Anthropology and Sociology Minor

Overview for Anthropology and Sociology Minor

The minor in anthropology and sociology offers disciplinary insights on understanding human social life, both from local and global perspectives. Through anthropology we discover and appreciate the diversity of other cultural systems on a global scale. Through sociology we discover how our own lives are influenced by social relationships around us. Careful selection of courses provides insights into a wide range of topics such as human history and prehistory through archaeology, gender and sexuality, race, ethnicity, social class, inequality, health, urban life and cities, cultural images and mass media, war and violence, social movements, social and cultural change, and globalization.

Notes about this minor:

  • This minor is closed to students majoring in sociology and anthropology.
  • Posting of the minor on the student's academic transcript requires a minimum GPA of 2.0 in the minor.
  • Notations may appear in the curriculum chart below outlining pre-requisites, co-requisites, and other curriculum requirements (see footnotes).

The plan code for Anthropology and Sociology Minor is SOCANT-MN.

Featured Work

Curriculum for 2023-2024 for Anthropology and Sociology Minor

Current Students: See Curriculum Requirements

Course
Required Course
Choose one of the following:
   ANTH-102
Cultural Anthropology
Human beings across the globe live and work according to different values and beliefs. Students will develop the tools for acquiring knowledge, awareness, and appreciation of cultural differences, and in turn enhance their abilities to interact across cultures. The course accomplishes these aims by examining the relationship between individuals and their communities, and the dynamics of ritual, religious, political, and social life in different parts of the world. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
   ANTH-102H
Honors Cultural Anthropology
Anthropology is the holistic science of the human condition, and professional anthropologists engage in experiential, empirical and humanistic research. Cultural diversity and change are explored through the anthropological techniques of immersion (ethnographic fieldwork) and cross-cultural analysis. In-depth and comparative analysis of critical issues may include transnational migration, ethnic nationalism, racism, changing and clashing views on gender and sexuality, indigenous peoples’ rights, religious fundamentalism, genocide, war, hunger, famine, and cultural and economic dimensions of globalization. The specific topic varies from year to year. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
   ANTH-103
Archaeology and the Human Past
Archaeology is the study of the human past, from the origin of our species through to the development of modern, industrial states by means of the physical remains of past human behavior. In studying the past, archaeology seeks to explain how we, modern humans, came to be. This course investigates how archaeologists study the past, explains how human society has changed over time, and presents an overview of world prehistory. Specific topics include the evolution of modern humans, the peopling of the world, the development of agriculture, the rise of state-level societies, and associated social and material technologies such as writing and urbanism. Case studies will be used throughout to demonstrate how archaeological research is conducted and how archaeologists use their research to formulate explanations of the past that have relevance for the present. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
   ANTH-104
Language and Linguistics
Language has a crucial role in our lives as a functional system of human communication. Language is central to our cultures and societies. This course provides an introduction to the field of linguistics. It considers both how language is described and analyzed by linguists and how evidence from language can shed light on a variety of social, cultural, and cognitive phenomena. The course provides an orientation both to human language and the field of linguistics. It introduces the languages of the world, how languages have been described, the diversity in language structure, the issue of language endangerment and death, and the efforts to document and preserve the world’s languages, among other topics. Lecture 3 (Fall or Spring).
   ANTH-105
Humans, Health, Technology
You want to be a health care provider. You want to design health technologies. You want to help people and these seem like the best options. Helping people, though, requires understanding those people and the contexts in which those people live, work, and play. This means questioning how socioeconomic, infrastructural, financial, racial, cultural, gendered and political dynamics shape who gets sick, who accesses technology, and who is healthy, the entangling of which manifests in healthcare disparities. In this course we will evaluate how emergent technologies affect human health and healthcare disparities. Evaluating impact requires considering the ethical stakes involved in technological development and application. Our guiding questions will be threefold: How do cultural expectations about health shape the pursuit of technologies and medicine? and What are the impacts of particular technologies on human health? How can we ethically evaluate those impacts? To these ends, we will consider various research forms, including ethnographies, that focus on the intersection of culture, technology, and health. First, we will orient to technology and health through the lens of social construction. Second, we will situate ourselves in feminist approaches to biotechnologies; including critical studies of epigenetics, using core concepts of kinship and gender. We will then explore specific technologies, such as spirometers to oximeters to pharmaceuticals more generally, heeding particular attention to inequalities in areas like race. Finally, we explore the various methodologies available to those designing biotechnologies derived from the social sciences. In each section, we will identify core ethical questions faced by engineers, designers and healthcare providers in their daily work while brainstorming ways that these ethical issues might be resolved to improve human health. Lecture 3 (Fall).
   INGS-101
Global Studies
Within the past three decades, planetary computerization, burgeoning media industries, and other global processes have significantly altered the ways in which we experience our local and global worlds. Global reconfigurations of time and space change our consciousness, sense of self and others, and the material realities in which we live and work. This course provides the conceptual tools to assess emerging global processes, interactions and flows of people, ideas and things that challenge historical patterns of international studies and relations. The course will introduce you to international and global processes in areas such as global cultural economies, global cities, new forms of democracy and civil society, global religions, sexualities, health, and environments, increased competition for resources, political conflict, war and terrorism. Beyond understanding the causes and consequences of global change, this course will introduce you to ethical dilemmas in global justice movements, and in transferring ideas and technologies in new global contexts. Lecture 3 (Fall).
   SOCI-102
Foundations of Sociology
Sociology is the study of the social world and socialization processes. Sociologists study the broader picture of how societies are structured and organized through a macro-sociological analysis as well as how individuals create their own social reality symbolically through their interactions with others in a micro-sociological analysis. Students in this course will learn the fundamentals of each approach and come away with a sociological framework which they can critically apply to their own lives. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
   SOCI-102H
Honors Sociology
This course explores how sociological concepts, theories and research account for such social phenomena as socialization, deviance, social structure, stratification, political and religious affiliation and social change. It will also explore how social factors account for political and economic behavior and the speed and spread of technological change. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
Electives
Choose four of the following:
   ANTH-210
Culture and Globalization
By exploring critical issues of globalizing culture, we examine how ideas, attitudes, and values are exchanged or transmitted across conventional borders. How has the production, articulation, and dissemination of cultural forms (images, languages, practices, beliefs) been shaped by global capitalism, media industries, communication technologies, migration, and tourist travels? How are cultural imaginaries forged, exchanged, and circulated among a global consumer public? How has the internationalizing of news, computer technologies, video-sharing websites, blogging sites, and other permutations of instant messaging served to accelerate cultural globalization? Students will be introduced to anthropological perspectives on cultural globalization, the transmission of culture globally, and the subsequent effects on social worlds, peoples, communities, and nations. Lecture 3 (Fa/sp/su).
   ANTH-215
Field Methods in Archaeology
This course introduces students to the methods of archaeological fieldwork. The course begins with the student’s development of a research question and design. We then explore the feasibility of this research through the examination of sampling techniques, site survey, and excavation. Field methods of recording, photography, and artifact conservation will also be discussed. Students will be able to analyze the usefulness of the field techniques in light of the archaeological scientific methods for dating, and organic and inorganic analyses. Students should emerge from the course understanding the values of the techniques necessary for proper archaeological excavation towards the reconstruction of the past and the development of an understanding of our present. Lab, Lecture 3 (Fall or Spring).
   ANTH-220
Language and Culture: Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology
Language is a core element of culture, both as a repository of meaning, and also because it is the primary means through which humans carry out social relationships, share ideas, and contest received understandings. Linguistic anthropology investigates this interplay between language and culture. Topics will vary by semester, and may include metaphor and narrative; language acquisition in relationship to childhood socialization; language, thought, and worldview; language and identity; multilingualism; the social contexts of language change; literacy; and the politics of language use and language ideologies. Lecture 3 (Fall or Spring).
   ANTH-230
Buried Treasure: Archaeology in Popular Culture
People have been interested in their ancestors and the lives of past people likely for as long as we have been human. But this interest has rarely been disinterested. People have exploited, destroyed, or ignored the remains of previous societies. And how the past is understood has profound effects that ripple through all of society, at different times influencing group identity, political philosophy, art, architecture, literature, and film. The emergence of scientific archaeology in the last 150 years has created its own cultural references, including Indiana Jones and Lara Croft. Each semester this course is offered, a specific topic will examine the cultural context in which archaeologists do their work, what is made of their efforts, and how these are related to larger issues in society. Lecture 3 (Fall or Spring).
   ANTH-235
Immigration to the U.S.
This course examines immigration to the U.S. within the context of globalization. We examine the push- and pull-factors that generate immigration, and changing immigration policies and debates. We consider how changes in the American workplace have stimulated the demand for foreign workers in a wide range of occupations, from software engineer to migrant farmworker and nanny. We review the cultural and emotional challenges of adapting within the American cultural landscape, transnationalism and connections with the homeland, the experiences of refugees, and how immigration has changed since 9/11. Special attention is given to immigration from Latin America, the largest sending region. Lecture 3 (Fall or Spring).
   ANTH-244
 Designing for Humans: Disability, Accessibility and Anthropology
How do we imagine the people that we design for? How do social differences around race, gender and class impact how we design for others? How is design a cultural process? How can ethnography make for better design? This course introduces the fundamentals of the field of design anthropology with specific attention dedicated to disability studies and accessibility. The course explores how designers—from industrial designers, game designers to biomedical engineers—can use research-based practices to design better, reflecting the RIT mission to “leverage the power of technology, the arts, and design for the greater good.” We will begin by orienting ourselves to design thinking, exploring key conceptual frameworks from feminist scholarship, science and technology studies, disability studies and approaches to the social aspects of technical thinking. We will then explore different design domains, including access technology, global disability movements, universal design and UX design. Throughout the term we will learn about how ethnographic methods can create human-centered design by starting with lived experiences, exploring power relations and ultimately learning about the perspectives of those whom we design for. Lecture 3 (Fall or Spring).
   ANTH-245
Ritual and Performance
The world’s cultural diversity is most vividly and dynamically displayed through ritual and festival. Ritual is anything but superfluous; rather, some of the most important work of culture is accomplished through the performance of ritual. Through cross-cultural comparison, by way of readings and films, we explore the following dimensions of ritual: symbols, embodiment, emotion, discipline, contestation of tradition and authenticity, and the orchestration of birth, childhood socialization, gender, maturation, marriage, community, hierarchy, world renewal, and death. Written expression is enhanced through drafting, revision, and peer review. Lecture 3 (Fa/sp/su).
   ANTH-246
 Gender and Health
This course examines connections between gender and health that are both conceptual and empirical. Students will explore the causes of gender-based differences in health outcomes through case studies of sexual and reproductive rights, HIV/AIDS epidemics and violence. Students will also examine global gender and health trends. The course concludes with an examination of gender inequity in health care and policy implications of these inequities. Lecture 3 (Annual).
   ANTH-250
Themes in Archaeological Research
One of the most fascinating dimensions of archaeology is the discovery that people have done essentially the same things in different places and different times, independently of developments elsewhere. Agriculture, writing, urbanism, complex economies, and so on, all have been independently invented multiple times in different parts of the world. This fact raises some intriguing questions about what it means to be human. By comparing how these developments occurred in different places and times, archaeologists can, in a sense, perform experiments on the past. Each semester this course is offered we will focus on a separate theme in archaeological research, such as the transition to agriculture; production, trade, and exchange; the origin of writing; imperialism, colonialism, and warfare; pseudoscience/pseudoarchaeology; or human evolution. We will study competing theoretical perspectives and different world regions to gain a broad understanding of the theme and how both theory and data are used to create a comprehensive understanding of the human past. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
   ANTH-255
Regional Archaeology
Since the first humans set out from Africa nearly two million years ago, our ancestors and relatives managed to settle in almost every continent. Wherever they went, they left traces of their lives that are tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of years deep. We call these traces the archaeological record. Almost everywhere our ancestors settled, they did many of the same things, such as inventing agriculture, cities, writing, and state-level societies. However, they did this in ways unique to each region and time. This course examines the archaeology of a specific region, such as the Middle East, Mesoamerica, North America, or East Asia, in detail. We examine the geography, culture, archaeological record, and significance of the region to various key themes in archaeological research with respect to other world regions. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
   ANTH-260
Native North Americans
This course examines the persistence and change in Native American cultures using archaeological, ethnohistorical, socioeconomic, ethnographic, linguistic, and autobiographical sources among others. In addition to broad regional and historical coverage, we will read about and discuss culture change, colonialism, federal law, gender, race, and places in Native American contexts. Our goal is to understand the lived experiences of Indian people and the many forces that shape Native American lives. Lecture 3 (Fa/sp/su).
   ANTH-265
Native Americans in Film
This course will examine the parallels of anthropological works and resulting government policies in the late-19th and 20th centuries as they relate to the genre of Native Americans film, both popular and ethnographic works. In addition, an extensive regional and historical literature review will complement the possible films. Lecture 3 (Fa/sp/su).
   ANTH-270
Cuisine, Culture, and Power
Physically, culturally, and socially, humans live through food and drink. Spanning the globe, as nearly limitless omnivores, humans have developed myriad ways of collecting and cultivating food and taking advantage of local environments. We also put food to work for us socially by creating cuisine. Through cuisine, we forge and nourish relationships, commune with deities, and through luxury choices, demonstrate our "taste" and lay claim to elite status. Through the cultural practices of production and consumption of food and drink, we wield power. Food and drink consumption patterns have sustained slavery, poverty, malnutrition, and illegal immigration, and have laid waste to the environment. In this class, we explore physical, cultural, social, political, and economic dimensions of food and become more aware of how the private, intimate act of a bite connects us to the rest of humanity. Lecture 3 (Fa/sp/su).
   ANTH-295
Global Public Health
Global health is a term that reflects a complex series of problems, policies, institutions and aspirations that have only recently made their way to the global stage. From its earliest days, global health was guided by principles in public health that situate the nation-state as responsible for the health of its population. While international health and tropical medicine, the precursors to global health, was driven by the distinction between wealthy and poor nations, global health today, as this course explores, is oriented to the unequal burden of disease around the world. The course will consider major global health challenges, programs, and policies through an integrated social science lens. After placing global health in historical context, we will focus on how the science of disease cannot be dissociated from the social context and policies that both drive the emergence of disease(s) and respond to the unequal burden of disease around the world. We will analyze current and emerging global health priorities, including emerging infectious diseases, poverty, conflicts and emergencies, health inequity, health systems reforms, and major global initiatives for disease prevention and health promotion. Lecture 3 (Annual).
   ANTH-301
Social and Cultural Theory
This course explores influential classical and contemporary theories regarding society and culture. Students will assess the utility of different theories in addressing key enduring questions regarding human behavior, the organization of society, the nature of culture, the relationship between the individual and society, social control and social conflict, social groups and social hierarchy, the operation of power, cultural and social change, and the interplay between the global and the local. Theories will be marshaled to shed light on contemporary social and cultural phenomena and problems such as crime, violence, exploitation, modernity, and globalization. (Prerequisites: Successful completion of one course in Anthropology (ANTH), Sociology (SOCI) or International and Global Studies (INGS) is required.) Lecture 3 (Fall or Spring).
   ANTH-302
Qualitative Research
Learning about social and cultural groups is a complex and ethically sensitive process. We explore common qualitative research methods for social and cultural research. We evaluate the utility of such methods for different purposes and contexts, including cross-cultural contexts. We consider common ethical dilemmas in research with human subjects, the ethical responsibilities of researchers, and common techniques for minimizing risks to subjects. (Prerequisites: Successful completion of one course in Anthropology (ANTH), Sociology (SOCI) or International and Global Studies (INGS) is required.) Lecture 3 (Fall or Spring).
   ANTH-303
Statistics in the Social Sciences
The research conducted by sociologists and anthropologists generates large, complex data sets that are difficult to interpret subjectively. We will explore the basic quantitative tools that sociologists and anthropologists can use to understand these data sets and learn how to craft a research question and research design that utilize quantitative data, how to select appropriate quantitative techniques and apply them, how to present results, and how to critically evaluate quantitatively based knowledge claims. Lab 2, Lecture 2 (Fall or Spring).
   ANTH-310
African Film
This course considers the diversity, contours and synergies of African films and filmmaking, traversing the continent to view films from Senegal, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia, Kenya, Egypt and Mali. Though much scholarship has focused on influential African filmmakers and nationally located cinemas, the straight-to-video systems of the 1980s and 1990s had a profound impact on African films and filmmaking. Nollywood and other video film industries began to dominate film production and transnational mobility, influencing new film technologies and industries, accessibility and addressability across the globe. Topics in this course include the influence of African film directors on filmmaking, and critical developments in major industries; Nollywood and beyond, and the cultural aesthetics, politics and economics that affect their global mobility and popular appeal; postcolonial identities and power; music and oral traditions of storytelling; didactic, post-colonial cinema with moral, political missions vs. ‘arthouse’ approaches; Afrofuturist and speculative cinema; channels such as African Magic that are shown in more than 50 African countries; and the effects of video streaming on global stardom and popularity. Students will learn about diverse African films and approaches to filmmaking, and the vibrant people and creative cultures that make up these film industries. Lecture 3 (Fall or Spring).
   ANTH-312
People Before Cities
More than half the global population today lives in densely populated urban areas, which are further surrounded by complex networks of smaller communities. Yet, the earliest cities appeared less than 6,000 years ago, a small fraction of time since our species’ first appearance. The characteristics that define us as human were forged in radically different social universes from those of today. We lived our lives among not much more than 20-30 other people at any one time, hunting and gathering our food, and occasionally moving from place to place. This lifestyle was so successful and adaptable it endured pressures from more complex societies well into the 20th century. Understanding what life was like in such these small-scale societies is important because the material and social world in which they lived is the foundation for societies where food production, social hierarchy, and occupational specialization are the norm. This course will examine both the ethnographic and archaeological record of hunter/foragers from around the globe in an attempt to understand how it proved to be such a versatile and resilient way of life and how its successes, in fact, laid the foundation for social inequality, complexity, and food production. Lecture 3 (Fall or Spring).
   ANTH-325
Bodies and Culture
Our bodies are more than mere physical entities; they are conditioned by culture, society, and history. We will take a comparative approach to the cultural construction of bodies and the impact of ethnic, gender, and racial ideologies on body practices (i.e. surgical alteration, mutilation, beautification, surrogacy, erotica). We will critically investigate the global formation of normative discourses of the body (regarding sexuality, AIDS/illness, reproduction, fat/food) in medical science, consumer culture, and the mass media. The course features discussion, writing, and project-oriented research, encouraging students to acquire a range of analytic skills through a combination of text interpretation and research. Lecture 3 (Fall or Spring).
   ANTH-328
Heritage and Tourism
Tourism is a global industry and an important part of the human experience. There are many forces within tourism that act upon people’s lives, and in particular their environments, economies, cultural heritage, and identity. This course will explore tourism and its many dimensions. Beginning with an examination of kinds of tourism, this course unpacks tourism’s ancient trade and pilgrimage roots as well as its class dynamics of post-industrialization. Other aspects of tourism to be explored include strategies and effects of tourism development and production, nationalism and cultural identity, commoditization and marketing of culture and the ethics of development, labor and infrastructural changes, social inequalities, ecological impact, sustainable tourism, the experience of tourists, ritual and authenticity, and the relationship between tourists and tourism workers. This course provides opportunities for cross-cultural analysis of tourism sites, for participant-observation of the tourist experience, and for evaluation and recommendation of tourism site development in and around Rochester. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
   ANTH-335
Culture and Politics in Latin America
What does it mean to be a region forged and defined by conquest? “Latin America” is a construct—a term referring to a vast region of the western hemisphere colonized by speakers of Latin-derived languages (including Spanish, Portuguese, and French). In this context, culture is political and politics are cultural. Throughout what is now called Latin America and the Caribbean, the cultural practices of Indigenous and African peoples became the justification for the imposition of European rule, territorial expansion, enslavement, the extraction of labor and natural resources, Christian evangelization, and the racialized legal frameworks that facilitated it all. This course traces these historical processes and examines present-day legacies of colonialism, including ethnic inequalities, colorism, economic vulnerability, patriarchal relations, and social unrest. We consider, as well, the agency of people of Indigenous and African descent as they pursued survival with tactics ranging from acquiescence and strategic passing to creative blending to outright defiance, resistance, and rebellion. Throughout, we look at how art, music, dance, literature, and religion have engaged critically with the forces of fascism, revolution, socialism, dictatorship, neo-imperialism, and globalization. Lecture 3 (Spring).
   ANTH-341
 Global Addictions
This course evaluates global forms of “addiction” in medical, cultural, national, and transnational situations of encounter. Though primarily a EuroAmerican concept of illness, addiction is now discursively and experientially widespread, assuming the status of a “global form.” Addiction narratives and experiences shape people and social life everywhere, as scientific and cultural or national knowledge intersect to form subjectivities, identities of addicts, and communities of addicted bodies. Concepts of will, morality, the addicted self and other, and living and dying also impact the cultural, national and international infrastructures we build—whether and how, for instance, we put resources into medical or criminal justice systems and networks. A closer look at the intimate lives of addicts thus enables us to consider identity boundaries and crossings; addiction languages; family relations and parenting; self-made communities and social bonds; work at the economic fringes of society; personal and institutional violence; policing and navigating enforcement or incarceration; homelessness and legal, medical and social service bureaucracies; as well as transnational production, trafficking, forms of addiction, and policing. By the end of the course, students will comprehend concepts and theories of addiction, and global perspectives on people living with addiction. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
   ANTH-345
Genocide and Transitional Justice
The destruction and survival of societies hinges on collective ideas of identity. In times of social stress, identities—whether racial, ethnic, religious or national—become critical “sites” of conflict over the sovereignty of nation-states, and the legitimacy of social, cultural practices. When ideas fail to incorporate people, essentialist categories of identity, historical grievances, and accounts of extreme violence become interrelated, potent sources of destruction. Slavery and exclusive ownership of resources leave people starving or living in perilously polluted environments. Global cultural economies threaten local systems and self-representation. In this course, we will take critical, anthropological approaches to studies of ethnocide, genocide and transitional justice. Students will assess the destruction and survival of societies, from the 19th century slaughter of Native Americans and Amazonian Indians to more recent genocides in Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, the Sudan, Iraq, Myanmar, Bangladesh and China. Students will consider similarities and differences in the social experiences of mass violence, and the ethics of protecting particular identity-based groups, and not others, in international, national and local laws. Students will become familiar with multiple inter-related justice systems, for instance, the International Criminal Court, national and United Nations-backed tribunals, and local justice systems such as the Rwandan Gacaca courts. Recent developments in legal ethics and international law will enable students to see how public sentiments, legal advocacy and other social, political processes facilitate enhanced protections for the world’s most vulnerable people. Lecture 3 (Fall or Spring).
   ANTH-360
Humans and Their Environment
Humans and their societies have always been shaped by their environment, but as human societies became more complex, their relationship with their environment changed from one of simple adaptation to one in which they had the power to change their environment. Often, the changes they have wrought have had unintended consequences, forcing societies to adapt to the changes that they themselves have brought about. Although we tend to think that this is a relatively recent phenomenon, humans have been altering their environment since the first human societies made the transition to agriculture over ten thousand years ago, if not longer. In this class, we will use the tools of environmental archaeology to explore the history of human interactions with their environments and to draw lessons on how we could manage that interaction today. Lecture 3 (Fall or Spring).
   ANTH-361
Sociology of Numbers
Much of the knowledge of our social worlds has been digitized. This course explores how social technologies shape our relationships, personal lives, and sense of self. The metric manufacture of diversity has produced new forms of population management and inequality. Our biographic histories as citizens, consumers, workers/professionals, parents, lovers, and social media users are collected as data-bites and assessed in metric terms, thereby forging new sets of identities. The transformation of people into numerical entities is an act of statistical objectification. This process frames the creation of social and racial typologies, and is well demonstrated by the US census. Students will investigate the formation of racial, ethnic, and gender identities in the context of the accelerated desire to digitize humanity. Lecture 3 (Annual).
   ANTH-375
Native American Sovereignty, Culture, and Resources
There is a great cultural, and linguistic diversity among Native American Indigenous Nations and their approach to managing cultural and natural resources. This course will explore this diversity in addition to the various ways Indigenous nations have maintained and exerted their sovereignty. This will be done in one of three distinct topics: 1). American Indian Sovereignty - an examination of the historical and political foundations of Indigenous sovereignty and its current expressions; 2). Indigenous Economics and Economies - a contrasting of Indigenous approaches for building and maintaining sustainable economies with non-Indigenous ones combined with the use of economic methods to understand the impact of settler colonialism and capitalism on Indigenous economies; or 3). Native American Languages - an examination of: the structure and origin of Indigenous languages; the events that have led many Indigenous languages to be endangered; and the efforts to revitalize Indigenous languages. For clarification purposes: American Indian is used to refer to Indigenous people residing within the boundaries of the continental United States; Native American broadens this definition to include all Indigenous people residing in either North or South America; while Indigenous is the most broadly defined. Indigenous includes all people who identify with pre-invasion and pre-colonial societies who consider themselves distinct from the societies now prevailing on those territories both within and outside the Americas. Lecture 3 (Spring).
   ANTH-385
 Historical Anthropology and Colonialism
"Until the lions have their storytellers, the story of the hunt will always glorify the hunter," wrote Ngugi wa Thiong'o. In a core line of inquiry, historical anthropologists have traced the expansion of empires and cultural transformations under colonial pressures. Such investigations yield theoretical insights into the dynamics of systems and agency; power, hegemony, acquiescence, and resistance; racialization and the colonial construction of difference; capital accumulation; and the ways in which conventional anthropological and historical approaches have mirrored and abetted empire. Archives typically represent the perspectives of the colonizers. Any effort to grasp the experiences and perspectives of the colonized, therefore, must critically engage with the archive and seek sources beyond institutional texts. Storytelling, visual arts, and song are rich repositories of indigenous, alternative, and counterhegemonic histories and visions of time and prophecy. In this course, students have hands-on opportunities to access and analyze digitized and published primary sources and we discuss the ethical responsibilities of those who seek to represent the past. Lecture 3 (Biannual).
   ANTH-410
Global Cities
This course examines the impact of global dynamics on cities from the early 20th century to the present. By tracing urban formations from metropolis to global city, emphasis will be placed on the making of identities, communities, and citizens in the architectural spaces, cultural places, ethnic zones, and media traces of urban life in the context of globalization. Lecture 3 (Fall or Spring).
   ANTH-415
Archaeological Science
Archaeology is one of the few social sciences that lends itself well to the application of analytical techniques from the physical sciences. This is due to the fact that archaeology relies primarily on physical evidence, artifacts and features, whose origin, composition, age, and manner of production can be elucidated through application of the physical sciences. This course examines the application of physical science techniques to archaeological questions, including the age and origin of materials, how things are made, what people ate, their daily activities, and their state of health throughout their life. The course will include in-class labs in which students have the opportunity to apply some of these techniques and a final research project in which the student picks their own archaeological question to answer. Lab 2, Lecture 2 (Fall or Spring).
   ANTH-420
Exploring Ancient Technology
While it is commonplace to describe the present era as one dominated by technology, humans have always been critically dependent on technology. Many of today’s key technologies such as agriculture, writing, ceramics, woodworking, textiles, glass, and metals were invented before the dawn of recorded history. In this class, we will explore these ancient technologies, how they came to be invented, how they evolved, and how they were integrated into the social and economic life of ancient peoples to become the foundations of modern society. This course features lectures, readings, and hands-on laboratories and projects on ancient technology and experimental archaeology. Laboratories and projects will focus on how scientists create new knowledge about the past by testing hypotheses about ancient technology. The course concludes with either an individual project, such as replicating a particular artifact or process, or a class project, such as building and using a Mesopotamian glass furnace. Lab, Lecture 3 (Fall or Spring).
   ANTH-425
Global Sexualities
By exploring issues of gender and sexuality in a global context, students will be introduced to anthropological perspectives on the experience of men and women, as gendered subjects, in different societies and historical contexts, including colonialism, nationalism, and global capitalism. In turn, we will explore how cultural constructions of masculinity and femininity are configured by race, class, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. Course materials are drawn from an array of sources, reflecting various theoretical perspectives and ethnographic views from different parts of the world. Lecture 3 (Fall or Spring).
   ANTH-430
Visual Anthropology
We see others as we imagine them to be, in terms of our values, not as they see themselves. This course examines ways in which we understand and represent the reality of others through visual media, across the boundaries of culture, gender, and race. It considers how and why visual media can be used to represent or to distort the world around us. Pictorial media, in particular ethnographic film and photography, are analyzed to document the ways in which indigenous and native peoples in different parts of the world have been represented and imagined by anthropologists and western popular culture. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
   ANTH-435
The Archaeology of Death
Death and burial are how most individuals enter the archaeological record and one could say that deliberate burial of the dead is the first direct evidence we have for the emergence of ethical and religious systems of thought. Human remains, their mortuary treatment, and associated material culture illuminate past patterns of social organization, economics, belief systems, health, and the negotiation of gender, status, and identity. In this course we explore the scientific and theoretical tools used to analyze and interpret past mortuary practices, how archaeologists create new knowledge about the past through the formulations and testing of hypotheses, survey mortuary practices from their first occurrence in the archaeological record, and what human remains can tell us about changes in the human experience over time and space. We will learn how human remains are identified, how determinations of age, sex, biological affiliation, health, and injury are made, how to interpret formation processes, to interpret associated material culture to understand the negotiation of gender and status; how humans have cared for the deceased members of their societies at different times and places in the human past; and the ethics of studying human mortuary remains. Lab 2, Lecture 2 (Fall or Spring).
   ANTH-489
 Topics in Anthropology
This topics course focuses on specific themes or issues in anthropology, chosen by the instructor, vetted by the department chair, announced in the course subtitle on SIS, and developed in the syllabus. The topics of this course will vary, but the course number will remain the same. Students may not repeat the same topic. Seminar 3 (Fall, Spring).
   SOCI-210
Black America-Culture & HipHop
This course examines the historical and contemporary conditions of Blacks in the U.S. We will explore African American culture as it is perceived by many African-Americans, and consider theoretical concepts related to immigration and the segmented assimilation of Black immigrant groups coming into the U.S. We will also address identity politics as it relates to race, class, and gender, oppression, as well as the art products that originate in Black communities. A particular emphasis will be placed on Hip Hop music, dance, and style as an expression of Black culture, identity, activism, and social influence (both nationally and globally). Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
   SOCI-215
The Changing Family
Families are the microcosm of society. Sociological concepts and theories define the family as a fundamental institution that both mirrors and propels societal change. The field of family studies explores various parameters of family systems, including gender, race, class, ethnicity, sexuality, division of labor, marriage and divorce, children, and generational relations. In the wake of significant changes in family forms, experiences, and prevailing household arrangements, the scope of sociological inquiry has expanded to meet the new realities of American family life. Lecture 3 (Fall or Spring).
   SOCI-220
Minority Group Relations
The course will provide a context in which to examine the multiple and contradictory social relations of domination, subordination, resistance, and empowerment. The kinds of questions we will explore focus on how power, knowledge, meaning, and cultural representation are organized. We will analyze a variety of political and ideological themes which bear upon the formation of minority group relations, their identity and how these themes complicate the processes by which people construct their understanding of the nation, world, of others, and themselves. Through reflection on theoretical texts and fictional works, as well as film and other popular media, we will consider for ourselves how culture is differently represented and signified, and how the politics of understanding and misunderstanding minority relations work through practices within and outside cultural institutions. Lecture 3 (Fa/sp/su).
   SOCI-225
Social Inequality
This course examines various forms of social inequality, including economic, political, health, higher education, race and sex inequality. It uses a variety of sociology's ideas to explain why these kinds of inequality exist, how they persist and what can be done about them. Lecture 3 (Spring).
   SOCI-230
Sociology of Work
This course analyzes and assesses social relations of paid labor. Sociology's major ideas about the ways we work will be examined and applied to numerous important topics such as: workplace organization, unions, labor legislation, health and safety, workplace culture, interplays between work and family, experiences of work as alienating or satisfying, inequalities at work, and social mobility. Lecture 3 (Fall or Spring).
   SOCI-235
Women, Work, and Culture
In this course, we analyze historical and contemporary patterns of gender, race/ethnicity, sexuality, and the organization of work. Using the theoretical perspectives we analyze the work historically undertaken by women in societies and its relationship to broader political and economic structures. While our primary focus is on the U.S., we will also conduct a cross-cultural analysis of gender and work in developing and industrializing societies. Specific issues include gender discrimination (e.g., wage discrimination, sexual harassment), sexuality, reproduction, and women organizing to control their work and working conditions. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
   SOCI-240
Deaf Culture in America
This course is an introductory survey of Deaf culture in the United States. Students will study the scholarly literature pertaining to various social groups in the Deaf community and have contact with their members. This course will familiarize students with the characteristics of Deaf Culture, as well as general perceptions of the Deaf community within the dominant mainstream society. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
   SOCI-246
Gender and Health
This course examines connections between gender and health that are both conceptual and empirical. Students will explore the causes of gender-based differences in health outcomes through case studies of sexual and reproductive rights, HIV/AIDS epidemics and violence. Students will also examine global gender and health trends. The course concludes with an examination of gender inequity in health care and policy implications of these inequities. Lecture 3 (Annual).
   SOCI-295
Global Public Health
Global health is a term that reflects a complex series of problems, policies, institutions and aspirations that have only recently made their way to the global stage. From its earliest days, global health was guided by principles in public health that situate the nation-state as responsible for the health of its population. While international health and tropical medicine, the precursors to global health, was driven by the distinction between wealthy and poor nations, global health today, as this course explores, is oriented to the unequal burden of disease around the world. The course will consider major global health challenges, programs, and policies through an integrated social science lens. After placing global health in historical context, we will focus on how the science of disease cannot be dissociated from the social context and policies that both drive the emergence of disease(s) and respond to the unequal burden of disease around the world. We will analyze current and emerging global health priorities, including emerging infectious diseases, poverty, conflicts and emergencies, health inequity, health systems reforms, and major global initiatives for disease prevention and health promotion. Lecture 3 (Annual).
   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 3 (Biannual).
   SOCI-301
Social and Cultural Theory
This course explores influential classical and contemporary theories regarding society and culture. Students will assess the utility of different theories in addressing key enduring questions regarding human behavior, the organization of society, the nature of culture, the relationship between the individual and society, social control and social conflict, social groups and social hierarchy, the operation of power, cultural and social change, and the interplay between the global and the local. Theories will be marshaled to shed light on contemporary social and cultural phenomena and problems such as crime, violence, exploitation, modernity, and globalization. (Prerequisites: Successful completion of one course in Anthropology (ANTH), Sociology (SOCI) or International and Global Studies (INGS) is required.) Lecture 3 .
   SOCI-302
Qualitative Research
Learning about social and cultural groups is a complex and ethically sensitive process. We explore common qualitative research methods for social and cultural research. We evaluate the utility of such methods for different purposes and contexts, including cross-cultural contexts. We consider common ethical dilemmas in research with human subjects, the ethical responsibilities of researchers, and common techniques for minimizing risks to subjects. (Prerequisites: Successful completion of one course in Anthropology (ANTH), Sociology (SOCI) or International and Global Studies (INGS) is required.) Lecture 3 .
   SOCI-303
Statistics in the Social Sciences
The research conducted by sociologists and anthropologists generates large, complex data sets that are difficult to interpret subjectively. We will explore the basic quantitative tools that sociologists and anthropologists can use to understand these data sets and learn how to craft a research question and research design that utilize quantitative data, how to select appropriate quantitative techniques and apply them, how to present results, and how to critically evaluate quantitatively based knowledge claims. Lab 2, Lecture 2 .
   SOCI-305
 Crime and Human Rights: Sociology of Atrocities
How is the murder of one person different from that of one million? Why is one act a crime while the other simply history? While mass atrocities have occurred, and continue to occur, throughout human history, it is only until recently that international laws started to name and criminalize these atrocities as human rights violations. This course revolves around the worst mass atrocities in recent human history and the responses they receive, focusing on violent crimes perpetrated by the state and the emerging human rights regime in response to such crimes after WWII. As a class, we will seek answers to questions such as: Why do ordinary people participate in extreme violence against their neighbors? How is violence sanctioned and organized by the state different from interpersonal violence? Who is responsible for state-sanctioned violence? What is the role of those who do not participate in or stop the violence? What is the role of human rights and human rights laws in preventing state-sanctioned violence? What are the possible responses to state-sanctioned violence under human rights laws? What are the consequences of such responses? Whether/how does social context matter in the way mass atrocities unfold and the responses they receive? To answer these questions, we will examine historical documents, watch movies, read literature, and study scholarly work. This course will be useful for students who seek careers in areas such as international law, diplomacy, human rights advocacy/prosecution, and criminal justice in general. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
   SOCI-322
 Health and Society
What would a healthy society look like? What questions should we be asking of those in power to ensure health equity? What is health equity? The objective of this course is to develop a sociological language for answering these and other questions. To do so, students will evaluate the relationship between health and society – that is, the connections between contemporary health disparities and today’s social, physical, and political economic environments. This includes an analysis of macro-factors (climate change, environmental pollution, global and/or national economies, laws) and micro-factors (social media, neighborhood conditions, green spaces, poor- or low-quality housing, and leisure spaces). The course emphasizes that health is impacted by the social circumstances into which people are born; inequitable distributions of power; and social/legal categories of exclusion and inclusion. Though sociological in orientation, this course resonates with the disciplinary and professional aims of medical anthropologists, public health professionals, community health practitioners, and anyone committed to eradicating health disparities. Lecture 3 (Annual).
   SOCI-330
Urban (In)Justice
With a focus on forms of (in)justice in urban communities worldwide, we investigate the impact of race, class, and gender and related systems of unequal power relations on perpetuating patterns of social, political, economic, and environmental oppression (policing, hunger, pollution, violence, disease). How do ways of governing urban populations affect the lives of inner city residents and their demands for justice when attempting to navigate the everyday urban worlds? Specific course topics include both historical and contemporary perspectives on urban (in)justice locally, in Rochester NY, and nationally, across the U.S., and in a global comparative framework. Thereby the effects of crime, violence, and inequality on people in urban neighborhoods are also examined among and within nations. By the end of the semester, students should be able to identify and explain various theories that seek to explain (in)justice patterns in the urban context at local, national and global levels. Lecture 3 (Fall or Spring).
   SOCI-345
Urban Poverty
Urban poverty has been recognized as a persistent problem in the United States since the middle of the last century. In many cities, poverty is associated with high levels of teenage pregnancy, low levels of employment, limited educational attainment, chronic community-based health problems, and high levels of crime. This course examines causes, consequences, and proposed policy solutions to urban poverty. Special emphasis will be paid to U.S. urban poverty. Lecture 3 (Fall or Spring).
   SOCI-355
 Cyber Activism: Diversity, Sex and the Internet
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. Lecture 3 (Spring, Summer).
   SOCI-361
 Sociology of Numbers
Much of the knowledge of our social worlds has been digitized. This course explores how social technologies shape our relationships, personal lives, and sense of self. The metric manufacture of diversity has produced new forms of population management and inequality. Our biographic histories as citizens, consumers, workers/professionals, parents, lovers, and social media users are collected as data-bites and assessed in metric terms, thereby forging new sets of identities. The transformation of people into numerical entities is an act of statistical objectification. This process frames the creation of social and racial typologies, and is well demonstrated by the US census. Students will investigate the formation of racial, ethnic, and gender identities in the context of the accelerated desire to digitize humanity. Lecture 3 (Fall or Spring).
   SOCI-370
 Gender and the Law: A Tale of Intimacy and Violence
In the summer of 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the monumental decision granting women in the U.S. rights to abortion in 1973, sent shockwaves throughout the country and the globe. The tremendous impact of this decision on the life of millions raises fundamental questions regarding the very nature of the law and its implications in publicizing the most private choices we make. The fierce debate around reproductive rights is but one illustration of the intimate and yet violent relationship between gender and the law. In this course, we explore this relationship using a wide range of topics. We will utilize tools developed by scholars from various disciplines and activists in different struggles to ponder on questions ranging from “what is law/gender” to “what it means to have the law regulating our gendered bodies/practices”. Using examples both within and beyond the U.S. borders, we will analyze various perspectives on whether/how the law should regulate gender/sexuality grounded in different experiences across legal, social, and cultural contexts. Such comparisons will illuminate the connections among the worlds’ populations and elucidate the cultural and political assumptions underlying legal debates. The students will be tasked to research, analyze, and evaluate the cultural, political, and social implications of legal intervention in gendered social relations. This is a course of particular interest to students who aspire to a career in the legal profession and/or advocacy for gender equity. (Prerequisites: This class is restricted to students with at least 2nd year standing.) Lecture 3 (Spring, Summer).
   SOCI-395
 Borders:Humans, Boundaries, and Empires
Borders are more than walls; they are social constructions with real consequences. This course examines the creation and consequences of borders. It discusses how borders developed historically, how borders function as tools of population management in places and systems far from the borderlands, and the politics and experiences of border crossing. We will look for borders both between and within nation states when addressing these issues. The course will utilize a variety of materials including but not limited to scholarly sources, policy transcripts, popular cultural products (e.g. films and TV shows), and art (e.g. poetry, paintings). Students will play an active role in determining specific course topics, though they can expect to discuss a range of relevant issues including contemporary immigration politics, Indigenous rights, the war on terror, border disputes and armed conflicts, privatization of immigration management, displacement and segregation of domestic populations, and border activism. This course provides students with tools that ground and expand their understanding of borders, preparing them for participation in one of the most important public debates of our time. The purview of this course is relevant for those who aspire toward professions in public policy, law enforcement, public service, law, and community-organizing, among others. Seminar 3 (Fall, Spring).
   SOCI-489
 Topics in Sociology
This topics course focuses on specific themes or issues in sociology, chosen by the instructor, vetted by the department chair, announced in the course subtitle on SIS, and developed in the syllabus. The topics of this course will vary, but the course number will remain the same. Students may repeat the course for credit, but may not repeat a topic. Seminar 3 (Fall, Spring).

Latest News

  • April 7, 2021

    Alumna Celeste Brown

    Difference Makers at RIT: Alumna Celeste Brown

    The Division of Diversity & Inclusion is highlighting women whose work makes a positive contribution to the RIT community, including Sociology and Anthropology alumna Celeste Brown, who works as the Head Coach for Women's Ice Hockey.