Chair: Seungsook Moon; Professors: Pinar Baturab, Diane Harriford, William Hoynesa, Eileen Leonard, Marque-Luisa Miringoff, Seungsook Moon; Associate Professors: Light Carruyo, Robert E. McAulaya, Leonard Nevarez; Assistant Professors: Carlos Alamo-Pastranab, Eréndira Rueda; Adjunct Assistant Professor: Darlene Deporto.
- a On leave 2010/11, first semester
- b On leave 2010/11, second semester
- ab On leave 2010/11
Requirements for Concentration: 10 1/2 units, including Sociology 151, 247, 254, two units at the 300-level, and 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.
110. Gender, Social Problems and Social Change (1)
(Same as Women's Studies and Political Science 110) Ms. Leonard, Ms. Shanley.
One 3-hour meeting.
112a. Family, Law and Social Policy (1)
(Same as Political Science and Women's Studies 112) Ms. Leonard, Ms. Shanley.
One 3-hour meeting.
By permission of the instructor.
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.
182a. What Do You Mean by Globalization? (1)
Globalization is a buzz word used in many forums, including popular culture, academic disciplines, political institutions, and social movements. This course examines the multiple voices and actors that make up conversations and processes we refer to as "globalization." How can we make sense of globalization? Can globalization as a framework help us make sense of the social world? Ms. Carruyo.
Open to freshman only. Satisfies college requirement for a Freshman Writing Seminar.
206. b. Social Change in the Black and Latino Communities (1)
(Same as Africana Studies and Religion 206b) Mr. Mamiya.
210a. Domestic Violence (1)
(Same as Women's Studies 210a) 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.
215b. Perspectives on Deviant Subculture (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 various marginal communities and deviant subcultures. In particular we look at traditional as well as new religious movements, bohemian subcultures, and music-centered youth culture (punk, hip hop). Other relevant examples and case studies are explored on a selected basis. Mr. McAulay.
216b. Food, Culture, and Globalization (1)
(Same as Asian Studies 216b) This course focuses on the political economy of and the cultural politics of transnational production, distribution, and consumption of food in global cities of the world to understand the complex nature of cultural globalization and its effects on the national, ethnic, and class identities of women and men. Approaching food as material cultural commodities moving across national boundaries, this course examines the following questions. How has food in routine diet been invested with a broad range of meanings and thereby served to define and maintain collective identities of people and social relationships linked to the consumption of food? In what ways and to what extent does eating food satisfy not only basic appetite and epicurean desire, but also social needs for status and belonging? How have powerful corporate interests shaped the health and well being of a large number of people across national boundaries? What roles do symbols and social values play in the public and corporate discourse of health, nutrition, and cultural identities. Ms. Moon.
229b. Black Intellectual History (1)
(Same as Africana Studies 229b.) Mr. Simpson.
234. Disability and Society (1)
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. Ms. Miringoff.
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.
235. Quality of Life (1)
In a world of cultural diversity, uneven development, and political conflict, enhancing quality of life is arguably the unifying principle in our ambitions for social planning and personal life. But just what does "quality of life" mean? How did it become a preeminent concern for policy-makers and the public at large? And what is at stake if we subordinate other conceptions of the common good to this most subjective and individualistic of ideas? This course takes up these questions through an examination of quality of life's conceptual dimensions and social contexts. Topics include global development policy, patient-doctor conflicts over the right to die, the pressures of work-life balance, the influence of consumer marketing, the voluntary simplicity movement, the "quality of life city," and the cultural divides between conservative "Red States" and liberal "Blue States." Mr. Nevarez.
236. Imprisonment and the Prisoner (1)
What is the history of the prisoner? Who becomes a prisoner and what does the prisoner become once incarcerated? What is the relationship between crime and punishment? Focusing on the (global) prison industrial complex, this course critically interrogates the massive and increasing numbers of people imprisoned in the United States and around the world. The primary focus of this course is the prisoner and on the movement to abolish imprisonment as we know it. Topics covered in this course include: racial and gender inequality, the relationship between imprisonment and slavery, social death, the prisoner of war (POW), migrant incarceration, as well as prisoner resistance and rebellion. Students also come away from the course with a complex understanding of penal abolition and alternative models of justice. Mr. Alamo.
237a. Community Development (1)
(Same as Urban Studies 237a) This course provides hands-on lessons in nonprofit organizations, 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, leverage social capital, 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 includes a special weekly lab section during which students volunteer at local organizations, conduct fieldwork, or otherwise independently gather and analyze data in support of the case study. Students are graded for both their comprehension of course materials (in essays and exams) and their participation in the community-development initiative (through fieldwork and the final report written collectively by the instructor and students). Mr. Nevarez.
Two 2-hour course periods.
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. Moon.
250b. 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.
251b. Development and Social Change in Latin America (1)
(Same as Latin American and Latino/a Studies 251b.) 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 an analysis of lived practice and meaning making allows us to understand development as a process that shapes, but is also shaped by, local actors. Ms. Carruyo.
253a. Children of Immigration (1)
(Same as Latin American and Latino/a Studies 253a) Immigration to the U.S. since the 1970s has been characterized by a marked and unprecedented increase in the diversity of new immigrants. Unlike the great migrations from Europe in the late 1800s and early 1900s, most of the immigrants who have arrived in the U.S. in the last four decades have come from Latin America, Asia, and the Caribbean. New immigration patterns have had a significant impact on the racial and ethnic composition and stratification of the American population, as well as the meaning of American identity itself. Immigrants and their families are also being transformed in the process, as they come into contact with various institutional contexts that can facilitate, block, and challenge the process of incorporation into the U.S. This course examines the impact of these new immigration patterns by focusing on the 16.4 million children in the U.S. who have at least one immigrant parent. Since 1990, children of immigrants - those born in the U.S. as well as those who are immigrants themselves - have doubled and have come to represent 23% of the population of minors in the U.S. In this course we study how children of immigrants are reshaping America, and how America is reshaping them, by examining key topics such as the impact of immigration on family structures, gender roles, language maintenance, academic achievement, and identity, as well as the impact that immigration reforms have had on access to higher education, employment, and political participation. This course provides an overview of the experiences of a population that is now a significant proportion of the U.S. population, yet one that is filled with contradictions, tensions and fissures and defies simple generalizations. Ms. Rueda.
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. Nevarez.
255b. Race, Representation, and Resistance in U.S. Schools (1)
(Same as Africana Studies, Education and Urban Studies 255) This course seeks to interrogate the intersections of race, racism and schooling in the US context. In this course, we examine this intersection at the site of educational policy, media (particularly urban school movies) and K12 curricula- critically examining how representations in each shape the experiences of youth in school. Expectations, beliefs, attitudes and opportunities reflect societal investments in these representations, thus becoming both reflections and riving forces of these identities. Central to these representations is how theorists, educators and youth take them on, own them and resist them in ways that constrain possibility or create spaces for hope. Ms. Cann.
Two 75-minute periods.
256b. Mass Media and Society (1)
This course explores media as a social force, an institution, and an industry. We examine what it means to be "mediated," including how media affects our culture, our choices, and our responses to our media filtered lives. We consider the economics of the media industry, media organization and professional socialization, and media's influence on the political world and the global media industry. Third, we examine how media represent the social world, i.e., the role of ideology, and how meanings are produced, stereotypes maintained, and inequalities preserved. We reflect on the roles, responsibilities, and interpretive potential of artists, media producers, and media consumers. Fourth, we investigate the nature and consequences of media technology. We end the course with a series of panel presentations in which students present their semester projects. Mr. Hoynes
257. Reorienting America: Asians in American History and Society (1)
(Same as Asian Studies 257 and American Culture 257) 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 pan-ethnicity, educational achievement and social mobility, affirmative action, and representation in mass media. Ms. Moon.
259. Social Stratification (1)
In this course we examine how social prestige and power are unequally distributed in societies of the past and present. We discuss how control of property and the means of production contribute to a system of inequality. We also analyze the role of commodities in a consumerist society and the relationship of consumption to stratification. We also discuss the concepts of class formation, class consciousness, and class struggle. Additionally, we examine how race and gender serve to contribute to stratification. Ms. Harriford.
260. Health, Medicine, and Public Policy (1)
(Same as Science, Technology, and Society 260) Health care represents one of the thorniest arenas of public policy today. Current issues include the rising numbers of uninsured, concerns over privacy, protection of the public from emerging infectious diseases, the debate between health care as a right vs. a privilege, and the ways in which we conceive the relationship between health, medicine, and society. This course begins with an analysis of the ‘social construction' of health, looking particularly at the issue of AIDS, national and international. We then examine policies arising from epidemic or infectious diseases, including the Black Death, the 1918 Influenza epidemic, and Typhoid Mary, as well as contemporary dilemmas over newly emergent diseases. Finally, we consider controversies over national health insurance, and assess the strengths and weaknesses of the Canadian health care system, the Massachusetts experiment, and the history of Medicare and Medicaid. Ms. Miringoff.
261. "The Nuclear Cage": Environmental Theory and Nuclear Power (1)
(Same as Environmental Studies 261 and Urban Studies 261) 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.
262. War and Peace and the Struggle (1)
(Same as International Studies 262) The Bishop of Hereford told Henry VIII, "The surest way to peace is constant preparation for war." This class focuses on war and peace in the classical debates and in critical theory. We examine whether it is necessary to prepare for war in order to achieve peace; can "Peace" be conceptualized independent of "War;" and whether there is a need to conceptualize the relationships between them in order to reach a synthesis to define a new set of terms for global coexistence. In the first half of the course we concentrate on the theoretical discourse on war, and in the second half of the class we explore alternative theoretical paradigms, especially peace in its various manifestations. Ms. Batur.
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.
264a. Social Welfare and Social Policy: Perceptions of Poverty (1)
During the past several years, the foundations of American social welfare policy have changed. New, more restrictive social policies have been implemented, we have "ended welfare as we knew it," and created a new social landscape. This course is designed to give a social, historical, and theoretical understanding of how these changes came about and what they represent. Questions to be discussed include the following: What are the origins of the welfare state? What are the philosophical debates surrounding helping people in need? How is social policy created? What are the underlying assumptions of different social policies? What have been the key successes and failures of social policy? How are issues such as hunger, homelessness, and the feminization of poverty conceptualized today? How have other nations addressed key policy issues? Ms. Miringoff.
265. 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.
267. Religion, Culture, and Society (1)
(Same as Religion 267)
268b. Sociology of Black Religion (1)
(Same as Africana Studies 268 and Religion 268)
Not offered in 2009/10.
269b. Constructing School Kids and Street Kids (1)
(Same as Education 269b and Latin and Latino/a Studies 269b) Students from low-income families and racial/ethnic minority backgrounds do poorly in school by comparison with their white and well-to-do peers. These students drop out of high school at higher rates, score lower on standardized tests, have lower GPA's, and are less likely to attend and complete college. In this course we examine theories and research that seek to explain patterns of differential educational achievement in U.S. schools. We study theories that focus on the characteristics of settings in which teaching and learning take place (e.g. schools, classrooms, and home), theories that focus on the characteristics of groups (e.g. racial/ethnic groups and peer groups), and theories that examine how cultural processes mediate political-economic constraints and human action. Ms. Rueda.
270. 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.
273. Sociology of the New Economy (1)
(Same as Science, Technology and Society 273) 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.
280. Body Politics (1)
(Same as Women's Studies 280)Dangerous bodies, fit bodies, diseased bodies, altered bodies, mobile bodies, laboring bodies, unruly bodies. This course explores the social meanings given to the body, as well as the embodied ways in which the social world is experienced and created. We discuss the cultural, political and economic significance of struggles over classifying, displaying and managing bodies. Through examination of topics such as the relationship between the state and the body, the commodification of bodies and body parts, the regulation of sex and sexualities, and the performance of identity through the body, we develop an understanding of key debates that comprise the sociology of the body. Ms. Carruyo.
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.
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.
300a. Senior Thesis (1/2)
Year-long course, 300-301.
301b. Senior Thesis (1/2)
Year-long course, 300-301.
306. Women's Movements in Asia (1)
(Same as Asian Studies and Women's Studies 306) 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.
312. 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.
317b. Women, Crime, and Punishment (1)
This course begins with a comparative analysis of the involvement of men and women in crime in the United States and explanations offered for the striking variability. It proceeds by examining the exceptionally high rate of imprisonment for women in the U.S., the demographics of those who are imprisoned, the crimes they are convicted of, and the conditions under which they are confined. It deals with such issues as substance abuse problems, violence against women, medical care in prison, prison programming and efforts at rehabilitation, legal rights of inmates, and family issues, particularly the care of the children of incarcerated women. It also examines prison friendships, families, and sexualities, and post-release. The course ends with a consideration of the possibilities of a fundamental change in the current US system of crime and punishment specifically regarding women. Ms. Leonard.
321. Feminism, Knowledge, Praxis (1)
(Same as Women's Studies 321b) How do feminist politics inform how research, pedagogy, and social action are approached? Can feminist anti-racist praxis and insights into issues of race, power and knowledge, interrsecting inequalities, and human agency change the way we understand and represent the social world? We discuss several qualitative approaches used by feminists to document the social world (e.g. ethnography, discourse analysis, oral history). Additionally, we explore and engage with contemplative practices such as mediation, engaged listening, and creative-visualization. Our goal is to develop an understanding of the relationship between power, knowledge and action and to collectively envision healing forms of critical social inquiry. Ms. Carruyo.
One 2-hour meeting.
353. Bio-Social Controversy (1)
(Same as Science, Technology, and Society 353) Scientific controversies take place not only within scientific communities but may be joined and waged in public arenas as well. This course is about the "Darwin Wars" fought not only between advocates of Evolution and proponents of Intelligent Design but also about selected disagreements among Darwinians on occasions when they speak with more than one voice. Topics addressed in this course include the feasibility of Darwinian sociology (the sociobiology debate and disputes over evolutionary psychology), evolutionary accounts of sex/gender (mating, gender differences, homosexuality) and conflicting views regarding Darwinian analyses of violence, ethnic conflict and race. The range of conceptual resources deployed to interpret these controversies includes Popperian philosophy of science, the social construction of science, Foucauldian power/knowledge as well as studies of scientific rhetoric. Mr. McAulay.
356. Culture, Commerce, and the Public Sphere (1)
(Same as Media Studies 356) 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.
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.
367b. Mind, Culture, and Biology (1)
(Same as Science, Technology, and Society 367b) Mr. McAulay.
368. 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.
380a. Art, War, and Social Change (1)
(Same as American Culture 380a) Can the arts serve as a vehicle for social change? In this course we look at one specific arena to consider this question: the issue of war. How is war envisioned and re- envisioned by art and artists? How do artists make statements about the meaning of war and the quest for peace? Can artists frame our views about the consequences and costs of war? How are wars remembered, and with what significance? Specifically, we look at four wars and their social and artistic interpretations, wrought through memory and metaphor. These are: The Vietnam War, its photography and its famous memorial; World War I and the desolation of the novels and poetry that portrayed it; World War 11 and reflections on Hiroshima; and the Spanish Civil War through Picasso's famous anti- war painting Guernica, the recollections of Ernest Hemingway, the memories of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, and the photography of Robert Capa. By looking at both the Sociology of Art and Sociology of War we consider where the crucial intersections lie. Ms. Miringoff.
381a. Race and Popular Culture (1)
This seminar explores the way in which the categories of race, ethnicity, and nation are mutually constitutive with an emphasis on understanding how different social institutions and practices produce meanings about race and racial identities. Through an examination of knowledge production as well as symbolic and expressive practices, we focus on the ways in which contemporary scholars connect cultural texts to social and historical institutions. Appreciating the relationship between cultural texts and institutional frameworks, we unravel the complex ways in which the cultural practices of different social groups reinforce or challenge social relationships and structures. Finally, this seminar considers how contemporary manifestations of globalization impact and transform the linkages between race and culture as institutional and intellectual constructs. Mr. Alamo.
385. Women, Culture, and Development (1)
(Same as Women's Studies and Latin American Latino/a Studies 385) This course examines the ongoing debates within development studies about how integration into the global economy is experienced by women around the world. Drawing on gender studies, cultural studies, and global political economy, we explore the multiple ways in which women struggle to secure well-being, challenge injustice, and live meaningful lives. Ms. Carruyo.
388a. Schooling in America: Preparing Citizens or Producing Worker (1)
(Same as Education 388a) We consider the role that education plays in US society in relationship to the political economy at different historical periods. In Part I, we examine democratic views of schooling (i.e. schooling functions to prepare citizens for participation in a diverse society) and technical views of schooling (i.e. schools prepare students to participate in the capitalist economy), as well as critiques and limitations of each view. In Part II, we examine current school reform efforts, such as modifications of school structure, curriculum and instruction, and the move to privatize schooling. In Part III, we discuss the future of education in our increasingly global capitalist society. Ms. Rueda.
Prerequisite: Sociology 151.
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.