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Course Descriptions

Sociology Course Listings - Spring 2013

SOCI 101S 01:  Introduction to Sociology
4 Credits
Pankhurst, Jerry

Prerequisite:  None   
This course serves as an introduction to the cultural and structural patterns of human behavior as seen through the sociological perspective. The content of this course, as presented through readings, lectures, exercises, films, and discussions, focuses upon norms, social interaction, social organization, and social change. The course addresses socio-cultural differences in life styles through an analytical approach which views social behavior as the result of a complex integration of institutional affiliations (e.g., religious, family, educational, political, and economic). The course also introduces students to the discipline of sociology and to sociology as a profession. These sections of Sociology 101 will have a lecture and discussion format. Grades are based on quizzes, three examinations and several exercises.

SOCI 101S 02:  Introduction to Sociology
4 Credits
Doubt, Keith

Prerequisite:  None
This course serves as an introduction to the cultural and structural patterns of human behavior as seen through the sociological perspective. The content of this course, as presented through readings, lectures, exercises, films, and discussions, focuses upon norms, social interaction, social organization, and social change. The course addresses socio-cultural differences in life styles through an analytical approach which views social behavior as the result of a complex integration of institutional affiliations (e.g., religious, family, educational, political, and economic). The course also introduces students to the discipline of sociology and to sociology as a profession. These sections of Sociology 101 will have a lecture and discussion format. Grades are based on quizzes, three examinations and several exercises.

SOCI 110C/S 01&02:  Cultural Anthropology
4 Credits
Rowell, Kathy

Prerequisite:  None
This course introduces students to key concepts, methods, and approaches in cultural anthropology. Topics addressed include culture theory, fieldwork, language, ethnicity, tourism, media, popular culture, globalization, gender relations, social change, war, peace, development, and religion, among others. As this list suggests, anthropology is a discipline that draws on many other fields, and our course readings reflect that cross-disciplinarily.  A special focus on indigenous peoples of the world and humans rights issues will be explored. Course will include some opportunities to participate in applied anthropology projects and research. Ethnographic setting explored in this class range from the contemporary United States to Africa, Latin America, Asia, and Europe.

Soci 201C:  Anime and Youth Culture in Japan
4 Credits
Moskowitz, Nona

Prerequisite:  None
Recently, studies of young people and youth culture have occupied a more central place in anthropological inquiry.  These studies on minors demonstrate that far from being passive receptors of socialization, young people are active agents, shaping and creating the worlds in which they exist.  This course is an exploration into the anthropology of childhood as considered from Japan.  In the course, we will be examining multiple facets of Japanese youth and youth culture by asking, what are the experiences of young people in Japan?  What worlds do adults create for them and what worlds do they create for themselves?  Anime, the motion-picture animations (cartoons) that are produced in Japan, will be a special topic in the course.  We will look at anime as viewed in Japan, its popularity abroad, and the communities that create and consume anime.  Additionally, we will consider other aspects of Japanese youth culture such as manga (graphic novels), fashion, and music.

SOCI 201S:  Language in Society
4 Credits
Imai, Terumi

Prerequisite:  None (Taught in English)
This course will look at language as it creates and responds to its cultural and social environments. Our main focus will be on the variation in one language, which results from different social statuses and purposes. We will seek to explain as well as describe such facts. Why do regional varieties of US English continue to exist after all these years of mass media influence? Why does one variety of a language gain and maintain such great prestige (the so-called standard variety)? Why are we prejudiced against some varieties of language, and what reasons do we offer for those prejudices? Why do men and women speak differently? Is English a sexist language? If so, what linguistics facts support such an interpretation?  These are some of the questions we will be asking in this course. We will focus on the language variation in English but will also read some articles on Japanese language variation to see if these variation patterns hold among different languages.

SOCI 245C/S 1W&2W:  Gender and Society
4 Credits
Moskowitz, Nona

Prerequisite:  None
So much of our understanding of ourselves is filtered through personal and societal conceptualizations of gender.  We begin learning and experiencing social meanings of gender from the moment we are born.  Yet, the meanings we learn are not universal.  Anthropological studies on gender illustrate that the constructions of sex and gender vary cross-culturally.  In this course we will examine how gender plays a role in the making of identities in various parts of the world taking Japan as a case study. Through this case study of Japanese understandings gender, the course will examine the construction of the gendered identities at work and play; sex, gender and the body; relationships and sexualities; public representations of gender; feminism; and other topics.  Writing intensive.

SOCI 250S 01&02:  Sociology of Deviance
4 Credits
Wagner, Brooke

Prerequisite:  None
This course looks at deviance from a sociological perspective focusing on both the behaviors that are considered “not normal” as well as the process through which deviance is socially created or “constructed”. Various theoretical perspectives are examined regarding why some behaviors are considered deviant, how people become deviant, how deviance affects the perception of those labeled and how deviance is controlled.

SOCI 292S 01:  Population Geography
4 Credits
Medvedkov, Olga

Prerequisite:  None
This course studies population dynamic around the World, zooming on some specific countries and issues. Problems of overpopulation, health, sustainable development, environmental constrains, migration processes, family planning, and women’s role in society will be addressed during lectures and class discussions. Students will internalize the course concepts and content preparing their research papers on various population issues. This class has an informal lecture/discussion format. 

SOCI 301 1C:  War, Identity and Justice
4 Credits
Doubt, Keith

Prerequisite:  One course (min 3 hrs.) in SOCI or Permission of Instructor.
What is the contemporary character of war and its destructive impact on societies? How does social violence confront and ultimately transform social identities at both the individual and the collective level? What is justice and its necessity to social order?  Drawing upon sociology, documentaries, and political theory, this course studies war crimes, the construction of identity in multi-ethnic societies, the political character of nationalism, the social context of terrorism, and the idea of justice in our modern era. First, from the study of Bosnia, the course develops a sociology of war, a psychology of identity, and a philosophy of justice.  Then, the course applies this set of concepts to the modern wars in Algeria, Chechnya, Iraq, and the Middle East. The objective  is develop a perspective on social violence at the collective level that is comparative and historical, one that is objective as well as moral, humanistic as well as empirical.

SOCI 301S 1W:  Women and Crime
4 Credits
Wagner, Brooke

Prerequisite:  One course (min 3 hrs.) in SOCI or Permission of Instructor.
This course considers historical and contemporary issues of girls and women involved in crime. We will examine such topics as the gender difference in offending, theoretical explanations for female offending, the social construction of offending women, the social construction of masculinities leading to violence against women, and the sexualization and criminalization of women’s bodies.

SOCI 301S 2W:  Politics and Religion, America and Worldwide
4 Credits
Pankhurst, Jerry

Prerequisite:  One course in sociology or RCEP major/minor or permission of instructor
Religion seems to play an ever greater role in politics, and this process is occurring not only in the United States, but in many other countries around the world, as well as on the global stage.  This course examines the process of expanding political religion or religious politics sociologically, arguing that there is a special inter-institutional relationship between politics and religion that is developing under globalized post-modern conditions.  The relationship between politics and religion varies among national settings depending upon the historical-cultural attachment to differing major religious traditions.  We will put several societies and their faith traditions into focus, and we will also investigate the impact of transnational organizations and legal structures such as the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the European Union and the Arab League.  This offering of the course will emphasize dynamics in North America, Europe, Central Eurasia and the Middle East, that is, primarily Abrahamic (Judaic, Christian and Muslim) societies.  This course builds on the instructor’s experience teaching and carrying out research in Estonia in the spring of 2012, and includes some components that will be carried on jointly with a class at the University of Tartu by Internet bridge.

SOCI 307 1Z:  Research Methods
5 Credits
Wagner, Brooke

Prerequisite:  SOCI 101S or SOCI 110C/S and minimum math placement 23.  Note:  If not already completed, students are encouraged to take one of the Q courses that are required for the Sociology major concurrently with SOCI 307.
This course offers an introduction to research design, data gathering techniques, and sociological analysis of data. We will discuss and practice both quantitative and qualitative methodology. We will also explore research ethics and postmodernism. During the lab, we will conduct practical applications of the techniques discussed in class.

SOCI 380 1W:  Identity, Self and Society
4 Credits
Doubt, Keith

Prerequisite:  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.

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