Sociology Course Descriptions
101 Introductory Sociology (4 credits; Fall, Spring) An overview of the discipline of sociology is presented. The focus is on social groups and their effects on individuals. Content areas cover culture, social structure and social change as well as an introduction to social research. Additionally, special emphasis is placed on stratification in society in terms of social class, race, gender and age. Includes class discussion and group assignments.
150 Contemporary Social Problems (4 credits; Fall) This course is a study of contemporary social problems from a global perspective. It examines population, environmental depletion and destruction, violence and war, racial and ethnic conflict, migration, gender inequality and other problems that occur internationally and that are interrelated. It analyzes assumptions underlying popular and theoretical explanations of social problems, as well as programs and policies aimed at alleviating them.
201 Writing for Sociology (4 credits, Fall) This course explores the differences between social scientific writing and other forms of writing (e.g., novels, essays, non-fiction). What makes sociological arguments unique? What forms do they usually take and what are the features that make them most effective? Students are asked to analyze different sociological forms or argumentation and writing (e.g., quantitative vs. ethnographic, inductive vs. deductive, interpretive vs. casual), explore their varying degree of efficacy and to produce one end-of-term research paper. Although the end goal of this course is a single paper, the structure of the course is writing intensive with a series of short writing assignments and paper drafts that build up to the final paper.Prerequisite: Sociology or Criminal Justice majors.
207 Introduction to Social Welfare (4 credits; Fall) This overview of the social welfare system in this country includes its historical development. Understanding and evaluating social welfare programs such as family and children’s services, healthcare, community mental health and work with the aging are the goal. The course includes visits to selected community agencies. Prerequisite: SO 101 or AN 120.
220 Social Issues (4 credits; Fall, Spring) This course provides in-depth analysis, from a social science perspective, of a substantive social issue confronting modern societies. It emphasizes pertinent social structures, values and attitudes, and the effects on the individual. Topics vary from year-to-year. May be repeated for credit.
222 Sociology of Cyberspace (4 credits; Spring, alternate years) This course explores the social implications of the Internet with a focus on interaction, communities and community mobilization, factors affecting group and individual participation on “virtual communities” and social control.
229 Women in Society (4 credits; Fall) This course surveys the effects of cultural values, social institutions and sex roles on women’s lives. It analyzes sources of gender inequality, especially in terms of the social construction of gender and sexuality. It examines the intersections of race, class, and sexuality for women. The course draws heavily on student participation to integrate personal gender experiences with a base of knowledge about women.
230 Racism: Myths and Realities (4 credits, day; Fall) This course provides a critical examination of how racism is operationalized in American society and its impact on the historical, social, psychological and spiritual relationship between Black and White Americans. Students have an opportunity to investigate both past and present racist practices and events and analyze how the practice of racism and culture interface and the effects of racism on Black and White America.
240 African American Images in the Media (4 credits; Spring) This course provides a critical examination of the role and effects mass media have on the African American community. Students have the opportunity to explore the genres of television and film not only as mediums of entertainment, but as dynamic forces in the presentation and perpetuation of certain cultural values, ideals, philosophies and beliefs. Students examine the cultural prism of race in assessing mass media’s creation of images and attitudes about the African American community.
US242 Place, Space and the Global World: Exploring Immigrants and Identity (4 credits) In this University seminar, the lens of place is used to explore issues of immigration, migration, and ethnic identity. Immigrants and migrants have arrived, settled, built communities, laid down roots and moved on, with others arriving after them leaving layers of material traces that give significance to the present, document the past, and point to the future. They have left material traces and maintained connections with home villages in previous centuries of immigration as well as in contemporary times. Forms can be aesthetic expressions, hold memories and give meaning to everyday lives, and are symbolic of who we are in an increasingly globalized world. Students learn how different disciplines use place as an interpretive mode to understanding the relationship of ethnicity to place(s), how difference (ethnicity, gender, race) is delineated in space, the politics of public space, issues of memory and place (including transnational connections), and globalization and place. A diverse range of reading assignments, images, video, and four field trips to Philadelphia will augment class discussion. The class visits a Puerto Rican urban garden and casita, a Palestinian mosque and deli, the 9th Street Market, and Chestnut Hill. The students hear first hand from the people who work and live in these places their significance for them and the connections or disconnections of meaning they hold. An interdisciplinary approach is also reflected in the kinds of assignments required of students. In introducing students to the topic of diversity and difference, the concept of worldview and how it varies cross-culturally and over time is discussed. An ethnographic fieldwork project is required in which students must interview at least one person. During the course of the semester, through in- class exercises and take-home assignments, students are guided step-by-step in the methodology of conducting original research.
245 Gays and Lesbians in American Society (4 credits; Spring) This course introduces students to the gay and lesbian experience in American society from pre-Stonewall to present day life. Using a sociological approach, students explore the development of diverse gay and lesbian identities and communities during the past 30 years and examine their social, political and cultural implications, both inside and outside the gay and lesbian community. Students examine and discuss the ways in which the gay and lesbian culture has impacted American society, as well as identify the cultural and political struggles within the gay and lesbian community, and between the gay and straight communities. Intersections of race and class also are explored. Offered in even years. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or above.
Aging in Modern Society Not regularly scheduled.
250 Sex and Society (4 credits; Fall) This course explores the multiple ways that social processes and culture construct and channel male and female sexual behavior. Students study social science research on human sexuality, the meanings of sex and gender from a sociological perspective and the cultural mythologies that shape and inform our emotions, behaviors and attitudes.
260 Sociology of Health Care (4 credits; Fall) This course explores definitions of health and illness in the United States and other cultures. It analyzes the social, economic, political and cultural factors bearing on healthcare with emphasis on social structure, formal organization, professionalism and historic development. It enables students to apply the knowledge gained, both professionally and personally.
265 Social Inequalities (4 credits; Spring) This course examines important empirical findings and theories for the analysis of systems of social stratification. It reviews the contributions of Marx, Weber and other early scholars. It includes caste, estate and class as alternative stratification systems; the interrelations of class, status and power; and the behavioral and attitudinal consequences of class differences in Modern America. Prerequisite: SO101 or AN120.
270 Feminist Theory (4 credits; Spring) This course closely examines feminist theories from an analytic and sociological viewpoint, including how feminist thinkers have conceptualized how and why women are positioned as they are in society and how these ideas have evolved over time and within particular sociopolitical contexts. Students examine the definitional and political issues inherent in “feminism” and what it has come to mean in society. The theories studied include liberal, Marxist, psychoanalytic and radical feminism. Throughout the course, these theories are evaluated along the intersections of race, class, and sexual orientation. Offered in even years. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or above.
275 Introduction to Africana Studies (4 credits; Fall) This course is transnational in nature and interdisciplinary in delivery. The course focuses on the interconnected historical, artistic and political forces of the African and African Diaspora experience. As a transnational course it examines the Afrodiasporic experience through the relationship of peoples, ideas, cultures and events across geographical boundaries. And as an interdisciplinary endeavor it informs and filters that experience through an integrative framework of various subjects of inquiry and methodologies. The course also introduces students to the content and contours of African Studies as a field of study-its genealogy, development, theoretical orientiations, multiple methodological strategies and future challenges.
280 The Sociology of AIDS and HIV (4 credits; Fall) This course examines social issues surrounding AIDS and HIV: discrimination and homophobia, risk reduction strategies, social factors in transmission, media treatment, legal and political dilemmas, and international efforts in HIV reduction. Students get firsthand experience through service learning in AIDS organizations within the Delaware Valley. Offered in odd years.
286 Health and Human Rights (4 credits; Fall) This course explores the relationship between health and human rights through prevailing definitions and understandings of international human rights, and the relevance, scope and depth of issues relevant to health and human rights scholars, practitioners, and advocates. Sociological and interdisciplinary approaches are used to explore the intersection between health and human rights. Key international declarations and conventions are examined, the meanings of “human rights” and “health” explored, specific case studies analyzed, and the intersection between historical and contemporary social issues considered. Potential methods for promoting health by protecting human rights at various levels, and the contemporary human rights issues of university/cultural relativity and accountability are addressed as a way of illuminating possibilities and avenues for improving individual and community health through considering primary, secondary and tertiary prevention in various contexts. Prerequisite: Sophomore or above.
310 Social Movements (4 credits; alternate years, Spring) Social movements are instrumental in creating social change and thus fundamental to understanding how social systems operate. This course is an upper-level seminar in the social scientific study of social movements, with a focus on social movements of the 20th century, such as the civil rights movement, women’s liberation movement, and abortion movements. Topics include mobilization strategies, processes of movement formation, outcomes of social movements, and reasons for decline. Case studies of particular social movements are examined using sociological theory. Students create a portfolio of work about a social movement of interest to them.
320 Homes, Housing and Homelessness (4 credits, Spring) This course examines lack of affordable homes, urban homelessness and extreme impoverishment from a comparative historical perspective. Cases to be examined will include the United States, United Kingdom, Kenya and India. A third of the class will devote to service learning (volunteering with residents of one of Project HOME’s housing programs).
325 Women: Local & Global Connections (4 credits; Spring) In this course, we will undertake a critical study of gender performance, roles and structures as they exist in varied parts of the world, and the factors that create or perpetuate both opportunities and inequalities for women. We will investigate the impacts and costs of such inequalities on human personal and social health, development, and stability. This course seeks to interrogate the similarities and the differences between women in various environments and nations across the world; and by doing so, examine the definition and meanings of woman. We will look at what are the relationships between and among women and how can we work to create justice. In specific, we will study the construction and reproduction of gender inequalities around the globe, as well as the ways women resist these processes in diverse societies. We will examine how social, economic, and political changes affect women's and men's lives, and their relations, family structures, cultural conceptions. We will explore efforts for gender equality and justice all over the world. We will look at the diversity of experiences across class, racial-ethnic groups, sexualities, cultures, and regions. We will examine the role of international organizations, local and regional unions, civil society, and people to reduce gender inequality. Throughout the course we will work from a feminist perspective which will guide our understanding, inquiries and activism.
330 Research Methods (4 credits; Spring) This course examines the notion of paradigms, the relationship of theory to empirical work, the formulation of hypotheses, questionnaire construction and multi-method research. The introduction to the major quantitative and qualitative research methods includes survey research, ethnography, interviewing and content analysis. A class project gives the student hands-on experience to aid in the development of the required individual research projects. Prerequisites: SO101, one additional SO or AN course, and MA 141.
340 Being Jewish in America (4 credits; Spring) The focus of this course is the life and culture of American Jews. You will be introduced to sociological sources on American Jewish life. We will learn about Jewish identity, the American Jewish community, and religious practices. The central framework for this course is the balance between tradition and innovation, not only from a religious perspective but also from the perspective of a historically distinct ethnic group. At the same time that the course strives to examine how Jews maintain their own identities within a pluralistic, democratic, and stratified American cultural context, we will also approach the question of what defines Jews from diverse, multifaceted perspectives. We will study current debates within the American Jewish community, such as over intermarriage, feminism and GLBT issues, assimilation, and Zionism. In addition, we will explore the relationship of Jews to the American political scene and ethnic and racial relations.
355 The Child in America Not regularly scheduled.
362 Internship in Sociology (6 credits; Fall) Students get fieldwork experience in a social welfare or similar agency for 10 hours each week for the semester. Choice of setting is based on the interests and needs of individual students. The course includes weekly seminars focusing on workplace skills. Prerequisites: SO 207. Admission only by pre-registration in the preceding semester. Open to senior Sociology majors and others with permission of the instructor.
363 Internship in Sociology (6 credits; Spring) Students get fieldwork experience in a social welfare or similar agency for 10 hours each week for the semester. Choice of setting is based on the interests and needs of individual students. The course includes weekly seminars focusing on workplace skills. Prerequisites: SO 207. Admission only by pre-registration in the preceding semester. Open to senior Sociology majors and others with permission of the instructor.
385 Social Theory (4 credits; Fall) This survey of the contributions of major classical, modern and post-modern theorists is presented within their social and historic context. It considers works of Marx, Weber, Durkheim, Freud, Parsons, Mead and Goffman, Habermas, Bourdieu as well as Appadurai, Butler, Hooks, Foucault, Baudrillard and Haraway and other theorists. The course reviews critiques and elaborations of the theories and assesses their influences on contemporary thought in the social sciences and humanities. Prerequisite: SO 101.
389 Independent Study Individual research or directed in-depth reading at an advanced level is devoted to specific topics in sociology, anthropology, or social welfare.
Prerequisites: Approval of the Chair and instructor concerned.
490 Senior Seminar I (4 credits, Fall) The Senior Capstone course includes two components: the seminar and preparation for independent thesis research. The seminar includes reading and discussion of original research and literature on selected topics in sociology, and reflection and discussion of the student as a professional sociologist. Students have the opportunity to read and discuss a number of different approaches researching questions in the field and to use these approaches to create their own process for their independent research (the thesis). Instructors in the course utilize multiple methods of inquiry and research to highlight disciplinary research strategies. The course is an intensive reading and writing course that culminates in a comprehensive proposal for the independent thesis project to be completed in the Spring semester.
491 Senior Seminar II (Spring) This seminar focuses on the completion of the senior thesis and on career preparation issues and skills. Students integrate the material learned through the undergraduate years, uncover the meanings associated with becoming a professional, and explore career opportunities through a series of guest speakers. Students also prepare for their thesis presentation. Prerequisite: Open to senior Sociology majors and others by permission of the instructor. A GPA of 2.0 or higher in the major, or permission of the Department is required.