Current Courses

Introduction to Sociology:

As sociologist Anthony Giddens stated: “Sociology is the study of human social life, groups, and societies. It is a dazzling and compelling enterprise, having as its subject matter our own behavior as social beings." What makes sociology so fascinating? Well, it’s the study of us, people, living together. It is the study of culture, or everything aside from the natural/physical world. The scope of sociology is extremely wide, and in this introductory course we will be examining topics of order, control, and conflict within our society. In this course, you will develop the critical thinking skills necessary to evaluate human group behavior. You will learn about the relationship between individual behavior and societal structure through your sociological imagination, a unique and important analytical tool. We will explore society through systematic analysis and theoretical perspectives, and we will investigate the methods by which sociological research is gathered. In this course we will analyze social groups, patterns, and interactions leaving you with a new understanding of the world around you. Central topics include, but are not limited to: consumerism and the American Dream; masculinity and violence; sexism and hypersexualization in advertising; the social construction of gender; the self, identity, and social media; income and wealth inequality; the relatively of crime and deviance; race/ethnicity and social class; and the rationalization/McDonaldization of modern society.

Social Problems:

In this course we will critically examine significant social problems in the United States. Utilizing scientific research and sociological theories, we will approach social problems in two interrelated ways. First, we will examine social problems objectively, or as a condition or pattern of behavior that has negative consequences for individuals, our social world, or physical world. Through this approach we will explore issues such as crime, drugs, inequality, poverty, racism, sexism, and health and environmental problems. These are significant social issues, considered social problems by many in the United States, and phenomena we can discuss objectively. Second, we will examine the process by which some social conditions (e.g., distracted driving, internet addiction, sexism, poverty, climate change) come to be considered a “social problem" by some in our society, but not others. By taking this subjective or social constructionist approach, we will explore social problems as dependent on time, place, and audience. Thus, the goals of this class are twofold: 1) Present current information concerning significant social problems 2) Analyze how social problems are constructed and reconstructed by the media, the public, claimsmakers, and policymakers. Central topics include, but are not limited to: the social construction of social problems; corporate crime and power; money and influence in American politics; the social consequences of wealth and income inequality; the War on Drugs; drug scares and moral panics; sources of crime and the effectiveness of criminal justice; media ownership and influence; and the social sources and solutions to social problems.

Past Courses

Introduction to Criminology
Sociology of Punishment
Drugs, Crime, and the Law
Deviance in U.S. Society
Drugs in U.S. Society