Courses in Sociology (Division 482)


Spring 1997

Introductory Courses

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).

This course is an introduction to the discipline of sociology - the systematic study of society and social life. Our focus will be on how various sociological, cultural, and social psychological theories and research help us to gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of individual lives and experiences. We will begin with a focus on the tools of sociological analysis, and then advance toward applying these theories and concepts to the study of selected stories of individual lives. We will come to see how "the personal is sociological" that is, how not only individual behavior, but even what seem to be the most personal subjective experiences, such as self-doubt, rage, envy, and loneliness, can be seen to be shaped to a great extent by society through the political-economy, culture, the family, and everyday interactions. (Bologh)

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.

How will the economy of the 21st century shape our lives? How is the economy changing, why, and who wins and loses? We will examine in depth several pieces of this puzzle, such as downsizing, temporary employment, and technological change. Assignments include short reaction papers and a modest term paper. (Bush)

For Undergraduates Only

303/CAAS 303. Race and Ethnic Relations. An introductory course in Sociology or CAAS. (3). (SS). (This course meets the Race and Ethnicity Requirement).

This course introduces students to selected historical and sociological literature on race and ethnic relations in the United States. The first few weeks of the term explore the historical structuring of a racial and ethnic hierarchy in this country that has privileged "white" European American ethnic groups. In examining both the structural and ideological dimension of this racial stratification system, we give considerable attention to carefully delineating its social-cultural, political and economic foundations. We then turn our main attention to comparatively surveying the impact of "white supremacy" on the historical experiences of African Americans in the Northern and Southern regions of the country and Mexican American in the Far West. We will also give some attention in lecture to the historical experiences of Native American, Asian Americans, and other Latino populations and theory, an yet another comparative dimension of this course. Moreover, we shall devote special consideration throughout the term to the gendered and class dimensions of the racial subordination of people of color in this country. Differences in the relationship of men and women of color to the dominant culture, and of individuals in various class locations, is a central feature of our historical-sociological inquiry. (Almaguer)

304/Amer. Cult. 304. American Immigration. (3). (SS).

Almost everyone in the U.S. today is either an immigrant or a descendant of immigrants a fact often forgotten in contemporary battles over immigration policy. In this course we will explore the experiences of various immigrant groups, including those from Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America. We will also examine the impact of immigrants on the U.S. both historically (e.g., the impact on Native Americans) and in the contemporary period. We will pay particular attention to the historical context in which immigrant groups entered America and what that context, as well as the resources they brought with them, meant to their success (or lack thereof). In addition, we will discuss current immigration controversies including California's Proposition 187, English-only laws, debates over what immigration and refugee policy should be, and inter-ethnic conflict. Discussion will be an integral part of the course and will be worth 20% of the final grade. Other course requirements: in-class midterm (20%), research paper (30%), and in-class final exam (30%). (Honeycutt)

For Undergraduates and Graduates

415. Economic Sociology. One of the following: introductory economics, psychology, or political science. (3). (Excl).

This course offers an integrated view of the interactions between formal organizations and socio-political systems. It examines large, diversified, modern corporate organizations, explicitly recognizing the constraints imposed by modern state-advanced capitalist societies. It integrates literature, from sociology, political science, and economics to provide a better understanding of the organizational, industrial, and political parameters that guide the behavior of particular industries and organizations. The course explicitly includes historical studies and cross-national comparisons of both capitalist and socialist economies.

444. The American Family. One introductory course in sociology. (3). (SS).

This course investigates "the family" as an historical idea and institution that has been central to organizing social life. First, we will examine the "ideal" of family and how that ideal has changed over time. We will then explore the "reality" of American families throughout time, from preindustrial, extended households, to southern slave families, to the "separate spheres" of white, upper- and middle-class Victorians. In these tasks, the course addresses the issues of power and affection within families as well as the relationship of family to society at large. (Chimonas)

447/WS 447. Gender Roles and Status. (3). (SS).

This course is organized around the premise that we learn best through interaction with others. Therefore, much of the work we do over the term will require active participation from everyone in the class. Small group discussions form the core of this course and will allow us to discuss and debate various perspective on gender, sexuality, class, and race. Students will share their written work with each other and will both offer and receive feedback from other students. Each student will also participate in a group presentation of the readings one week of the term. In this course we will examine theories of sexuality and gender as they have developed in the social sciences. The goal is to introduce to you different ways of thinking about sex, sexuality, and gender. We will critically evaluate various theories to see just what it is that they help us to explain. Additionally, we will work to understand how race, class, and nation shape the meanings of sex, sexuality, and gender. The concepts and issues to be examined this term are not matters of "face" or objective "truth." Instead we will be opening up fields of inquiry that are only partially answerable through existing scholarship on sex and gender. (Deerman)

454. Law and Social Organization. (3). (SS).

"The life of the Law is not logic but experience." With this declaration, O.W. Holmes brilliantly foreshadowed the organizing thesis of the still emerging discipline of law and social science. This discipline fundamentally grapples with, and attempts to explicate the dynamic interchange between law and social organization. This class will explore how law attributes responsibility for socially consequential behavior, adjudicates disputes, and, more broadly, how we collectively perform the 'violence' of legal interpretation. This class will feature intensive discussions drawing from the weekly readings, class exercises, and in-class films. (Boamah)

458. Sociology of Education. One introductory course in sociology. (3). (Excl).

Understanding educational success and failure, both at the level of the school and the level of the child requires understanding the political, social, and cultural context within which educational institutions are operating. Our goal in this course will be to analyze the issues confronting schools and members of school communities with an understanding of the larger role performed by schools as agents of socialization, stratification, and social control in American society. The course will begin with an examination of theories about the role of education in modern (and post-modern) society. We will explore these contested and conflicting theoretical frameworks in analyzing the relationship between education and American society, focusing primarily on public schooling and debates about what our schools are for (e.g., educating a critical citizenry, producing skilled workers, increasing out international competitiveness, etc.). Next we will engage in questioning whether schools are in fact the "great equalizers" in American society, whether they are instead institutions of social reproduction, or whether they fall somewhere in between. Drawing on works ranging from classic treatises on education to recent ethnographic studies of urban schools, we will utilize relevant social theory in our attempt to explain not only the current state of education in the United States but the ways in which schools serve to further and/or hamper the processes of social change. (Lewis)

460. Social Change. (3). (Excl).

"Social Change" focuses on how change in society can be systematically studied. The course starts with a discussion of the concept of social change the exploration of various attempts to study social change ensues. The study of the works of Karl Marx, Max Weber, and Emile Durkheim lead to the analysis of change within four theoretical approaches, conflict, functionalist, symbolic interactionist, and critical. This introduction to social change is followed by a study of the various dimensions of change. The course will conclude with a survey of distopias (such as 1984, Looking Backwards, Handmaid's Tail ) to depict possible trajectories of change. The requirements include one midterm, one class presentation (on the final paper), and one final paper. (GoÁek)

465/Psych. 488. Sociological Analysis of Deviant Behavior. (3). (SS).

In Sociology 465/Psychology 488 the instructor and students will work towards developing a sociological understanding of crime and deviance. We will examine several data sources of crime, explore the limitations of these sources, and contrast their findings with media produced images of crime. Students will become familiar with the basic terms of criminal law and the stages of the criminal justice system. We will discuss the practices and dynamic of policing as well as changes and trends in imprisonment. Throughout the course students will be introduced to the political, ideological, and historical dimension of deviance theories. An introduction to sociology course is strongly recommended. (McAllister)

472/Psych. 381. Advanced Laboratory in Social Psychology. Stat. 402 and Psych. 380. (3). (Excl).

See Psychology 381.

475/MCO 475 (Public Health). Introduction to Medical Sociology. (3). (SS).

Relationship between disease characteristics, people, and providers of service studied from ecological, interpersonal, and institutional perspectives. Impact of disease on society, reciprocal impact of society on disease; processes of professionalization of health personnel; patterns of interaction between people and health personnel analyzed as interpersonal systems and as an institutionalized medical care system.


Summer 1997

Introductory Courses

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).

The discipline of sociology focuses on the understanding and analysis of the social world. In this course, students will explore the basic principles of sociology and learn how these principles can be used to understand social life and social problems both in the United States and across the globe. The first half of this course will examine classical sociological perspectives as well as newer approaches and will consider how sociological theory can help us to analyze the relationship between individuals, institutions, and ideas in society. The second half of the course will look at particular social issues like poverty, inequality, and violence. Students will learn to recognize, define, and analyze social problems and to construct sociological arguments about social problems. The course will also consider how a more thorough understanding of social issues can be used as a foundation for social change. Course requirements include participation in class discussions, a short paper, and a final examination. (Stukuls)

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.

The main purpose of this course is to familiarize students with a range of sociological work devoted to the understanding of the nature of inequality in modern societies. The course will begin with analyses of class and move through the complex twists of race, gender, sexuality, and position in the capitalist system. Recent films will be used as points of departure for understanding the tests covered. Almost all films used will be dramas (one, maybe two documentaries), and perhaps a comedy thrown in. They will be films that depict situations or events that reflect levels of inequality in U.S. and other societies, and our task in discussion will be to analyze the film in light of the body of social theory we have covered. Students will be required to do a group in-class presentation on one week's readings, as well as an 8-12 page research paper on film from outside of class and social theory. It is recommended that students have taken at least one prior sociology class (not necessarily an intro), but other background in social science will do. (Fink)

For Undergraduates Only

303/CAAS 303. Race and Ethnic Relations. An introductory course in Sociology or CAAS. (3). (SS). (This course meets the Race and Ethnicity Requirement).

What do Benjamin Franklin and David Duke have in common? Would you identify Dean Cain or Keanu Reeves as a person of color? Is there a difference between race and ethnicity? Why is the American society so fascinated with race and issues around race? Does race really matter, and if so, in what ways? Race is continuously defined as a category that is concrete and essential as well as conceptual and contextual; through historical experiences of people of color in the U.S., as well as contemporary issues and debates, this course will examine the role that the social construction of race has played, and continues to play, in shaping and organizing our society, structure, institutions, identities, and everyday lives. (Kim)

For Undergraduates and Graduates

447/WS 447. Gender Roles and Status. (3). (SS).

This course is organized around the premise that we learn best through interaction with others. Therefore, much of the work we do over the term will require active participation from everyone in the class. Small group discussions form the core of this course and will allow us to discuss and debate various perspective on gender, sexuality, class, and race. Students will share their written work with each other and will both offer and receive feedback from other students. Each student will also participate in a group presentation of the readings one week of the term. In this course we will examine theories of sexuality and gender as they have developed in the social sciences. The goal is to introduce to you different ways of thinking about sex, sexuality, and gender. We will critically evaluate various theories to see just what it is that they help us to explain. Additionally, we will work to understand how race, class and nation shape the meanings of sex, sexuality, and gender. The concepts and issues to be examined this term are not matters of "face" or objective "truth." Instead we will be opening up fields of inquiry that are only partially answerable through existing scholarship on sex and gender. (Hasso)

458. Sociology of Education. One introductory course in sociology. (3). (Excl).

Have you ever stopped to think about the process of education you are going through? Have you ever wondered why going to school is such a pervasive part of living in our society? Have you heard that there's a "crisis" in American education? Have you ever asked yourself what your textbooks are really teaching you? What the SAT is really measuring? What your college education is preparing you for? In short, have you ever wanted to learn about learning? This course will critically explore the relationship between schooling and society in the U.S. In it we will examine contending sociological theories of that relationship and we will test these theories against the realities of school policies and practices. General questions to be explored include the relationship between education, democracy, and capitalism; the role of culture and social identity in education; issues of access and returns to education. This course will focus on both the content of what is taught in schools and the process of teaching and learning. We will discuss issues that cut across education levels, as well as examine topics pertaining to specific levels. Instruction for the course will combine lecture, discussion, and small group activity. Evaluation will be based on class participation, a series of assignments, and a final essay exam. For more information, please contact the instructor at cvasques@umich.edu. (Vasques)

463/Comm. 485. Mass Communication and Public Opinion. Comm. Studies 351 or 371 strongly recommended. (3). (SS).

What is the mass media? In what ways does the contemporary American media influence the way in which we (as individuals) interpret and understand our society? How does the way in which the way events are portrayed in the media differ from what we know to be "true," sociologically? In what ways does the media (television, magazines, radio, music, and the like) perpetuate racial and ethnic stereotypes and prejudices? What contribution does the media play in continuing the racist, sexist, ethnocentric, ableist, ageist, and the classist attitudes and beliefs that are held by so many in contemporary U.S. society? This course will aim to demystify the realm of the mass media through an examination of the production, consumption, construction, and meaning-making processes by which media imagery or messages help shape our personal, social, and political worlds. Students will be evaluated on the basis of one midterm, intellectual journal, class participation, one 8-10 page paper, and final examination. All examinations will be subjective in format. (Greene)

468. Criminology. (3). (SS).

From "America's Most Wanted" to carjacking to anxieties about personal security, crime is seen by many as a big issue in contemporary America. This course is designed for you, the students, to be able to understand the reality of the present "crime problem" and the ways in which the criminal justice system carries out punishment, as well as to develop a critical perspective on how crime is represented in the American media. We will briefly look at the history of criminology and at the historical crime rates in America. Then we will focus on contemporary America and compare the actual data on crime rates and the rates of incarceration to some of the recent media representations of crime. In addition to seeing some films on crime, as well as a sampling of television and other media, we will hold debates during class time to get a more solid understanding of some of the current controversies about crime and punishment in America. With your active involvement I expect that this will be an exciting class. (Glos)

475/MCO 475 (Public Health). Introduction to Medical Sociology. (3). (SS).

This course will explore social aspects of health, illness and the health care system in the U.S. We will examine such issues as the social causation of disease, relationships between doctors and patients, the health professions, health care among women and the poor, and current changes in the organization of health care. (Zebrack)


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