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Sociology and Anthropology

Course Descriptions

  • SOAN 110: Intro to Sociology and Anthropology
    An inquiry into the social (group rather than individual) bases of human practices and human life: an unfamiliar but revealing perspective on the familiar world. Limited to first- and second-year students.
    Cross-listed as: IREL 160
  • SOAN 205: Archaeological Field School
    Archaeological Field School introduces students to the discipline of archaeology, with an emphasis on fieldwork and excavation. Students will serve as the field crew on an archaeological dig in Chicago, with lectures, readings, workshops, and field trips providing the theoretical and historical context for the archaeological methods. Students will learn excavation, recording, laboratory and analytical techniques via some traditional coursework, but most significantly, through participation. Students will have the opportunity to experiment with these techniques, discuss the implications of their findings, and compare them with the research and ideas of professional archaeologists. No prerequisites.
    Cross-listed as: AMER 208
  • SOAN 208: Sociology of Terrorism
    Terrorism has been part of the Western consciousness since the rise of anarchism a century ago. Events of September 11th, 2001, brought a new urgency to the examination of the global circumstances and forces that have given rise to the present brand of transnational and global terrorism. The newest mode of this phenomenon is visible in the public propaganda of ISIL and its affiliates in West Asia and North Africa. This course concentrates on sociological perspectives regarding specific traditions that have fostered terrorist ideologies and practices. The varieties of terrorism to be examined in this course include Christian (in the United States and Europe), Islamic (Shiite or Sunni branches), Buddhist, Sikh/Hindu, and secular terrorism of the left and the right. No prerequisites. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: IREL 275
  • SOAN 209: Social Construction of Modern World
    The course will investigate aspects of social life that are taken for granted, but will be shown to be both historically and culturally specific to the modern American milieu. Topics may include childhood, love as the basis for marriage, private life, leisure, monogamy, prison, family. No prerequisites.

  • SOAN 210: Principles of Social Organization
    This course examines patterns that occur in human interaction - at both micro and macro scales. Focus is placed upon a process understanding of society. Topics include the generation of a shared reality, production of culture, types of relationships and their key features, predictable patterns of organization and their internal dynamics, as well as social universals such as conflict, change, and resource allocation. Prerequisite: Sociology and Anthropology 110. Enrollment priority given to departmental majors and minors. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • SOAN 215: Archaeological Field Methods
    Archaeological Field Methods introduces students to the discipline of archaeology, with an emphasis on fieldwork and excavation. Students will serve as the field crew on an archaeological dig in Lake Forest, with lectures, readings, workshops, and field trips providing the theoretical and historical context for the archaeological methods. Students will learn excavation, recording, laboratory and analytical techniques via some traditional coursework, but most significantly, through participation. Students will have the opportunity to experiment with these techniques, discuss the implications of their findings, and compare them with the research and ideas of professional archaeologists. No prerequisites. Corequisites: This course has an additional weekly lab session (2 hrs). Not open to students who have taken SOAN 205.
    Cross-listed as: AMER 215
  • SOAN 216: Introduction to Archaeology
    This course is an introduction to the anthropological subfield of archaeology, its practices, methods, and the political and social issues that arise when we study human pasts. The course considers the history of the discipline and its theoretical underpinnings, then looks at how archaeologists create research designs, discover and excavate sites, analyze artifacts and features, and disseminate their findings. It also introduces a series of spatiotemporally diverse archaeological case studies, calling on the students' understanding of basic archaeological concepts while emphasizing the ways that archaeological practice and museum display necessarily engage with political and social movements. Special attention is paid to how the archaeological record captures experiences of people of color, women, working class people, and those who are not literate. Multiple examples interpreted via material remains introduce students to the complexity of human experiences within a framework of cultural relativism. Field projects, in-class activities, and films supplement traditional lectures. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • SOAN 217: Sociology of Work
    (Offered Less Frequently)The meaning of work, with emphasis on sociological concepts such as stratification, power, quality of life, and organization in the social world. Focus will be both on cross-cultural comparisons of the social definition of work and on the organization of work in the United States including types of occupations, power distribution within occupations, and changes in the workforce. Participant-observer studies will provide comparisons of the work worlds of pink-, blue-, and white-collar workers. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • SOAN 220: Domains of Human Evidence
    Anthropology literally translates to the study of man, and the discipline takes humankind as its object. This course explores the four distinct ways in which anthropologists have sought to understand humans: 1) as animals whose potential and limits are set by their physiological qualities (physical anthropology); 2) as material workers who shape and are shaped by their environment and who leave their mark on the landscape (archaeology); 3) as cultural creatures who collectively produce ways of interacting with and imposing meaning on the world and one another (socio/cultural anthropology); 4) as language bearers who mediate their experience with complex grammars and symbol systems (linguistic anthropology). These domains of evidence are key to developing an in depth understanding of what anthropology can do, and this course is foundational for upper level anthropology courses. Prerequisite: Sociology and Anthropology 110. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • SOAN 221: Cultures of Modern Africa
    Introduction to contemporary rural and urban society in sub-Saharan Africa, drawing on materials from all major regions of the subcontinent. Particular emphasis will be on problems of rural development, rural-urban migration, and structural changes of economic, political, and social formations in the various new nations. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: AFAM 221, IREL 271
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  • SOAN 223: Sociology of Islam
    This course uses the discipline of historical sociology to explore the origins of Islam and the reasons it took the shape it did during its formative years in mid seventh century. It will continue to trace the development of Islam in a variety of different cultural environment. Finally we will deal with the encounter of Islam and the modern world and the formation of fundamentalism, national Islamism and the secular, reform tendencies in that religion. Not open to students who have already completed SOAN 322. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: ISLM 223
  • SOAN 225: Historic Artifact Analysis
    (Historic Artifact Analysis: Artifacts of Modernity.) This hands-on course introduces archaeological laboratory methods and accompanying archival and research-based techniques for interpreting these "artifacts of modernity": excavated materials from ongoing archaeological projects of historic-period sites in the Chicago area. Students will be exposed to various stages of artifact processing on a collection from a recently excavated site, including: washing, sorting, identification, data entry, analysis, report preparation, and curation. Students will learn how to identify 19th- and 20th-century artifacts--American, British, French, Japanese, Chinese, and other--representing a broad range of materials from the daily lives of past peoples/past societies. The artifact analysis will allow students to develop skills useful for museum, laboratory, and/or archaeological settings. Prerequisite: SOAN 205 OR SOAN 215 OR SOAN 220 OR consent of instructor. Corequisite: This course has an additional weekly lab session (2 hrs).
    Cross-listed as: AMER 229
  • SOAN 230: Anthropology of Sports
    This course examines Americans' cultural construction of sports vis-a- vis other cultural conceptions, including the dominance of sports in religious, philosophical and governmental domains. We transition from our cross-cultural overview to focus on the Western conceit of mind-body dualism and its effects. This dualism makes sports a site for the reproduction of existing power dynamics of race and gender, but it also makes sports a realm of liberatory potential (cf Jackie Robinson, Title IX). Students in this course should expect to follow sports events throughout the semester and should be prepared for field assignments. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity requirement.)
  • SOAN 231: Histories & Cultures Latin America
    This course introduces students to modern historical, ethnohistorical, and anthropological approaches to the indigenous populations of Latin America. The course will focus on the conflict and crisis that have characterized the relationship between the native inhabitants of the New World and the Old World immigrants and their descendants whose presence has forever changed the Americas. This conflict, and the cultures that emerged from it, will be traced both historically (starting with the "conquest") and regionally, focusing on four distinct areas: central Mexico; Guatemala and Chiapas; the Andes; and the Amazon. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: LNAM 231, IREL 272
  • SOAN 235: Racism and Ethnic Relations
    This course surveys of the development of the theories of race and ethnic relations at the individual, group, and cultural levels. Students will examine the impact these theories have had on social policy. The course focuses on the experience of Asians, Latinos and African Americans with special attention given to institutional expressions of oppression in American Society. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: AMER 235, AFAM 235
  • SOAN 237: City, Space and Place
    City, Space and Place focuses on the anthropology and sociology of the urban experience. This course will draw on a broad range of materials to familiarize students with theoretical frameworks that are used for the study of social structures and processes, cultural systems and practices, and the role of the city in the organization and production of human experiences, particularly during the last two centuries. Not open to students who have already completed SOAN 189. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity requirement)
  • SOAN 239: Social Movements and Society
    Social movements have contributed to significant changes in modern society. The civil rights movement brought greater equality to African Americans; the Women's Liberation movement created an expansion of rights for women; anti-war and disarmament protests contributed to the end of the Vietnam war and the end of the arms race; and the environmental movement drew our attention to deforestation, climate change, and species loss. This course examines why people participate in social movements, when social movements emerge, which social movements succeed or fail in mobilizing constituents, how they are organized, how mass media influences movements, and why movements ultimately decline. Special attention will be paid to how social movements influence and are influenced by the social context in which they emerge, with the goal of better understanding a significant force of societal change.
  • SOAN 240: Deviance
    How society defines deviants - its outcasts and outsiders - and how the people so defined respond to this categorization; the nature of normal and abnormal, legal and illegal. Do these categories have absolute moral meaning, or do they always depend on the particular society and era in which they are defined? Topics to be addressed include stigma and stereotyping, cross-cultural variations in gender roles, the status of the inmate, deviance as blocked opportunity, and the political mobilization of outsiders. No prerequisites. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • SOAN 242: Cults, Sects, and Communes
    This course provides an introduction to the study of new religious movements, popularly called sects and cults, and the communal movements that are their more secularized cousins. We will consider several case studies and examine the wider phenomenon of such groups in the modern world. We will pay attention to the traditional sociological issues of leadership, charisma, conversion, and belief maintenance, as well as the lived practices and experiences of members of such groups, such as rituals, gender practices, and holidays. No prerequisites.

    Cross-listed as: RELG 242
  • SOAN 244: Anthropology of Education
    For the anthropologist, education is the mechanism of socialreproduction, a strategy not limited to schooling but in fact encompassing a person's entire life. For much of the world, the privileging of schooling as a site of education has had real ramifications on the possibility of maintaining cultural forms that go against the pressures of globalization and capitalism. This course opens with a broad consideration of education before focusing on schooling as the preferred institutional form of education under early 21st century globalism. Our questions will include both how schooling operates to maintain existing social structures and power relations and the possibilities - and consequences - of schools as a site of change. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: EDUC 244
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  • SOAN 245: Medical Anthropology
    This course approaches various aspects of medicine and disease from an anthropological perspective and from outside the framework of standard biomedical concepts. We will look at how experiences of illness and health are culturally, rather than biologically, constructed. A second objective is to compare the belief systems and medical practices of several specific Western and non-Western societies. In carrying out these cross-cultural comparisons, we will focus on qualitative research and read several ethnographic case studies. (Meets the GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • SOAN 246: Language and Culture
    This course is an introduction to and survey of Linguistic Anthropology, one of the four primary subfields within the broader discipline of anthropology. Linguistic anthropology requires competence in several areas that encompass scientific and humanistic approaches to the study of language. Students will acquire a broad grasp of critical issues in language and culture including by grappling with such questions as: What is language? Does language shape our intuition of the world? How might it affect our thoughts and behavior? What does color have to do with language and how can color terms tell us about our limits of awareness of the way that culture shapes us? How do we do things with words? What role do groups and social norms play in how we speak? How creative can we be with language? What is verbal art? How does language operate within actual communities, for instance serving to support and maintain traditional cultural practices or fostering distinctions between kinds of persons in society? Prerequisite: SOAN 110. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • SOAN 248: Intro to Physical Anthropology
    This course will introduce students to the discipline of biological/physical anthropology. The course will look at both the commonalities that hominids, and particularly humans, share with other biological organisms and idiosyncratic phenomena that make the human species unique. Students will first be introduced to the evolutionary and biological mechanisms that have guided the emergence of the human lineage and to the practices of taxonomy and phylogeny which inform the study of human biological ancestry. Next, the class will focus on the study of modern primates, humanity's closest living relatives. We will then move to the particular evolutionary history of hominids that produced modern humans. Through this course students will become conversant with the overarching questions and biological techniques employed in the study of both ancient humans and modern human variation. This course will directly engage students in anthropological work in both reading and practice and teach the methods used by anthropologists in their fieldwork.
  • SOAN 251: Intro Performance Studies
    In this course, we will explore the flourishing new discipline of Performance Studies. This field of study began as a collaboration between theater director and theorist Richard Schechner and anthropologist Victor Turner, combining Schechner's interest in 'aesthetic performance' (theater, dance, music, performance art) with Turner's interest in performance as ritual within indigenous cultures, or (as Erving Goffman has written) 'the presentation of self in everyday life.' Performance Studies often stresses the importance of intercultural performance as an alternative to either traditional proscenium theatre or traditional anthropological fieldwork. In addition to the above and other authors, the course will include in-class performance exercises along with field trips to performances in Chicago. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement. )
    Cross-listed as: THTR 251
  • SOAN 253: Family and Kinship
    This course focuses on family and kinship in cross-cultural perspective. We will look at families in their social and cultural context and ask what relationships exist between family forms, practices, and values and the economic system, political organization, religions, and cultures of the larger community. We will also ask what the sources of love and support, as well as conflict and tension, are within families and among kin, and we will question why family forms and ideal family types change over time. Recommended: SOAN 110. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: GSWS 253
  • SOAN 260: History of Social Thought
    This course will examine some of the classical sources of social thought both in the East and the West. Texts by Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine, Aquinas, Alfarabi, Confucius, authors of the Vedas, Machiavelli, Hobbes, and Rousseau will be examined for the seeds of questions that were later to grow into the thicket of sociological problematics. Extensive weekly readings of original sources will be the basis of class discussions. Prerequisite: SOAN 110. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • SOAN 271: Technology and Human Values
    Conditions and processes of industrialization in the Western world; problems related to economic development in emerging nations; impact of industry on lifeways of modern humans. Prerequisite: SOAN 110. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: ES 271
  • SOAN 273: Cultural Ecology of Africa
    In this course, we will study the relationships between African peoples and their environments. We will consider the process of globalization and its relationship to the changing landscape of Africa in a historical context. By combining environmental studies and anthropology, we will bring a unique perspective to our study of the historical interaction of African cultures and environments, from pre-colonial times through the colonial period to the current post-colonial period. No prerequisites. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: ES 273, IREL 273, AFAM 273
  • SOAN 275: Ritual in Contemporary America
    This course examines how ceremonies, festivals and other performative events enrich and define community. This study of ritual may include street fairs, parades, weddings, funerals, feasts and fasts as well as other public and private behaviors that comprise the diversity of American ritual life. Our course shall explore ritual as it occurs in many of the ethnic, racial, subcultural and countercultural communities in Chicago. We will investigate and attempt to understand both the invention and re-invention of community and personal identity through ritual action. Students should anticipate frequent field trips. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: AMER 213, THTR 235
  • SOAN 280: Gender, Culture, and Society
    Theories concerning the acquisition of sex-typed behavior; social and biological influences on the roles of males and females in the twentieth- century United States as well as in other cultures. Feminist and anti-feminist perspectives. Images of future lifestyles and implications for social policy. Prerequisite: SOAN 110. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: GSWS 280
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  • SOAN 285: Sexuality and Society
    This course is a cross-cultural examination of perceptions and practices of sex and sexuality. We will begin with a brief overview of some archaeological findings and their implications, after which we will go on to address sexual practices in history and modern times both in the United States and other areas of the world. We will study economic, cultural, political, and religious influences on sexual thought and practice. Prerequisite: SOAN 110. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: GSWS 285
  • SOAN 286: Soc Structure & Culture thru Film
    (Social Structure and Culture Through Film) This course combines a historical survey of narrative films and an overview of international schools of filmmaking and couches them in a sociological framework. The questions of treatment of the other (races and nations), totalitarianism, revolution, militarism, deviance, various views of human nature, and utopias and distopias portrayed in cinema will be addressed. Prerequisite: SOAN 110. Required: an additional weekly lab session for viewing movies. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: CINE 286
  • SOAN 290: Social Problems & Social Policy
    The course tracks the shifting sociological understanding of social problems in the United States and the implications for research and policy. Specifically, emphasis is placed on a balance between theoretical understandings and empirical investigation on topics ranging from family to the environment. Prerequisite: SOAN 110. Enrollment priority given to departmental majors and minors.
  • SOAN 300: Topics in Sociology & Anthropology

  • SOAN 310: Social Rsch:Quantitative Methods
    This course provides an introduction to the relationship between theoretical models and empirical investigations of social action. The focus of the course is the selection of a problem for investigation, choice of appropriate quantitative methodology, design and implementation of a social research project, and final data analysis. Data analysis techniques include multivariate analysis, elaboration modeling and social science computer skills using the SPSS program. Recommended for junior year. Prerequisite: SOAN 110 AND any SOAN 200-level elective, both with a grade of C or better. Required: an additional weekly lab session.
  • SOAN 315: Soc Ethics Energy Production & Use
    Course description: the course will explore the ethical implications of possible future energy initiatives. Emphasis will be given to the global implications of interdependency on primary resources and the technological initiatives of nuclear power and alternative sources. Students will focus on independent research projects, with both domestic and international components, surrounding the environmental, social, and ethical issues of future energy production and use. Prerequisite: junior standing or permission of instructor.
    Cross-listed as: ES 315, PHIL 315
  • SOAN 316: Environmental Sociology
    This course utilizes the sociological perspective to explore the complex ways that human society and nature are intertwined, having significant impacts on each other. How societies are organized, how they produce and consume, and what values and norms constitute their culture all have varied impacts on what is often referred to as the 'natural' world. As environmental problems - such as climate change, deforestation, species loss, pollution, etc. - are constructed and emerge, the impact on societies varies greatly across social groups based on race, class, gender, and national context. This course explores how, in the face of environmental degradation, society has responded in different ways: with social movements, changes in lifestyles, and private certification programs advocating conservation and preservation; and political and economic institutions, definitions of status, and entrenched social organization resisting change. Prerequisite: SOAN 110. Recommended: SOAN 210 or SOAN 220.
  • SOAN 318: Archaeology of the Contemporary
    From abandoned council flats to the Ground Zero World Trade Center site, scholars are studying the material remains of the recent past using the methodology of archaeological "excavation." These archaeologies of the contemporary past bring a new lens to anthropological questions, making familiar items unfamiliar as we examine material residues of late capitalist, post-industrial societies and beyond. Building on modern material culture studies, this focus on materiality can inform and contextualize our understandings of present day human experiences and challenges. This course is designed to explore some of these materially-focused anthropological case studies while providing the opportunity for students to undertake their own "excavation" of the recent past. Prerequisite: SOAN 110 OR SOAN 216 OR SOAN 220 OR consent of instructor.
  • SOAN 320: Soc Research: Qualitative Methods
    Qualitative methods are used by both anthropologists and sociologists for working in small, bounded communities. The primary methodology of qualitative researchers, ethnography, tends to be more associated with anthropology as a result of disciplinary history. The writing of ethnographic 'thick description' is part art and part science, a methodology most easily learned by doing. This course is designed to give students exposure to the ins, outs and ethics of ethnographic research methods and to help students develop a sense of when such methods are appropriate. Course work will include fieldwork of various types culminating in research projects determined by the students. Recommended for junior year. Prerequisite: SOAN 110 AND any SOAN 200-level elective, both with a grade of C or better. Required: an additional weekly lab session.
  • SOAN 343: Education in Developing Countries

    SOAN 343: Education and Development in Developing Countries

    This course explores the historical background, philosophical foundations and major themes in the education of 'developing countries' within the broader context of global development and social change. The specific goal of this course is to familiarize students with the evolution of and critical issues in formal education in most low income, less industrialized nations. Students will be able to explore contemporary themes in education from a historical and comparative perspective. Additionally, they will expand their conceptual schema for rethinking educational issues within and beyond their own societies. Geographically, this course covers countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, but runs comparisons with countries in Europe and North America when theoretically relevant. Reading materials build on development studies and several disciplines in the social sciences and humanities such as history, philosophy, anthropology, sociology and education. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: EDUC 322, IREL 396
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  • SOAN 344: Comparative and International Educ

    SOAN 344: Comparative and International Education: Education as the Practice of Freedom

    This course examines both the study and practice of comparative and international education. The course is organized with a multidisciplinary perspective with analysis of history, theory, methods, and issues in comparative and international education. A major goal of the course is to interrogate the linkages between education and society. Recurrent themes will be examined to demonstrate how every educational system not only arises from but also shapes its particular socio-cultural context. Students will have the opportunity to deepen and expand their knowledge of educational issues within a global context. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: EDUC 320, ETHC 330, IREL 395
  • SOAN 345: Anthropology of Science
    In this course we will study scientific practice as a site of cultural inquiry. Anthropology and related social sciences have a long theoretical and empirical engagement with the study of rationality and reason, and of perception and empiricism particularly in the early 20th century attempts to make sense of non-western religious and magical systems. At the time, people believed these practices were 'cultural' in a way that western science was not. Over the last two decades this belief has been soundly critiqued and rejected and a great deal of work has focused on the cultural practices of western laboratory scientists and of the cultural fact of science and technology in society more broadly. This course will present students with an introduction to the anthropological context for contemporary Science and Technology Studies. Prerequisites: SOAN 110 and SOAN 210 or 220 or consent of instructor.
  • SOAN 348: Paranormal & Supernatural
    Cultural, social, and social-psychological forces operate together to create belief systems; paranormal and supernatural belief systems are examples of common systems of belief. These systems of belief are embedded within social institutions in identifiable ways and bearing identifiable consequences. The acceptance or refusal of these beliefs, or of the larger cosmology they reflect, tells the social scientist much about the believers and disbelievers and their societies. This course will examine belief systems that are commonly identified as paranormal, supernatural or occult. Topics may include astrology, magic, UFOs, cryptozoology, ghosts, and spirit possession. Prerequisites: SOAN 110, and either SOAN 210 or SOAN 220.
  • SOAN 350: Sociology of Knowledge
    This course investigates the patterns whereby social organization shapes both the content and structure of knowledge. The connection between knowledge and society is reciprocal: we will observe how a new religious message, scientific insight, or technological development alters the social order. The sociology of knowledge also involves the investigation of consciousness and belief: We will investigate the relationships between mental phenomena and social organization - how, for example, 'false consciousness' is constructed in relations of exploitation and how ideologies and stereotypes shape what is perceived. Prerequisite: SOAN 110 and any SOAN 200-level course or higher.
  • SOAN 351: Performance Ethnography
    Performance Studies stresses the importance of intercultural performance as an alternative to either traditional proscenium theatre or traditional qualitative fieldwork. Looking at behavior through the lens of performance offers new ways for ethnographers to understand how identity is formed and expressed. As a discipline concerned with non-textual forms of knowledge, scholars engaged in this field sometimes use performance to present their research, recognizing the modes of knowledge that cannot be reduced to words. Students in this course will study Performance Studies scholarship, learn the basics of ethnographic practice, and create performances based on their research. They will study the work of scholars such as Dwight Conquergood and Erving Goffman and artists such as Tectonic Theater, which specialize in documentary theatre. There will also be required field trips and site visits. Prerequisite: THTR 251 or permission of instructor. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: THTR 351
  • SOAN 354: War and Conflict
    At any given moment, a significant portion of the world's population is dealing with the effects of war. When does a state of war produce its own structures and rules? How do different societies respond in different ways to life during wartime? How does ethnic and class conflict manifest in war? What happens when war and conflict become normalized? Does the perpetual conflict between tribes in Papua New Guinea constitute war in the same way that the war on terror is a war, and are either of these the same as World War II? Does the Arab Spring constitute a state of war? This course takes up the question of the social effects of war, including the consequences of living 'on war footing.' Potential topics include the militarization of societies, the differences between state and non-state control of violence, and the mechanisms by which populations are mobilized to violence. Prerequisites: SOAN 110 and SOAN 210 or 220, or consent of instructor. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: IREL 374
  • SOAN 362: Love in a Time of Capitalism
    Most of us are familiar with the idea that romantic love plays a different role in the contemporary world than it did at other times and the idea that love manifests in different ways across cultures. Rather than attempt a survey of all the possible manifestations of romantic love, this course aims to explore how 'love' features into our understandings of human interaction in the 21st century, particularly in the United States. We will be particularly focusing on the contemporary American notion that love and money are opposing forces. Our first goal will be to identify at least some of the tropes of love that are in current circulation. We will then explore the potential social consequences of those tropes, including the ways in which such tropes are passed on and reproduced across generations and the possibility of commodifying and 'selling' certain tropes as the 'right' way to be in love. Throughout the course, we will collect love stories, and our final task of the semester will be to compare our theoretical and media derived understandings of romantic love to its manifestations in people's lives. Prerequisite: SOAN 110 and any SOAN 200-level course or higher.
    Cross-listed as: AMER 362, GSWS 362
  • SOAN 363: Globalization, Modernity, Culture
    Do we live in a 'global village'? Do we have a global culture? Is the world becoming a more homogeneous place or a more heterogeneous one? Is globalization inevitable? What are the threats and benefits of 'global society'? How has the structure of capitalism influenced globalization? This course considers the various scholarly perspectives on these issues, as well as the social actors and institutions that have promoted, benefited from, and challenged globalization. Course materials will be taken from scholarship in sociology and anthropology. Prerequisite: SOAN 110 or by permission. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: IREL 373
  • SOAN 370: Social Inequality
    A comparative study of various forms of social inequality. Analysis of inequality (e.g., sex, age, education, competence, wealth, power) in different forms of social organization from small, intimate groups to large-scale social systems. Theoretical approaches concerning the emergence and persistence of hierarchies. Prerequisite: SOAN 110 and any SOAN 200-level course or higher.
  • SOAN 372: Queer Theory
    This course will address the contemporary social theories collectively described as 'Queer Theory.' A unifying thread for those theorists generally accepted as working within Queer Theory is the prioritization of gender and sexuality as social ordering devices. Queer Theorists make dualities, power inequalities, and identity performance central to their analyses. The creation, rise, and ultimate deconstruction of these theories will be placed within social and historical contexts. Once the student has a firm understanding of the source and content of Queer Theory we will embark upon an exploration of its application through the investigation of a number of topics that are often peripheralized in the academy. Ultimately, we will question the utility of the theory in light of factors ranging from its dismantlement under deconstruction to the rise of social contingency theory. Prerequisite: SOAN 110 and SOAN 210 or SOAN 220 or consent of instructor. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: GSWS 372
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  • SOAN 375: Science Fiction and Social Theory
    Science fiction and speculative fiction often explore social hypotheticals. This course takes advantage of this narrative resource to investigate social concerns of the moment, the evolution of social theory, and areas of sociological concern that might otherwise escape academic notice. Emphasis is placed upon cinematic science fiction, but written fiction will also be considered. Not open to students who have completed SOAN 285. Prerequisite: SOAN 110 and either SOAN 210 or 220.

  • SOAN 380: Contemporary Social Theory
    This seminar is designed as an advanced introduction to the major theoretical developments in contemporary sociological theory. Topics include the Chicago School, the Frankfurt School, Structuralism, Symbolic Interactionism, Deconstructionism, Feminism, and Queer Theory. The contributions of Parson, Merton, Blumer, Goffman, Bourdieu, and Foucault constitute significant areas of discussion. Prerequisite: SOAN 110 and either SOAN 210, SOAN 220, or SOAN 260.
  • SOAN 385: Intellectuals and Society
    What is the role of intellectuals and the intelligentsia in the classical, medieval, and modern Occident? What characterizes people of knowledge in these and non-Western civilizations? A cross-cultural comparison of the development of intellectual elites in various arenas including Asia, the Islamic world, and Eastern and Western European and American cultures. Prerequisite: SOAN 110 and SOAN 210 or SOAN 220.
  • SOAN 390: Sociology of Religion
    This seminar starts with major classical theories of sociology of religion including those of secularization and privatization of religion in the modern world. Then we shall examine the relevant events of the past quarter of the century, namely the sudden explosion of politicized and highly public religions in the Western and the non-Western worlds. The existing sociological literature didn't anticipate the current significance of religion and this tension is expected to generate interesting debates in this seminar. Special attention will be given to a comparative study of public religions in Western countries (e.g., Brazil, Poland, Spain, and the United States) and in the Middle East (Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia). Pre-requisites: SOAN 110 and any SOAN course at the 200 level or higher or consent of the instructor. (Meets the GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: RELG 390, IREL 375
  • SOAN 395: Sociology of Law
    This course will examine the social organization of legal institutions and the relationship between law and the structure of society. Specifically, the course considers the nature and origins of law from the viewpoint of classical social theorists and anthropological studies of customary law. The course also emphasizes various aspects of the American legal system: the social structure of the legal profession, courts and dispute resolution, law as an instrument of social control, and the relationship between law and social change. Prerequisite: SOAN 110. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • SOAN 480: Social Explanation and Theory
    Designed as a capstone for the Sociology/Anthropology major, this course focuses on exposition, comparison, and appraisal of major theoretical schools whose influence undergirds both disciplines. The course offers contexts for the explanation of social phenomena and behaviors and considers problems of systematic theory construction in social science. Prerequisites: SOAN 110 and SOAN 210 or SOAN 220.
  • SOAN 490: Internship