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Sociology - Fall 2014

SOCI 101S 01 & 02                          Introduction to Sociology
4 Credits
Doubt, Keith

Pre-requisites:   None
Introduction to Sociology introduces and studies various sociological principles on the nature of social interaction and the problem of social order. The course demonstrates how different sociological perspectives help us understand and articulate the compelling character of social life. The course is divided into three parts, and the leading, theoretical approaches within sociology -Symbolic Interaction, Social Conflict, Functionalism - are studied one at a time in each part of the course. In general, the course will encourage you to enjoy, recognize, and actively engage in the practice of social inquiry.

 

SOCI 110C/S 01 & 02                      Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
4 Credits
Moskowitz, Nona

Pre-requisites:  None
What is culture?  Where is it located?  How does it make meaning in our lives?  In this course, we explore the diversity of human society by examining culture and the innumerable ways it permeates all facets of life.  In our readings we travel around the world looking at cross-cultural diversity in order to understand what culture is and to engage in the questions that cultural anthropologists ask.  From glimpsing into the world of ritual to understanding local, socially constructed meanings of gender and race, we will consider how meaning is constructed in particular, social contexts.  Other topics we will examine include kinship, language, emotion, and medicine and healing.  Understanding the cultural diversity in our world sheds light on our own practices and systems of meaning.  With this in mind, we look abroad in order to understand our own practices here in the United States.

 

SOCI 201S 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. More people in the world live in urban areas than in rural setting.  Developing countries, with large portion of their population yet in rural areas, face an extremely fast rate of urbanization, and lead the world in number of mega-cities, often surrounded by shanty towns.  Is this development sustainable?
Developed countries are facing urban sprawl that drives demand for energy resources further. Is ‘smart growth’ a solution for addressing this problem? What is the origin of urban growth and decline in general, and how Midwestern cities are affected by de-industrialization? How spatial organization of North American cities is different from European, Latin American or Asian cities? All these questions and many more will be a focus of this course. A lecture/discussion format is anticipated, combined with field and computer lab assignments.

 

SOCI 201S 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 214S 01                                   Penology and Social Control
4 Credits
Wagner, Brooke

Pre-requisites: 
Penology is the study of the use of social institutions to control unwanted behavior, often through prisons, internment camps and concentration camps. This course will examine topics related to penology, social control, and the use of imprisonment in modern societies.  In the first half of the course, the role of prisons and other punishments are reviewed in historical context, while the remainder of the material will pertain to issues in modern corrections.  Inmate prison population growth, incapacitation, recidivism, rehabilitation, and prison program evaluation will be prevalent topics, as well as trends in sentencing, alternative sanctions, prison violence, and inmate subculture.  At the end of the semester, students will have a better understanding of the dyadic relationship between human behavior and social institutions. This course will also help students better understand the impact of social institutions and the diversity of human experience, as we critically examine the dysfunctions within American corrections and explore how intersections of race, gender, and social class shape the human experience within this total institution.

 

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

Pre-requisites:  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 270S 01                                   Sociology of Minority Groups
4 Credits
Nibert, David

Pre-requisites:  None
Since humanity developed the capacity to produce an economic surplus, countless earthlings have been oppressed by relatively small groups of elites. This course will examine the historical and contemporary causes for the continued oppression of entire groups, including various ethnic groups, women, the impoverished and other animals.  Special emphasis will be given to the treatment of devalued groups in the United States and the role of the capitalist system. The course will include lecture, class discussions, videotape presentations, and assignments outside of class. Students are expected to respond actively to assigned readings by discussing key ideas and by using examples to support or question these ideas.

 

SOCI 277C/R 01                         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. 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 African and Diaspora 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, 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 can be taken for either “C” or “R” credit in General Education

 

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

Pre-requisites:  None
Examination of the theories, processes, and consequences of global change with respect to the emergence of the contemporary global order. Topics include the oppression of humans and other animals, colonialism, imperialism, the emergence of industrial capitalism, contemporary relationships of powerful capitalist nations to the Third World, growing levels of poverty, hunger, repression, militarism and continued environmental destruction.

 

SOCI 301 01                                      Special Topics:  Advanced Quantitative
2 Credits
Wagner, Brooke

Pre-requisites:  Permission of Instructor
This is an advanced social statistics course.  Though we will discuss quantitative methodology, our focus will be analyzing secondary data through advanced inferential statistical procedures using SPSS.  We will be pursuing two main objectives: (1) to develop the practical skills needed to become a competent statistical researcher, and (2) to become familiar with the theoretical and analytical foundation of quantitative analysis in the social sciences. The former will help to prepare you for experiences in gathering and analyzing empirical data. The latter should help you to become a more informed and sophisticated consumer of social data from both academic and popular (media) sources. Although we will have some traditional classroom lecture and assigned readings, this course will meet in a lab and be more activity-driven than most sociology courses. Basic knowledge of SPSS is required for this course, as is the instructor’s approval to enroll.

 

SOCI 301 02                                      Special Topics:  Women and Poverty
4 Credits
Rowell, Kathy

Pre-requisites:   None         
This is an upper-level seminar on the sociological, economical, and political issues facing women in the context of poverty. The course will examine the diverse nature of the poverty experience for women in the United States and the world. Topics covered will include the Appalachian experience, the Native American Experience, the African-American Experience as well as other groups through individual student presentations. It is desirable that students have Gender and Society, SOCI 245, before this seminar.  A high level of writing is expected.

 

SOCI 360 1W                                                Sociological Theory
4 Credits
Pankhurst, Jerry

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 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 498 & 499 1W                         Senior Thesis           & Honor Thesis
4 Credits
Moskowitz, Nona

Pre-requisites:  SOCI 307, SOCI Majors Only
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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