University of Vermont

College of Arts and Sciences

First-Year Experience 2014-2015


SOC 054A, B ~ Health Care in America
CRN: Section A - 93262, Section B - 93970

Instructor: Dale Jaffe Professor of Sociology More . . .

Who cares about health care in America? Apparently millions of people do, given the role this issue played in the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns, the attention paid to the 2013 Supreme Court decision on President Obama's Affordable Care Act, and the recent widespread dismay at the inadequacy of the technological support for prospective health insurance enrollees. Why does health care inspire such debate? Doesn't the U.S. have the best health care system ever constructed by humankind? With the current health care reform debate as a point of departure, this course will provide an introduction to the social, political, historical, and economic perspectives necessary to understand the workings of one of America's most interesting and contested social institutions. Designed for students who have an intellectual or professional interest in health care or medicine or who are considering pursuing majors in the social sciences, the course will explore the following questions: Who or what is responsible for health and illness? Why do disparities in health and medical care exist between groups? How is health care organized and financed in the U.S.? How should health care be distributed in our society? Why has health policy taken the form it has? What can the U.S. learn from studying health care delivery systems in other nations? In addition, students will be encouraged to examine their own roles as engaged citizens in shaping the reform of health care in America.

Requirements Satisfied: one Social Sciences course
Meets: Section A - TR 10:00am-11:15am, Section B - Meets: TR 1:00pm-2:15pm

SOC 095A ~ Crime, News and Moral Panic
CRN: 93923

Instructor: Kathryn Fox Associate Professor of Sociology More . . .

Crime in the U.S. is often misunderstood by ordinary citizens. Sociologists and criminologists try to understand why there is a disconnect between the reality of crime and punishment and public perception. One concept for understanding this is the notion of "moral panic," which comes from a media-constructed distortion of crime. In this course, we will examine the emergence and utility of the moral panic concept, and explore examples of media-induced episodes. Our aims will be to appreciate the structural and cultural phenomena that produce such distortion and panics, and to understand the myths and realities about crime and punishment in the U.S.

Requirements Satisfied: one Social Sciences course
Meets: TR 10:00am-11:15am

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