The material on this page is from the 1997-98 catalog and may be out of date. Please check the current year's catalog for current information.



Professor Sylvester (on leave, winter semester and Short Term); Associate Professors Brinkley, Chair, and Kane; Assistant Professor Johnson

Sociology is the study of how human beings construct and inhabit social worlds. It applies empirical research and theoretical analysis to the study of such institutions as law, economy, family, and religion; such processes as industrialism, urbanism, stratification, and conflict; and such problems as crime, poverty, alienation, and disorganization. The curriculum is designed to offer a firm grounding in sociology to those students who plan on graduate study, as well as to any whose careers require experience in the systematic and objective analysis of social data.

Sociology 101 (Principles of Sociology) and Sociology 140 (Social Problems) are designed as introductions to the discipline of sociology and as preparation for more advanced courses. The 200-level courses admit first-year students, but more closely reflect specific fields within sociology. The 300- and 400-level courses are open to all but first-year students. These are more specialized.

Students majoring in sociology must complete successfully Sociology 101, 305, 306, 411, and 458; and at least six other courses in sociology. Among the latter, three or more courses may be taken within a student's area of specialization. Specialty areas include child and family studies, criminology/law, cultural sociology, political sociology, public policy, research and analysis, social inequality (gender, race/ethnicity, class, culture, and sexualities), social organization and social institutions, social movements/social change, social psychology, or self-designed specialty areas in consultation with Department faculty.

The senior thesis (458) carries one course credit and is usually taken during the winter semester of the senior year. Permission to take senior thesis in the fall semester of the senior year may be sought by petition to the Department. The honors thesis (457, 458) carries two course credits. Students are required to obtain approval from the Department of a prospectus prior to beginning the senior thesis.

General Education. The following sets are available: 101 and any other sociology course; or any two sociology courses that meet the Department's principle of coherence. The quantitative requirement may be satisfied through Sociology 305. A student may request that the Department approve a two-course set not currently designated.

101. Principles of Sociology.
The course is concerned with human social behavior, social institutions, and with the characteristics of sociology as a discipline that studies such behavior and institutions. Students become familiar with the use of such basic concepts in sociology as norms, values, roles, socialization, stratification, power and authority, deviance and control, social conflict, and social change. In addition, students are introduced to sociological research, including quantitative techniques and the use of the computer. Enrollment limited to 60. S. Sylvester.

216. Criminology I: The Analysis of Criminal Behavior. The course considers the concept of crime and how it has developed in history and become specified in the criminal law; the variety of criminal behaviors as products of individual motivation and social circumstances; biological, psychological, and sociological explanations of crime and their cultural backgrounds; and the techniques available for the description and measurement of crime. Open to first-year students. S. Sylvester.

217. Criminology II: The Treatment of Criminal Offenders. The course considers the social role of police and law enforcement; the criminal-justice system and the problems of criminal prosecution; the philosophy and effectiveness of various types of punishment and alternatives to punishment; and the scope of criminological research in testing the effectiveness of criminal policy. Prerequisite(s): Sociology 216. Open to first-year students. S. Sylvester.

220. Family and Society. This course offers an introduction to family sociology, exploring the history and structure of the family as a social institution, primarily in the United States. Attention is given to contemporary patterns of family life (e.g., patterns of marriage, divorce, cohabitation, parenting, and household labor); how the family has changed in response to social and economic change; how race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality shape family structure and ideologies of family; patterns of family violence; and trends in family-related public policy. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 40.
E. Kane.

231. Social Stratification. An introduction to sociological theory and research on social inequality. The course examines the causes and consequences of the unequal distribution of wealth, power, and prestige in society. Classical theories on social stratification and recent developments in class theory are discussed. The course analyzes the relationships among class, race, and gender, and examines the concrete impact of class, race, and gender on people's lives. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 40. V. Johnson.

236. Urban Sociology. This course focuses on cities as "geographies of centrality" in the national and international socioeconomic order. The course is a basic introduction to urban sociology and to issues in contemporary urban planning and development. Classical theory in human ecology and contemporary theories of the "growth machine," post-Fordism, and the new international division of labor are explored for their value in explaining how socioeconomic forces produce urban space locally and globally. The course also pays particular attention to the planning process in such areas as suburbanization, housing, transportation, land-use regulation, and economic development decisions. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 40. Staff.

240. Race and Ethnicity in the United States. The course examines the construction and dynamics of race and ethnicity in American life. Relevant sociological concepts are examined (e.g., assimilation, pluralism, identity, class) as well as dominant group policies toward racial and ethnic groups (e.g., in employment, health care, and business ownership). Students are expected to propose and discuss solutions to problems, issues, and perceptions that have resulted from racial and ethnic differentiation. Open to first-year students. C. Brinkley.

244. The Individual and Society. The course examines how sociology has considered the relationship between individual autonomy and social control, between personal identity and cultural definition. It is concerned with the processes of socialization, social interaction, and the social presentation of self. Prerequisite(s): Sociology 101. Open to first-year students. S. Sylvester.

245. Microsociology. An introduction to sociological approaches to social psychology, with emphasis on the intersection between social structures and individual experiences, beliefs, and behaviors. Topics considered include the history and development of social psychological perspectives within sociology, socialization, social structure and personality, attitudes and behavior, social interaction, intergroup relations, and the role of social locations in structuring individual consciousness. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 40. E. Kane.

270. Sociology of Gender. This course focuses on the social construction of gender through a consideration of a series of interrelated social institutions and practices central to gender stratification: family, employment, sexuality, reproduction, and beauty. Emphasis is placed on the ideologies surrounding each of these social institutions/practices and the ways in which those ideologies structure gender relations, as well as on the complex intersections between gender inequality and inequalities of race/ethnicity, class, and sexual orientation. Recommended background: one or more courses in the social sciences and/or women's studies. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 40. E. Kane.

280. Education, Reform, and Politics. The United States has experienced nearly two centuries of growth and change in the organization of private and public education. The goals of this course are to examine 1) alternative educational philosophies, practices, and pedagogies; and 2) contemporary issues and organizational processes in relation to the constituencies of schools, learning, research, legal decisions, planning, and policy. The study of these areas includes K-12, postsecondary, graduate, vocational schools, and home schooling. Examples of specific study areas are African American pedagogy and philosophy-practice, tracking, race and educational research, teacher effectiveness and accountability, and the elimination and reinvention of parent involvement. This course is the same as African American Studies 280. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 40. C. Brinkley.

305. Quantitative Research Methods. This course is a practical, "hands-on" introduction to quantitative research methods used by sociologists, including survey research, experiments, and quantitative content analysis. Topics addressed include: the assumptions underlying various approaches to social-science research; the logic of quantitative research, specific methods of quantitative data collection (questionnaire construction, sampling, basic experimental design, and content analysis); and methods of data analysis for quantitative data (including descriptive statistics, bivariate and multivariate analysis using contingency tables, and multiple regression). Data analysis is conducted using statistical analysis software for microcomputers. Prerequisite(s): one course in sociology or African American Studies/ American Cultural Studies/ Women's Studies 250. E. Kane.

306. Qualitative Research Methods. This course is a practical introduction to qualitative research methods used by sociologists, including participant observation and field research, qualitative interviewing, comparative historical research, and qualitative content analysis. The assumptions underlying various approaches to social-science research, especially interpretive approaches, are considered, along with "hands-on" application of methods of data collection in qualitative research. Methods for the analysis of qualitative data are also presented, including the use of computer programs for storing and analyzing text-based data. Prerequisite(s): one course in sociology or African American Studies/ American Cultural Studies/ Women's Studies 250. E. Kane.

314. Forensic Sociology. The course considers the use of sociological data and their interpretation in decisions made by courts and other agencies of the judicial system and the role of the sociologist as an expert witness. Areas considered may include profiling in law enforcement and corrections, trademark infringement, unlawful discrimination, spousal abuse, pornography, toxic torts, and premises liability. Emphasis is given to the relationship between the standards of validity and reliability in sociological research and the rules of admissibility in law. S. Sylvester.

320. Demography. Demographic concepts, analytical methods, and issues are examined. Fertility, mortality, and migration are population processes that affect a society's growth and change. Demographic analysis examines these processes, and their consequences, as either independent or dependent variables, or both. Whether the concern is local or global, demography provides a unique perspective on an issue. This course examines such topics as population and aging, urbanization, and the environment. Recommended background: comfort with numbers and/or a prior social-science research course. Open to first-year students. C. Brinkley.

324. Sociology of Law. The course examines law as a system of behavior within a social, cultural, and historical context and as a body of knowledge within the sciences of human behavior. The course considers the relationship between the law and other institutions of contemporary society such as politics, the economy, education, and science. S. Sylvester.

345. Beliefs about Social Inequality. This course focuses on the belief systems surrounding social inequality, particularly race, class, and gender inequality, and inequalities of sexual orientation. Topics include the role of beliefs in structuring social inequality, the nature of beliefs as a social psychological construct, and an examination of the research literature on beliefs about inequality in the United States. Emphasis is on quantitative public opinion literature from sociology, psychology, and political science, though consideration is also given to qualitative studies. Recommended background: coursework in sociology, psychology, or political science. Enrollment limited to 20. E. Kane.

360. Independent Study. Designed for the student who may have particular interests in areas of study that go beyond the regular course offerings. Permission of the Department is required prior to registration, and a detailed typed prospectus must be submitted to the Chair as part of the request. Students are limited to one independent study per semester. Staff.

365. Special Topics. A course or seminar offered from time to time to small groups of students working on special topics. Written permission of the instructor is required. Staff.

411. History of Sociological Theory. The development of sociology as a discipline within the context of Western social, political, and intellectual history. Analysis and comparison of the major schools of sociological theory. S. Sylvester.

457, 458. Senior Thesis. Individual and group conferences in connection with the writing of the senior thesis. Sociology 458 is required of all senior majors in the winter semester. Majors writing an honors thesis register for both Sociology 457 in the fall semester and Sociology 458 in the winter semester. One course credit for each registration. Staff.

Short Term Units

s20. Gender and Childhood. Research has documented that adult observers often perceive gender differences in newborn babies even when no such differences exist. This unit explores the social construction of gender from infancy through the childhood years. The unit examines physical, cognitive, and emotional differences that actually exist between boys and girls but focuses more on differences that are constructed through social interaction and social influences. How does the process of constructing these differences take place? What social institutions and social actors are involved? How do children work to accommodate and resist gendered social expectations? Recommended background: one or more courses in the social sciences and/or women's studies. Open to first-year students. E. Kane.

s35. Research in Criminology. Directed research in selected areas of the analysis of criminal behavior and the treatment of offenders. Prerequisite(s): Sociology 216 and 217.
S. Sylvester.

s50. Individual Research. Registration in this unit is granted by the Department only after the student has submitted a written proposal for a full-time research project to be completed during the Short Term and has secured the sponsorship of a member of the Department to direct the study and evaluate results. Students are limited to one individual research unit. Staff.

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