Sociology Department

Professors: William Hoynes, Eileen Leonard, Marque Miringoff; Associate Professors: Pinar Batur, Diane Harriford (Chair), Robert McAulaya, Seungsook Moon; Assistant ­Professors: Light Carruyob, Miranda Martinez, Leonard Nevarez; Visiting Assistant Professor: Gayle Sulik.

a Absent on leave, first semester.

b Absent on leave, second semester.

Requirements for Concentration: 101⁄2 units, including Sociology 151, 247, 254, 2 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.

Related Links

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.

187b. The Reinvention of Community (1)

The “end of community” is a key theme in the sociological tradition. Contemporary worries about the decline of trust, and everyday civility, as well as the problems of social isolation and polarization all have a lineage extending back to before the industrial revolution. More recently, proponents of a “community reinvented” have countered the apocalyptic “end” scenario, by showing the many different places and sources where community is being newly reconceptualized. In the course, the class examines competing ideas about the nature of community, and how the concept is used and abused in contemporary American discourse. Ms. Martinez.

II. Intermediate

Sociology 151 is a prerequisite for all intermediate courses.

[206a. Social Change in the Black Community] (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 206b)

Not offered in 2005/06.

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.

[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.

Not offered in 2005/06.

221a. Feminism, Knowledge, Praxis (1)

(Same as Women’s Studies 221a) How do feminist politics inform how research, pedagogy, and social action are approached? Can feminist insights into issues of power and knowledge, intersecting 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). The relationship between knowledge and action is a central concern throughout the course. Ms. Carruyo.

229b. Black Intellectual History (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 229b.) Ms. Harriford.

231a. Sociology of Breast Cancer (1)

Centering on breast cancer as a case study, this course offers an analysis of cultural, social, and social-psychological factors affecting health status and women’s response to this illness. Placing breast cancer within an historical context, we examine the social transformation of medicine and the history of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. In part two we discuss women, their bodies, and the illness experience. Part three addresses the politics of breast cancer, including policies and controversies, the role of economics and pharmaceutical companies, and health care reform as a breast cancer issue. In the final part of the course, we look at the role of women in social change: social movements, representations of survivorship, the role of the ‘survivor,’ and the union of “women, science, and society.” Course material includes scholarly work on the sociology of health and illness, press releases and position statements from the National Breast Cancer Coalition, personal accounts of breast cancer experiences, and representations of breast cancer in the media. Ms. Sulik.

232 Cultural Sociology (2)

Drawing on classical and contemporary social and cultural theory, this course explores the importance of culture as a dimension of the social world in which meanings are structured and socially produced at both individual and collective levels. Because culture is always closely intertwined with the patterning of social organization, the course is also concerned with institutional life and the intersection of culture with social structure. Beginning with key theorists, we establish the importance of culture as a vital aspect of the social world. Topics include: The Social Construction of Meaning and Social Distinctions, The Social Construction of Moral Universals and Collective Sentiment, and The Discourse of Civil Society. Ms. Sulik.

[233b. Latino Identity Formation in the US] (1)

This course examines the development of Latinos as a distinct group out of the highly diverse population of Latin American background in the US, paying particular attention to the social processes that are shaping and fueling the merging 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.

Not offered in 2005/06.

[234a. 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 2005/06.

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.

Two 2-hour periods.

[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.

Not offered in 2005/06.

247a. 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. 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. Sulik.

251a. Development and Social Change in Latin America (1)

(Same as Latin American and Latino/a Studies 251a.) 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. Latina/os in the Americas] (1)

(Same as Latin American and Latino/a Studies 253a) This course begins by tracing the history of Latina/o migrations and exposing this process as intimately linked to US involvement in Latin America and the Caribbean. We are attentive to the diversity of Latina/o experiences including those differences based on region, as well as on class, race, gender, sexuality, and migration histories. We explore the ways in which this diverse, growing, and increasingly visible population is challenging demographics and culture in the United States. The second part of the course examines several key political struggles impacting Latina/os from the Chicano Movement to transnational contemporary issues of labor, education, and environmental justice. Finally, we look at how US Latina/os negotiate issues of identity and create and reshape communities in the US and in Latin America and the Caribbean. Ms. Carruyo.

254a and b. 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, Ms. Sulik.

[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 2005/06.

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. 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 2005/06.

[260b. 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.

[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.

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)

Not offered in 2005/06.

[268b. Sociology of Black Religion] (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 268 and Religion 268)

Not offered in 2005/06.

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.

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.

284b. Food, Culture, and Globalization (1)

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.

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.

[305b. The Social Construction of Race in the US] (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 socio-historical 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 2005/06.

306b. Women’s Movements in Asia (1)

(Same as Asian Studies and Women’s Studies 306a) 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.

[308b. Nation, Race, and Gender in Latin America and the Caribbean] (1)

(Same as Latin American Studies 308b) With a focus on Latin America 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 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 colonialization, independence, post-coloniality, and “globalization” has intersected with national economics, 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.

Prerquisite: Permission of the Instructor.

Not offered in 2005/06.

310a. 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.

[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.

315a. Reproduction and Childbirth

The intent of this class is to study the social dynamics that lie behind pregnancy/reproduction and the process of childbith, using gender theory as a guiding framework. We examine multiple issues related to the topic, such as abortion, fetal viability, and the debate over when life begins. We examine how the scientific description of the reproductive process is itself socially produced and then examine how the process of childbirth has been socially produced over history. We also examine some legal issues that relate to the topic, including surrogacy, embryo 'rights' and landmark abortion cases, including Roe v. Wade. We also examine infertility and the varied discourses that surround the topic. Ms. Green.

One 2-hour period.

[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 contemporary disputes, especially those which pit evolutionary 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 “BIack” athletic superiority, have also been tackled in recent years. Mr. McAulay.

Not offered in 2005/06.

356b. 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 2005/06.

[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 2005/06.

[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 2005/06.

[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 2005/06.

380a. Art, War, and Social Change (1)

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.

382a. Sociology of the Body (1)

The body has begun to intrude into social space in a more visible way as individuals fashion and present themselves in and through their bodies. As a domain of the self to be reconfigured, managed, and pleased, the body is considered a social fact, both natural and cultural. This course explores theoretical approaches to the body. Topics include: 1) Social theory and history of the body, e.g., the mind/body dualism, discourse, and cultural inscriptions on the body; 2) The body and the Self, including woman as body; the male body, sexualities, alter/ed bodies, and the search for identity through the body; 3) The body in society, e.g., bodies as consumer culture, politics of the body, and regulation of the body, and bodies in social space, and 4) Performing the body, i.e., exploring how the body becomes the site for asserting, imposing, performing, challenging and destabilizing categories of gender, race/ethnicity and sexuality. Students learn to use reflections on their own embodied experience as sources for conceptualization and applied deconstruction. Ms. Sulik.

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 examines the discourse of confrontation, and the impact of Black Marxist thought in contributing to anti-racist knowledge, theory, and action. Ms. Batur.

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.