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  • Sociology
    202-885-2475
    Fax: 202-885-2477
    socio@american.edu
    Battelle Tompkins, Room T-21

    Linden, Sandra L
    Senior Administrative Assistant

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PLEASE NOTE THAT SOCY 100, 110, AND 150 ARE ALL GATEWAY COURSES TO MAKING SOCIOLOGY YOUR MAJOR/MINOR! 

STAY TUNED FOR CHANGES POSTED ON THIS SITE AND ON THE MAIN PAGE.

For current class offerings, times, and additional information, visit the Office of the Registrar.
 
 

Course Descriptions

 
SOCY-100: U.S. Society 4:1 (3)

American pluralism and the variety of social arrangements and relationships found in American society. The emphasis is on how society is stratified; how organizations and institutions influence the way Americans think, talk, feel, and act; and how different groups (racial and ethnic) and divisions (gender and class) within society have differential access to power and privilege. Usually offered every term.

 

SOCY-110: Views from the Third World 3:1 (3)

Introduction to the sociology of the Third World through study of the works of its own intellectuals and political leaders. Reflections on Third World societal structures and explanations of dilemmas of development and of strategies for overcoming these dilemmas. The course links texts to their Third World context. Usually offered every term.

 

SOCY-150: Global Sociology 4:1 (3)

An introduction to sociology that focuses on the process of global social change as a critical factor in understanding contemporary societies. It emphasizes macrosociology (the study of large organizations and whole societies) and the creation of today's global society, including similarities and differences within it. Two major themes - modernization and globalization - are emphasized and their implications for individuals, groups, communities, societies, and governments are explored. Usually offered every term.

 

SOCY-196: Selected Topics: Non-recurring (1-6)

Topics vary by section, may be repeated for credit with different topic.

 

SOCY-205: Diverse and Changing Families 4:2 (3)

The family as a social institution in a changing society. Social inequalities of class, race, ethnicity, and gender as key factors in shaping diverse forms and experiences in family life. Theoretical and actual alternatives to family patterns as well as the future of the American family. Usually offered every term. Prerequisite for General Education credit: ANTH-150 or PSYC-105 or SOCY-100 or WGST-125.

 

SOCY-210: Power, Privilege and Inequality 4:2 (3)

Structured inequality in society in socioeconomic, racial, and gender terms. How the individual's life and experiences are circumscribed and structured by his or her position in the social stratification system. How and why stratification systems emerge and are reproduced and their alternatives. Usually offered every term. Prerequisite for General Education credit: COMM-100 or ECON-100 or GOVT-110 or SOCY-150.

 

SOCY-215: The Rise of Critical Social Thought 2:2 (3)

Issues about social science as a critical vision of society; imagined social possibilities and their comparison to existing social institutions. Secondary themes are individual development, community, large societal institutions, the effects of industrialism and capitalism, and the limits of social science knowledge as a guide to social planning and social action. Usually offered every term. Prerequisite for General Education credit: GOVT-105 or HIST-115 or JLS-110 or PHIL-105 or RELG-105.

 

SOCY-225: Arab Societies 3:2 (3)

The social, economic, and political structure of the Arab World with special emphasis on the impact on this region of the rise and fall of oil revenues. A macrosociological approach places the region in the global political economy and introduces students to its problematics and historical-cultural specificity. Usually offered every term. Prerequisite for General Education credit: ECON-110 or GOVT-130 or HIST-120 or SIS-105 or SIS-110.

 

SOCY-235: Gender in Transnational Perspectives 3:2 (3)

Focusing on Third World women and social change in different cultural contexts and in the global political-economic system, this course emphasizes the centrality of women in the rapidly changing world, particularly in terms of work, distributive justice, development policy, democratization, and the environment. Usually offered every spring. Prerequisite for General Education credit: ANTH-110 or LIT-150 or RELG-185 or SIS-140 or SOCY-110.

 

SOCY-296: Selected Topics: Non-recurring (1-6)

Topics vary by section, may be repeated for credit with different topic.


SOCY-310:
Language, Culture, Power (3)

This course cultivates an understanding of contemporary ideas regarding the role of language and representation in the production, maintenance, and subversion of relations of power, social identities, and social hierarchies. The course is hands-on and students draw from course readings to examine popular film, advertisements, newspaper articles, and social interactions. Discussions and readings develop insights into the various ways in which gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, class, and ability are constructed and contested through systems of language and representation. Usually offered every spring. Prerequisite: SOCY-415.

SOCY-315: Major Social Theorists (3)

Examines the contributions of major thinkers in social theory. Focus on both "classical" thinkers, such as Marx, Durkheim, and Weber, and more contemporary theorists, such as George Herbert Mead, Talcot Parsons, and Simone de Beauvoir. Traces formative influences on existing schools of social theory. Usually offered every fall. Prerequisite: SOCY-100 or SOCY-150.

 

SOCY-320: Introduction to Social Research (3)

An introduction to the major research methods in social science, their links to theory and practice, and their use in research projects. Usually offered every fall. Prerequisite: SOCY-100 or permission of instructor.

 

SOCY-340: Israeli Society (3)

This course explores the emergence of Israeli society and its changes over time. It reviews Israel's ideological and political foundations, the centrality of immigration, the emergence of Arab minorities and Jewish ethnic divisions, and assesses political, economic, religious, and family patterns within the broader Jewish and Palestinian communities. Meets with SOCY-640. Usually offered every spring.

 

SOCY-345: Sociology of North Africa (3)

Offered as part of the AU Abroad Morocco: Rabat program, this course is divided into three parts. The first focuses on Maghreb societies in the late nineteenth century, with specific emphasis on Moroccan society and culture and the multifunctional role of kinship and religion. The second is concerned with the study of socioeconomic structures during the colonial era. Finally, the third part focuses on similarities of structures and processes of socioeconomic change in North Africa. Attention is also given to culture and society in Egypt in order to underline similarities and differences with the Mahgreb.

 

SOCY-350: Social Problems in a Changing World (3)

Sociological perspectives on the construction of social problems in a changing world. Focus on analysis of contrasting views and solutions for such conditions as global inequality, environmental degradation, population growth, inequalities based on economic class, race, gender, sexual orientation, and age, and institutional crises involving families, education, health care, crime, and justice. Usually offered every fall. Prerequisite: SOCY-100 or SOCY-150.

 

SOCY-351: Race and Ethnic Conflict: Global Perspectives (3)

A focus on what happens when divergent types of persons experience social contact. Racial, ethnic, tribal, national, and religious interactions throughout the world. The processes include conflict, amalgamation, acculturation, assimilation, prejudice, and discrimination. Usually offered every fall. Prerequisite: SOCY-100 or SOCY-150.

 

SOCY-352: Women, Men, and Social Change (3)

Focuses on gender as a basic organizational principle of social life in order to study the social construction of gender and how gender relationships are transformed in the process of social change. The course examines how race, class, and gender interact with culture in shaping the lives, social positions and relationships of diverse kinds of women and men in a changing world. Usually offered every spring. Prerequisite: SOCY-100 or SOCY-150.

 

SOCY-354: White Privilege and Social Justice (3)

This course considers the social, legal, and media constructions of white racial identities in relation to issues of racial justice. It examines how white privilege intersects with gender, class, and sexuality. Students develop skills for multicultural alliances and strategies for antiracist activism. Usually offered every spring.

 

SOCY-365: Economic Development and Social Change (3)

A course on societal development that explores what it means for a society to "develop." How do we measure a society's development and what is known about the material, economic, political, social and cultural conditions necessary for development? What worked and what did not work in past development strategies and which strategy is most likely to succeed in the 1990's global socio-economic system? Meets with SOCY-665. Usually offered every fall. Prerequisite: SOCY-100 or SOCY-150.

 

SOCY-367: The Post-Industrial Metropolis (3)

The transition to a post-industrial society has led to a dramatic socio-political restructuring of major cities into complex systems of urban-suburban metropolises. Regional, national, and international forces are responsible for the contemporary growth and economic prosperity of suburban "edge" cities and the concentration of poverty and racial-ethnic/national minorities in the central city. This course explores the emerging international hierarchy of "global cities" with the socio-spatial patterns of inequality and political conflict. Usually offered every spring. Prerequisite: SOCY-100 or SOCY-150.

 

SOCY-370: Power, Politics and Society (3)

Political sociology in a comparative global perspective including the role and functions of the state; relative state autonomy; state legitimacy; forms of democracy and democratization processes; state and civil society; political ideology and culture; and ethnicity, nationalism, and the state. Usually offered alternate springs. Prerequisite: SOCY-100 or SOCY-150.

 


SOCY-389: Society and the Global Environment (3)

Exploration into the relationship between social groups and the physical environment. Focus on the actions and reactions of public and policy groups in identifying and coping with natural and technological problems. Analysis of specific socio-environmental problems and the roles and methods of social scientists and others in social-impact assessment and social change. Meets with SOCY-689. Usually offered every spring.

 

SOCY-390: Independent Reading Course in Sociology (1-6)

Prerequisite: permission of instructor and department chair.

 

SOCY-396: Selected Topics: Non-recurring (1-6)

Topics vary by section, may be repeated for credit with different topic.

 

SOCY-415: Current Issues in Social Theory (3)

Focus on contemporary social theories including postmodernism, feminism, neo-functionalism, rational choice, world-systems, and neo-Marxism. Traces relation - continuity and rupture - of current issues to classical traditions and important thinkers in social theory. Emphasis on issues of theory construction, evaluation, and critique. Usually offered every spring. Prerequisite: SOCY-100 or SOCY-150.

 

SOCY-490: Independent Study Project in Sociology (1-6)

Prerequisite: permission of instructor and department chair.

 

SOCY-491: Internship (1-6)

Internship in social service, social change, and social research agencies. Prerequisite: SOCY-100 or SOCY-150 (internships in social research agencies require SOCY-320), and permission of department chair and instructor.

 

SOCY-492: Major Seminar in Sociology (3)

Integrates social theory and research as well as social policy and advocacy through the examination of social issues of global significance. Focuses on questions such as who is defining the issue, what do sociologists say about the issue, and how central is sociological knowledge to understanding the issue? Usually offered every fall. Prerequisite: SOCY-100 or SOCY-150.

 

SOCY-496: Selected Topics: Non-recurring (1-6)

Topics vary by section, may be repeated for credit with different topic.

 

SOCY-498: Honors: Senior Year (1-6)

Prerequisite: permission of department and University Honors program.

 

SOCY-499: Honors: Senior Year (1-6)

Prerequisite: permission of department and University Honors program.

 

SOCY-515: Models of Societal Development (3)

Analysis of the structure and dynamics of whole societies in the modern global system. Paradigms of societal development: classical Marxism, modernization, dependency, articulation of modes of production, world-system theory, neo-Marxism, neomodernization, etc. Consideration of growth with equity, structural adjustment, privatization and sustainable growth policies on societal structure and change. Usually offered every spring. Prerequisite: graduate standing or three courses in sociology.

 

SOCY-525: Social Advocacy and Social Change (3)

Examines social change methods and mobilizing successful movements for social change: defining issues, forming constituencies, recruitment, choosing goals and strategies, criteria for choosing tactics, fundraising and resource mobilization, grassroots leadership development, handling the media, legislative coalitions and judicial remedies. Usually offered alternate springs. Prerequisite: graduate standing or three courses in sociology.

SOCY-530: Social Movements and Social Change (3)

This course explores the social and cultural dynamics of social movements from a transnational perspective. The focus is both theoretical and empirical. Students gain in-depth knowledge of how social movements create or resist social change and learn about social movements through analysis of specific empirical cases. Prerequisite: graduate standing or three courses in sociology.

SOCY-531: Regional Studies in Social Change (3)

Topics vary by section, may be repeated for credit with different topic. Topical courses examining social change in different parts of the world as a cause and consequence of economic development. Emphasis on the social effects of governmental or corporate policies. Examples include Latin America and the Middle East. Prerequisite: graduate standing or three courses in sociology.

 

SOCY-550: Stratification: Socio-Economic Inequality (3)

A broad view of the varied sociological approaches to socio-economic stratification considered in terms of domestic, comparative-historical and international dimensions. Explores the functionalist, conflict and elite theories, methodologies of stratification, and the issues of social mobility, poverty and the welfare state. Investigates class formation and the social consequences of stratification on the individual, group and society. Usually offered every spring. Prerequisite: graduate standing or permission of instructor.

 

SOCY-551: Sociology of Latino Studies (3)

Focusing on Latino populations and on Latino studies as an emergent field of study, this course references U.S. Latino populations as border populations, crossing over U.S./Latin American imaginaries. The "Latino" category helps problematize ethnic/racial categories, becoming a method of hybridity discussions. Though interdisciplinary, the course has a strong sociological foundation. Usually offered every spring. Prerequisite: three courses in sociology including SOCY-210, SOCY-231, or SOCY-351; or graduate standing.

 

SOCY-552: Sociology of Popular Culture (3)

Popular culture is an increasingly central part of people's lives. This course acquaints students with major sociological theories of popular culture and applies them to areas including music, films, mass media, race, identity, novels, love, and sex. Usually offered every spring.

 

SOCY-553: Multiculturalism (3)

This course explores the politics of "difference" by examining multiculturalism in relationship to identity, culture, nationhood, and social justice. Particular attention is paid to how the concept of multiculturalism articulates notions of culture, knowledge, and power. The course has a strong theoretical orientation and requires students to assess and apply complex social theories of identity and difference to contemporary issues of inequality. Usually offered every fall. Prerequisite: three courses in sociology including SOCY-210, SOCY-351, or SOCY-354, or graduate standing.

 

SOCY-555: Sociology of Language (3)

This course provides a practice-centered introduction to the sociology of language, an emergent approach to analyzing the production of meaning in social life. It explores the analytical power of simple inductive analysis, ethnomethodology, and poststructural discourse analysis. This course reflects the interdisciplinary ferment of contemporary social research and guides students in conducting cutting-edge, qualitative research. Prerequisite: SOCY-320 or graduate standing.

 

SOCY-570: Sociology of Gender and Family (3)

The study of gender and family as basic principles of the social order and primary social categories. Introduces students to the theories, data sources and applications of family structures and gender relationships in the United States and cross-culturally. Usually offered every fall. Prerequisite: graduate standing or three courses in sociology.

 

SOCY-580: Social Policy Analysis (3)

Examines the variety of conceptual frames that social scientists use in analyzing social policies and provides a basis for their selection. A second part deals with the detailed analysis of case studies and introduces practitioners who contributed to them. Usually offered every fall. Prerequisite: graduate standing or three courses in sociology.

 

SOCY-590: Independent Reading Course in Sociology (1-6)

Prerequisite: permission of instructor and department chair.

 

SOCY-596: Selected Topics: Non-recurring (1-6)

Topics vary by section, may be repeated for credit with different topic.

 

SOCY-610: History of Sociological Theory (3)

Comparative study of major theorists in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Usually offered every fall.

 

SOCY-611: Modern Sociological Theory (3)

An analysis of modern sociological theories and major schools of social thought. Problems of theory construction. Usually offered every spring. Prerequisite: SOCY-610.

 

SOCY-620: Social Research I (3)

Focuses on both qualitative and quantitative data collection. Emphasizes research practice, formulation and specification of research questions, ethics, development of research designs, fieldwork, interviewing, coding, measurement, and questionnaire design. Usually offered every fall. Prerequisite: STAT-514.

 

SOCY-621: Quantitative Analysis (3)

Focuses on data analysis of categorical and survey data including percentage tables and measures of association. Analysis of continuous data using regression, bivariate, multiple, and stepwise. Includes dummy variable, graphical tools, and assessment of supporting diagnostics. Usually offered every spring. Prerequisite: SOCY-620.

 

SOCY-622: Selected Topics in Social Research Skills (1)

Topics vary by section, may be repeated for credit with different topic. Introduction to a specific research tool or method currently used in sociology; the options include research strategies (e.g., telephone surveys, focus groups), analysis techniques (e.g., event history, qualitative data), or particular applications of research methods (e.g., program evaluation, community action). Usually offered every term. Prerequisite: SOCY-620 or permission of instructor.

 

SOCY-635: Race, Gender and Social Justice (3)

This seminar explores the disjunction between biological myths of race and gender and their social construction as credible institutions; the historical, economic, and political roots of inequalities; the institutions and ideologies that buttress and challenge power relations; and the implications of social science teaching and research for understanding social class, race, gender discrimination. Issues of advocacy for social change are also explored. Usually offered every spring. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.

 

SOCY-640: Israeli Society (3)

This course explores the emergence of Israeli society and its changes over time. It reviews Israel's ideological and political foundations, the centrality of immigration, the emergence of Arab minorities and Jewish ethnic divisions, and assesses political, economic, religious, and family patterns within the broader Jewish and Palestinian communities. Meets with SOCY-340. Usually offered every spring.

SOCY-669: Gender, Sexuality, and Migration (3)

This course is centered on the uses of gender and sexuality in studying migration patterns, immigration polices, and the personal meanings given to these by individuals. The class interrogates the use of gender and sexuality in studying (im)migration patterns and policies and unpacks the relationship between gender and sexuality by looking at various migrations, or movements, between the categories themselves, and also through specific cases of the relationship to citizenship and the state to that of (im)migration and racialization. Usually offered alternate falls.

SOCY-684: Seminar in Public Sociology (3)

Students review and analyze how well-known sociologists participate in public discourse through theoretically-grounded debate on pressing social issues; gain appreciation of sociology's application to the public sphere; experience first-hand involvement in civic discourse on policy and the antecedent factors underlying social problems, and participate in constructing and evaluating social theories to inform civic discourse. Usually offered every spring.

 

SOCY-689: Environmental Sociology (3)

Exploration into the relationship between social groups and the physical environment. Focus on the actions and reactions of public and policy groups in identifying and coping with natural and technological problems. Analysis of specific socio-environmental problems and the roles and methods of social scientists and others in social-impact assessment and social change. Meets with SOCY-389. Usually offered every spring.

 

SOCY-690: Independent Study Project in Sociology (1-6)

Prerequisite: permission of instructor and department chair.

 

SOCY-691: Internship (1-6)

Prerequisite: permission of instructor and department chair.

 

SOCY-695: Internship Seminar in Public Sociology (3)

Students share and discuss internship experiences. They gain an understanding of the sociological skill set applied to career opportunities and the challenges sociologists confront as they work with non-academic audiences such as policy analysts, business persons, government and nonprofit leaders, and applied social scientists, as well as issues faced by organizational leaders in funding, political controversy, organizational politics, and competition among nonprofit and/or governmental agencies. Usually offered every fall.

 

SOCY-696: Selected Topics: Non-recurring (1-6)

Topics vary by section, may be repeated for credit with different topic.

SOCY-797: Master's Thesis Independent Study (1-6)

Prerequisite: permission of department.

 

SOCY-799: Doctoral Dissertation Independent Study (1-12)

Directed dissertation research under the supervision of the student's dissertation committee chair. Open to graduate students whose dissertation proposal has been approved by the department. Usually offered every term.