Spring 2014 Sociology Courses


Registrar’s list of Sociology courses for Spring ’14

News Flash! A late addition to the schedule, Sociology 286, our Service Learning Internship seminar, will be offered T-Th 10:00-11:15. Also please note: Prof. Diouf is going on leave, and so his section of Soc. 101 and Soc. 171 have been cancelled for this spring.

SOC 001 A Introduction to Sociology
10480 08:30 09:45 T R Mintz B
This course introduces students to what we call the “sociological imagination,” which is a way of thinking about our world that is grounded in careful observation and scientific rigor. It emphasizes the importance of social context in explaining human behavior by examining the social forces that shape our lives. Indeed, the sociological imagination teaches us that all of our behavior occurs in a societal context. The course presents an overview of field of sociology, introducing students to a variety of topics within the discipline, including culture, the family, religion, and deviance. A thread connecting these topics is the importance of social location – race, gender, social class, sexuality – in people’s lives. There will be three multiple-choice/true-false exams; a series of in-class exit questions, and possibly, homework assignments


SOC 001 B Introduction to Sociology
14148 09:35 10:25 M W F Fox K
What is sociology? How is it different from Psychology or Social Work? In this course, we will survey a range of topics from a sociological perspective. Sociology is the study of the relationship of individuals to groups and group effects on individuals. It is the systematic study of social behavior and social order. The main objective will be to acquaint students with a new way of looking at the social world, using a sociological lens. We will analyze critically the role of race, class, gender, education, and other factors that influence experience. What makes sociology unique is not necessarily the subject matter that it examines, but the perspective with which it approaches the subject. In this way, sociology is different from other social sciences because it offers social explanations of what groups of people do and why. As such, we focus on group patterns rather than individual motivations and differences.

This course will use a textbook and a series of articles, will include random in class quizzes or assignments to assess attendance and preparedness, and will include a variety of smaller interactive exercises. Homework will be either online quizzes or active exercises, and evaluation will be based upon these plus multiple choice exams.


SOC 019 A D1: Race Relations in the US 1
10484 10:00 11:15 T R Khanna N
Does race matter in America today? Since the election of our first black President, many have called America a "post-racial" society, implying that race is a "thing of the past." The main purpose of this course is to examine race and ethnic relations in the US through a sociological lens. Students will examine patterns of race relations, learn about the histories of key ethnic/racial groups within the United States, and engage current debates about race in American society.


SOC 020 A Aging: Change & Adaptation
14153 11:30 12:45 T R Cowan D

SOC 029 A Sociology of the Family
14154 02:30 03:45 T R Cowan D

SOC 043 A Survey of Mass Communication
14165 12:50 01:40 M W F Streeter T LAFAYETTE HALL L411
This course looks at the social role and importance of modern media of communication and culture, from the book to the internet. It’s a sociology course, not a “how-to” media course (though it teaches things that should be useful to people who want to work in or with the media). It takes a serious look at the sociological literature and theoretical issues involved in understanding how the media functions in society. It explores questions like the following: What role have media like newspapers, television, and the internet played in making the modern world the way it is? What happens when so much of our communication happens on a "mass" basis, between people who don't see or even know each other? How can we study the signs, symbols, and cultural meanings that make up media messages? How are the media organized, and how does organizational form shape content? What difference does it make, for example, if media are funded with, say, advertising or tax money? (For more details, see http://www.uvm.edu/~tstreete/Courses/soc43syllabus/)

SOC 090 A Introduction to Soc Theory/Methods
14166 01:55 02:45 M W F Streeter T, Strickler J WATERMAN BLDG 413
Sociological theories and methods provide systematic ways of getting beyond mere opinions and media sound bytes, and allow us to answer questions about how our social world works, why things are the way they are, and what might be done to create social change. The skills and approaches covered in this course have wide-ranging applications: medicine, geography, history, global studies, political science, and many other fields sometimes use sociological theories and methods.

Using a mix of writing assignments and exams, this course provides a solid grounding in various ways sociologists develop research questions, collect information, and analyze data. By the end of the semester, you will have a good understanding of how social scientists know what they know and do what they do. You will learn how to critically read both scholarly articles and claims in the mass media, and also learn to recognize how sociological knowledge can be used and misused.

This course is open to all students, provides relevant background for many fields of study, and could be useful in helping you choose a minor, major, or a career. It is also required of all Sociology minors.

SOC 096 A Urban Inequality & Crime: The Wire
14174 01:00 02:15 T R Miller E
HBO's series The Wire has been regularly described as "the best TV show ever broadcast in America" (and more) by numerous critics, and some claim it deserves to be considered a great work of literature. Ellie Miller has another take. She has long been a researcher of urban issues; her study of urban female street hustlers, Street Woman, remains a classic. So when designing a new course on urban poverty, she decided to use The Wire as a lens through which undergraduates can study problems of urban poverty, and the tangled issues of race, drugs, violence, and corruption with which it is associated. Her new course, "Urban Inequality and Crime: The Wire" (Soc. 96A), will be offered Spring semester, 2014. And there's reason to believe the show's creator, David Simon might approve. He wrote about the program, "We thought some prolonged arguments about what kind of country we've built might be a good thing, and if such arguments and discussions ever happen, we will feel more vindicated in purpose than if someone makes an argument for why The Wire is the best show in years."

SOC 096 B Sociology of Sexualities
14176 12:50 01:40 M W F Burke M
What is sexuality? What constitutes sex? How do we come to know ourselves as sexual beings? How do individuals develop attractions, make sexual choices, define and enact their own sexuality? What is social about sexuality, and how do social structures and institutions influence understandings of sexuality over time?

These are some of the questions that will guide this semester long introduction to the sociological study of sexualities. Though we may perceive sex/uality to be natural and biologically driven, sexuality is in fact largely shaped by social norms, values and expectations. In other words, sexuality is more than personal or individual - it is socially constructed. In this course, we will explore how sexuality is constructed and examine theories, concepts, and cultural ramifications of a range of sexual practices and identities. We will interrogate central binaries such as male/female and heterosexual/homosexual, and explore a wide range of topics, including LGBTQ identities, socialization, queer politics, “hooking up,” sexual and gendered subcultures, BDSM/kink, polyamory and nonmonogamies, sex work, and sexual violence and consent.


SOC 096 C Guns in American Culture
14177 11:45 12:35 M W F Krymkowski D
Columbine. Blacksburg. Tucson. Aurora. Newtown. The Washington Navy Yard. Mass shootings such as these have kept the gun issue very much in the public eye. Unfortunately, the debate has become rather vitriolic, characterized by a number of overly simplistic views. This course seeks to inform students about the historic and contemporary role of firearms in American culture, in order to enable a more reasoned discussion. Questions such as the following will be considered. Why does the United States have the highest rate of gun ownership in the world? What are the demographics of gun ownership? In particular, why are men so much more likely to own guns than women? What is the relationship between guns and violence? The United States has a high rate of homicide with firearms, but Vermont has extensive gun ownership with little homicide. How can we explain such a paradox? Can gun control be effective? What do scientific studies reveal about this? What role does the National Rifle Association play in the debate, and how did it come to be such an influential lobbying organization? Does the Second Amendment guarantee an individual right to keep and bear arms?


SOC 100 A Fundamentals of Social Research
10481 09:35 11:15 M W Strickler J
10:25 F
In this course, students will learn the nuts and bolts of how sociological research is conducted, with a specific emphasis on quantitative data analysis. The first half of the class covers research design, including measurement of sociological concepts, collection and coding of data, and research ethics, among other topics. The second half of the semester will focus on analysis of quantitative data, including crosstabulation, difference of means tests, and linear regression. Students will use SPSS to conduct statistical analyses.


SOC 100 B Fundamentals of Social Research
10483 08:30 10:35 T R Danigelis N
This 4 credit course introduces students to the logic and technique of social science research beginning with an overview of basic research concepts and an overview of qualitative and quantitative data gathering methods. Following this introduction, students will conduct supervised research that includes one-, two-, and three-variable quantitative data analysis and data presentation, culminating in a research-based term paper that builds on the semester’s work. An important feature of the course is the emphasis placed on students learning how to do social science research themselves. Specific student work will range from helping to construct and administer survey questionnaires to analyzing data from similar questionnaires used in national surveys to analyzing government data like the Census. In connection with much of the data analysis, students will become conversant with the basics of SPSS statistical software.


SOC 101 A Development of Sociological Theory
10491 10:00 11:15 T R Miller E

SOC 109 A The Self & Social Interaction
14161 11:30 12:45 T R Jaffe D
This course is designed to introduce students to the field of social psychology from a sociological perspective. As such, the major emphasis will be on understanding individual behavior as a product of the interaction between self and society. The course begins by considering sociological theories of the self and its formation and presentation. From there, the focus shifts to the interaction between selves in society – communication, attitudes, perception, influence, attraction, etc. – in an effort to get a sense of the complex patterning of social interaction in society. The final section emphasizes selves in group contexts, both small group dynamics and the influence of culture and social structure on the self. Students will gain an overview of the central concerns, key concepts, major theories, and foundational research studies that form the core of social psychology. In addition, students will gain knowledge that will be useful in looking at their own lives and interactions with others more analytically and critically.

SOC 114 A Sociology of Punishment
14162 11:45 12:35 M W F Fox K
This course explores the concept of punishment from a sociological perspective. Broadly defined, what are the consequences, both intended and unintended, of punishment? What are the ironic features of punishment? What are the purposes of punishment, and what are the effects? And on what basis do we decide what is punishable? In this course, we will analyze both formal punishment and informal punishment. Central to the discussion of punishment is a discussion of justice.
The course will be divided roughly into three parts. The first part will deal with the more formal, state-sponsored sanctions, such as criminal justice punishments. From the birth of the prison to the current trends in incarceration, we will look at the social, ideological, and theoretical underpinnings of modern punishment. In the second part of the course, we will examine the ways that some forms of "deviance" are punished; specifically we will explore the punishment of statuses and characteristics such as juvenile misbehaviors, gender and class nonconformity. In this section, the main focus will be analyses of the ways that we as a society punish people (perhaps inadvertently) for their difference. Thus, punishment is defined very broadly.

The third portion of the course will pay special attention to the newer forms of social control, such as pervasive surveillance and the sacrifice of privacy in a fearful society with expanded technological capabilities. We will examine surveillance as a form of “pre-emptive punishment.” Punishment limits freedom, thus, we will explore less formal and less obvious ways that we sacrifice freedom. Throughout the course, a major theme will be the ironies of punishment and social control.
The reading requirements for the course include at least two books and a series of articles. Evaluation will be based upon a series of short papers and interactive assignments. Random in class quizzes or writing assignments will be used to assess attendance and preparedness.


SOC 154 A Social Organization of Death & Dying
14178 04:00 06:45 T Cowan D


SOC 196 A Poverty & Policy
14164 2:50 01:40 M W F Davis K
Many Americans are living under the poverty line and are struggling to make ends meet. Poverty and Policy provides students with the opportunity to learn about the nature of poverty as well as antipoverty policies and programs in the United States. We will discuss influential theories on the causes of poverty and examine the scope and success of antipoverty interventions. Throughout this class, students will develop answers to questions including, What is poverty? How does poverty affect children and families? Why is poverty so prevalent among racial minorities? How are poverty trends related to labor market conditions, neighborhood quality, family structure, and public polices? We will also explore how the antipoverty interventions shape the social, economic and political resources available to its citizens through policies and programs.

SOC 219 A D1: Race Relations
12050 01:00 02:15 T R Khanna N
Ever wondered what race relations look like outside the United States? American sociologists have concentrated largely on race relations in the US, often neglecting the analysis of similarities and differences between the United States and other societies. The primary goal in this course is to compare and contrast ethnic/race relations in the US with other nations such as Brazil, South Africa, Australia, Germany, and Canada. A comparative approach enables us to learn about race relations in other societies, but also provides us with sharper insight into race and ethnic relations in the United States.


SOC 220 A Internship in Gerontology
11693 08:30 09:20 T Jaffe D

SOC 232 A Social Class & Mobility
14159 08:30 09:20 M W F Krymkowski D

SOC 250 A Sociology of Culture
14157 08:30 09:45 T R Matsumoto N

SOC 250 B Sociology of Culture
14158 02:30 03:45 T R Matsumoto N
“Culture” permeates everyday life--through institutions, patterns of behavior, attitudes, and social relationships--yet remains an elusive concept. This course provides a survey of the sociology of culture, exploring central questions regarding what is meant by “culture” and its relation to social life. Culture is at once influenced by and constitutive of social, economic, and political processes. The course aims to develop an understanding of these relationships through consideration of the classical foundations, concepts, and perspectives, developed in sociology and other social scientific fields. The role of culture in social life will be examined according to four major aspects: 1) culture as an expressive object [production, reception, consumption] 2) culture as an instrument of power and domination; 3) culture as a system of signs; 4) culture as a system of classification. The course will further consider how culture may be used as a tool for social action or for the construction of identity. Students will acquire fundamental sociological knowledge while exploring various approaches to the study of culture and its relation to society.


SOC 274 A Qualitative Research Methods
14180 04:00 06:45 R Jaffe D
The focus of this course is on qualitative methods of research and analysis. This involves the observation and study of people in their "natural" everyday settings. The main objective is for you to learn how to go about doing this sort of research by reading about qualitative methodology, conducting your own original research project, and discussing your experiences, discoveries, and dilemmas with your classmates. During the course of the semester, you will select a setting for study, create field notes based on participant observation, develop an interview guide and conduct a small number of in-depth interviews, learn how to analyze these data, and write a qualitative research report.

SOC 286 A Service Learning Internship
10:00 - 11:15 T-Th. Munkres, S.
This course is designed to give undergraduate students an opportunity to participate in a service-learning internship. In these internships, students will learn experientially about efforts to create social change and strengthen communities in the Burlington area. Students will gain first hand experience with a particular issue and a particular local agency or organization, and will put that experience in a broader (sociological) context. To do so, students will write regular fieldnotes in their internship, attend a seminar and write a paper on a topic directly related to their internship.


SOC 296 A Race, Gender & Work
14156 10:40 11:30 M W F Davis K
This course provides a sociological assessment of intersections between race and ethnic relations, the politics of gender and employment opportunity in the 21st century American workplace. We will explore the origins and the consequences of race, gender, and workplace hierarchies that shape the employment experiences of social groups in the US. Through a combination of readings, discussions, and films, this course is designed to help students situate the cultural and structural explanations for race and gender workplace inequality in the US workplace.