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Sociology Course Descriptions


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[SO118J]    Individuality and World Traveling      What does it mean to live in a world that many have characterized as postmodern? What does postmodernity imply in terms of attitude toward selfhood, toward interpretation and knowledge gathering, toward crossing boundaries of cultural differences and, finally, toward envisioning social justice? A mixture of scholarly texts, fiction, and film will be employed to explore these questions. Emphasis on cultivating students' skills of critical thinking and expression.     Three credit hours.  S.  
SO131fs    Introduction to Sociology      Sociologists study processes by which people create, maintain, and change their social and cultural worlds. They investigate contemporary social issues and strive to explain relationships between what happens in peoples' lives and the societies in which they live. Sociology's research methods and theories apply to the full range of human behavior, from individual acts to global environmental, political, and economic change. An introduction to how and why sociologists study social and cultural phenomena such as inequality, race and ethnicity, gender, power, politics, the family, religion, social and cultural change, crime, and globalization. Prerequisite:  First-year or sophomore standing.     Four credit hours.  S, U.    FACULTY
SO212f    Introduction to GIS and Spatial Analysis      Listed as Environmental Studies 214.     Four credit hours.    GIMOND
[SO212J]    Introduction to GIS and Spatial Analysis      Listed as Environmental Studies 214J.     Three credit hours.  
SO213f    Schools and Society      Listed as Education 213.     Four credit hours.  U.    HOWARD
[SO214]    African-American Elites and Middle Classes      Classical and contemporary sociological theories of stratification and race relations are used to explore the intersection of class and race-ethnicity in the social origins and historical roles of elites and middle classes in the African-American experience. Particular attention to the writings of Du Bois, Frazier, Cox, and Wilson. Biographical and autobiographical perspectives provide rich description of socialization, family contexts, work, politics, ideologies, and the impacts of racism and social change. Includes additional evening meetings for film showings and special events.     Three credit hours.  S, U.  
SO215f    Classical Sociological Theory      The history of sociology, and a critical survey of the systems of thought about society, centered on major schools of sociological theory and their representatives. The place of theory in social research as presented in works of major social theorists, including Comte, Spencer, Durkheim, Weber, Marx, Pareto, Simmel, and Mead. Prerequisite:  Sociology 131.     Four credit hours.    MORRIONE
[SO218]    Contemporary Sociological Theory      Introduces social theories that have had a significant impact on contemporary sociological scholarship. Students learn how to analyze and compare different theoretical paradigms, preparing them to use theory to better understand how social life is both patterned and dynamic. Students explore how these theories, like other cultural products, both reflect and affect the historical moment in which they were produced. Because much of this work engages with Enlightenment thought and institutions, the students develop a critical understanding of some of the central ideas and practices that shaped modern Western society. Prerequisite:  Sociology 131.     Four credit hours.  
SO219j    Self and Society in the Digital Age      Students explore how digital technologies change the ways that we work, play, and interact. They use contemporary social theories to identify and assess opportunities and challenges afforded by new communication technologies. Using sociological techniques they investigate how these technologies are reshaping not only how we communicate but the content of the information we share. Finally, they will discuss implications of these changes for themselves as individuals and as citizens of a large democracy. Previously offered as Sociology 197 (2012) and 119 (2013).     Three credit hours.  S.    MAYER
[SO226]    Sociology of Martin Luther King Jr.      Martin Luther King Jr., a sociology major, represents a social movement (civil rights) that changed America and also changed theories and practices in American sociology. Through an exploration of King's life, work, and writings (books, sermons, and speeches), an overview of the civil rights movement, the origins and practices of the southern system of segregation (Jim Crow), and aspects of the history of American sociology. Particular attention to social movements theory, race relations and social change, and organizations and mobilizations within and by African-American communities. Includes additional evening meetings for film showings and special events.     Three credit hours.  S, U.  
[SO231]    Contemporary Social Problems      Analysis of selected controversial issues and public problems in the contemporary United States. General theoretical frameworks in the sociology of social problems used to analyze issues from one or more perspectives; areas include alienation, economic and political freedom, the politics of morality, poverty, women's roles, and social inequality.     Four credit hours.  S, U.  
SO237s    Sociology of Sexualities      Sociological investigation and consideration of the historical and contemporary constructions of human sexualities and the structures, institutions, and symbols that shape them. Theoretical frameworks include constructionist, feminist, post-structuralist, and queer theory. Students examine pressing social issues concerning sexual desire and attraction, sexual behaviors and practices, and the relations of sexuality to other categorizations, including race, social class, gender, and (dis)ability. Students examine non-normative sexual identities and expressions and the structures and symbols shaping their popular and political understandings. Issues are examined within the contexts of both historical developments and contemporary social movements for the full rights of people of every sexuality. Prerequisite:  Sociology 131.     Four credit hours.    MACKE
SO252f    Race, Ethnicity, and Society      An examination of the roles of race and ethnicity in organizing complex stratified societies, in structuring systems of durable inequalities, and in organizing and shaping communities and enclaves within stratified societies. Using multiple sociological perspectives on race, ethnicity, minority groups, prejudice, discrimination, and institutional racism, special attention is paid to the United States with reference to immigration, slavery, conquest, annexation, colonialism, internal migration, social conflict, social movements, labor, citizenship, transnational adaptation, law, and public policy. Prerequisite:  Sociology 131 or 231 or American Studies 276 or Anthropology 112.     Four credit hours.  U.    GILKES
SO256s    Global Health      Uses a sociological perspective to focus on the social, political, and economic conditions underlying health and healthcare across world societies. Research in the field explores questions related to mortality and morbidity, population disease burden, health inequalities, poverty, reproductive health, the diffusion of infectious diseases, nutrition, environmental health, health policies and priorities, war and violence, and prevention, among other issues. Students will explore these topics through response papers, discussion, in-class exercises, and examinations, to achieve an informed understanding of the methodologies and modes of thought used to address key conceptual and practical problems in the field.     Four credit hours.    ARCHIBALD
[SO257]    Sociology of Mental Health and Mental Disorders      Explores meanings of and factors in mental illness; developments in categories and treatments; impacts of social inequalities on incidence, diagnosis, and treatment; effects on family and support systems; and social policy issues. Considers the contributions of social science, biology, and medicine. Studies sociological conceptualizations of mental disorder, particularly social constructionism, labeling, and stress theories. Draws upon an array of scholarship and applies understandings to select memoirs and autobiographies. Hones close-reading, critical-analysis, and communication skills. Offered in 2009 as Sociology 297. Prerequisite:  Sociology 131.     Four credit hours.  
SO258f    Health and Medicine      Applies sociological principles to health, illness, and health care. Situates the latter in a variety of institutional domains linked by social inequality: markets, politics, science, religion, and culture. Topics include medicalization and the social construction of health and illness, racial and ethnic health disparities, women's health, social justice and medicine, epidemiology, ethnography and biostatistics, the phenomenology of health and illness, and contemporary U.S. healthcare reform. Students gain the theoretical knowledge necessary to begin advanced work and a comprehensive understanding of the practical significance of the field. Previously offered as Sociology 297. Prerequisite:  Sociology 131.     Four credit hours.    ARCHIBALD
[SO259]    Activism and Social Movements      An examination of the goals, ideologies, leadership, and development of reformist and revolutionary mobilization efforts both within and beyond the boundaries of the United States. Prerequisite:  A 100-level sociology course or American Studies 271.     Four credit hours.  
[SO261]    Sociology of Organizations      Provides an introduction to the central authors and themes in the sociology of organizations. We will use a loose historical framework to examine various research paradigms detailing core topics associated with the study of organizations such as: bureaucracy, power, conflict, rationality, authority, work, technology. Through lectures, papers and exams, and observation of college-community partner organizations, students develop a theoretical and practical understanding of this unique sociological perspective as it applies to organizations as diverse as the Center for Disease Control, Barclays, the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter, and Al-Qaeda.     Four credit hours.  S.  
SO271s    Introduction to Sociological Research Methods      Provides sociology majors with basic intellectual tools for understanding, evaluating, and conducting social science research. Specific objectives include: (1) developing rudimentary statistical skills (2) linking theoretical problems to hypothesis testing and statistical inference (3) exploring major types of empirical research and their implications for problem solving (e.g., experiments, surveys, participant observation) (4) applying and refining knowledge of sociological methods through diverse readings in both the sociological literature (e.g., American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, Sociological Methodology) and in non-academic publications (e.g., The Economist, The Atlantic, The New York Times). Prerequisite:  Sociology 131 and sociology major.     Four credit hours.  Q.    ARCHIBALD
SO272f    Qualitative Research Methods and Methodology      The theory, methodology, and methods of qualitative research. Using readings, discussions, and various research activities, students examine the interrelationships of methodological theory and its development, data collection, analysis, and report writing. Prerequisite:  Sociology 131 and sociology major.     Four credit hours.    MACKE
SO273f    Sociology of Families      Central issues in the social study of the family, predominantly the historical and contemporary American family. Emphasis is on the family as a primary group and a unit of intense interpersonal relationships structured along gender and generational lines and on the family as a major social institution. The changing structures, functions, and dynamics of the family are explored. Prerequisite:  Sociology 131 preferred, but not required.     Four credit hours.  S.    MACKE
SO274f    Social Inequality and Power      Students will assess different arguments about why life chances are so unequal despite a founding commitment to equality within the United States and other democracies. We will follow Charles Tilly's advice that, in order to understand contemporary inequalities, we must first step back and put these processes into historical perspective. In addition to studying global, macro-level processes driving changes in the national economy, we will also look at how face-to-face interactions and local institutions shape people's abilities to navigate the changing economic landscape and to secure new economic and social opportunities. Prerequisite:  Sociology 131 and sociology major.     Four credit hours.  U.    MAYER
SO276s    Sociology of Gender      Gender involves a cluster of human social practices which deploy human bodies' capacities to engender, to give and receive pleasure, and to give birth. Students will explore what is social about gender and how it affects our personal life experiences as well as the operation of large institutions. They will explore why gender relations are historically specific and how they are also shaped by other axes of inequality such as race/ethnicity, social class, and nationality. They will learn how to use sociological tools to design and to assess what is at stake in contemporary projects to shape gender relations. Prerequisite:  Sociology 131.     Four credit hours.  S, U.    MAYER
SO298s    Social Psychology      An analysis of major social psychological views of human behavior, with special emphasis on the works of George Herbert Mead and Herbert Blumer. Human group life, social behavior, self, situations, and society are examined from a variety of perspectives. Prerequisite:  Sociology 131.     Four credit hours.    MORRIONE
[SO311]    Topics in Feminist Theory: Feminist Theories and Methodologies      Listed as Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies 311.     Four credit hours.  U.  
SO315s    Dramas of Power and Politics in America      Great risk shift, entrepreneurial society, submerged state—what do these terms mean and what can they tell us about changes in American society at the turn of the century? Why are so few people aware of them, and how can we expect them to impact our lives as citizens, employees, and family members? How were these changes realized, and how do they affect democratic participation? Presents sociological tools to analyze contemporary political contests and the effects of new policies on the lives of ordinary citizens. Students will write both academic papers and blog entries designed for a wider public audience. Prerequisite:  American Studies 171 or Sociology 131.     Four credit hours.    MAYER
SO322s    Social Class and Schooling      Listed as Education 322.     Four credit hours.  U.    HOWARD
SO332s    Nonprofit Organizations and Philanthropy      An academically-grounded, community-based educational experience exploring the meaning of philanthropy and the nature of nonprofit organizations. Students will volunteer in Waterville area nonprofit organizations, working with them as assistant grant writers. The class, operating like the board of a granting foundation, will review organizations' grant applications, make funding decisions, and allocate one or more grants totaling $10,000. The Learning by Giving Foundation, founded by Doris Buffett, generously provides funding for these grants. Prerequisite:  Sociology 131 or equivalent introductory course in the social sciences.     Four credit hours.    MORRIONE
SO334f    Deviance and Conformity      An investigation of classical and contemporary sociological and social psychological perspectives on deviant behavior. Focuses on race, class, and gender as they relate to social definitions of deviant behavior and the consequences of valued and dis-valued identities for self, community, and society. Prerequisite:  Sociology 131.     Four credit hours.    MORRIONE
[SO355]    African-American Women and Social Change      Sociological analysis and historical overview of African-American women and their families, work lives, and community (especially religious and political) experience. A focus on the contradictions between lived experience and cultural expectations surrounding gender and on the distinctive experiences of African-American women as a force for social change. Prerequisite:  An introductory social science course or American Studies 276.     Four credit hours.  U.  
SO357s    Civil Rights, Black Power, and Social Change      A seminar examining the impact of the civil rights and black power movements on sociological concepts, theories, and perspectives on race relations, racial stratification, social change, and ethnicity. The PBS series Eyes on the Prize I and II are used to introduce readings and discussions of sociological and ideological texts influenced or produced by activists and activities of the civil rights or black power movements. The connections among civil rights and black power movements and other social movements in the United States and other societies. Prerequisite:  An introductory anthropology, sociology, history, or American studies course.     Four credit hours.  S, U.    GILKES
[SO358]    The Sociology of W.E.B. Du Bois      Intensive survey of the life and work of W.E.B. Du Bois, prolific scholar, activist, and founder of one of the oldest sociology departments and research centers. Sociology was Du Bois's chosen discipline at the same time he contributed to history, literature, and cultural studies and formed a foundation for African-American studies. This exploration of his sociological imagination assesses the importance of his work for understanding racial-ethnic relations and conflict in the United States and the world. Readings include The Souls of Black Folk, The Philadelphia Negro, selected topics from the Atlanta University studies, The Gift of Black Folk, appropriate biographical/autobiographical texts, and critical studies. Prerequisite:  A 100-level sociology course or American Studies 276.     Four credit hours.  S, U.  
SO361j    Special Topics in Health and Medicine: Substance Use and Abuse      Using a sociological framework, we examine a number of perspectives in the study of substance use and abuse (e.g., social-psychological, economic, pharmacological, political, historical/ legal). Key topics include the nature of addiction, substance abuse and the brain, drug markets, the treatment industry, prohibition and temperance movements, decriminalization, adolescent drug and alcohol use, and dysfunctional family systems. Students will demonstrate understanding through in-class exercises (individual and group problem solving), participation in general discussion, and weekly response papers. Previously offered as SO397. Prerequisite:  A lower-level social science course.     Three credit hours.    ARCHIBALD
[SO375]    Contemporary Family Relations: Mothers and Daughters      An advanced seminar exploring the Western mother-daughter relationship through sociological case studies, ethnographies, and survey research. Draws upon myth, memoir, fiction, and poetry. Systemically considers racial and ethnic variations, looking at social science materials and literature representing the experiences and insights of Euro-American, African-American, Asian-American, Latina, Native American, and recent immigrant women and children. Considers alternative family arrangements such as single-parent mothers and lesbian mothers. Examines issues of development and stresses on families and relationships. Prerequisite:  A 200-level Anthropology, Psychology, Sociology, or Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies course.     Four credit hours.  S, U.  
SO483f, 484s    Honors Project      Prerequisite:  Senior standing, admission to the honors program, and permission of the supervising faculty member.     Two to four credit hours.    FACULTY
SO491f, 492s    Independent Study      Individual topics in areas where the student has demonstrated the interest and competence necessary for independent work. Prerequisite:  Junior or senior standing and permission of the department.     Two to four credit hours.    FACULTY
SO493f    Senior Seminar: Social Theories and American Sociology      Contemporary American society in sociological perspective, utilizing the diverse array of sociological approaches to organizations, social problems, institutions, and social change in the United States. Special emphasis will be placed on exploring the conceptual and empirical linkages between the most recent sociological distinguished scholarship and the classical foundations of American sociological traditions. Prerequisite:  Senior standing in sociology, and Sociology 131, 215, 218, 271, and 272.     Four credit hours.    GILKES
[SO493A]    Seminar: Urban Sociology      An exploration of the nature and significance of cities in history. Topics include urbanization, suburbanization, globalization, subcultures, architecture, disasters, transportation, race, poverty, planning, political issues, neighborhoods, inequality, and gender. Focus on American cities. Students will complete three short papers, a book review, and a research paper. Prerequisite:  Junior or senior standing and Sociology 131.     Four credit hours.