Sociology

Britt Rhodes (department head), Char Kunkel (program director)

Sociologists study human behavior in groups, the interactions between people and the patterned structure of relationships that result. Criminal and deviant behavior, racism, inequality, gender, the environment, and social movements are just a few of the social structures we study. Consequently, the faculty represents a variety of complementary research interests and areas of expertise. This makes available to students both a wide selection of the topical areas within the field and an exposure to differing presuppositions.

Required for a major: SOC 101, 301, 350, and five additional courses in the discipline, one of which must be a 400-level seminar. If a statistics course judged comparable to SOC 350 (ie: PSYC 350) is taken in another department, substitute an additional elective in sociology for SOC 350. Students who contemplate graduate study should participate in research opportunities with the faculty and should complete SOC 276. Writing requirement completed with SOC 301. Students interested in teaching should see education department for secondary education minor requirements.

Required for a minor: SOC 101, 301, and three additional courses, one of which must be a 400-level seminar.

Required for a second teaching area: See Education department for specific requirements. The second teaching area license is offered only in the state of Iowa.

Sociology Courses

SOC 101 Introduction to Sociology

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Behavior—Social Science Methods

Introduction to theoretical perspectives and foundational principles of "thinking sociologically." Key concepts include: culture, inequality/poverty, deviance/crime, gender, social construction of reality, social change, and social structure.

SOC 242 Sociology of Gender

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Behavior—Social Science Methods
  • Prerequisites: SOC 101

Examines the gendered structure of our everyday lives; makes gendered assumptions and practices explicit, and uncovers the impact of gender in the social world. Emphasis on historical and cross-cultural constructions of gender that provide alternatives to gender inequality and a basis for social change. (Same as WGST 242)

SOC 253 Crime and Deviance

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Behavior—Social Science Methods
  • Prerequisites: SOC 101

A theoretical analysis of the relationship of deviant behavior and subcultures to community standards of conventional behavior as expressed in law and norms, as well as an anlaysis of the extent, distribution, and character of crime and delinquency.

SOC 261 Social Conflict

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Behavior—Social Science Methods
  • Prerequisites: SOC 101.

Course will examine the origin, escalation, and resolution of social conflict at three levels: interpersonal, intergroup (e.g. ethnic group, economic class), and international. Focuses on major causes of conflict including: ethnic identity, competition for material resources, and idealogical differences. Expressions of conflict will be examined including: hatred, electoral action, labor union activity, violence, war, and terrorism. Interventions to minimize the negative social impacts of conflict will be considered for each level of conflict. Offered alternate years.

SOC 270 Haters Gonna Hate: The Study of Hate Crimes and Hate Groups

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Behavior—Social Science Methods
  • Prerequisites: SOC 101.

The goal of this course is to provide an exploration into the social, legal, and ethical implications of hate-fueled interactions, with a focus on violence, crime, and bigotry in the United States. Specifically, we will use a sociological lens to identify the form and function of hate groups, analyze the rise in hate crimes over time, and consider social and legal efforts to curb such acts.

SOC 273 Crime and Media

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Behavior—Social Science Methods
  • Prerequisites: SOC 101 or COMS 133.

This course examines relationships between elements of the criminal justice system and elements of the mass media, and how each influences the other. Included will be discussion of crime depiction in news media (TV, newspapers, internet), crime depiction in entertainment media (music, TV, video games, film) and use of media/media technology by law enforcement and criminal defendants.

SOC 276 Social Theory and Praxis

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Behavior—Social Science Methods
  • Prerequisites: SOC 101

This course gives students knowledge of and experience with the classical and contemporary perspectives on human social behavior. Students will study the original works of theorists, critically analyze their ideas, and apply these perspectives to current events, media artifacts, and sociological topics. This course is highly recommended for students considering further study in graduate school.

SOC 283 Sociology of Education

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Behavior—Social Science Methods
  • Prerequisites: SOC 101.

This course provides a broad overview of the field of sociology of education and its goal is to understand the relationship between education and society. This course reviews a variety of theoretical perspectives and empirical research to examine the role and structure of schooling in contemporary life. Topics include social mobility and stratification; social reproduction and meritocracy; social and cultural capital; the dynamics of race, class and gender in American higher education; the social processes and factors affecting students' academic achievement; horizontal and vertical stratification of higher education. Students will better understand their own experience within educational system, as well as the relationship between educational system and inequality in American society.

SOC 290 Visual Sociology

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Behavior—Social Science Methods

In this course students will explore the theory and method of visual sociology and have the opportunity to pursue their own projects. As a group and individually, we will explore the social milieu from a visual perspective to answer such questions as: What does the visual world tell us about our society? What meaning and importance do we attach to the visual? What can we learn about human behavior by examining visual culture? Students will collect their own data, analyze it, and report their findings. Camera needed (of any type).

SOC 301 Research Methodology

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Behavior—Social Science Methods
  • Prerequisites: SOC 101 and junior standing

Examines the process of conducting and evaluating sociological research. Areas of emphasis include: research design, techniques of sampling, methods of data collection, principles of measurement, basic methods of data analysis, and ethical considerations.

SOC 345 Constructs of Race and Racialization

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Behavior—Social Science Methods, Intercultural
  • Prerequisites: SOC 101

This course examines the social construction of race as a concept and the racialization of US society. An assessment of how racialization has changed over time and has created various interactions between groups from Whites and enslaved Africans, Mexicans and Native Americans to present day race relations. We also examine how racialization both determines and impacts social structures and the attainment of societal honors, rewards and power in modern society. (Same as AFRS 345)

SOC 347 Sociology of the Family

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Behavior—Social Science Methods
  • Prerequisites: SOC 101.

Consideration of the historical and cultural foundations of the institution of marriage and the family. Emphasis on cross-cultural trends as they relate to the family, including socialization practices, changing status of women, and dating patterns.

SOC 350 Social Statistics

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Behavior—Social Science Methods
  • Prerequisites: SOC 101, MATH 110 or above.

A first course in applied statistics that introduces descriptive and inferential statistics with a focus on developing and testing sociological hypotheses using quantitative data. Students will use statistical software to input and analyze their own small-scale survey data, as well as develop and test hypotheses using large, publicly available sociological datasets.

SOC 351 Gender and Crime

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Behavior—Social Science Methods
  • Prerequisites: SOC 101

Examines how gender affects individuals' experiences as both victims and perpetrators of crime and deviance. Analyzes the history and theroy of gender and crime in the U.S. and internationally, the social construction of victimization, and the impact of culture, structure, and inequality on criminal behavior. (Same as WGST 351)

SOC 356 Environmental Sociology

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Behavior—Social Science Methods
  • Prerequisites: SOC 101.

Examines how cultural, social and economic forces shape the relationships between societies and their natural environments. Environmental dynamics such as pollution and natural resource use are connected with social dynamics of human population, industrial production, poverty, urban planning, and consumer culture. Examination of environmental movements and counter-movements illustrate how understandings of the natural environment change over time and are often in contention.

SOC 358 Social Psychology

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Behavior—Social Science Methods
  • Prerequisites: SOC 101.

A study of the relationship between the individual and society and the interactions produced. Emphasis on research in the areas of self, identity, symbolic interaction, and social movements.

SOC 453 Seminar: Law and Human Rights

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Behavior—Social Science Methods, Intercultural
  • Prerequisites: SOC 101.

Examines the construction and application of law by various societies, with a particular focus on international and human rights law. Studies the people and groups who create law, the development of human rights, the effects of race, class, gender and nationality on legal standards, and the impact of globalization on international law.

SOC 461 Seminar: Contemporary Issues of Immigration

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Behavior—Social Science Methods, Intercultural
  • Prerequisites: SOC 101.

This upper-division undergraduate seminar will provide an overview of issues related to international immigration to the United States. This class involves the sociological analysis of immigration, particularly with respect to intercultural dynamics between the sending and the receiving countries, race and ethnicity, social structure, social inequality, and social policy. Students will learn about sociological theories of immigrant incorporation as well as specific issues related to the second-generation children of immigrants including their educational, labor-market and transnational experiences. They will also learn about the history of immigration and immigration policy along with other various aspects of immigration such as transnationalism, enculturation, marginalization, globalization, gendered migration, immigrant labor market, second generation and segmented assimilation.

SOC 468 Seminar: Gender, Globalization and Development

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Behavior—Social Science Methods, Intercultural
  • Prerequisites: SOC 101

In this course we will examine the phenomena of globalization and development from a sociology of gender perspective. We will focus on the global intersections of contemporary societies and cultures, and the gendered dynamics therein. Questions we will raise include: How does globalization affect women's and men's lives? How is power distributed, and how does this impact development processes? What impact do gender dynamics play in the social institutions of development: economic, political, and cultural? (Same as WGST 468)

SOC 472 Seminar: Social Institutions

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Behavior—Social Science Methods
  • Prerequisites: SOC 101

An examination of selected major social institutions in American society (family, education, religion, politics, or industry), as well as their intersections and maintenance in social life.

SOC 475 Seminar: Social Movements

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Behavior—Social Science Methods
  • Prerequisites: SOC 101.

Explores theoretical issues related to social movements - why they emerge, how they evolve, how they are organized, why people join them, what factors determine their success - while learning about various historical and contemporary social movements such as the Black civil rights, environmental, religious right, and gay rights movements. Offered alternate years.

SOC 490 Senior Project

  • 1, 2, or 4 hours