspectives are introduced and are used by students to engage cultural practices in their own daily lives. Discussions and readings focus on various cultural realms such as art, music, television, and advertising. In considering the growth of mass media, processes of commercialization, ideology and cultural styles, we examine the various roles popular culture plays in social life. To better understand these sometimes contradictory roles we pay special attention to differences of race/ethnicity, class and gender in the production and consumption of popular culture.

286b. Sociology of Religion: Fundamentalism in America (1)

This word "fundamentalism" was first used in the United States in 1910, following the publication of a series of books, The Fundamentals: A Testimony of Truth. Though the roots of the term are explicitly American, Christian, Protestant, and Evangelical, the usage of the description of fundamentalism has grown to include diverse modern religious movements that have sought to apply the essential "truths" of traditional faiths to twentieth century realities. The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the sociological perspective as it applies to the understanding of the plurality of fundamentalisms in current American society. We appraise fundamentalisms against the backdrop of the diverse outlooks of the major religions in America and seek to identify the distinctive, though not necessarily unique, features of movements called fundamentalist. We look at secularization theory, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Cults using both cultural and contemporary sociological theories.

 290a or b. Field Work (1/2 or 1)

Individual project of reading or research. The department.

May be elected during the college year or during the summer.

Special permission. Unscheduled.

298a or b. Independent Work (1/2 or 1)

Individual project of reading or research. The department.

May be elected during the college year or during the summer.

Special permission. Unscheduled.


III. Advanced

Sociology 151 and 1 unit of 200-level work are prerequisites for all 300-level courses.

300a-301b. Senior Thesis (1/2)

The department.

[310b. Comparative Cultural Institutions] (1)

This course examines a variety of cultural institutions including the family, religion, education, politics, and art within selected societies. Methods of comparative analysis are examined and applied. Ms. Leonard.

Not offered in 1999/00.

[353a. Sociobiology] (1)

(Same as Science, Technology, and Society 353a) This course examines ways in which sociobiology and evolutionary psychology endeavor to explain patterns of human social behavior in the areas of sex, race, and crime. Key topics include controversial arguments regarding the biological basis of gender roles and homosexuality, patterns of criminal behavior (infanticide, homicide, rape), as well as racial and ethnic conflict. Discussions also address whether or not sociobiology is inherently sexist and/or racist, if evolutionary approaches are conservative or can be politically progressive, and to what extent a feminist sociobiology is possible. Recent work on racial differences (e.g., The Bell Curveand J. Phillipe Rushton's Race, Evolution and Behavior) is critically analyzed. Mr. McAulay.

Not offered in 1999/00.

356a. Culture, Commerce, and the Public Sphere (1)

This course examines the culture and politics of the public sphere, with an emphasis on the changing status of public spaces in contemporary societies. Drawing upon historical and current analyses, we explore such issues as the relationship between public and commercial space and the role of public discourse in democratic theory. Case studies investigate such sites as mass media, schools, shopping malls, cyberspace, libraries, and public parks in relation to questions of economic inequality, political participation, privatization, and consumer culture. Mr. Hoynes.

[357b. Labor, Work, and Social Change] (1)

A sociological analysis of how the global economy has affected the nature of work in modern society. Key issues include downsizing, the increase in service sector employment, the contingent economy, the working poor, sweatshop labor, historical and contemporary issues in labor union organizing, alienation in the workplace, and the current debate over workfare. Ms. Miringoff.

Not offered in 1999/00.

364b. Social Welfare and Social Policy (1)

The course examines the social philosophies and social movements underlying the development of social welfare policy. Issues include the English Poor Laws, the ideology of American philanthropy, the Progressive Era, the Settlement House Movement, the New Deal, the Great Society, and "The Safety Net." International comparisons are also used throughout. Contemporary problem areas to be examined include homelessness, hunger, and the "feminization of poverty." Ms. Miringoff.

[365a. Class, Culture, and Power] (1)

This course examines central debates in the sociology of culture, with a particular focus on the complex intersection between the domain of culture and questions of class and power. Topics include: the meaning and significance of "cultural capital," the power of ideology, the role of the professional class, working class culture, class reproduction, gender and class relations, and the future of both cultural politics and cultural studies. Readings may include Gramsci, Bourdieu, Gitlin, Aronowitz, Fiske, Willis, and Stuart Hall. Mr. Hoynes.

Not offered in 1999/00.

[366b. Racism and Intellectuals] (1)

Racism is now a global mode of thought, and racial inequality has become a permanent part of global existence through the racial ideologies and discriminatory practices of institutionalized racism. The primary aim of this class is to explore intellectuals' approaches to race and racism, to examine the connection between ideological racism and scientific racism, and the "discourse of confrontation." Ms. Batur-Vander Lippe.

Not offered in 1999/00.

367a. Mind, Culture, and Biology (1)

(Same as Science, Technology and Society 367a) Increasingly in recent years sociobiology and evolutionary psychology have emerged at the center of modern sciencebased opposition to social constructionist and post-modernist thinking. Nowhere is this challenge more pointed than in the use of evolutionary approaches to account for patterns of human culture including standards of beauty, ethical systems, and religious belief. This course examines and analyzes basic arguments regarding the biological basis of deception, self interest, cooperation, and morality. Advanced topics include the feasibility of Darwinian history and literary analysis, the study of Judaism as an evolutionary strategy, challenges posed by evolutionary thinking to the social construction of gender, as well as intriguing efforts to synthesize postmodernist and evolutionary perspectives. Mr. McAulay.

368b. Toxic Futures: From Social Theory to Environmental Theory (1)

The central aim of this class is to examine the foundations of the discourse on society and nature in social theory and environmental theory to explore two questions. The first question is how does social theory approach the construction of the future, and the second question is how has this construction informed the present debates on the impact of industrialization, urbanization, statebuilding and collective movements on the environment? In this context, the class focuses on how social theory informs different articulations of Environmental Thought and its political and epistemological fragmentation and the limits of praxis, as well as its contemporary construction of alternative futures. Ms. Batur-VanderLippe.

[369b. Social Construction of Race in the U.S.] (1)

This course examines the social construction of race in the United States from the beginning of the nineteenth century to the present. The course focuses on changing racial meanings and identities of specific sociohistorical groups and the ways in which social institutions interpret and reinterpret race over time. Contemporary issues addressed include: the construction of "whiteness," the making of model minorities, and the emergence of the "mixed race" category. Readings may include Cooper, DuBois, bell hooks, Omni and Winant, Gilroy and Roediger. Ms. Harriford.

Not offered in 1999/00.

381b. Sociology of Photography (1)

This course examines the creation, appreciation, and consumption of photographs in a variety of social settings. We explore the ways that family photo albums, documentary photographs, tourist snapshots, crime photography and other categories of photographic images are intimately connected with the creation and maintenance of social identities. We also investigate the history of photography to better understand how the construction of competing aesthetic discourses and different photographic practices served, among other things, to reinforce and reproduce status hierarchies. Throughout, photographs are treated as cultural objects that both reflect and influence the social, political, and economic climates in which they are produced and consumed.

382a. Women and the Politics of Third World Development (1)

This course is a critical study of the mainstream international development which has shaped lives of the majority of women in the world from various feminist perspectives. The historical making of the Third World, meanings and methods of development, and alternatives to development are examined by focusing on the politics of representation and the production of knowledge. By drawing upon case studies from various regions, it also investigates such major issues in the discourse of development as environment, technology, population control, nationalism, international tourism, and grassroots resistance. Ms. Moon.

Not offered in 1999/00.

[383a. Militarism and Society: A Comparative Perspective] (1)

This course examines theories of militarism and the centrality of war and war preparation to the organization of contemporary societies. Issues include militarism and economic development, militarism and environment, militarism and nationalism, the role of the military in organizing gender and sexuality, feminism and the peace movement, and militarism in "post-military" society in the West. Readings include N. Elias, R. Luxemburg, M. Mann, B. Reardon, S. Rudnick, M. Shaw and M. Weber. Ms. Moon.

Not offered in 1999/00.

388b. Corporate Power (1)

This seminar investigates how business exerts political power over society. We review the competing theories and methodologies with which special researchers have explained the power of business. With minor departures, the course is divided in two parts. In the first half, we examine corporate power in the national arena: federal government, social policy, the workplace, mass media, and so on. In the second half, we focus on the role of business in community settings, particularly regarding local government, economic development, and civic organizations.

399a or b. Senior Independent Work (1/2 or 1)

Individual project of reading or research. May be elected during the college year or during the summer. The department.

Special permission. Unscheduled.