Sociology/ Anthropology Department

Sociology and Anthropology Course Descriptions

Course Levels in Sociology/Anthropology

100s
Topic: Broad introductions
Target audience: Everyone, especially freshmen
Content delivery: Interactive lectures
Reading: Texts and short additional assigned readings, generally not dense works
Assessment: Multiple exams, short writing assignments (responsive), small projects
Class size: 30

200s
Topic: Specialized by regions, social categories, subfields of disciplines
Target audience: Everyone, particularly those with interest in the specialization
Content delivery: Mixture of lecture and discussion, students are expected to respond to the daily reading
Reading: Few textbooks, more of an emphasis on scholarly publications; 60-80 pages per week
Assessment: Some exams, short research papers, written responses to reading, group projects, presentations
Class size: 20-25

300s
Topic: Specialized areas of the field
Target audience: Majors or students with a strong interest in the topic. Some prior knowledge of the field is expected.
Content delivery: Discussion based on the readings or research
Reading: Emphasis on scholarly publications, often incorporating social theory; 80-100 pages per week
Assessment: Written responses to reading, major research paper, presentations, essay exams 
Class size: 15

400s
Topic: Senior seminars or selected topics courses
Target audience: Seniors only for 497/480; see 300-level description for selected topics courses
Content delivery: Discussions of their independent research; see 300-level description for selected topics courses
Reading: Few common articles for 497/480; see 300-level description for selected topics courses
Assessment: Write a major research paper, completing relevant tasks along the way; see 300-level description for selected topics courses
Class size: 15

Sociology Courses

SOCI 110 Introduction to Sociology (SB)

The methods, concepts, and applications of sociological knowledge emphasizing culture, interaction, groups, institutions, order, and change.  

SOCI 210 Social Statistics

An introduction to statistical techniques and analysis commonly used in sociology and the social sciences, with an emphasis on using and interpreting basic descriptive and inferential statistics. Topics of inquiry include tabular and graphical presentation of data, measures of central tendency probability theory, confidence intervals, chi-square, ANOVA, and regression analysis. The course involves hands-on computer experience using statistical software and analysis of existing datasets.

SOCI 250 Sociology of the Family (CW, SB)

An examination of the institution of the family with a focus on modern American families. The course focuses on variation and inequality between families and the role of gender in shaping family roles, family policy, and cultural expectations. We use recent sociological research and data to understand the characteristics of American families, the social forces affecting families, and current debates regarding marriage, divorce, child-rearing, and work/family policies. Although the primary emphasis is on the U.S., a comparative context is cultivated.

SOCI 255 Gender in Film and Television (CW, SB) [UR]

Gender is portrayed in and produced through film and television. The course examines key concepts of gender by examining how masculinities and femininities are portrayed in film and television and shaped by categories of race/ethnicity, class, and sexuality. Students are introduced to content analysis and use it to produce research about contemporary media trends.

SOCI 270 Race and Ethnicity (CW, SB)

A consideration of the evolving patterns of conflict and cooperation among racial and ethnic groups. Major attention is given to the socially constructed nature of group identities based on ethnicity and race; racist ideologies, prejudices, stereotypes and various forms of discrimination; as well as the ongoing struggles for social justice.

SOCI 285 Topics in Social Justice/Movements (SB)

This course focuses on a specific area of activism for social justice. Students are introduced to theories, research, and ways of studying social movements. The course topic rotates depending on the faculty member teaching the course, current events, and student interest. Possible foci include: transnational activism, environmental justice, U.S. civil rights movements, global women’s movements sexuality and family movements, peace activism in a global context, and sustainability movements.

SOCI 300 The Urban Community (CW, SB)

Emphasis on a sociological understanding of urban and community processes. Topics of special interest include the political economy of cities, growth, housing, urban revitalization, architecture and use of space, design for sustainability, and cross cultural comparisons.

SOCI 306 Exploring Nature Writing (EA) [AC]

Students are invited to explore what nature means as an idea and an experience, and to arrive at an enriched understanding of their own relationship to nature through creative writing. Readings include selected examples from literature (particularly creative nonfiction essays, with some fiction and poetry) and sociology. The primary emphasis of the course is on creative writing and attentiveness to form and purpose in an interdisciplinary context. Cross-listed as ENGC 306.

SOCI 310 Gender and Sexuality (CW, SB)

An examination of gender and sexuality as socially constructed categories of identity and social position. The course explores the ways in which gender and sexuality are structurally rooted in the institutions of society and groups. Issues of gender and sexuality are examined as they intersect with race, social class, and other markers of self and societal status. Micro and macro level relations of power are emphasized around themes of liberation and oppression.

SOCI 317 Society, Culture, and History (HP, SB)

How do anthropologists and sociologists use history to understand human thought and behavior? How do historians draw on the social sciences to understand the past? This course considers the interaction between the social sciences and history in interdisciplinary fields such as cultural history, historical sociology, oral history, historical archaeology, and ethnohistory. Students learn to critically evaluate sources to understand the past and human thought and behavior. Students develop a research project that integrates different sources of information to understand the social life and culture of a particular people, place, and time. Cross-listed as ANTH 317. 

SOCI 335 Sociological Research Methods (SB) [UR]

An overview of the major research methods used in sociology, including ethnographic fieldwork, social experiments, content analysis, and survey research. The focus is on applied projects as well as on a theoretical understanding of debates over the role of science in social investigation. A prior statistics course is recommended. Prerequisites: one of the following courses: SOCI 110, ANTH 100, or permission of the instructor. Recommended: one of the following courses: BUSI 250, MATH 215, or PSYC 290.

SOCI 340 Food, Culture, and Nature (CW, SB)

A sociological look at food in the context of cultural beliefs and social practices, from small-scale face-to-face interactions to the role of food in global systems. Some topics of interest include the relationship of food to community, understandings about nature, social justice and inequality, definitions of health, concepts of the body, celebration, and new technologies.

SOCI 360 Social Change/Social Movements (CW, SB)

While social change is an enormous topic, this course opens up some major questions relating to the study of social change. It begins with a look at processes of social change in general, and then focuses on the sociological study of collective behavior and organized movements to produce (and resist) social change. Selected past and present movements — from the local to the transnational — are included.

SOCI 362 Images of the City (HP)

This course takes an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the city. Using images of the city recorded in literature and the visual arts, it examines the city as a symbol reflecting changing ideas about self and society, social order and change, and the relationship between nature and culture.

SOCI 365 Picturing Society: Readings in Social Thought (SB, W2) [UR]

Sociological theorists look for ways to “picture” society by mapping the invisible patterns of social relationships that make up human societies. This course explores how that picture changes as we move from key modern to postmodern sociological thinkers. The theories relate to a variety of contemporary issues including community, power, identity, gender, globalization, knowledge production, and the social construction of space, time, and meaning. Prerequisite: SOCI 110 or consent of instructor.

SOCI 375 Environmental Sociology (CW, SB)

A sociological approach to human-nature relationships, with a focus on social constructions of nature, major social groups that have a stake in defining environmental issues, environmental policy (local and global), the role of technology and of the scientific community in shaping environmental outcomes, the environmental movement and counter-movement, the evolving concept of “environmental justice,” and designs for sustainability.

SOCI 380 Medicine and Culture (CW, SB)

An examination of how social and cultural contexts shape the practice of medicine and the experience of health and illness. Some key topics include: social beliefs about the healthy and sick body; cross-cultural comparisons of health care systems; the social organization of medical training, practice, and research; shifting technological, ethical, and legal environments of medicine; health and social inequality; and social change movements relating to health.

SOCI 385 Topics in Sociology

This course focuses on a specific area of activism for social justice. Students are introduced to theories, research, and ways of studying social movements. This course can be repeated for additional credits as long as the section topics are different. A recently offered topic is Travel and Tourism. Consult the online course schedule for information about topics currently scheduled to be taught.

SOCI 390 Social Inequality and Identity (CW, SB)

How and why power, wealth and prestige are unequally distributed in terms of gender, race, and social class. Ideological justifications, the consequences for individuals and societies, and the personal and public strategies employed to address the problems associated with structural inequality are considered. Crosslisted course that alternates between SOCI 390 and ANTH 390.

SOCI 480 Advanced Research Practicum (SB, W2) [UR]

An experiential learning course designed to involve students in an ongoing research program. Students participate in the research program of an instructor and thus learn by doing. Instructor and content rotate. Each student completes a thesis at the end of the semester. Prerequisites: one of the following courses: SOCI 335, ANTH 300, ANTH 302; and one of the following courses: SOCI 365, ANTH 365; and consent of instructor.

SOCI 497 Advanced Research and Writing (SB) [UR/SW]

In addition to reading about and discussing current issues in sociological and anthropological research and practice, each student completes a thesis based on a prior research topic in order to apply and demonstrate his or her level of knowledge in the major. Prerequisites: one of the following courses: SOCI 335, ANTH 300, ANTH 302; and one of the following courses: SOCI 365, ANTH 365; and consent of instructor if not a senior sociology/anthropology major.

Anthropology Courses

ANTH 100 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (SB)

An examination of the total range of human cultural diversity. The goal is to understand the enormous diversity of human culture, and to understand why and how different ways of life have arisen. This course introduces the basic principles of social-cultural anthropology, designed to provide insight into the cultural aspects of human ways of life. Examples from cultures around the world are used to illustrate concepts introduced in class.

ANTH 102 Introduction to Archaeology and Physical Anthropology (SB)

Companion course to ANTH 100 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, covering two sub-disciplines of anthropology. An examination of the evolution of humans from earliest known ancestors in Africa to the rise of complex societies. The focus is on biological and cultural change and its consequences as deduced from methods analyzing fossil and material culture evidence.

ANTH 200 Buried Cities and Lost Tribes (HP, SB)

A global survey of the great archaeological discoveries and their implications for contemporary anthropological studies of human cultural evolution and variation. The course covers five continents and time periods, ranging from human origins to the rise and collapse of recent empires.

ANTH 205 Food, Nutrition and Health in Asia

How does the world’s most populous continent meet the population’s nutritional needs? This course utilizes nutritional anthropology for a discussion on nutrition and malnutrition within Asian cultures’ diets and foodways. We discuss specific illnesses associated with nutritional insufficiency and factors that amplify or ameliorate those illnesses. This course discusses foodways as a holistic expression of culture, including ecology, religion and social structure. Students appreciate the innovative and delicious ways that Asian cultures have met nutritional needs within resource-limited areas and how those strategies are changing. Cross listed as ASIA 205. 

ANTH 230 Cultures of the United States-Mexico Borderlands (CW, SB)

An exploration of ethnographic representations of the U.S.-Mexico border and the theoretical orientations of border scholars. Both practical and theoretical problems of the region are examined using materials concerning the U.S.-Mexico border and the various cultural groups that inhabit this contested space. Through the study of the historical and contemporary sociocultural patterns of borderlands, implications for social science in general are discussed.

ANTH 235 Peoples and Cultures of Latin America (CW, SB)

An overview of culture and social life in Latin America with some historical context. Topics examined include the legacy of European colonialism, indigenous cultures, and the influence of the contemporary global economy and transnational migration. Both ethnographic representations and hands-on research are used to learn about this diverse and fascinating region.

ANTH 240 Applying Anthropology (SB)

An examination of the ways anthropology is used outside of a pure academic context. Students study how anthropological theory and methods are used in a variety of contexts and how they benefit society. This course also emphasizes the impact of applied anthropology on the development of American anthropology as a whole, and how it has advanced our theoretical knowledge of culture and human behavior.

ANTH 245 Maya Peoples: Global Citizens & Ancient Culture (SB)

This course provides an ethnographic overview of Maya peoples, an indigenous population of southern Mexico and northern Central America with a rich history and a vibrant culture. Key topics to be considered are the historical legacy of colonialism; Maya patterns of social organization, community, and spiritual life; and recent changes connected to state violence, migration, and political organization among Maya populations. Through a consideration of texts written by anthropologists and other non-Maya scholars and those created by Maya peoples themselves, students achieve a more thorough understanding of this important Latin American indigenous group.

ANTH 250 Visual Anthropology (CW, SB)

In an increasingly visually-oriented world, this course focuses on the use of photographs and film to represent people from various cultures, as well as the use of film by indigenous groups to represent themselves. We learn about cultures through visual and narrative means, and critically analyze the filmmaking process, as well as other forms of visual media.  

ANTH 280 Anthropology of Gender (SB)

This course traces the development of the study of gender in Anthropology. Key issues covered include the impact of the Feminist Movement on the discipline, women and work, and gender roles and sexualities across cultures.

ANTH 300 Ethnographic Methods (SB) [UR]

Examines historical development of ethnographic writing through reading of classic and contemporary ethnographies, as well as critical texts on changing ethnographic methods. Field projects using a variety of ethnographic methods.

ANTH 301 Exploring the Museum (SB)
For centuries museums existed in Euro-American culture as passive and uncritically accepted "Curiosity Cabinets." With the recent turn in social sciences toward greater self-awareness and examination of underlying assumption of objectivity, the museum has attracted attention as a domain of expression about identity, heritage, and otherness. This course aims to review, contemporary thought on the museum through recent literature that examines concepts of inclusion/exclusion, repatriation, globalization, and interactive technologies that reveal museums as dynamic and contested institutions.
ANTH 302 Archaeological Methods (SB)

A basic introduction to field and laboratory methods employed by archaeologists, including survey, excavation, artifact curation and analyses, and database development and analysis. The practical methods of archaeological research are developed to provide students with experience necessary for employment in the field. Prerequisite: ANTH 102.

ANTH 305 Asian Medical Traditions

This course provides an overview of traditional medicine, specific to the Asian context. The course covers ethnomedicine and ethnopharmacology, epidemiology, Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine, Culture Bound Syndromes, mental health, shamanism, and the influence and role of biomedicine in Asia. We discuss the cultural and historical context specific to the medical traditions and changes in health seeking behavior due to globalization and culture change. Cross listed as ASIA 305.

ANTH 310 Anthropology and Education (SB)

An examination of the history of anthropology and education as a discipline, with coverage of educational ethnographies and discussions of the theory used and produced in educational research around the globe. Special attention is paid to the relevance of social categories or identities in the differential educational success of students.

ANTH 311 Indigenous Politics in the Americas (SB)

This course provides an overview of indigenous politics and social movements through a comparative examination of indigenous politics and movements in several countries in highland and lowland South America, Central America, the United States, and Canada. Major topics include the historical legacy of colonialism and nation building, indigenous land claims, language and cultural revitalization, citizenship, ethnicity, and globalization. Students develop their knowledge and skills in order to advance their own definitions and analyses of indigenous politics through a critical examination of the rapidly growing literature on this current and important issue. Cross listed as POLI 311.

ANTH 312 Land of the Ancestors (SB)
For centuries musums existed in Euro-American culture as passive and uncritically accepted "Curiosity Cabinets." With the recent turn in social sciences toward greater self-awareness and examination of underlying assumption of objectivity, the museum has attracted attention as a domain of expression about identity, heritage, and otherness. This course aims to review, contemporary thought on the museum through recent literature that examines concepts of inclusion/exclusion, repatriation, globalization, and interactive technologies that reveal museums as dynamic and contested institutions.
ANTH 314 Globalization and Religion (CW, VA)

This course focuses on the dynamics of globalization as they affect people’s religious and spiritual self-understandings. Particular focus is on modernization in Latin America and China. For China, emphasis is placed on an intellectual movement in China called “Constructive Postmodernism” which seeks to integrate Western and Chinese ways of thinking into a single whole. Emphasis is also placed on the rise of Christianity and Buddhism, and on the orientations of people who think of themselves as “spiritually interested but not religiously affiliated.” For Latin American, discussion centers on the concept of syncretism, both in an historical context and in contemporary society, and on the ways in which religious affiliation connects to other aspects of an individual’s social identity. Cross-listed as RELI 314.

ANTH 317 Society, Culture, and History (HP, SB)

How do anthropologists and sociologists use history to understand human thought and behavior? How do historians draw on the social sciences to understand the past? This course considers the interaction between the social sciences and history in interdisciplinary fields such as cultural history, historical sociology, oral history, historical archaeology, and ethnohistory. Students learn to critically evaluate sources to understand the past and human thought and behavior. Students develop a research project that integrates different sources of information to understand the social life and culture of a particular people, place, and time. Crosslisted as SOCI 317.

ANTH 330 Human Impact on Ancient Environments (CW, SB, W2)

An examination of the ways in which humans have interacted with their natural environment through time, with a primary focus on recurring patterns of human impact on the environment and consequent human responses to degraded environments that have shaped human history and cultural evolution. Discussion is centered on important implications for contemporary societies around the world.

ANTH 335 Geographic Information Science (SB)

This course is designed to broaden the student’s awareness of spatial problems and strategies to address them using cartographic concepts. Students are introduced to geographic information system (GIS) software. They learn the basics of data input and analysis as well as techniques for importing GIS data from outside sources. Finally, they learn process modeling techniques in the analysis of social and ecological problems using GIS.

ANTH 340 Substance and Seduction (SB)

What is the relationship between peoples’ cultural lives and the material substances they make, buy, and use? How do such substances become seductive and necessary for individual and groups? This course investigates material culture through the lens of anthropological political economy. By focusing on the cultural use of substances such as sugar, chocolate, coffee, cheese, soap, bottled water, and alcohol, this course explores their relationship to processes such as globalization, commodification, community development, nationalism, identity information, and movements for social justice. Students will develop their own research projects making connections among particular, substances, social trends, and cultural practices.

ANTH 360 Globalization and Transnationalism (CW, SB) [UR]

An exploration of the theoretical and ethnographic representations of globalization and transnationalism. Key topics covered include processes of migration, trade, the flow of information, and the concept of place.

ANTH 365 Anthropological Theory (SB, W2)

A survey of historical and contemporary theories in cultural anthropology. Inclusion of theoretical contributions from other disciplines such as sociology, literary theory, and feminist theory. Reading of primary texts as well as those influenced by particular thinkers or schools of thought. Prerequisite: ANTH 100 or consent of instructor.

ANTH 385 Special Topics

A topics course in anthropology. This course can be repeated for additional credits as long as the section topics are different. Consult the online course schedule for information about the topics currently scheduled to be taught.

ANTH 390 Social Inequality and Identity (CW, SB)

How and why power, wealth and prestige are unequally distributed in terms of gender, race, and social class. Ideological justifications, the consequences for individuals and societies, and the personal and public strategies employed to address the problems associated with structural inequality are considered. Cross-listed as SOCI 390 and alternates between SOCI 390 and ANTH 390.

ANTH 480 Advanced Research Practicum (SB, W2) [UR]

An experiential learning course designed to involve students in an ongoing research program. Students participate in the research program of an instructor and thus learn by doing. Instructor and content will rotate. Each student completes a research paper at the end of the semester. Prerequisites: one of the following courses: SOCI 335, ANTH 300, ANTH 302; and one of the following courses: SOCI 365, ANTH 365; and consent of instructor.

ANTH 497 Advanced Research and Writing (SB, W2) [UR]

In addition to reading about and discussing current issues in sociological and anthropological research and practice, each student completes a thesis based on a prior research topic in order to apply and demonstrate his or her level of knowledge in the major. Prerequisites: one of the following courses: SOCI 335, ANTH 300, ANTH 302; and SOCI 365 or ANTH 365; and consent of instructor if not a senior sociology/anthropology major.