Spring 2020 Courses

Upper Division Courses

SOCI-230 FAMILY & SOCIETY MWF   11:30 am-12:25 pm    Sheila Nelson   (Gender)       

Students will explore the family as a SOCIAL institution, recognizing the diversity of families around the world and in various cultures.  The course places particular emphasis on the history, current challenges, and future directions of the family in United States.  It also examines how societal perspectives on gender impact interactions and roles within the family.  It requires that students examine how families are influenced and shaped by social forces such as the economy, politics, and religion.  In the course of the semester it should become increasingly clear that while many of us regard the family as a major source of personal satisfaction, the family is indeed a public institution and as such the quality of our experience of family is determined in large part by social forces and public policies.

SOCI-304 SOCIOLOGICAL THEORY     TR        9:35 am-10:55 am                 

Major 20th century American and European developments in the social sciences. Central ideas and assumptions of the founders of modern sociology, anthropology and psychology: Durkheim, Weber, Mead and Freud. A survey of recent schools of thought and a consideration of the social sciences in society.

SOCI-322 TRANSNATIONAL ANTHROPOLOGY          TR        2:20 pm-3:40 pm (IC)

Cultures and cultural groups have never been bounded to a single location – people have always been in movement, learning from people outside their cultural groups, and hybridizing ideas and ways of life. This course uses cultural anthropology theory and method to study transnational cultural groups that are present in contemporary Minnesota. In particular, we will study ethnographic books about Hmong, Somali, and Mexican people and topics including ethnicity, migration, refugeeism, tourism, nomadism, political economy, and medical anthropology. Students will be conducting original research in a semester-long project that analyzes a particular transnational cultural case study. The end result is a short documentary that is shown at Scholarship and Creativity Day.

SOCI-323 MEDICAL ANTHROPOLOGY           TR        9:35 am-10:55 am                 

Medical anthropology seeks to understand human health and wellbeing, the experience and distribution of illness, and methods of healing across cultures. While illness and health are universal concepts, the specific conditions that lead to illness and health, and the understanding of what these various states do to one’s body and one’s spirit, vary greatly. In our biomedically-oriented society, we often take for granted the various ways that culture, political economy, social structures, religion, and environment impact health. In this course, we explore the cultural variations that exist in the ways people experience, diagnose, and treat illnesses.

We will cover a variety of topics from childhood disease and stress to medical travel and pharmaceutical marketing. Course readings include a graphic novel about medical promise, an ethnography about Malawian medical students, and numerous case studies from all over the world that will bring us closer to understanding the various and complex ways people experience health, illness, and healing.

SOCI-340 CRIMINOLOGY & CORRECTIONS   TR        11:10 am-12:30 pm   

Theoretical causes of criminal behavior. Who commits crime and why?  And why in a country with so many advantages, so much opportunity, do we have so much violence?  How does culture, our value system, our social structures contribute to the crime problem---and how might they contribute to the solution?  We will examine some of the key strengths, limitations, and challenges to the effectiveness of police, judicial, and corrections systems in the U.S.  We will also pay attention to the role of the media and cultural biases in analyzing the "crime problem."

SOCI-341 URBAN STUDIES     TR        12:45 pm-02:05 pm               

Urban Sociology is exactly what it sounds like—the study of the city from a sociological perspective, whether 19th century Berlin, 20th century Chicago, or 21st century Los Angeles. 19th century urbanization was a seminal force in the origin of Sociology as an academic discipline; it was inextricably linked with industrialization and rationalization in a web of modernism that was rapidly drawing the world’s population into its grasp. There is now a significant history of sociological research investigating urban growth patterns and their effects on community, culture, and interaction. In this seminar, we will study the foundations of Urban Sociology and several theoretical and empirical trajectories that have emerged in the discipline. The city is a built environment that lends material form to social relations. We will study how people interact with the city, and how the city structures people’s interactions with each other. Liberating for many, the city offers unprecedented access to a cornucopia of subcultures, lifestyles, and communities. For many others, the city constrains opportunity in unprecedented ways.

SOCI-349 ENVIRONMENTAL ANTHROPOLOGY        W        6:15 pm-9:15 pm

We interact daily with the environment in a multitude of ways which often pass unnoticed. When we use cell phones powered by lithium batteries, when we wash our dishes with chlorinated water, when we drink coffee produced in other countries, and when we walk through the arboretum, we engage with nature and the politics that manage it. In this course, students will gain an anthropological framework for observing and critically analyzing diverse human relationships to the environment. The course addresses the questions: In what ways do human cultures perceive, use, and care for the natural world? What does it mean to live in the Anthropocene? How does resource management mediate the natural world? In what ways do people plan for, participate in, subvert, and are affected by environment management schemes? This course examines the relationships between human cultures and the environments they inhabit through ethnographic examples drawn from around the world.