Sociology Department

Professors: William Hoynes, Eileen Leonard, Marque Miringoff; Associate Professors:Pinar Batur, Diane Harriford (Chair), Robert McAulay; Assistant ­Professors: Miranda Martinez, Seungsook Moon a, Leonard Nevarez.

Requirements for Concentration: 10 1⁄2 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.
 

Sociology 151 is a prerequisite for all intermediate courses.

II. Intermediate

 
[206b. Social Change in the Black Community]
(1)
(Same as Africana Studies 206b)
       Not offered in 2003/04.
 
210b. Domestic Violence
(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. Ms. Deporto-Callan.
       Two 75-minute periods.
 
[215b. Perspectives on Deviance]
(1)
Sociology as a discipline offers a variety of perspectives on deviance. In recent years mainstream approaches—Functionalism, Conflict Theory, Social Constructionism and Labeling Theory—have been supplemented by Cultural Studies (Gramscian Marxism) and Post- Structuralism (including the ideas of Michel Foucault). These different ways of seeing, analyzing, and interpreting “deviance” are deployed in this course by focusing on several topics including traditional and new religious movements, varieties of sexual deviance, as well as music-centered youth subcultures. Other relevant examples and case studies are also explored on a selected basis. Mr. McAulay.
       Not offered in 2003/04.
 
229b. Black Intellectual History
(1)
(Same as Africana Studies 229b.) Ms. Harriford.
 
[234b. Disability and Society]
(1)
(Same as Science, Technology and Society 234b) The vision of disability has changed radically over the past twenty years. Public policies have been legislated, language has been altered, opportunities have been rethought, a social movement has emerged, problems of discrimination, oppression, and prejudice have been highlighted, and social thinkers have addressed a wide range of issues relating to the representation and portrayal of people with disabilities. This course examines these issues, focusing on the emergence of the disability rights movement, the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the various debates over American Sign Language, “deaf culture,” and the student uprising at Gallaudet University and how writers and artists have portrayed people with disabilities.
       The course meets for two two-hour sessions each week, one two-hour session is devoted to lecture and discussion of reading materials, the second two-hour session serves as a laboratory for films, speakers, and trips. Ms. Miringoff.
       Not offered in 2003/04.
 
237b. Community Development
(1)
(Same as Urban Studies 237b) This course provides “hands-on” lessons in community organization, urban inequality, and economic development that are intended to supplement theoretical perspectives offered in other classes. Students examine local efforts to revitalize neighborhoods, provide social services, enhance social capital among residents, and promote homeowner and business investment in the contemporary city. A community development initiative in the City of Poughkeepsie (to be determined) provides the case study around which lectures, readings, and guest speakers are selected. The course entails a special weekly lab section in which students are required to intern at a local nonprofit, conduct ethnographic fieldwork, or use Geographic Information System analysis in the service of the case study initiative. Students are graded for both their comprehension of course materials (in essays and exams) and their participation in the case study initiative (through fieldwork and reports). Ms. Martinez.
       Prerequisite: Permission of the Instructor.
       Two 2-hour periods.
 
240b. 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 243) This course addresses controversies surrounding birth, death and population policy. We begin by looking at current international population debates in light of AIDS, aging, and scarcity, then consider important historical and theoretical backdrops of contemporary policy, including Malthusianism, Eugenics, and the population policies of Nazi Germany. Contemporary controversies addressed include genetic screening, genetic and reproductive engineering, the Genome Project, the birth control movement, family planning, population control, contraception, and abortion. International issues include China’s one-child policy and legislation regarding euthanasia and sterilization. Ms. Miringoff.
       Not offered in 2003/04.
 
247a and b. Modern Social Theory: Marx, Durkheim, and Weber
(1)
(Same as Anthropology 247a and b) 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, Ms. Moon.
 
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.
 
[252a. The Family in Technological Society]
(1)
We study the family as an intimate group and as a social institution. Topics include: theories of family organization and structure; marriage and divorce; parenthood; reproductive technology; alternative lifestyles. Changing family patterns are examined in the context of economic, cultural, and scientific developments. Ms. Harriford.
       Not offered in 2003/04.
 
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 2003/04.
 
[257b. Re-orienting America: Asians in American History and Society]
(1)
Based on sociological theory of class, gender, race/ethnicity, this course examines complexities of historical, economic, political, and cultural positions of Asian Americans beyond the popular image of “model minorities.” Topics include the global economy and Asian immigration, politics of ethnicity and panethnicity, educational achievement and social mobility, affirmative action, and representation in mass media. Ms. Moon.
       Not offered in 2003/04.
 
[258b. Race and Ethnicity]
(1)
(Same as Africana Studies 258b) 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. Martinez.
       Not offered in 2003/04.
 
[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 2003/04.
 
260a. Health, Medicine, and Public Policy
(1)
(Same as Science, Technology, and Society 260a) The Black Death killed approximately one-third of Europe. AIDS has devastated parts of the modern world. Asthma has been rising in our urban centers. This year the course includes a special section on the concept of epidemic (both infectious diseases and environmental disorders) in order to illuminate the interactions between health, medicine, and public policy. Through various examples of epidemics, including the tuberculosis epidemic of New York City, the influenza epidemic of 1918, and the fears raised by contagion (Typhoid Mary), we examine the concept of health as a social construct and medicine as a social institution. The final section of the course addresses the issues of health care policy, the problems of the uninsured, the debates over national health insurance systems, and prospects for the future. Ms. Miringoff.
 
263a. 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.
 
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.
 
267a. Religion, Culture, and Society
(1)
(Same as Religion 267)
 
268b. Sociology of Black Religion
(1)
(Same as Africana Studies 268 and Religion 268)
 
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)
This course looks at selected aspects of social conflict, focusing primarily, though not exclusively, on those conflicts that emerge from long term conditions of stress and unpredictability and those which implicitly or explicitly seek social change or are responsive to social conditions—in particular riots, protests, and uprisings. The first half of the semester focuses on theories of social conflict and collective behavior, including those that see the participants in social conflict as rational and those that see participants as irrational. In the second half of the semester we consider selected case histories, including hate crimes, race riots, the MOVE tragedy, Crown Heights, and the Los Angeles riots. Ms. Miringoff.
 
273a. Sociology of the New Economy
(1)
(Same as Science, Technology and Society 273a) The new economy is, in one sense, a very old concern of sociology. Since the discipline’s nineteenth century origins, sociologists have traditionally studied how changes in material production and economic relations impact the ways that people live, work, understand their lives, and relate to one another. However, current interests in the new economy center upon something new: a flexible, “just in time” mode of industry and consumerism made possible by information technologies and related organizational innovations. The logic of this new economy, as well as its consequences for society, are the subject of this course. Topics include the roles of technology in the workplace, labor markets, and globalization; the emerging “creative class”; the digital divides in technology access, education, and community; high-tech lifestyles and privacy; and the cutting edges of consumerism. Mr. Nevarez.
 
286a. Development, Culture, and Social Change in Latin America
(1)
(same as Latin American Studies 286) This course examines the ways in which Latin American and Caribbean nations have defined and pursued development and struggled for social change in the post World-War II era. We use country studies and development theories (including Modernization, Dependency, World-Systems, Feminist and Post-Structuralist) to analyze the extent to which development has been shaped by the tensions between local,national, and international political and economic interests. Within this structural context, we focus on people and their relationships to each other and to a variety of issues including work, land, reproductive rights, basic needs, and revolution. Integrating structural analysis with and analysis of lived practice and meaning making allow us to understand development as a process that shapes, but is also shaped by, local actors. Ms. Carruyo.
       Two 75-minute periods.
 
287b. Latino Identity Formation in the U.S.
(1)
This course examines the development of Latinos as a distinct group out of the highly diverse populations of Latin American background in the US, paying particular attention to the social processes that are shaping and fueling this emerging identity. It provides an examination of the processes of cultural creation, and the forces “both global and local” that are fueling an American latinidad .We start by exploring the economic and political factors that have historically fueled the immigration of Latin American peoples to US cities and shaped their incorporation into US society as “Latinos.” We also examine differences among different social and cultural formations among emerging Latino communities in Los Angeles, Miami, and New York. Ms. Martinez.
 
288a. Cultures of Globalization
(1)
Does the current historical moment call for new frameworks to explain how people labor, build community, understand the nation, conceive of "home," and make sense of the world? This course examines the contested meanings of the term "globalization" and the ways in which debates around culture and globalization have impacted sociological approaches to questions about gender, race, community, economic and cultural production, and social change. Specific topics to be addressed may include: transnational migrations and identities, the global AIDS crisis, the political economy of globalization, the traffic in culture (music, film, television), fashion and the garment industry, modernity, post-modernity, and globalization, the prison industrial complex, and the anti-globalization movement. Ms. Carruyo.
       Two 75-minute periods.
 
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

Permission for 300-level course: Sociology 151 and 1 unit of 200-level work, or permission of instructor.
 
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.
 
[311b. Human Development and Social Health: Global and
(1)
American Perspectives]
       In nations around the world, a new social movement is occurring, seeking to advance the quality of life and well being of populations. The “Progress of Nations” report states this goal: “The day will come when the progress of nations will be judged not by their military or economic strength ... but by the well-being of their peoples; by their levels of health, nutrition, and education; by their opportunities to earn a fair reward for their labors; by their ability to participate in the decisions that affect their lives.” This seminar studies this social movement in the United States and abroad. The course includes the history of the movement, an analysis of the emerging international concept of “human development,” the ideas of “sustainability,” “quality of life,” and “social health” in America, and the local social indicators movement now occurring in cities, states, and communities throughout America. Ms. Miringoff.
       Not offered in 2003/04.
 
312b. Corporate Power
(1)
This seminar investigates how corporations exert power over society outside of their place in the market. We review the evolution of the corporation, from the late eighteenth century concern over “big business” to globalization in the present day, and examine competing theories and methodologies with which social researchers have explained the power of business. Topics and literatures include corporate citizenship and philanthropy, capitalist networks and organizations, the cult of the “charismatic CEO,” and the countervailing power of today’s investor capitalism. Mr. Nevarez.
 
[347b. Reenvisioning Women in the Third World]
(1)
(Same as Women’s Studies 347b.) This course examines the forces that have shaped the lives of women, their willful responses in the Third World, defined in terms of historical and social conditions rather than geographical locations. Topics include colonialism, nationalism, politics of representation and the production of knowledge in international development, environmental movement, global factory work, reproductive rights, and the sex industry in international tourism. Ms. Moon.
       Not offered in 2003/04
 
[352b. Contemporary Social Movements]
(1)
A social analysis of the factors responsible for the development and effectiveness of reform movements in the United States. Special focus on the early labor movement, the civil rights movement, and the modern women’s movement. Ms. Harriford.
       Not offered in 2003/04.
 
353a. Bio-Social Controversy
(1)
(Same as Science, Technology, and Society 353a) Scientific controversies take place not only within scientific communities but may be joined in public arenas as well. This course conceptually deploys the sociology of scientific knowledge to focus on selected psychologists against feminists, social constructionists and their scientific colleagues in adjacent fields. Topics include the debate with Stephen Jay Gould over “Darwinian fundamentalism,” the confrontation regarding Darkness in El Dorado, and volatile disputes surrounding evolutionary accounts of sexual orientation, sex/ gender, and rape. Controversies dealing with race and ethnicity, including the Human Genome Diversity Project and the argument over “Black” athletic superiority, have also been tackled in recent years. Mr. McAulay.
 
356a. Culture, Commerce, and the Public Sphere
(1)
(Same as Media Studies Development Project 356a) 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 2003/04.
 
[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.
       Not offered in 2003/04.
 
[365b. 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 2003/04.
 
[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.
       Not offered in 2003/04.
 
[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 science-based 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.
       Not offered in 2003/04.
 
[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, state-building 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.
       Not offered in 2003/04.
 
[380a. Women’s Movements in Asia]
(1)
This interdisciplinary course examines the reemergence of women’s movements in contemporary Asia by focusing on their cultural and historical contexts that go beyond the theory of “resource mobilization.” Drawing upon case studies from Korea, Japan, India, and China, it traces the rise of feminist consciousness and women’s movements at the turn of the twentieth century, and then analyzes the relationships between contemporary women’s movements and the following topics: nationalism, political democratization, capitalist industrialization, ambivalence toward modernization, and postmodern conditions. Ms. Moon.
       Not offered in 2003/04.
 
383a. Community in Theory and Practice
(1)
Community is a fundamental sociological concept. Despite its importance, community remains an ambiguous concept, and within the field there are profound disagreements about defining its attributes, as well as the degree to which it remains relevant in advanced industrial societies. The course explores the “classic” pieces of literature in the field as well as provides an overview of more recent theoretical developments and debates in community sociology. We critically examine “community” as a theoretical concept, and the major paradigms that attempt to analyze the social forces that are currently effecting community change in advanced industrial nations. Finally, we look at the debates over the normative value of community, including the resurgence of communitarian theory, and the poststructuralist challenge to the concept of a unitary community. Ms. Martinez.
 
[384b. Black Marxism]
(1)
The growth of global racism suggests the symmetry of the expansion of capitalism and the globalization of racial hierarchy. In this context, global racism works to shatter possibilities for solidarity, distort the meaning of justice, alter the context of wrong, and makes it possible for people to claim ignorance of past and present racial atrocities, discrimination, exclusion, oppression, and genocide. By concentrating on the works of Black Marxist intellectuals, this course will examine the discourse of confrontation, and the impact of Black Marxist thought in contributing to anti-racist knowledge, theory, and action. Ms. Batur.
       Not offered in 2003/04.
 
385b. Nation, Race, and Gender in Latin America and Caribbean
(1)
(Same as Latin American Studies 385) With a focus on Latin American and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean this course traces and analyzes the ways in which the project of nation building creates and draws upon narratives about race and gender. While our focus is on Latin America, our study considers racial and gender formations within the context of the world-system. We are interested in how a complicated history of colonization, independence, post-coloniality, and "globalization" has intersected with national economies, politics, communities, and identities. In order to get at these intersections we examine a range of texts dealing with policy, national literatures, common sense, and political struggle. Specific issues to be addressed include the relationship between socio-biological theories of race and Latin American notions of mestizage, discursive and material "whitening," the myth of racial democracy, sexuality and morality, and border politics. Ms. Carruyo.
       One 2-hour period.
 
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.