SOCI 300 - Sociology of American Life

This course will examine major U.S. institutions and dominant values that pattern everyday life.  It will focus on the nation’s multi-national corporations, mass media, lawmaking, schools and the military, and dominant ideologies and values that guide these institutions such as the American dream, individualism, competition, faith in technology, consumerism and democracy.  Alternative organizations and countercultures will be studied.  The course will examine the interconnections between the U.S. and other nations as expressed by such issues as international trade agreements, cultural diffusion, environmental degradation and war. Lecture, Credits 3

SOCI 322 - Society, Environment, and Health

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” The definition has evolved to recognize the importance of social factors in determining both individual and population health. This course uses the WHO’s 2008 Report “Closing the Gap in a Generation,” as an overarching theoretical framework in analyzing upstream and downstream factors that contribute to health outcomes. Using a sociological lens, this course explores diverse factors that have positive and negative impacts on individual and population health. These include macro-factors (climate change, environmental pollution, global and/or national economies) and micro-factors (the built environment- neighborhood conditions, green spaces, poor or low quality housing, and rest and leisure spaces). The course also integrates individual behavioral choices, educational attainment and the larger role of societal discrimination against subgroups within societies, the role of institutions and their impacts on population health. The course emphasizes that health is impacted by the social circumstances into which people are born, in which they grow up, live, work, and age; the distribution of power or unjust power relations; and the level of social exclusion or inclusion. Lecture, Credits 3

SOCI 331 - Honors Sociology of Human Rights

This honors course examines various sociological concepts that are central to the subject of international human rights, including genocide, crimes against humanity, and attempts at fulfilling post-conflict justice claims by societies, groups, and communities. During the study abroad experience in Europe, students will learn to use a sociological perspective for examining human rights institutions, with a specific focus on international criminal tribunals, such as the Nuremberg and other post-WW II tribunals. Informed by sociological frameworks for understanding group, institutional, governmental, and organizational relations, the course makes connections between the European and African experiences with view to the humanitarian, local, and social implications of international human rights charters: the ex-Yugoslavia Tribunal; the Rwanda Tribunal; and the Special Tribunal for Sierra Leone. Students will engage in the sociological study of contemporary human rights issues, including the problematic matter of human rights enforcement in the contemporary societal context. Lecture, Credits 3

SOCI 355 - CyberActivism: Diversity, Sex, and the Internet (WI)

Sociologists look to cyberspace to test theories of technology diffusion and media effects on society. This course explores the Internet’s impact on communities, political participation, cultural democracy, and diversity. How have digital technologies and electronic information flows shaped or diminished inequalities of gender, sex, and race? For instance: new electronic technologies have pushed the cultural and physical boundaries of how we have sex; with whom we have sex; and with what we have sex and/or have observed having sex, such as sex toys and avatars. The sociological implications of this new technology depend on economic, legal, and policy decisions that are shaping the Internet as it becomes institutionalized. The course analyzes such new forms of cyber-democracy with a focus on issues of gender, sex, and race. Writing Intensive - General Education. Lecture, Credits 3

SOCI 361 - Digitizing People

A number of groups have been assigned the label of “other” within the American social hierarchy.  Why have some of these sub-populations been able to shed this stigma? How do our definitions for racial, ethnic and gender identities relate to the political and data collection process used to categorize the U.S. population? The U.S. has conducted a regular census since 1790 and provided one way to examine these issues.  Students learn about the changes made to Census definitions for identity categories and data collection process along with the political environment prior that led to that change. Theories of identity formation combine with social science survey research methods and an understanding of U.S. history to provide a foundation for understanding demographic changes that have taken place within the U.S. population and of the data used to develop public policy and conduct research. Lecture, Credits 3