Spring 2023 Undergraduate Courses

Course Descriptions

SOC 1010 – Introductory Sociology (3)

Mullins, enrl 240, TR 8:30am – 9:20am

The fundamental concepts and principles of sociology with special attention to sociological theory and research methods. Survey of the diverse substantive fields in the discipline with a primary emphasis on the institutions in contemporary American society.

Discussion section required.

SOC 2052 – Sociology of the Family (3)

Wilcox, enrl 180, MW 9:00am – 9:50am

Comparison of family organizations in relation to other social institutions in various societies; an introduction to the theory of kinship and marriage systems.

Discussion section required.

SOC 2055 – Law and Society (3)

Gorman, enrl 30, MW 2:00pm – 3:15pm

Introduces the sociology of law and covers major topic areas within it. Examines what we mean by "law," how aspects of society influence law, and how aspects of law in turn influence society. Emphasis is placed on law in the United States, but some comparisons will be made to other societies.

SOC 2220 – Social Problems (3)

Zeno, enrl 60, TR 2:00pm – 2:50pm

An analysis of the causes and consequences of current social problems in the United States: Race and Ethnic relations, poverty, crime and delinquency, the environment, drugs, and problems of educational institutions.

Discussion section required.

SOC 2320 – Gender and Society (3)

Zeno, enrl 35, TR 12:30pm – 1:45pm

This course emphasizes gender in the United States in today’s world.  We begin with how gender role socialization, education, language and the media teach us our places as female and male.  Then we go on to examine how the genders fare in the major social institutions of our society: the family, the economic sector, the polity, the military, the criminal justice sector, the religious sphere and the health/sports sector.  We examine how we got to where we are and how we compare with other women and men in other ages and other places.  We conclude by assessing where the genders are heading in the 21st Century.

SOC 2470 – American Society and Popular Culture (3)

Platts, enrl 60, MW 3:00pm - 3:50pm

This course is an early level course, which aims to introduce students to a sociological perspective on popular culture, and to examine the working of selected sociological concepts in several examples of popular culture.  A familiarity with introductory level sociology is suggested, but not required.  The course has two parts.  In the first we will become acquainted with sociological perspectives and theories on culture; in the second we will look at several popular novels and movies and discuss how they might be interpreted sociologically.

Discussion section required

SOC 2680 – Introduction to Demography (3)

Sullivan, enrl 25, MW 2:00pm – 2:50pm; F Web-Based

Demography is the scientific study of human populations. We will emphasize fertility, mortality, and migration, and the social and economic factors that affect them.

SOC 2820 – Sociology of Ignorance (3)

Mullins, enrl 25, TR 12:30pm - 1:45pm

People often mistake ignorance as the mere lack of knowledge or that which we do not yet know. They fail to consider that ignorance exists in a variety of different forms, or that ignorance is often produced and maintained through sets of practices—whether intentional or not. This course investigates both ignorance and the consequences that particular forms of ignorance have upon our society.

SOC 3020 – Introduction to Social Theory (3)

Parham, enrl 60, MW 11:00am – 11:50am

An introduction to the major theoretical issues and traditions in sociology, especially as developed in the writings of Marx, Weber, and Durkheim, Sociology majors are expected to take this course in their third year.

Discussion section required.

SOC 3130 – Introduction to Social Statistics (4)

Wilcox, enrl 72, MW 12:00pm – 12:50pm

Prerequisite: SOC 3120, required core course for SOC major.

Elementary statistical methods for social science applications. Topics include summarizing data with graphs and descriptive measures, generalizing from a sample to a population as in opinion polls, and determining the relationship between two variables. No special mathematical background is required, and students will be taught basic computer techniques. Three hours of lecture, two hours of laboratory work. Majors are expected to take this course in their third year.

Discussion section required.

SOC 3320 – Sociology of the Body (3)

Skubby, enrl 35, MW 3:30pm – 4:45pm

This course will provide an understanding of how sociologists interpret the body in modernity. Topics will include the body in consumer culture, the gendered body, body modification, identity and the body, technology and the body, the regulation of bodies, and vulnerable bodies. Students will be able to understand the central issues and concepts used by sociologists who study embodiment and the relationship between the body and society.

SOC 3390 – Sex, Power, Film (3)

Press, enrl 35, TR 2:00pm – 3:15pm

In this class we will examine the ways in which popular film in the U.S. has historically helped to define dominant cultural ideas about gender identities and differences. We will also look at the ways in which feminists and gender and sexuality activists have criticized popular film and created new media products in response to these definitions.

SOC 3410 – Race & Ethnic Relations (3)

Vickerman, enrl 35, MW 2:00pm – 3:15pm

Introduces the study of race and ethnic relations, including the social and economic conditions promoting prejudice, racism, discrimination, and segregation. Examines contemporary American conditions, and historical and international materials.

SOC 3440 – Chinese Society (3)

Wang, enrl 35, TR 9:30am – 10:45am

This seminar provides a survey of Chinese society and social changes in the reform-era (1979 to the present). It uses sociological analysis to comprehensively examine various aspects of contemporary Chinese society including: economic development, social inequality, governance, political reform, nationalism, religion, ethnicity, and popular culture.  Meets Non-Western Studies Requirement.

SOC 3460 – Future Cities (3)

Makarova, enrl 35, TR 12:30pm – 1:45pm

This course conceives alternative possibilities for our cities. It will include such lines of inquiry as the challenges of equality and justice; sustainability and environmental change; the potential and limits of technology; and the impact of the changing global context. We will examine currently emerging urban forms as well as attempts to imagine new forms of urban life.

SOC 3470 – Sociology of Development (3)

Jeon, enrl 35, TR 2:00pm – 3:15pm

This study of the development of human societies explores the five major 'techo-economic bases' that have characterized our species' history (hunting-gathering, horticultural, agrarian, industrial and information/biotech) and examines how contemporary macrolevel trends affect our lives at the microlevel.

SOC 3480 – Sociology of Globalization (3)

Parham, enrl 35, TR 2:00pm – 3:15pm

This course will explore the determinants, nature, and effects of the increase in cross-border flows of goods, services, capital and people that  we have come  to associate with the term “globalization.”   We will investigate how globalization affects domestic & world inequality, the role of institutions, and  world & local cultures. The course will include readings from economics, history, world-system theory, and cultural analysis.

SOC 3640 – Human Society in History (3)

Kumar, enrl 35, TR 11:00am – 12:15 pm

Human societies exist in time. This course will examine the historical development of a variety of societies from earliest times to the present. Its focus will be on the relation of the West to the rest of the world. The course is particularly intended for social scientists, to make them aware of the historical dimension to human society; but it is open to all.  Meets Historical Studies requirement.

SOC 3650 - Latinxs in US Society (3)

Buckelew, enrl 35, TR 9:30am – 10:45am

This course introduces the Soc of Latinxs in the US. Topics explore how Latinxs experience systems & institutions in the US, like education, immigration, work, & the criminal punishment system. Theories of structural racism, racialization, racial formation, as well as histories of colonization & intersectional frameworks ground course learning. Attention is paid to the histories & experiences of Afro-Latinx and Indigenous communities.

SOC 3700 – Health & Society (3)

Skubby, enrl 60, MW 1:00pm – 1:50pm

This course explores the social dimensions of health and illness, focusing especially on the social experience of illness, the social determinants of disease, and the role and meaning of medicine and public health in modern U.S. society. The class examines how we define health problems and their solutions, and it considers the ways in which race, gender, class, age, and sexuality matter for understanding health- related experiences and discourses.

Discussion section required.

SOC 4260 - Race, Crime and Punishment (3)

Buckelew, enrl 20, TR 11:00am – 12:15pm

SOC 4260 does not meet the second writing requirement.

Prerequisites for SOC 4260:  Student must have already taken SOC 3410 - Race and Ethnic Relations AND SOC 2230 - Criminology.

This course is an exercise in critical thinking and writing. We will investigate connections between race and crime in contemporary America.  To do so, we will explore constructions of crime and race and patterns of victimization, criminality and punishment.  We will uncover shifting definitions of crime and the ways that institutions, policies and practices shape patterns of punishment.

SOC 4400 - Sociology of Empires (3)

Kumar, enrl 20, TR 2:00pm – 3:15pm

Prerequisites: Six credits of sociology or permission of instructor.

Empires -- large, multinational, territorially-dispersed political entities -  have been pervasive in human history.  This course will examine a number of them, ancient and modern, Eastern and Western, land and overseas empires.  It will seek to find out what principles and practices might be common to all of them, and what, on the contrary, might distinguish them from each other. Six credits of Sociology or instructor permission.

SOC 4530 - Topics in Sociology of Health: Social Determinants of Health (3)

Skubby, enrl 20, TR 12:30pm – 1:45pm

Students will study and discuss the social & environmental factors that are strongly correlated with the physical and mental health of populations & groups within populations. The social factors under study will include the effects of neighborhood, education, occupation, access to health care, social support, social capital, & levels of social cohesion. Students will explore health disparities by social class, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual identity

SOC 4540 – Topics in Politics and Society: Banned Books and Controversial Knowledge (3)

Mullins, enrl 20, TR 11:00am – 12:15pm

Books are being banned at an alarming rate. In this course, we will investigate the controversies surrounding contemporary book bans with an emphasis on the people and organizations involved. In so doing, we will learn more about the process through which issues or knowledge is politicized and how social movements operate. We will engage in deep discussion of what it means for some knowledge to be seen as too controversial or “divisive” to know.

SOC 4550 – Topics in Ethics and Society – Sociology of Reproduction (3)

Zeno, enrl 20, TR 9:30am – 10:45am

Prerequisites: Six credits of sociology or permission of instructor.

This course explores contemporary reproductive issues through a sociological perspective. The class explores topics from birth control and the medicalization of childbearing to infertility and new reproductive and genetic technologies to shed light on the social, political, and constructed nature of human reproduction. Students evaluate how the state, medical institutions and practitioners, and culture interact to shape reproductive practices.

SOC 4560 – Topics in Sociology of Science and Knowledge: Race and Racism in Science (3)

Aviles, enrl 20, MW 2:00pm – 3:15pm

Prerequisites: Six credits of sociology or permission of instructor.

This course explores the place of race and racism in science from a sociological perspective, locating the origins of race science in political and social projects from the 18th century to the contemporary period. We will explore the continued relevance of race as a proxy for human differences and analyze why scientists in biology, medicine, public health, and behavioral science find racial categories to be useful constructs despite their flaws.

SOC 4780 – The Politics of Data (3)

Sullivan, enrl 20, MW 4:00pm – 5:15pm

Prerequisites: Six credits of sociology or permission of instructor.

This course examines the many uses of data from the Federal Statistical System for governance, environmental and human health, and private sector uses.  We will examine how the data are produced and disseminated and how assertions of data manipulation may be evaluated.  We will examine characteristic data errors and how social scientists and data scientists identify and possibly correct data errors.

SOC 4970 – Special Studies in Sociology (1-6)

Prerequisites: Fourth year students with a minimum GPA of 3.2 in sociology (or overall GPA of 3.2 for non- majors) and permission of instructor.

An independent study project conducted by the student under the supervision of an instructor of his or her choice. Students must complete independent study application form available on Sociology Department website.

SOC 4981 – Distinguished Majors Thesis Writing (3)

Prerequisites: Admission to the Distinguished Majors Program in Sociology & SOC 4980.

Writing of the DMP thesis under the supervision of a DM faculty adviser.


For more course information please visit the University Registrar, SIS Schedule of Classes or the Summer Session / JTerm Offices.

J-term and Study Abroad courses do not automatically count toward the Sociology major or minor; a student must obtain pre-approval from Professor Thomas Guterbock, Director of Undergraduate Studies. See Sociology Major Handbook for more information.

*If a student neither contacts the instructor in advance nor appears at the first class meeting, the Sociology Department and/or instructor reserves the right to cancel the student's enrollment.

**Additionally, if upon being given ad hoc enrollment permission, a student is told by the instructor to enroll in a specific dependent section, and the student does not enroll in that specified section, the Sociology Department and/or instructor reserves the right to cancel the student's enrollment.

***Undergraduate students may enroll in Graduate Sociology courses at the 5000 level only with instructor permission, and if they have a minimum GPA of 3.4 and fourth year status.