Fall 2014 Courses


Click here for the registrar’s list of Sociology Courses.

SOC 001 A Introduction to Sociology
90512 01:00 2:15 T R Macias T
This course is designed to provide you with an introduction to the academic discipline of sociology. Upon completion of the course, you should have a familiarity with: a) the major subfields of sociology (e.g., social inequality, race and ethnicity, gender inequality, socialization and culture, and crime and deviance); b) the principal methods of data gathering and analysis used in sociological research; and c) some of the most important contributions made by sociologists to social theory. An effort will be made to keep the topics covered relevant to contemporary social issues and our day-to-day lives as members of United States society.

SOC 001 B Introduction to Sociology
92390 12:50 1:40 M W F Prof. Eleanor Miller
Sociology is a social science which seeks to understand the nature of society in its many and diverse dimensions. At the macro level, sociologists study institutions (e.g., government, education, religion, family) and the relationship between institutions or groups; at the micro level, sociologists try to understand the nature of an individual's social identity, as well as interpersonal relationships (marriage, dating, friendships, etc.).

Sociologists make a number of assumptions about the nature of society--assumptions which you may find difficult to accept initially. First, a key assumption of sociology is that social behavior is essentially predictable. Many people believe that individuals in the United States have complete freedom to make decisions governing their personal lives. However, sociologists would point out that the choices made by individuals are very much a product of the filtering process of socialization, reinforced by many forms of external social controls, such as laws. For example, in the United States, most of us expect to marry only one individual at a time, reflecting monogamous mate selection rules. But if you grew up as a male in traditional Kenya, you might well expect to have multiple spouses. This difference in cultural patterns reflects a second very important sociological assumption--patterns and norms are relative, not absolute. What is considered appropriate may vary across cultures or over time in the same culture.


SOC 019 A D1: Race Relations in the US 1
90521 9:35 10:25 M W F Matsumoto N
This course offers an introduction to patterns of racial and ethnic relations in the United States, drawing upon sociological theories and research. The goal of this course is to explore how what is commonly understood as “race” and “ethnicity” structures human life and the organization of society. Specific topics examined in this course include concepts of race, ethnicity, systems of racial classification, sociological theories of racial and ethnic stratification, ethno-racial identities, immigration, assimilation, and racial attitudes, including prejudice, discrimination, and racism. In analyzing such wide and interrelated topics we will also consider consequences of racial difference on people’s life outcomes, e.g. income, wealth differentials, education, and employment. The first several weeks of the course will be devoted to fundamental sociological concepts and perspectives on race and ethnic relations. During the latter half of the course, emphasis will be placed on the history and social conditions of major ethno-racial groups and various contemporary trends that influence and shape racial and ethic relations in the United States.

SOC 019 B D1: Race Relations in the US 1
92914 8:30 9:45 T R Davis K
This is a sociological assessment of race and ethnic relations in the United States. While the main focus in this course is on the changing nature of domestic inter-group relations and its consequences, we will also explore how class and gender hierarchies help shape the historical and contemporary experiences of race and ethnic groups in the US. This course is divided into the following topical segments:
1) The evolution of “Race” as a social construct in America
2) Theoretical perspectives on assimilation and pluralism
3) Contemporary impact of racism in key social institutions
4) Contemporary consequences of (mis)representations of “race” in America
Through a combination of lectures, readings (AVERAGE 40-60 PAGES PER WEEK), films, and discussions, this course is designed to help students explore the cultural and structural explanations for race and ethnic inequality, in addition to the causes and consequences of prejudice and discrimination in US society.

SOC 029 A Sociology of the Family
92244 10:00 11:15 T R Fothergill A
This course is designed to give undergraduate students an introduction to the scholarship and theories in the field of the sociology of the family. We will cover issues such as definitions of the family, sexuality, dating, marriage patterns, parenthood, childhood, the gendered division of labor in the family, domestic violence, divorce, and teenage pregnancy. The course will include an examination of national data, social policies, cross-cultural perspectives, and sociological analyses based on quantitative and qualitative research on a wide range of intimate and family relationships. This course has three large lectures each week. There are approximately 100 students in the course. The course will have two short papers and three in-class exams. Regular class attendance and active class participation are expected.


SOC 096 B Sociology of Sexualities
93972 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 100 A Fundamentals of Social Research
90527 11:30 1:35 T R Strickler J
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
90529 09:30 11:15 M W Danigelis N
9:35-10:25 F
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
90534 8:30 9:20 M W F Miller E
This course will focus on the work of four major sociological theorists: Weber, Durkheim, Marx and Simmel. The theme that will unify the course is the effect of the coming of modern, urban-industrial society on the possibilities for personal freedom and individuality. Relevant portions of each author’s work will be examined to discover the assumptions each theorist makes about the nature of human nature and society, the sources and mechanics of social change, the forms of social organization unique to modern societies, and the implications of these forms for the quality of human life. Because these theorists were middle-class, European males, who, for the most part theorized about people like themselves or from the perspective of people who were similarly situated socially, feminist, race-based and class-based critiques of these theories will be an ongoing part of the course.

In addition to introducing students to a representative sample of the thinking of four major theorists of society whose work constitutes the foundation of the discipline of sociology, this course aims to develop students’ analytical skills and to polish their written communication skills. In addition, through close reading and comparison of primary texts (albeit often in translation), students should become better readers of challenging scholarly material of all sorts. These goals of the course should, in turn, provide students with a firm basis upon which to: 1) begin to see how they might discover situations in which these theories might be profitably applied and tested, and 2) begin to see how they might construct, test and use social theories independently.


SOC 102 A Population, Environment & Society
93925 2:30 3:45 T R Strickler J
This course covers a subject which has concerned researchers and policy makers for many decades. Initially, we will focus on measurement and conceptual tools that students need to understand population issues. We will review the historical events that have led to the current population situation, and students will learn to quantify various components of population growth. After the first month or so, you will have the background needed to discuss the sociological issues involved in population change, and we will move to a seminar-style discussion, rather than lectures. It is essential that students come to class prepared to discuss the readings; to facilitate this, there will be 7 “pop quizzes” during the semester. These quizzes will consist of multiple choice questions drawn from the week’s reading. The lowest quiz grade will be dropped in calculating your grade.


SOC 119 A Race & Ethnicity
92246 9:30 10:25 M W F Khanna N
The main purpose of this course is to introduce students to classic and contemporary research and theory on race and ethnic relations. We will focus most of our attention on the context of the United States, but will at times comparatively examine race relations beyond our own borders. Because of the depth and breadth of this area, this course is designed to give students an overview of issues concerning race and ethnic relations. Since this is an intermediate-level race course, however, we will move beyond a descriptive analysis of American race relations to take a more theoretical and critical approach to race relations in the United States.

In this course we will cover a number of topics. During the first portion of the semester, we will begin with conceptual issues: What is race? What is ethnicity? How do they relate? We will examine the social construction of race and ethnicity, as well as look at multiethnic and multiracial identities and its implications for how we view race and ethnicity in America. Second, we will focus our attention on both classic and contemporary theoretical perspectives regarding race and race relations. We will look at prejudice, discrimination, racism, theories of inter-ethnic/racial integration, and theories of racial and ethnic stratification and inequality. After laying the theoretical foundation for race and ethnic relations, we will finally turn to applying these theories to historical trends and social institutions in the United States. The basic outline of the course is as follows:
I. Conceptualizing race, ethnicity, and identity
II. Theoretical perspectives of race/ethnic relations
III. Historical trends and social institutions in the United States
We will discuss a variety of race relations in the U.S., as well as tie in international examples when possible. Further, I will encourage you throughout the course to take a sociological perspective towards race and ethnic relations. An important goal of this course is to increase your understanding of the key concepts and theories in the sociological study of race and ethnic relations by having you apply these ideas to historical and contemporary perspectives of intergroup relations in the United States.


SOC 122 A Women & Gender
90544 8:30 9:20 M W F Mintz B
During the semester, we will consider some of the most critical problems related to the development of gender roles. While other historical periods and societies will be treated frequently, an emphasis will be placed on contemporary society. As part of this, the relationship between gender, race, class, and sexuality will be an important focus. Class will be informal and discussion strongly encouraged. The overall objective of the course will be to develop a broad theoretical perspective, through which we can analyze the diverse set of women’s roles.


SOC 132 A Affluence & Poverty
92894 12:50 1:40 M W F Danigelis N
“Affluence”? “Poverty”? What thoughts do these two words conjure up in your minds? If one of them is “social inequality” or “social stratification,” then you are well on your way to understanding what this course is about. We’ll start with questions like: What do we mean by “social inequality”? “Social stratification”? How much inequality is there in the United States? What do we know about those at the top end of the social class hierarchy? Those at the bottom? What are important correlates of social inequality? What explains social inequality? How does social mobility operate in the U.S.? And, finally, we’ll examine prospects for the future and a consider a wide range of “solutions” to social inequality.

The main purpose of this course is to sensitize you to the sociological perspective on social inequality. My own bias concerning the study of inequality, however, means that we will also borrow liberally from the disciplines of economics, political science, psychology, and history. Therefore, I will be asking you to read and view material from a wide variety of sources that in different ways bear on social inequality in the U.S. and across the world. An exchange of ideas about the readings, videos, and lecture material will be critical to developing the sociological perspective on affluence and poverty.


SOC 151 A Sociology of Religion and Ideology
93952 1:55 2:45 M W F Kaelber L





SOC 154 A Social Organization of Death & Dying
92897 04:00 07:05 M Cowan D
Dying and death are most obviously biological processes which affect individuals. But from a sociological standpoint, dying and death are social processes because every society interprets these phenomena and creates structures for dealing with dying individuals and rituals for disposing of the dead. These interpretations and rituals vary from culture to culture and change over time in the same culture, reflecting the "relativizing" theme of sociological analysis.

During this semester we will examine the attitudes and behaviors concerning dying and death which characterize individuals and societies through time and across cultures. Most of the course, however, will focus on dying and death issues in the United States. Some of the questions we will address include: How is death disruptive to the social order and why all societies have norms and structures to deal with the dying and death of individuals? For example, why is suicide illegal in the United States? Should individuals have the right to refuse to live if, in their view, their lives are "not worth living?" What happens when it is society that determines that an individual's life is "not worth living," as in the case of capital punishment or Hitler's policies against Jews and other so-called "undesirables" in Germany. Another issue we will address is the impact of social class on the "life chances" of individuals and even the ways and places in which people die and are cared for after death. We will examine the responses of medicine, law, religion, the family and the funeral industry to dying and death in order to understand institutional patterns, and look at the hospice movement, which has challenged many of the traditional views and practices concerning dying by focusing on the family as the unit of care, promoting the concept of "death with dignity," and controlling pain and other symptoms of dying, rather than prolonging the dying process with the use of "heroic measures."

The latter part of the semester will be spent looking at dying and death up close, from the perspective of the individuals and families who are dealing with dying and death on a personal level. What is it like to die, from a biological/physiological point of view? What is the nature of grief? How do you know whether your grief is "normal" or requires some kind of professional intervention?


SOC 203 A Advanced Environmental Society
93963 4:00 6:45 T Macias T
A central assumption taken in this course is that the environmental crisis we currently face as a species is profoundly grounded in social issues. Sociology allows us to circumvent purely technical approaches to environmental risks and degradation by getting at the human roots of, for example, natural resource depletion, climate change and global species die-off. Population growth, industrialization, social inequality, government policies and “free-market” economics will all be considered as key anthropogenic drivers within the rapidly changing natural environment we collectively inhabit and depend on for our existence. This course will cover a fairly wide range of topics addressed within the field of environmental sociology while allowing you the opportunity to research a specific subject matter in this area.



SOC 216 A Criminal Justice
92397 2:30 3:45 T R Fox K
This course will offer an in-depth analysis of current conceptual issues in justice, including philosophies of justice, the role of discretion, the media, and the role of power/interests. In exploring these concepts, we will do so by using particular issues, such as sex offender registries, sentencing controversies, the use of shaming of offenders, what constitutes a legal search, and obstacles to successful offender community reentry (to name but a few). The larger frame will be a consideration of how we determine what is just and what “works.” In addition and more generally, the course will cover the maintenance of social order, and how notions of the "greater good," morality and freedom are balanced and legislated. We will also learn a bit about the nuts and bolts of the criminal justice system, but will primarily concern ourselves with the sociological significance of the way the system works and “should” work and the practical and ethical consequences of social control.
In addition, this course is designated as a Service-Learning (SL) course, which means it has a component that integrates course content with service to a community organization. This semester we are partnering with the Department of Corrections to help them evaluate their programs for keeping inmates connected to their families. We will do this by traveling around to the prisons in the state and interviewing prisoners, and presenting a final report to DOC. Alternatively, for students who do not wish to do this, there is another volunteer opportunity at the prison, or we can arrange an alternative site.

SOC 218 A Disability as Deviance
93953 11:45 12:35 M W F Kaelber L
Course Catalog: “Analyzes constructions of disability as deviance in current and historical contexts such as American eugenics, Nazi sterilization and ‘Euthanasia’ crimes, and present national policies”

Details: Using sociological perspectives and a multidisciplinary approach that spans the fields of history, disability studies, Holocaust studies, and American culture and politics, this course looks at historical constructions of disability as social deviance. Deviance refers to beliefs, behavior, or perceived bodily conditions that violate a cultural norm and bring about a social reaction to control or confine such beliefs, behavior, or conditions. Three contexts are emphasized:
1) American eugenics;
2) the German National-Socialist sterilization and “Euthanasia” programs, which were stepping stones toward the Holocaust; and
3) the transformation of American disability politics and policies from “good will” to “human/civil rights,” involving the 1990 American with Disabilities Act (ADA) as well as other legal and social developments.


SOC 219 A D1: Race Relations
93950 12:50 1:40 M W F 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 243 A Mass Media in Modern Society
93367 04:05- 07:05 W Streeter T
This course is about the mass media’s role in society. It is scholarly; we will mostly read original scholarly research. As a senior seminar, this course is intended to teach students something about serious scholarship, and about how to think intelligently about the media: what media scholarship is, what questions it asks, how it tries to answer them, how to make sense of it in general.The mass media is controversial and complex; there are no certain or easy answers about it. So this course does more to teach you how to think intelligently about the media than it provides you with one or another viewpoint on it.

Readings are largely scholarly works about aspects of the media and its role in social life. Students will be required to write a scholarly research paper and other assignments. For more details: http://www.uvm.edu/~tstreete/Courses/soc243_syllabus/

SOC 256 A Sociology of End of Life Care
93261 9:35 10:50 M W Cowan B
Historian and philosopher Philippe Aries has argued that for most of human history, dying and death were viewed as natural phases of the life course and were accepted as an integral part of the human condition. In the mid 20th century, however, advances in medical technology, reduced maternal and infant mortality, better nutrition and sanitation led to dramatic increases in life expectancy. Increased urbanization and geographic mobility, the proliferation of hospitals and isolated nuclear families led sociologists to support the transfer of family-based caregiving of dying members to hospitals. As a result, dying people were increasingly segregated from their families and communities, cared for by medical professionals whose primary focus was to cure their patients. In the medical system, death was considered failure, something to be concealed. In hospitals, dying patients were isolated, stigmatized and often experienced social death.

In the wake of the Civil Rights Movement, dying people were identified by advocates, most notably Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, as a disenfranchised minority, entitled to humane and dignified treatment at the end of life. The modern hospice movement began in England with the founding of St. Christopher’s Hospice in 1967 by Cicely Saunders, and palliative care emerged. Palliative medicine developed within the medical establishment in response to demands for better quality care at the end of life for patients dying in hospital settings.

During the semester we will explore in depth these various developments in end-of-life care and address both the barriers as well as the bridges to creating a healthcare system that is responsive to the needs of a diverse population of dying individuals, especially senior boomers dealing with multiple long-term health challenges. Certainly, the current debates concerning health reform and the implications for dying individuals will be explored throughout the semester.


SOC 295 A Race, Gender & Work
93922 11:30 12:45 Davis K
This is 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.

This course is divided into the following topical segments:

1) Origins Of Race And Gender Inequality In The Workplace
2) Influences of Post-Industrial Shifts in Workplace Relations
3) Race And Gender Inequality In The Post-Industrial Workplace


SOC 295 B Social Sciences in Marxist Tradition
93969 1:55 2:45 M W F Miller E
The course assumes that there is an intellectual core to Marxism which has proved to be worth preserving and developing in service of understanding human societies. The purpose of this course is to explore the extraordinary richness and diversity of the Marxist intellectual tradition as it has influenced specific areas of social scientific focus over the past half century or so, for example, in the areas of education, inequality, globalization, immigration, crime, health and illness, and governance. The class will begin with a deep reading of selected works by Marx himself and a discussion of the value of various Marxist concepts once the Marxist historical framework is abandoned and the link to practice has mostly been severed. The remaining readings will be both in theoretical traditions influenced by Marxism (e.g., Marxist/materialist feminism and political economy) and in contemporary critical approaches to various social and political dilemmas and challenges.