Courses in Sociology (Division 482)

Primarily for Underclass Students

100. Principles of Sociology. Open to freshpersons and sophomores. Juniors are strongly encouraged to enroll in Soc. 400. Seniors must elect Soc. 400. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 195 or 400. No credit for seniors. (3). (SS).
Section 201.
This course will explore the topics of race, class, gender and sexual orientation from a sociological perspective. We'll talk about how these impact almost every aspect of our lives every day. We'll talk about power, inequality, identity, institutions, struggles for justice and social change, family, work and how all of these are connected. We won't be talking about these issues in overly abstract terms; this course is intended to enable students to really think about these issues in concrete ways. This course will entail a moderate to heavy reading load, but it's enjoyable and not terribly difficult. You'll be required to write several short reaction/summary papers (in which you respond to the reading) and one argumentative paper that will involve a rough draft and a re-write. In class we'll spend most of our time in discussion (large and small group) with proportionately less time devoted to formal lectures. WL:1 (Stark)

102. Contemporary Social Issues: An Introduction to Sociology. Open to freshpersons and sophomores. Juniors are strongly encouraged and seniors must take Soc. 302, 303, 400, 401, 423, 444, 447, 450, 460, or 461. No credit for seniors. (3). (SS). Credit is granted for a combined total of 8 credits elected through Soc. 102, 202, 203, and 401, provided that the course topics are different.
Section 201 Introduction to Sociology Through the Lens of Violence.
This course will examine some of the fundamental components of sociological analysis class, race/ethnicity, gender, the state - through the study of violence in and across societies. The causes and consequences of various forms of violence, including wars and revolutions, violence against women, violence against gay men and lesbians, poverty, and exploitative labor practices, will be presented as lenses through which to better understand class, race, and gender relations in both national and international contexts. Throughout the course we will challenge prevalent explanations based on biology and "irrational" individuals and/or groups and will examine structural factors such as social stratification, capitalism, and institutionalized racism and sexism to more fully understand violence in contemporary society. Together we will examine a variety of collective responses to violence, thereby highlighting the importance of organized movements in countering violence in its varied forms. WL:1 (Billings)

Section 202 Introduction to Sociology Through Film and Literature. This course will introduce sociology through the study of film and literature, using the critical tools of the discipline to analyze feature film and 'high' and 'popular' literature. Cultural texts will be studied for their depiction of existing social problems and for their role in reflecting and reproducing, or constructing and popularizing, dominant ideologies. Keeping in mind this dual sense of media (re)presentation, we might ask, for example, whether Campion's The Piano should be considered a neocolonialist and anti-feminist work; whether Tarantino's Pulp Fiction offers a social critique of violence (as claimed by Travolta, one of its main stars) or rather promotes it; or how Erdrich's Love Medicine represents the problems of internalized racism and cultural imperialism as these affect American Reservation communities. As we consider such questions, we will deepen our understanding of sociological terms such as social control, deviance, conformity, structure, agency, and hierarchical stratification. An appreciation of these concepts enables a forceful analysis of domestic and cross-national issues such as racism, sexism, heterosexism, classism and nationalism, as these are manifest in the processes of cultural production and consumption. Students will be evaluated on the basis of a journal, two essays, one in-class presentation and class participation. WL:1 (Palmer)

Section 203 Introduction to Sociology Through Education. What is sociology? How can sociological frameworks be used to understand social issues and social structures? What is the relationship between sociology and social change? These are the overarching questions that will guide us in this course. This course will be an introduction to sociology through the study of education. In it we will examine major theoretical approaches (Marxism, Functionalism, Interpretevism, etc.) as well as key sociological variables (class, race and ethnicity, gender, etc.) as they apply to education issues. This course will encourage students to develop and utilize their "sociological imaginations" to critically analyze the underlying assumptions and policy implications of various approaches to education. General questions to be examined include the relationship between the education system and other social, economic, and political systems; the role of culture and identity in education; issues of access and returns to education. Among the specific topics included will be multicultural teaching and learning, affirmative action, school choice and privatization, and tracking. Although the focus will be on the U.S. context, students will be encouraged to make cross cultural and cross national comparisons on the issues discussed. Instruction for the course will combine lecture, discussion, and small group activity. In addition to in-class policy analyses, students will be asked to write a short research paper on an education issue of interest to them. Grading will be based on class participation (including short reaction papers), the short paper, and a final essay exam. WL:1 (Vasques)

Section 204 Introduction to Sociology through Population And Demography. All across the headlines we find events which impact our society and which often touch our lives: the AIDS pandemic, discussions about the future for "Generation X'ers," the changing U.S. family structure with increasing cohabitation, divorce, and single-headed households, current levels of immigration and efforts to halt the influx (i.e., Prop 187), environmental destruction and possible sustainable development through efforts to balance human need with available resources... This course will examine these and other such issues from both national and international perspectives. It will rely upon a combination of lectures, discussions, and films to help you develop a critical perspective on the ways in which certain population trends impact individuals and society at large. WL:1 (Godek)

202. Contemporary Social Issues I. (3). (Excl). Credit is granted for a combined total of 8 credits elected through Soc. 102, 202, 203, and 401, provided that the course topics are different.
Section 201 Political Sociology.
Some say the state plays too large a role in today's society; some say it does not do enough for its citizens. Whichever is correct, the state is a powerful institution which affects almost all aspects of our lives. But what is the "state"? How does it influence us? How can we influence the state? This course addresses such questions by developing a sociological understanding of the state, its formation, composition, and breakdown. Four major topics will be explored through readings, lecture, and class discussion: (1) What is the state and what does it do? In this section, the class will read and debate theories of the state, including Marxist, pluralist, and feminist theories, in an effort to understand why we have a state, what the state does, who controls the state, and who benefits from the state's presence and power. (2) Why do social movements arise and how do they affect the state? This section begins investigating how change occurs within the state by looking both at the power of social movements in general and then by examining two specific social movements, the Civil Rights Movement and the environmental movement. (3) Why and how does the state breakdown? In this past decade, the fall of the Soviet Union and the revolutions throughout Eastern Europe has made us increasingly aware of the state's vulnerability to breaking down. In this section, we will try to understand what makes a state vulnerable to revolution and why revolutions tend to either succeed or fail. (4) Lastly, why has the welfare state developed as it has and what has been the effect of our welfare system upon our society? Drawing on our knowledge of the state and its processes, we will discuss and debate this highly contested topic. Major historical developments in the U.S. welfare state will be discussed as well as aspects of today's current policies and proposals for change. WL:1 (Carey)

203. Contemporary Social Issues II. (3). (Excl). Credit is granted for a combined total of 8 credits elected through Soc. 102, 202, 203, and 401, provided that the course topics are different.
Section 201 African American Families: Theory & Research on the Role of Black Fathers.
This course focuses on the African American family, with a particular emphasis on the role of fathers in post-industrial America. It will highlight emerging theoretical debates and related research issues facing African American families in the contemporary urban context. In terms of theory, the influence of sociological, social psychological, and ecological factors will be considered from a holistic, multidisciplinary, and life cycle developmental perspective. Attention will also be given to the need for research on historical, economic, cultural, and psychosocial issues in the relationship between African American fathers in both traditional husband-wife and emerging single-mother/father absent family contexts. WL:1 (Forman)

For Undergraduates and Graduates

400. Sociological Principles and Problems. For juniors, seniors, and graduate students with no background in sociology. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 100 or 195. (3). (SS).

This course will introduce students to the field of sociology through exploration of key "principles" of sociological analysis and how they relate to a variety of contemporary social "problems." While we will examine Marxist approaches, functionalism, and other "macro" perspectives, the emphasis of the course will be on the ways in which the social world and various social problems are experienced in everyday life by different social actors. Particular emphasis will be placed on considerations of deviant behavior and analysis of the role of the media in society. Topics to be covered during the term include the following: beauty & stigma; deviance, crime & punishment; images of gender in the media; racial and ethnic stratification; the medical profession; education; religion; and "youth culture." Requirements include weekly reaction essays, a term paper and a final exam. For more information contact Amy Chasteen at 764-6324 or email her at chasteen@umich.edu. WL:1 (Chasteen)

423/Am. Cult. 421. Social Stratification. (3). (Excl).

Recent data, theories, and policies about social inequalities in the United States and elsewhere in the world represent some of the most enlightening contributions that the field of Sociology has to offer the university community. Understanding enduring patterns of differences and similarities amongst social groups, and their effects in contemporary society, can contribute substantially toward more comprehensive employment, social, and personal perspectives. Social inequalities amongst women, men, and minorities will be examined in national and global contexts, for example in the U.S. and global workforce and other increasingly important areas, such as the environment, with a multi-level approach, including lectures, small group discussions, visual presentations, and large- and small-group experiential exercises. Study groups are encouraged. Besides attendance, there are three course requirements. Midterm and final examinations will be required, at least one of which will be a take-home exam. A lot of flexibility is available for the final course requirement: you may choose to do a paper, an individual or group project (such as panels, video presentations, and so on), or you may choose an "action option" to work in the community on a relevant project for course credit. Our goal will be to create an open, interesting, and even enjoyable arena in which to examine how individuals and groups are differentiated, evaluated, and how consequences result from these evaluations. WL:1 (Wellin)

452. Law and Social Psychology. (3). (Excl).

Glued to the television coverage of the O.J. Simpson trial? Fascinated with the Bobbit case? Concerned about issues of gender, race and class inequality, domestic violence, date rape? Law and social psychology intersect around issues of norms and justice. We will examine the concepts of norms, responsibility and justice in both a social psychological and legal context and discuss how findings from social psychology, which is a science, bear on issues that arise in the law, a normative system of social control. After exploring abstract concepts like justice and responsibility in some detail, the course looks in some depth at one institution, the jury, which lies closest to the intersection of these two fields and which has been the subject of extensive social psychological research. In the second half of this short term, we will focus on issues especially pertaining to women, social-psychology and law. WL:1 (Murphy)


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