Courses 2014-2015

For the college’s course catalog, please visit the Courses section. For courses currently offered, please visit the Schedule of Classes.

People, Culture and Society (SA-100)
An examination of fundamental questions concerning the nature and foundations of sociocultural behavior. The course presents a variety of sociocultural approaches for understanding human nature and hominid evolution, cross-cultural similarities and differences, the sources of inequality, and the enormity of recent social change. This course is required of all majors and minors in Sociology/Anthropology and has no prerequisite.
Introductory Topics in Sociology/Anthropology (SA-199)
A general category used only in the evaluation of transfer credit.
Sex and Gender in Society (SA-210)
This course compares and evaluates a variety of theories which attempt to explain the origins, persistence and effects of gender in American society. In particular, it explores a number of settings that may include: the family, the work place, the political arena, religious activity, violence against women, and face-to-face interactional contexts. Special attention is given to the ways in which race, ethnicity, class and sexual orientation shape gender experiences. Although its primary focus is American society, the course compares problems of sexual inequality in American society with other, quite different, societies in order to gain a comparative understanding of how discrimination, prejudice, and structural inequality, wherever they are found, create special problems for women. Throughout, the focus is on learning to use structural, historical, and theoretical information as guides to understanding social change and the choices facing women and men. Cross-listed with WMST 210.
Race and Ethnicity (SA-212)
Contrary to the expectations of many modern social theorists, race and ethnicity continue to be important elements in the lives of contemporary people, serving as frameworks through which individual identities, community actions, and cultural meanings are interpreted. This course will introduce students to the sociocultural analysis of racial and ethnic identities. How did ethnic and racial identities and communities develop over time? Why does race, though now understood to be a social rather than a biological category, continue to be (mis)understood as a biological category? How do aspects of political, class, gender, and sexual identities influence racial and ethnic identities? We will use a global perspective to understand the conception of race and ethnicity. We will explore these topics among others including cultural and historical variability of ethnic and racial categories, the dialectical formation of identity, and the persistence of certain forms of racial and ethnic prejudice. Students will be expected to examine critically their own common assumptions and presuppositions about race and ethnicity, and to begin developing the theorectical tools for interpreting life in an ethnically diverse world.
Religion and Society (SA-217)
This course investigates the relationship between religion and society, and the social dimension of religious truth-claims. The central theme entails a cross-cultural study of religious influences on both social stability and change or revolution. In exploring this tension between religion and existing socioeconomic and political orders, we will consider examples such as religious movements, as well as the ritual life of both the individual's life cycle and wider social and political institutions. This course has no prerequisite.
Human Origins and Prehistory (SA-224)
This course examines the topics of human origins, human nature, evolution, and prehistory, emphasizing the interplay between biological and sociocultural aspects of human life. Readings will draw from accounts of primate social behavior, hominid evolution, and archaeology to investigate the foundations of our uniquely human form of adaptation through culture. This course has no prerequisite.
Global Health and Local Wellbeing (SA-235)
The course examines the sociocultural bases of both Western and non-Western medical and psychiatric systems. It focuses especially on different cultural assumptions about the nature and causes of illness and the institutional arrangements for the care of patients. The course will consider a variety of social scientific theoretical perspectives on the relationship between illness, medicine, and society. It will assess the degree to which non-Western medical systems may be compatible with and/or benefit to Western medicine and psychiatry. This course has no prerequisite.
Environment, Technology and Society (SA-244)
This course analyzes the social causes and consequences of environmental change. We explore the relationship among production, consumption, population, technology, and environment. We ask: do the social benefits of economic growth outweigh environmental costs? Does population growth lead to environmental problems? Can technical "fixes" solve environmental problems? Are "indigenous" technologies superior to "western" technologies? We'll also analyze human responses to change: policy and regulation, "green" capitalism, environmental movements, and environmental countermovements. We ask, how can we shape our future? What alternatives are likely and possible? Will the U.S. experience ecotopia or ecocide in the years to come? Will the Third World become the First World's dumping ground or will sustainable development provide environmental equity? This course is cross-listed with Environmental Studies and has a prerequisite of either SA 100 or ENVS 101.
Studies in Sociology/Anthropology (SA-245)
Special topics in Sociology/Anthropology.
Society and the Literary Imagination (SA-248)
This course begins with a question: Does the poetic and literary imagination transcend its particular cultural context? Are there universally recognized themes or criteria for judging literature, or is all literature a reflection of what is going on in society at a particular historical moment? If there is a relationship between society and literature, we will need to explore it from at least two vantage points: What are the sociocultural bases of literature, and how might literature, in turn, influence society? The course may use different examples of sub-themes to address these issues. For example, do the criteria by which we judge "good " literature vary over time and across societies? Do the stories we tell in different societies look at society, human virtues or the environment in the same ways? To what degree do our stories, critique it or propose alternatives to social arrangements? We will discuss works (novels, plays, short stories or poetry) often acknowledged in the West to be "great literature" and look at how we establish this "canon." Yet, we will also look at children's literature, science fiction and other "pulp fiction" as equally telling sources of information about our aesthetic values and social arrangements. This course has no prerequisite.
The Development of Social Thought (SA-290)
An investigation of the classical foundations of social thought and sociocultural theory in sociology/anthropology. The course will concentrate on the original works of authors such as Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Weber, Durkheim, Martineau, DuBois and other significant authors of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This course is required of all majors and minors in sociology/anthropology. Prerequisite: SA 100 consent. No First Year students.
Intermediate Topics in Sociology/Anthropology (SA-299)
A general category used only in the evaluation of transfer credit.
Law and Society (SA-311)
In this course we explore the intersecting relationships between law and justice in society and culture. We examine the ways in which racial/ethnic identity, gender, sexuality and economic status shape the formation of law as well as societal responses to law. Our exploration of law in society incorporates a thorough analysis and critique of classical liberal political theory, as well as critiques of law from Marx, Weber, critical race theory, feminist theory, and queer theory. Prerequisite: SA 100 or consent.
Families, Sexuality and the State (SA-313)
In this seminar we explore the ways in which race, ethnicity, social class and sexuality shape family/kinship structures in and beyond the contemporary U.S. We explore specific issues including sexuality and kinship; reproductive technologies and surrogacy; transnational families; and women's political activism in the context of families. These issues are explored using sociological, anthropological, and feminist theories. Cross-listed with WMST 313. Prerequisite: SA 100 or WMST 101 or consent.
Contemporary Sociocultural Theory (SA-316)
Analyses of central theoretical questions in sociology/anthropology. Historical developments and major paradigms within the two disciplines are explored. The process of theory construction is examined and a critical perspective developed. Required of majors. Prerequisites: SA 100 and 290.
Indigenous Peoples and Change in Latin America (SA-319)
Ethnography of Native Americans south of the Rio Grande, with special emphasis on cultural contact, domination, and persistence. The wide variety of adaptations to the environment, and institutional arrangements of economics, politics, kinship, and religion will also be explored. We will use ethnographic case studies to assess the impact of cultural domination on indigenous societies and their attempt to maintain a traditional way of life. Prerequisite: SA 100 or consent.
Contemporary African Peoples in Historical Perspective (SA-320)
This course is an examination of the historical, ethnic and socio-cultural diversity of sub-Saharan Africa societies. Central to this overview is an emphasis on the pre-colonial, colonial and postcolonial eras. It considers questions of economic development, urbanization, agricultural production and the relationship of the contemporary African state to rural communities. This course also explores symbolic systems in the context of rituals, witchcraft, indigenous churches, and new forms of Christianity currently spreading in Africa. Prerequisite: SA 100 or by consent.
Culture, Society and the Individual (SA-331)
This course examines the relationship between individuals, their society and culture. This involves looking at differing cultural conceptions of "human nature", and the way in which both "intelligence" and the emotions are "cultural performances." The nature of the "self", indeed, the structure of perception and cognition, are not separable from specific patterns of sociocultural life. Finally, Western and cross-cultural examples will be used to assess different models of social determinism and the cultural impact of human decisions and action. Prerequisite: SA 100 or consent.
Social Structure and Popular Culture (SA-338)
Under study here are the production and distribution, form and content, and artists and audiences of popular culture internationally. We will consider prominent social theories, from the Frankfort School's critique of popular culture, through the writings on mass culture in the United States, to the recent rehabilitation of popular culture by British writers like Stuart Hall and Paul Gilroy. Some of the major questions addressed will include: How do the social arrangements and the technologies of production shape the messages conveyed in popular media? What is the relationship between popular culture and "high" culture? Under what conditions does popular culture distract people from the struggles for equality and social justice, lulling them to passivity, and when can it inspire protest, or even transform people's behavior? Prerequisite: SA 100 or consent.
Culture, Identity and Politics in Caribbean Society (SA-339)
This course focuses on the social, cultural and political life of the Caribbean area, especially the English and French speaking areas. A fragmented group of nations decidedly on the periphery of the global economy, the Caribbean was once one of the richest areas of the world. Its riches then depended on the labor of enslaved Africans; the fruits of the plantation economy were enjoyed mainly by European planters. What is the legacy of such a history? We review the variety of Caribbean policies, from the strong democratic traditions of Jamaica to the autocratic rulers of Haiti, and explore how the Caribbean's unique combination of cultural influences affect the political processes, ways of life, class divisions and ethnic stratification evident in the Caribbean today. Prerequisite: SA 100 or consent.
Social Movements (SA-340)
In this course we explore social movements as a primary means of social change. We attempt to understand the conditions which precede, accompany and follow collective action. Particular case studies for analysis will be drawn from the United States and cross-cultural contexts to illustrate that social movements are human products that have both intended and unintended consequences. Prerequisite: SA 100 or consent.
Non-Governmental Organizations, Development and Human Rights (SA-342)
This course is a critical and inter-disciplinary examination of the role and consequences of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the development industry. The course explores the history, organization and agenda building of NGOs since the 1950's. Power relationships between NGOs and states, particularly in the southern hemisphere, as well as with bilateral and multi-lateral institutions are pivotal to our examination. The ideological, programmatic and conceptual differences among NGOs are examined within the broader context of theories of development. We ask why growing numbers of people see NGOs as the answer to ameliorating poverty, disease, violations of human rights and environmental degradation, among others. Some of the organizations that we examine include Greenpeace, Amnesty International, the Grameen Bank and Working Women's Forum. Prerequisite: SA 100 or consent.
Demography of Africa (SA-343)
In this course, we begin by reviewing current literature to clearly define the term, Demography. Next, we examine the demographic processes of population change in the continent of Africa. Demographic processes include mortality, fertility and migration. In addition, we explore patterns of urbanization, economic development and educational attainment. We analyze survey data from the African Census Analysis Project and Demographic Health Survey. Upon completion, you should be familiar with a variety of demographic processes that allow an examination of interesting demographic, social and anthropological questions. Prerequisite: SA 100.
Special Problems (SA-345)
Special topics offered at an advanced level not covered in regular courses.
Power in Society (SA-347)
Using theoretical approaches and methodological tools from sociology and anthropology, this course explores the nature of social power and its distribution in a variety of social settings. Under what conditions do specific types of power distributions emerge, and what consequences do they have for people's social and economic lives? When do political systems change, and why? How do social and cultural factors influence people's participation in political action? A variety of social institutions relevant to politics are examined in this course, including interest groups, political parties, the state and transnational organizations. Processes such as legitimization of authority, social influences on policy formation, political socialization, mobilization and co-optation are analyzed in the contexts of local, national and international politics. Prerequisite: SA 100 or consent.
Semiotic: The Social Life of Signs (SA-348)
This course is an introduction to semiotic theory. Semiotic is the study of signs and representation. It is based upon the simple and perhaps surprising insight that things are meaningful only to the extent that they stand for something other than themselves. This is not simply a 'theory' class - this class will focus on the symbolic, empirical, material world. As a social science course, we will be concerned primarily with human semiosis, that is, the ways in which human being is manifest through and in signs, with a particular focus on the semiotic of C.S. Peirce. While no prior training in formal philosophy is required, some training in the study of human sociocultural practices will be helpful. Most of all, this course will endeavor to introduce students to some key aspects of Peirce's semiotic and phenomenology, all in the service of understanding our "glassy essence". Prerequisite: SA 100.
Field Research Methods (SA-350)
This course provides experience in the design and implementation of field research. In addition to techniques of collecting, analyzing, interpreting and reporting data, we examine the history of social research, ethical questions involved in field research, and the theoretical assumptions on which various research strategies are based. Students will construct and implement research designs using field research techniques including ethnography, participant observation, and content analysis. Quantitative analysis including descriptive statistics will be included. Required of majors. SA 350 and 351 may be taken in any order. Prerequisite: SA 100 or consent.
Survey Research Methods (SA-351)
This course provides experience in the design and implementation of sociocultural research. In addition to techniques of collecting, analyzing, interpreting and reporting data, we examine epistemological issues that underlie social research, ethical questions involved in research, and the theoretical assumptions on which various research strategies are based. Students will construct and implement research designs using survey research and secondary data analysis. Quantitative analysis, including descriptive and inferential statistics, analysis of variance, and simple regression will be included. Required of majors. SA 350 and 351 may be taken in any order. Prerequisite: SA 100 or consent
Directed Study (SA-361)
Credit earned will be determined by departmental evaluation.
Directed Study (SA-361)
Credit earned will be determined by departmental evaluation.
Directed Study (SA-362)
Credit earned will be determined by departmental evaluation.
Directed Study (SA-362)
Credit earned will be determined by departmental evaluation.
Independent Study (SA-363)
Independent Study (SA-363)
Independent Study (SA-364)
Independent Study (SA-364)
Advanced Topics in Sociology/Anthropology (SA-399)
A general category used only in the evaluation of transfer credit.
Senior Research (SA-451)
Senior Research (SA-451)
Senior Research (SA-452)
Senior Research (SA-452)
Senior Research Seminar (SA-460)
An integrative course designed to be a culmination of students' work in the major. This course focuses on the design and completion of semester-long research projects by senior majors. The course will provide the basis for reflection about the nature and importance of sociology/anthropology as disciplines and in relation to our role as researchers and citizens. Required of Senior Majors.