Course Descriptions

Course Catalog for SOCIOLOGY
SOCL 101
Principles of Sociology
The course will deal with questions such as these: What are the underlying causes of our major social problems? Are inequality and the exercise of power by some over others inevitable in all social life? How important in human life are cultural and social factors compared to the influence of biological inheritance, personality and economic constraints? What are the origins of, prospects for, and results of attempts at deliberate social change? To what extent can we realistically expect to achieve our democratic ideals of freedom and equality in contemporary societies? The course addresses the basic concerns, ideas and methods of sociology both as a scientific and a humanistic discipline.
1.00 units, Lecture
SOCL 201
Research Methods in the Social Sciences
An introduction to social sciences inquiry, stressing what is common as well as what is different in the techniques and procedures employed in the different disciplines. The course seeks to develop the student’s skill in designing original research and in evaluating the significance of already published research findings. Topics include: the interdependence of theory and research; ways of formulating research problems and hypotheses; the variety of research designs (introducing the ideas of statistical as well as experimental control); and an overview of the major procedures of instrument construction, measurement, data collection, sampling, and data analysis. Required laboratory sessions offer experience in each step of the research process.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Sociology 210 or Mathematics 107, Mathematics 207, or permission of instructor.
1.25 units, Lecture
SOCL 202
Classical and Contemporary Theory
Critical examination of the major theoretical perspectives current in sociology (structure functionalism, interactionism, conflict theory, exchange theory, and ethnomethodology) and consideration of their implications for core problems: such as social order and social change that concern all sociologists. Also, emphasis upon the methods of theory construction, the relationship between theory and research, and the significance of the classic (e.g., Durkheim’s Suicide) for sociologists now.
Prerequisite: C- or better in a prior Sociology course or permission of instructor.
1.00 units, Lecture
SOCL 204
Social Problems in American Society
Diverse sociological perspectives on the causes of social problems will be analyzed. Crime, police behavior, collective violence, poverty, welfare and other topics relating to deviance and inequality in American society are considered in light of these perspectives.
1.00 units, Lecture
SOCL 205
Cultural Sociology and the Sociology of Culture
This course introduces students to the sociology of culture (understanding the social influences of social formations) and cultural sociology (understanding cultural influences on social processes). Major themes and issues in cultural sociology are examined to answer the following questions: “What is culture and what does it do?” and “How is culture to be studied?” The course addresses these questions by exploring the seminal issues Marx, Weber, and Durkheim raised about culture. In addition, the course examines how scholars (from a variety of theoretical perspectives) approach these seminal issues. Examples of issues that spring from the work of classical sociologists include the following: “Do media messages shape our view of reality? If so, how?” and “How do class and lifestyle intertwine to reproduce inequality?” The course also deals with substantive questions that have recently arisen including “How is market activity undergirded by cultural assumptions?” and “How does social context shape the production of scientific knowledge?” Special attention is given to how theoretical ideas are translated into empirical projects. Although the course has no specific prerequisites, some passing acquaintance with Durkheim, Weber, and Marx is helpful.
1.00 units, Lecture
SOCL 207
Family and Society
The family as a basic group in human societies; its development; its relations to other institutions; historical changes in its structure; its place in modern industrial society.
1.00 units, Lecture
SOCL 210
Statistics for the Social Sciences
This course is an introduction to statistical methods, their conceptual underpinnings, and their use in analyzing social science data. Topics include basic presentation and graphing of data, descriptive statistics, probability theory, the normal distribution, one and two sample t-tests and tests of proportions, confidence intervals and hypothesis testing, chi-square tests, and an introduction to linear regression. The course will emphasize the logic and practice of statistical analysis as it applies to the social sciences. Students will also learn to carry out basic statistical analysis with the aid of computer software. This course is intended for students who want a practical introduction to statistical methods and who plan to major in a social science.
Prerequisite: C- or better in a prior Sociology course or permission of instructor.
1.00 units, Lecture
SOCL 214
Racism
A cross-national comparison of racial and ethnic differences as sources of conflict and inequality within and between societies. We will also consider the role of race and ethnicity as a basis for group and national solidarity. Topics will include the persistence of ethnic and racial loyalties in regard to language, marital choice, and politics; a comparison of social mobility patterns among various ethnic and racial groups; ethnicity and race as reactionary or revolutionary ideologies; and the issues and facts regarding assimilation and pluralism in different societies.
1.00 units, Lecture
SOCL 215
Reproductive Justice in America
Women of color, poor women, and young women routinely lack choices in reproductive health because of inequalities built into the structure of society. We will read academic literature on the reproductive justice movement and press coverage of cases that highlight the restriction of women’s reproductive health choices. For example, we will study cases of women arrested for using drugs during pregnancy, denied access to contraception and/or abortion, having parental rights terminated because they chose to give birth at home, or imprisoned for attempting suicide while pregnant. We will also examine organizations that focus on solutions to these problems. The course will end with a field trip to the New York City office of National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW), one such organization.
0.50 units, Seminar
SOCL 222
Sociology of Iran: Society, Culture and Politics
This course will provide students with a sociological understanding of modern Iranian Society and culture with particular attention to post-revolutionary Iran. The class starts with a brief section on the social and cultural history of modern Iran and we will study important scholarly works on the Iranian Revolution of 1979. We will then focus on political and cultural issues in post-revolutionary Iran under the Islamic Republic. We will examine the social and cultural changes taking place in Iran over the past three decades. Some areas we will examine are: consumption and lifestyle; youth and underground culture; love and sexual experiences; public and private sphere; new and old religiosity; leisure time and secularization of time; and Iranian Cinema.
1.00 units, Seminar
SOCL 227
From Hartford to World Cities: Comparative Urban Dynamics
The 21st century is truly a global urban age characterized by the simultaneous decline and revival of post-industrial cities in the United States and the co-existence of boom and poverty in the rapidly industrializing cities in developing countries, as well as by how globalization is exerting a growing impact on urban places and processes everywhere. This course adopts an integrated and comparative approach to studying the local and global characteristics, conditions, and consequences of the growth and transformation of cities and communities. Using Hartford—Trinity's hometown—as a point or place of departure, the course takes students to a set of world or global cities outside the United States, especially a few dynamic mega-cities in developing countries to explore the differences and surprising similarities among them.
1.00 units, Lecture
SOCL 229
Megacities of the Yangtze: Challenges and Opportunities
This course will provide an intensive opportunity to read a selection of the vast literature on China’s cities and to carry out in-depth studies of vital topics and cases in the field. Foci of research will range from the tearing down of traditional neighborhoods to the rapid emergence of exclusive gated communities and from thriving small businesses on the streets of Chongqing or Wuhan to the grandiose mega-projects like the Three Gorges Dam or Dongtan Eco-City in Shanghai. Dean Xiangming Chen will offer both a native/personal and an intellectual and analytical perspective, and insight on these topics and cases to help place the readings and field inquiries in meaningful local contexts. Interfacing with both the history and environmental science courses of the program, this course aims to engage the students in a deep probe of the most daunting social challenges facing the rapidly transforming megacities along the Yangtze River.
0.50 units, Lecture
SOCL 230
Doing Sociological Field Work
The qualitative research enterprise can involve enormous complexities and conundrums unless the researcher is fully acquainted with qualitative methodology. This course will provide students with a basic understanding of various types of qualitative research procedures. Beginning with the formation of the research question, students will learn step-by-step what the qualitative research process entails. We will explore various approaches that fit into the framework of qualitative research, such as doing ethnography, using archival data, and conducting interviews. Students will also learn how to construct and interpret verbal data, such as interviews and biographies, in addition to learning how to work effectively with visual and observational data. The course will also acquaint students with the various ways in which researchers document, analyze, code, and categorize qualitative data. Enrollment limited.
1.00 units, Lecture
SOCL 235
Sociology of Health and Illness
This course explores the relation of physical and mental illness to biochemical corporations, the Environmental Protection Agency, the health insurance industry, and the medical profession. We will examine the influence of such factors as class, gender, race, and ethnicity on patterns of health and illness behavior, explore the social and cultural barriers to medical care, and situate healthcare delivery and health care reforms in their economic and political contexts. A final component of the course will consider how the above concerns affect medical ethics.
1.00 units, Lecture
SOCL 241
Mass Media, Popular Culture, and Social Reality
This course examines the integral role mass communication has in social and cultural life. Specifically, it explores how we identify and construct our social identity using media images. This is accomplished by focusing on different types of media content and their effect on individuals and culture, as well as by examining audience response to media content. Other topics covered include the social and economic organization of mass media, development of communication technologies, and sexist and racist stereotypes in the media.
Prerequisite: C- or better in a prior Sociology course or permission of instructor.
1.00 units, Lecture
SOCL 246
Sociology of Gender
Sex and gender are used as principles of social organization in all known societies. This course surveys research in the sociological study of gender with the goal of providing students with a theoretical grounding for analyzing gender from a sociological perspective. We will explore how our lives and the world around us are shaped by gender and how gender has been constructed over time. We will further examine how sociological research on gender helps us to understand power and inequality at various levels – institutional, organizational, and interactional—by examining various topics such as gender socialization, reproduction, education, work, and violence. We will also pay attention to how gender reinforces and builds upon other areas of inequality such as social class, race, ethnicity, and age.
1.00 units, Lecture
SOCL 250
Urban Sociology
This course will trace the modern city from its roots in the industrial revolution through the current urban transformations brought about by advanced capitalism and globalization. The course will ask why cities are organized the way they are and how their organization affects social conditions and opportunities. Among the factors shaping cities, this course will explore the effects of economic change, immigration, and public policy on the social organization and built environment of cities. With respect to their social consequences, the course will examine, among other issues, economic inequality, racial stratification, community formation, poverty, and urban social movements. It will inquire into how the city is both a contributor to and a container for these social structures and processes.
1.00 units, Lecture
SOCL 260
Sexual Diversity and Society
Sexuality has often been considered to be a natural, biological instinct-a drive that is fueled by hormones, genes or deep psychic impulses. During the last twenty years, however, scholars (including sociologists) have challenged this view of sexuality. Instead, they argue that how we organize our sexuality-our desires, ideas, value systems, practices and identities-are profoundly shaped by social and cultural influences. Although this course focuses on the social construction of homosexuality, we will also examine the many ways that normative as well as nonnormative sexualities are socially constructed. We will also examine the many ways that the social construction of sexuality is informed by class, gender, race and ethnicity. Using materials from sociology and from the many other disciplines that are working in the areas of lesbian and gay studies and queer theory, we will explore the impact that history, economics, social structure and cultural logics have had on sexual behaviors, identities, and belief systems. Enrollment limited.
1.00 units, Lecture
SOCL 272
Social Movements
The sociological study of social movements concentrates on collective action by groups that use institutionalized and non-institutionalized action to promote or inhibit social and political change. This course, then, examines collective action as diverse as peasant rebellions against urbanization and commercialization in 18th-century France to the organized militancy of lesbians and gays in 20th-century U.S. We will read historical and sociological research that addresses the following questions: why collective action emerged, how it was organized, what its goals were and if it achieved those goals, how members were recruited and maintained, and how elites and non-elites responded to its activities.
1.00 units, Lecture
SOCL 280
Women and Work
This course is an overview of women’s experience with paid and unpaid work, both domestically and internationally. We cover theoretical and empirical literature that examines historical and contemporary patterns of work done by women and the relationship of these patterns to political and economic structures of society. Specific issues discussed in the course include gender discrimination, sexual harassment, occupational sex segregation, earning differentials between men and women, the division of labor by sex within households, and the relationship between paid and unpaid labor.
1.00 units, Lecture
SOCL 290
Race, Class, and Gender
This course is about race, class, and gender, as they structure identities, opportunities, and social outcomes. Some questions asked are: Are systemic hierarchies inevitable in human social organization? What are ways that the problems associated with race, class, and gender can be meaningfully addressed? How do one's racial, class, and gender characteristics affect one's life chances? Why? As well, this course stresses critical thought when studying these social issues.
1.00 units, Lecture
SOCL 306
The Sociology of Globalization
This course examines the historical emergence of and contemporary issues surrounding globalization. Students will be expected to become knowledgeable about global social issues, learn the sociological theories that attempt to explain the globalization process, and become familiar with the empirical data social scientists use in their analyses of global social relations. Particular emphasis will be placed on global economic, political, and social structures (e.g., Multinational Corporations and the World Trade Organization). Further, the course will explore the effects of globalization on social inequality and social problems. Students will be asked to identify a particular global issue on which they wish to do independent reading and/or field study and to share their work in oral presentations and research papers.
Prerequisite: C- or better in a prior Sociology course or permission of the instructor. This course is not open to first-year students.
1.00 units, Lecture
SOCL 310
Sociology of Education
This course will apply sociological perspective to the institution of education. In the process we will explore how and why education continues to evolve as an institution, its relationship to other institutions and the various types and uses of education in our society. The symbolic importance of various types of education will be explored relative to the life chances of "students" and the power they may come to wield in a society where the flow of information is becoming increasingly significant. Who defines and what are the contemporary problems of education will conclude the course.
Prerequisite: C- or better in a prior Sociology course or permission of the instructor. This course is not open to first-year students.
1.00 units, Lecture
SOCL 312
Social Class and Mobility
This course is an introduction to the theory and research on stratification and mobility in modern societies. Every society distributes resources unequally. This distribution affects not only economic outcomes such as wages, profits, and material well being, but also social and political outcomes such as protest, voting behavior, and self-esteem. This course will explore why this occurs, the types of inequalities that exist, and the consequences of inequality for the distribution of power and for democratic processes in American society. Specific topics include class, occupational, race and gender inequalities, and the social, psychological, and cultural consequences of inequality.
Prerequisite: C- or better in a prior Sociology course or permission of the instructor. This course is not open to first-year students.
1.00 units, Lecture
SOCL 316
Global Gender Inequalities
Global Gender Inequalities: This course broadly addresses women’s low status and power worldwide. Topics include issues such as son preference, gendered violence, maternal health and reproductive rights, sexual rights, work and household labor, globalization, politics, human rights, and women’s global activism. Utilizing a transnational sociological feminist perspective, students learn how gender inequality intersects with not only culture but also nationalism, racism, and economic injustice in various countries and regions of the world (Southeast Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and South America). At several key points, students engage in critical comparison between examples of gender oppression and exploitation observed in both the United States and other societies (i.e., gendered violence), which reveal a false binary in the discourse of progress often drawn between “us” and “them.”
1.00 units, Lecture
SOCL 321
Pattrns and Processes of American Cities
This course will focus on the theoretical examination of the process of urbanization, urban stratification systems, urban ecology, community power, suburban-urban relationships and the effects of urban living on individuals. The applicability of such sociological knowledge for understanding urban institutions, problems, and experiences will also be examined.
Prerequisite: C- or better in a prior Sociology course or permission of the instructor. This course is not open to first-year students.
1.00 units, Lecture
SOCL 324
Sociological Perspectives of the American Civil Rights Movement
This course will examine the development of the American Civil Rights Movement from roughly the World War II period through the beginning of the Black Power era in the mid-to-late 1960's, treating that history as a case study in the problematics of deliberate social change. We will emphasize the kinds of questions most typically asked by sociologists, examine the various waves of scholarship on the movement generated by sociologists, and explore the implications of their findings produced about the movement for American popular culture and intellectual thought. We will also pay close attention to the interplay of ideology and program within the movement, the consequences of organizational structure, and the movement's political and economic consequences.
Prerequisite: C- or better in a prior Sociology course or permission of the instructor. This course is not open to first-year students.
1.00 units, Lecture
SOCL 325
Sociology of Law
This course offers a sociological perspective on the law, as well as the causes and consequences of the legal system. Topics covered include a comparison of scientific and legal modes of inquiry, the uses and importance of social science findings in judicial and policy decision-making, social factors affecting jury selection and jury decisions, racial and class inequalities and the law, law as a form of social control, legal organizations and professions, and law as an instrument of social change.
Prerequisite: C- or better in a prior Sociology course or permission of the instructor. This course is not open to first-year students.
1.00 units, Lecture
SOCL 328
Sociological Perspectives on Health and Gender
Gender issues influence both the way in which health is defined and the way health care delivery systems are organized and financed. The changing status of women has important consequences for public policy as well as private practice. Using a sociological perspective which incorporates historical material, the course will focus on: the social and historical context in which health is defined, race and class inequities in access to health services, gender issues in the professions, and the influence of the women’s movement in creating alternative health care systems. Students will complete a CLI component in the course, which requires that they volunteer 20 hours in an organization that deals with health.
Prerequisite: C- or better in a prior Sociology course or permission of the instructor. This course is not open to first-year students.
1.00 units, Lecture
SOCL 331
Masculinity
In every society the behavior and attitudes expected of men differ from those expected of women. What is distinctive about being a male? How does this vary across cultures, over time and among different groups in the same society? How are change and variation explained? What contemporary dilemmas do men face in the United States, particularly as a result of erosion in the boundaries between the roles of breadwinner and homemaker? What consequences does growing gender equality have for fatherhood and human sexual behavior? This course draws on studies in a number of disciplines to answer these questions and to explore the new scholarship on men and society.
Prerequisite: C- or better in a prior Sociology course or permission of the instructor. This course is not open to first-year students.
1.00 units, Lecture
SOCL 336
Race, Racism, and Democracy
This course is designed to explore various efforts to reconcile ideals of equality with persistent and perpetual forms of racial oppression. By examining the history and culture of the U.S. and other democratic societies, this course analyzes the central paradox that emerges when societies maintain racial inequality but articulate principles of equality, freedom, and justice for all. Hence we will examine the differences between what people say and what they actually do, and how congruencies and incongruencies between the structure of institutions and culture force one to distinguish myth from reality. This is done so that students can better understand how the structure and process of politics govern the everyday lives of oppressed racial groups in capitalist democracies.
Prerequisite: C- or better in a prior Sociology course or permission of the instructor. This course is not open to first-year students.
1.00 units, Lecture
SOCL 338
Black Women and Social Change
This course examines the role of African American women in movements for social change. From the abolitionist movement to the Civil Rights movement and beyond, African American women have played significant roles in the Black freedom struggle. Yet, their contributions have largely been ignored. This course will highlight the diversity of experiences of African American women in a variety of protest and social change movements. Using a variety of theoretical perspectives available in sociology, anthropology and women's studies we will explore the combined impact of race, class, and gender oppression and how these dynamics affect women's roles as organizers and leaders. We will also evaluate the utility of these perspectives in studying other groups of marginalized women in American society.
Prerequisite: C- or better in a prior Sociology course or permission of the instructor. This course is not open to first-year students.
1.00 units, Lecture
SOCL 342
Sociology of Religion
An examination of the significance of religion for social life, using major sociological theories of religion, supplemented by material from anthropology and psychology. The course focuses on how religious beliefs and practices shape the world views and behavior of humans and influence the development of social structure. The following topics are examined: the origins of religion, magic and science, rituals, religion and the economy, women and religion, and religions of Africans in diaspora.
Prerequisite: C- or better in a prior Sociology course or permission of the instructor. This course is not open to first-year students.
1.00 units, Lecture
SOCL 344
World Population
A population can change in just three ways: through births, deaths and migration. But to understand population change and its consequences entails examining nearly all aspects of society. This course concerns world patterns of population change and explanations for that change, although it concentrates on the population of the United States. The connection between population and social problems is a central focus. The diverse measures of population are explained so that students can correctly interpret patterns of change and appreciate why the measures are commonly misunderstood.
Prerequisite: C- or better in a prior Sociology course or permission of the instructor. This course is not open to first-year students.
1.00 units, Lecture
SOCL 351
Society, State, and Power
This course examines the sources of power and influence in Western nations. Power flows to people who command a legal, political, or institutional monopoly over valued human resources. We will examine the development of these monopolies, the organizations that perpetuate these monopolies, and the consequences that these monopolies have for our personal and political lives as well as for notions of democracy, solidarity, and freedom. In this respect, we will focus much of our attention on the institutions of state and economy in U.S. society and evaluate the different theoretical perspectives that explain how these institutions confer power on some and deny that power to others. Specific topics include power struggles around the right to representation, for control in the workplace, against racism and discrimination, and over policies to aid the poor.
Prerequisite: C- or better in a prior Sociology course or permission of the instructor. This course is not open to first-year students.
1.00 units, Lecture
SOCL 355
Reproduction, Birth, and Power
This course examines topics related to reproductive practices, experiences, and ideologies through current, historical, and cross-cultural lenses. Through our study of specific topics such as contraception, prenatal testing, assisted reproductive technologies, and women’s pregnancy and birth experiences, we will explore the constructed and contested meanings surrounding womanhood, motherhood, sexuality, reproductive freedom, and eugenics. We will pay attention to how the construction of and struggle over these issues are indicators of the status of women in society and have profound effects on women's lives and bodies. This course has a community learning component.
Prerequisite: C- or better in a prior Sociology course or permission of instructor.
1.00 units, Seminar
SOCL 363
The Individual and Society
An introduction to microsociology. Topics to be considered include the self and symbolic interaction, conversational analysis, rhetorical and frame analysis, and the social construction of reality.
1.00 units, Lecture
SOCL 399
Independent Study
Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor and chairperson are required for enrollment.
1.00 units min / 2.00 units max, Independent Study
SOCL 410
Senior Seminar: Guided Research
This course provides a capstone to the sociology major by guiding students through the various stages of the research process. Students develop a research topic, situate that topic in the relevant substantive areas of the discipline, refocus that topic in light of past research and theoretical thinking on the topic, develop a research design best suited to the questions to be addressed, and collect and analyze data to answer those questions. In the process of this guided research, students review and assess the state of the discipline as it pertains to their particular interests, conduct literature reviews before the data collection process to focus their questions and after the data collection process to situate their specific findings in the discipline. In conjunction with the social science data specialist, students explore different methodologies to address their questions and analyze the data.
This course is open only to senior Sociology majors.
1.00 units, Seminar
SOCL 420
Senior Seminar: Special Topics
The course provides a capstone to the sociology major by focusing on a specific subject, a new substantive area, theoretical approach, or neglected paradigm of the discipline. Students read broadly on the topic, discuss the implications of the topic for the state of sociology as a science, as a field of critical inquiry, and as a vehicle for social change, give presentations on some aspect of the topic, and conduct independent research that relates the topic to trends in the discipline.
1.00 units, Seminar
SOCL 466
Teaching Assistantship
Credit does not count toward the major. Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor and chairperson are required for enrollment.
0.50 units min / 1.00 units max, Independent Study
SOCL 490
Research Assistantship
From time to time the opportunity exists for students to assist professors in their research. Hours and duties will be determined on the basis of project needs and student interests. Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor and chairperson are required for enrollment.
0.50 units min / 1.00 units max, Independent Study
SOCL 498
Senior Thesis Part 1
Written report on original research project. Students should consult with the faculty supervisor before registration, i.e., during the previous spring term. Required of all candidates for honors; elective for others. Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor and chairperson are required for each semester of this year
2.00 units, Independent Study
SOCL 499
Senior Thesis Part 2
Continuation of written report on an original research project. Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor and chairperson are required for each semester of this year-long thesis. (2 course credits, considered pending in the first semester, will be awarded for completion in the second semester)
2.00 units, Independent Study