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Course Descriptions

Sociology Course Listings - Fall 2010

SOCI 101S 01 & 02 Introduction to Sociology
4 Credits
Staff

Pre-requisites: None
This course examines the cultural and structural patterns of human behavior. The content of this course focuses upon norms, social interaction, social organization, and social change. This course pays special attention to the characteristics of social institutions and how they shape human conduct.

SOCI 110C/S 1W & 2W Cultural Anthropology
4 Credits
Staff

Pre-requisites: None
This course is an introduction to the perspective of cultural anthropology. The course pays particular attention to the concept of culture and to the tremendous diversity of cultural patterns around the world. Topics include fieldwork as method and experience, institutions of society, and symbol and meaning. Students will read descriptions of societies from several different ethnographic areas, including the United States. We will end the term with a consideration of the role of anthropology and anthropologists in the world today.

SOCI 201 01 Urban Geography
4 Credits
Medvedkov, Olga

Pre-requisites: Minimum Math Placement 22, Permission of instructor
World urbanization has increased dramatically in the course of the 20th century. About 50% of the global population lives in cities now verses to 5% in the 1800s. Developed countries are 73% urbanized, with Europe and Russia facing shrinking population. Developing countries with large portion of their population in rural areas face an extremely fast rate of urbanization, and lead the world in number of mega-cities, often surrounded by shanty towns. What is the origin of urban growth and decline? What is the spatial organization of a settlement’s network? What is the structure of the land use in North American cities, and how different it is from European, Russian, and Latin American, and Asian centers? All these questions require that cities be constantly rediscovered. The emphasis will be on American cities with their long standing inner-city/suburb dichotomy. A lecture/discussion format is anticipated. Field assignments connect theories to the real world. There will be two exams, one oral report, a final paper, and several field and computer assignments. Prerequisite: Math Placement 22. This course is on WebCT.

SOCI 201 1W Sport in Culture
4 Credits
Dawson, Steve

Pre-requisites: None
At a time of major political and economic change in the world, this course will examine the nature and role of international sport in the emerging global village. Students will seek to uncover the unique elements of sport in the United States and to explain its appearance in terms of the nation’s dominate system of cultural values. Sport will be placed against the broader, sometimes contradictory, backdrop of American culture. As well as the United States, sport will be analyzed in the following cultures: Japan, China, the “New Europe” and former Eastern Bloc, South Africa, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. A background in sociology and cultural studies would be beneficial, although not a requirement.

SOCI 277 C/R 1W & 2W Islam and Islamic Societies
4 Credits
Pankhurst, Jerry

Pre-requisites: None
This course will provide a broad introduction to the religion of Islam, accompanied by an examination of the connections between Islam and the varied life of Muslim societies and of Muslim minority communities in non-Muslim societies. Given the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the West’s military reprisals and subsequent reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, the ongoing struggle of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the devastation of the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia and elsewhere in the Indian Ocean basin, and other problem situations, knowledge of these issues has become of highest priority. We will seek to understand the complex sources of conflict in areas in which Islam is implicated in some way; we will also try to become acquainted with the rich cultural life of Muslims. We will consider Muslim societies all over the world, but, in support of the minor in Africana Studies, we will give a special emphasis to Islam in Africa and to African American Islam.

Course format: lecture/seminar, with much group discussion. Graded Requirements: A variety of writing exercises throughout the term, oral presentations, examinations and a term project. Students should expect one or more alternative class meetings during the evening to accommodate guest speakers. This course is Writing Intensive (W) and can be taken for either “C” or “R” credit in General Education.

SOCI 290S 01& 02 Global Change
4 Credits
Nibert, David

Pre-requisites:
Examination of the theories, processes, dynamics, and consequences of global change with respect to the emergence of global economic and political systems. Topics include the emergence of industrialization and colonialism, contemporary relationships of advance capitalist nations to the Third World, growing levels of poverty, hunger, repression, and continued environmental destruction.

SOCI 350 01&02 Race and Ethnicity
4 Credits
Rowell, Kathy

Pre-requisites: None
Race and ethnicity continue to be important markers of identity, stratification, and political action in the world.  This course will expose you to concepts and theories that can promote an understanding of the roles of race and ethnicity in contemporary society and guide new ways of thinking about these issues.  Specifically, the course will introduce you to the sociocultural analysis of race and ethnic group membership in its various historical and geographical contexts around the world.  Why has racial/ethnic group membership remained a salient factor in social life?  What factors perpetuate racial/ethnic stratification?   When does racial/ethnic group membership form the basis of social and political mobilization?  Key concepts will be critically evaluated, with attention drawn to their ideological basis, explanatory power, and policy implications.  Students will be encouraged to think critically about the social issues under study and their relevance to their own lives as members of a global society. 

SOCI 360 1W Sociological Theory
4 Credits
Doubt, Keith

Pre-requisites: Soci majors only; non-majors need permission of department chair
This course will survey the history of modern social thought and the establishment of sociology as an empirical science. We will focus on key theorists who have made substantial contributions toward defining the limits and character of sociological inquiry. We will compare and contrast competing conceptual paradigms (functionalism, conflict theory, critical theory, exchange theory, ethnomethodology, symbolic interaction, and phenomenology) and study recent significant developments within the field (rational choice theory, feminism, semiotics, and queer theory). The course will require intensive readings of challenging but rewarding texts. The course will also require clearly written and analytically astute papers. Two to three hours of outside preparation – involving reading, journal writing, and library research – are required for each class. (At least three semester hours in Sociology is a prerequisite. It is advisable that students taking this course have had several courses in sociology at the 200 and 300 level.)

SOCI 376S 01 Law and Society
4 Credits
Nibert, David

Pre-requisites: None
This course is designed to develop and expand students' awareness and understanding of the social construction of the state and how law functions as a social institution; special attention will be given to the role of the state and law as instruments of social control and oppression. While a brief survey of historical uses of state power will be undertaken, the preponderance of assigned readings will be given to an analysis of oppressive uses of state power and law in the 20th and 21st centuries in the United States and the use of U.S. power in the Third World.

SOCI 380 01 Identity, Self and Society
4 Credits
Doubt, Keith

Pre-requisites: None
This course will survey leading theories of self and identity in the tradition of symbolic interaction and apply them creatively and critically to the everyday world. After studying the conceptual positions of George Herbert Mead, Charles Cooley, and Erving Goffman on self, the course will test the explanatory character of these positions against demanding subjects like madness, prejudice, friendship, and leadership. The course will also address how self and identity are important issues in areas of postmodernism, feminism, and colonization.
The question that will center our inquiries is, How is the individual dependent upon as well as autonomous from the social community?

Lectures, group discussions, films, writing assignments, and tests will be oriented toward addressing this question. While taught from a sociological perspective, the course will encompass an interdisciplinary approach; it will draw upon readings in psychology, education, philosophy, theology, and political science.

This course is also an opportunity for students to integrate service to the community with their actual course work. Students engage in service learning activities at the NAMI drop-in center, a meeting place for people suffering from serious and chronic mental illness near Wittenberg University. Readings on schizophrenia and madness will be interwoven into the topic of identity and self-understanding and reinforced through students’ service activity.

SOCI 390C 1W Russian and Central Eurasian Societies and Cultures
4 Credits
Pankhurst, Jerry

Pre-requisites:  One course in Sociology, RCEP major or minor, or Permission of Instructor.
The fifteen separate nations that resulted from the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 have all sought to find their own national identities and to establish workable social institutions. From families, religion and schools to government and economy, each nation has tried to establish the societal and cultural foundations for ongoing development. Significant separatist movements challenge national unity in several of these countries, and everywhere in the post-Soviet region, enormous cultural diversity challenges the development of common purpose and settled social life.

This course will explore the great social challenges facing the countries of the Russian and Central Eurasian region in the 21st Century and try to pinpoint major issues in institutional change that will determine the successes and failures in this epochal project. Using a sociological perspective, we will first review the history of the region to provide a basis for our exploration of the current conditions. Understanding the legacies of the communist era (1917-1991) will be particularly important for our inquiry. However, our goal will be to put into clear focus the emerging national identities and social dynamics of Russia and the other countries of the region today. (Because of its overwhelming size and power, Russia will occupy much of our attention, but we will also evaluate the other successor countries as much as possible. Individual students may pursue special interests related to any of the countries as part of the course.)
Course Format: Seminar.  The course will include numerous readings, some to be presented to the class by students. Participation by students in class discussions will be important. Simultaneously, there will be some short papers working toward the enhancement of writing skills, and students will keep a portfolio of these papers to demonstrate patterns of improvement. Some peer review of these papers will be built into the course. In addition, each student will complete two book critiques and a term project on a subject selected in consultation with the instructor. Term projects will be presented to the class at the end of the semester. There will be two or three examinations on the core content of the course, and there may be an occasional quiz on the factual materials.

SOCI 498 & 499 1W Senior Thesis & Honor Thesis
4 Credits
Pankhurst, Jerry

Pre-requisites: SOCI 307, Soci majors only, non-majors need permission of dept. chair As part of the major in Sociology, Wittenberg students are required to complete a senior thesis under the supervision of the "Senior Thesis Professor" and a "Primary Reader" who has a related scholarly interest. The thesis is seen as a capstone experience for majors in that it allows them both to explore research and analytical skills that they have learned earlier and to develop these skills with direct application. In addition, in the process of research and writing, the student develops new skills for the analysis that grow out of the first-hand research tasks. Finally, the thesis process allows the department to assess how well it is doing in preparing students for critical and creative thinking, and for professional or allied careers using their major.
The topic of thesis research is chosen in consultation between the student and the faculty. Hands-on empirical research is encouraged, using either available data sets or requiring the full initiation and carrying out of data gathering in the form of a survey, participant observation project, content analysis or other research method.

Complete drafts of senior theses are due at the end of the fall semester. However, revision tasks normally run into the beginning of spring semester.
All students are required to present their final research papers in a student conference format in late February. The Senior Thesis Presentations is one of the programs in the departmental colloquium series, so an audience made up of students, faculty, and local guests has an opportunity to hear about the studies carried out by the senior majors.

In addition, all sociology majors are strongly encouraged to present their thesis work at other undergraduate research conferences either on or off campus.
Outstanding and accomplished majors are encouraged to seek to earn department honors in Sociology by preparing a Senior Honors Thesis in place of the regular Senior Thesis. The honors thesis is more extensive and requires completion of a more complex and detailed research paper comparable to those found in journals in the discipline. When appropriate, you will be encouraged to submit your work for possible publication or presentation at a professional meeting such as that of the North Central Sociological Association or the American Sociological Association.

Students interested in completing an Honors Thesis in Sociology should consult with the Department Chairperson and the Senior Thesis Professor when completing enrollment procedures for Fall Semester.

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