B.A. Sociology - Course Descriptions

SOC 1010 The Individual in Society (4)
This course serves as an introduction to the science of sociology. Through sociological readings, class discussions, and visual media we will explore prominent sociological principles, concepts, theories, and ideas. Emphasis will be placed on applying sociological insights to understanding various facets of contemporary life and how we as individuals are influenced by the various social environments and social institutions in which we interact. Fulfills Area II social science requirement.

SOC 2018 Research Methods in Political Science and Sociology (4)
Research in the social sciences has transformed public policy in recent decades, but how can we be confident that this research is yielding valid results rather than just the biased preferences of researchers? This course answers this question by surveying the primary techniques that political scientists and sociologists use to describe and explain individual, group, and national behaviors. Course topics will include ethical considerations, project design, hypothesis development and testing, and the reporting of results. The methodologies investigated will include practices such as interviewing and observation, focus groups, survey research, content analysis, and various types of statistical analysis. Students will gain hands-on research experience in exercises and small projects. Prerequisites: Except by instructor consent, this class is restricted to political science and sociology majors

SOC 2020 Sociology of Mass Communication (4)
The course examines the complex interplay between mass communication and social life and the messages that are communicated and received. Students will critically engage all forms of mass media, ranging from traditional print, radio, and television to the new information technologies: the Internet, Facebook and YouTube. Discussions will involve the mass media's role in socializing mass audiences. The social, economic and political systems that influence and are influenced by the mass media will also be explored. Fulfills Area II social science requirement.

SOC 2030 Sociology of the Family (4)
The course will provide a survey of the American family, including racial ethnic variation within the family. Recent transformations of the family will be emphasized. Topics will include cohabitation, civil unions, marriage, divorce, remarriage, parenting, provision of care to aging family members, and domestic violence. The effect of public policy on family formation and function will be examined. Fulfills Area II social science requirement.

SOC 2040 Race and Ethnicity (4)
This course is an introduction to the sociology of race and ethnicity. The course surveys general theoretical approaches to race and ethnicity and applies them to specific historical developments in American race relations. Specific contemporary issues will be addressed in the course, including: racial/ethnic identity, residential segregation, immigration, education, and affirmative action. Emphasis will be given to the intersection of race/ethnicity, class and gender. Fulfills Area II social science requirement.

SOC 2050 Classical Theory and Contemporary Applications (4)
An overview of key axioms and principles in social thought and their importance in the development of classical and contemporary sociological theory. Emphasis will be placed on the contributions of Karl Marx, Max Weber, Emile Durkheim and Georg Simmel to classical sociological theory and the practical application of their theoretical insights to understanding select facets of modern life. Major themes to be examined include the effects of social distance and separation on community and the contemporary process of rationalization as reflected in the McDonaldization of society. Prerequisites: One other sociology course

SOC 2060 Sociology of Culture, Religion, and Society (4)
This course is designed to explore the role of religion in U.S. society. Three key questions will guide the course: How does religion influence society and individual or group behavior? How does society influence religion? What role does religion play in modern society? Particular attention will be given to unconventional religious groups, religious practices and beliefs of recent immigrants, as well as significant changes in U.S. society and the effect of those changes on religious practices and attitudes. Fulfills Area II social science requirement.

SOC 2070 Sociological Social Psychology (4)
Social psychology is a field that bridges the disciplines of sociology and psychology. Broadly defined, social psychology is the study of the individual in society: how individuals, as social beings, are created by society and how society is in turn created and sustained by individuals. This course will focus primarily on the sociological side of social psychology from the symbolic interactionist perspective. This means our analysis will focus on social interaction as the means by which "reality" is created and sustained. We will be especially attentive to talk-in-interaction as the central activity through which the social organization of our everyday lives is produced. Fulfills Area II social science requirement.

SOC 2282 Players, Gamers, and Game Cultures (4)
Examination of games and gaming culture with a focus on players. Particular emphasis on emergent cultures, socialization processes and normative practices, and identity. Prerequisites: ENG 102

SOC 3020 Appalachian Society and Nonprofits (A Travel America Course) (4)
This course is designed to integrate a sociological examination of a specific region with knowledge regarding how nonprofits respond to the challenges and strengths of their community. The culture, social institutions, social problems and the organizational responses to them in the Appalachian region will be examined. Fall Break will be spent exploring a specific region of Appalachia to learn more thoroughly about the culture of the region, the challenges facing the locale, and how specific nonprofits are addressing the needs of their community. Student self-directed research will be emphasized throughout the course. Prerequisites: One other sociology course or permission of instructor, Junior or Senior status

SOC 3030 Sociology of Health and Illness (4)
Medical knowledge, practice, and technology, as well as the experience of health and illness, are socially shaped and organized. This course will examine how health is defined in society, the meaning and experience of physical and mental illness, the organization of the U.S. health care system, the profession of medicine, and bioethical issues. Prerequisites: One other course in sociology or permission of instructor. Fulfills Area II social science requirement

SOC 3040 Social & Global Inequalities (4)
A study of the various factors that both contribute to and reduce social and global inequalities. Emphasis is placed on the intersection of race, ethnicity, class, and gender as a basis for inequality. The effects of globalization on inequality are also considered and various theoretical explanations for inequality are examined. Prerequisites: One other sociology course

SOC 3060 International Migration (4)
International migration is a global phenomenon and is increasing as more and more people move from their place of birth to live, work, and possibly settle in other countries. The course will examine the factors that contribute to the increase in international migration as well as the effect of migration on nations, particularly receiving nations. In addition, the course will address the process by which immigrants become integrated in their new country. Issues of membership and belonging, both in terms of group identification as well as in the context of citizenship will also receive attention in the course. An analysis of race, class, and gender will be integrated into the course. Prerequisites: One other sociology course. Fulfills Area II Social Science Requirement

SOC 3070 The Social Construction of Deviance (4)
How sociologists think of deviance is much different than the view held by the general public. Sociology does not classify behaviors as absolutely moral or immoral but views behavior in relative terms. This course will focus on the following aspects of deviance: How it is defined; the theoretical explanations offered for it; the methodologies used by sociologists who study it; the process by which deviance is socially constructed; how individuals and groups manage the shame and stigma accompanying a deviant identity; how deviants organize their lives; the characteristics associated with the different types of deviant acts; and how individuals enter into and exit out of deviant careers. Students will be expected to engage in observational research and may collaborate with the instructor in performing field experiments with IRB approval. Prerequisites: None. Fulfills Area II Social Science Requirement

SOC 3344 Media Representations: Race, Class and Gender (4)
A study of the assumptions and representations of mainstream media, concerning matters of gender, race and ethnicity, sexuality, ability and more. Round-table discussion class. Prerequisites: ENG 102

SOC 3374 Women and Culture (4)
An interdisciplinary survey of a wide range of topics and themes that are important to an understanding of women's status, roles, and experiences.

SOC 3384 Hip-Hop Culture (4)
A theoretical exploration of the social impact and cultural contributions of hip hop. Emphasis is given to its intersection with race, gender, sexuality, nationality, economics, and politics as well as its rhetorical roots. Prerequisites: ENG 102

SOC 4000 Environment & Society (4)
Throughout history humans have altered their environments to suit their purposes and desires often with little thought give to possible long-term consequences. This course explores those purposes and analyzes from both a sociological and anthropological perspective the social causes and consequences of environmental change. Specifically, we will focus on the relationships between the social and physical environments and the role politics, technology, and global inequalities play. We will also explore how humans might reverse the destructive course we are on in a way that is both responsible and sustainable for future generations of humans and other species. Prerequisites: One other sociology course. Fulfills Area II social science requirement

SOC 4010 Visual Sociology and Social Documentation (4)
Visual sociology explores the social world through both the content and context of visual mediums such as film, photography and video. Topics to be explored include: How meaning is created and transmitted visually; how visual media can be used to communicate sociological understandings to professional and public audiences; how innovative 21st century technologies are transforming contemporary social life and the consequences associated with these changes. In addition, appropriate methodologies and theories applicable to the collection and analysis of all kinds of visual texts will be discussed so that students may engage in social documentation with an aim toward capturing social conditions with the use of the camera and video recorder as an observational and documentary tool. Prerequisites: Permission of Instructor

SOC 4015 Sociology of Work and Family (4)
Work and family are social institutions that around which many individuals organize their lives. The course will explore questions that address the interconnection of work and family: How do jobs affect family life? What effect does family life have on men's and women's experiences in the paid labor market? How effectively do existing policies address the challenges faced by working families? Although the course will focus on contemporary U.S. society, comparison to one or more non-US countries will be made. Prerequisites: One other sociology course

SOC 4018 Research Practicum (4)
Students collaborate with one or more members of the sociology faculty on a research topic the faculty member is conducting or on a research topic initiated by the student. Opportunities may also exist for students to participate in research projects being conducted by the university survey research center. One to No more than four credits per semester and no more than eight credits counted toward major requirements. Prerequisites: SOC-/ PSC 2018 and SOC-2050; permission of instructor and department chair

SOC 4020 Senior Thesis I (2)
Independent research leading to a thesis examining a sociological question in depth. This represents the first part of a two semester project which focuses on the design and completion of a year-long research project. Students select a member of the sociology faculty to serve as their thesis advisor. In consultation with their advisor, students will select a research topic, write a literature review, choose a data collection method, write and defend a research proposal and submit a research application for IRB approval. Prerequisites: Sociology major and Senior status, SOC-/ PSC 2018 and SOC-2050

SOC 4021 Senior Thesis II (2)
Independent research leading to a thesis examining a sociological question in depth. This represents the second part of a two semester project which focuses on the design and completion of a year-long research project. In consultation with their thesis advisor, students will collect data, analyze results, write up a research report and make an oral defense of their thesis before a panel consisting of sociology faculty and one faculty member outside sociology. Students will also be expected to make a public presentation of their findings to either an academic or non-academic audience. Prerequisites: SOC-4020 with a grade of C-or higher