Course Descriptions — Sociology

SOC1100 Introduction to Society 4 semester hours
This course is an introduction to the systematic study of human society. Students learn about the impact of society and culture on individuals and about the role of individuals in the construction of social life and culture. They develop their own sociological imagination and sociological mindfulness and learn how to apply the new skills to the interpretation of social reality and their own experience. They are introduced to the major social institutions and the basic processes of human interaction resulting in social change.
Prerequisites: None.
Meets General Education “Knowing Ourselves and Others” Group A requirement (for students entering Aurora University prior to Summer 2014).

SOC2150 Cultural Anthropology 4 semester hours
This course introduces students to culture defined as a key aspect of human adaptability and success. Students learn about the process of development of our essentially human characteristics, both biological and cultural, including language, customs, and institutions that make up the ways of life of social groups. A cross-cultural analysis of societies and the multiple functions of culture are discussed. Students are encouraged to develop cultural self-awareness and self-reflection, reduce ethnocentrism, and create new ways of understanding of their own culture.
Prerequisites: None.
Meets General Education “Knowing Ourselves and Others” Group A requirement (for students entering Aurora University prior to Summer 2014).

SOC2200 Foundations of Sociological Inquiry 4 semester hours
This course introduces students to fundamental sociological concepts and selected classical theories. It helps students establish a foundation which enables them to understand, appreciate, and engage in sociological analysis. The most central questions to this course are, how are individual actions shaped by their relation to and position in the social structure, and how do individuals influence the social structure and contribute to societal change?  Students develop an understanding of the symbiotic relationship between sociological theory and sociological research. They are empowered to apply course concepts to their own experience and encouraged to pose questions about various dimensions of social life. (Offered every other year)
Prerequisite: SOC 1100 or SOC 2150.

SOC2250 Social Inequalities 4 semester hours
All societies are characterized by the unequal distribution of income, wealth, mobility, power, prestige, etc. This course introduces students to various patterns of inequality, how they are formed and maintained, and how they influence the life of individuals and social groups. Students also learn about the efforts to reduce various dimensions of social inequalities.
Prerequisites: None.

SOC/CRJ2300 Criminology 4 semester hours
Cross-listed with CRJ 2300; For description, see CRJ 2300.
Meets General Education “Knowing Ourselves and Others” Group B requirement (for students entering Aurora University prior to Summer 2014).

SOC3350 Race, Ethnicity, and Culture 4 semester hours
Why is it that even today discussions concerning ethnic diversity, race, color and the Constitutional promise and actual practice of equal opportunity continue to evoke uneasiness and personal discomfort? This is an interesting question since our cultural context and national identity are often admired as symbols of liberty. Whether we seek employment in education, business, or social services, we need to be aware of the factors that shape the unique experiences of diverse groups. To expand this awareness, the course analyzes how differences in ethnicity, skin color and other indicators of group membership impact vulnerability and opportunity for diverse groups. The legal and moral questions related to the responses by the mainstream population to racial and cultural minority groups, including the new immigrants are also examined. Stereotypes, prejudices, and discrimination of a wide range of social categories, and the role they play in shaping of the structures of power are also analyzed.
Prerequisite: None.
Meets General Education “Knowing Ourselves and Others” Group A requirement (for students entering Aurora University prior to Summer 2014).

SOC/PSC3400 Social Problems and Public Policies 4 semester hours
This course provides a comprehensive introduction to important social and political problems and policies from a cross-societal perspective. The fundamental questions ask about the origins of social problems and policies that are developed to solve them. The course focuses on the social construction of social problems, and on the role played by the power elites, social experts, media and social movements in the process of that construction. The strengths and weaknesses of governmental programs and regulations and of market-based solutions of these problems also are discussed. The role of volunteerism and philanthropy is analyzed, and so are the unanticipated consequences of politically motivated reforms.
Prerequisite: None.

SOC/PSY3430 Gender, Sexuality and Society 4 semester hours
This course focuses on the analysis of the biological, psychological, and social aspects of human sexuality and gender. Topics include human sexuality over the course of life, sex, love, and mate selection, sexual diversity, sexual violence, and the changing relationship between sexuality and various social institutions (e.g., family) and elements of culture (e.g., religion). The discussion also focuses on the interplay between sexuality and gender, on gender development across the life span, and across cultures, the changes in gender expectations over time, and gender in the context of various social institutions. The multicultural and global perspectives constitute the framework for the discussion.
Prerequisite: None.

SOC/PSY3450 Social and Applied Psychology 4 semester hours
Cross-listed with PSY 3450; For description, see PSY 3450.

SOC/PSC3480 Globalization and Social Change 4 semester hours
This course focuses on the trends in economic, political, social, and cultural globalization, hybridization, fragmentation, and on selected local/community phenomena related to those macro/global changes that occur in our times. Elements of world-systems theory and the theory of culture change, theories of social stratification, of the origin and perpetuation of inequalities in society and in the world, in combination with other current approaches to the explanation of human experience both on the macro and micro levels, will be explored. Questions related to ethics, human rights, individualization, consumerism, politics, and to growing awareness of the ambivalence of human experience will be debated.
Prerequisite: SOC 1100 or PSC 1500.

SOC/PSY3500 Research and Statistical Methods 4 semester hours
Cross-listed with PSY 3500; For description, see PSY 3500.

SOC/PSC/CRJ3510 Human Rights and Responsibilities 4 semester hours
Why is our world continuously on fire? What factors contribute to the intra- and intergroup conflicts? To address these questions, this course takes a historical and a cross cultural approach to the  study of the socio-political and economic factors that shape violence, aggression and trauma. The first part of the course introduces students to the emergence of human rights in the 20th century. Next, selected examples of economic, social and cultural victimization, wars, genocidal and terrorist actions are explored to understand how violence varies across contexts. The resulting health challenges, such as malnutrition, HIV/AIDS, trafficking of humans and human organs are also addressed. Finally, issues of nonviolent social change, peaceful conflict resolution, and possibilities for a “new world order” are also explored.
Prerequisites: None.

SOC/PSC3550 Politics of Intimate Relations 4 semester hours
This course applies a historical, comparative and global approach to the study of social and political forces that shape patterns of mate selection, dating, intimate relationships, power relations, conflicts and violence among members of intimate relationships, and of the dissolution of such relations with all its consequences. The issues related to parent-child dynamic and the problems that emerge in single- parent, multi-generational, transitional, same-sex or blended families are also taken into consideration. The issues of individual and population aging are contextualized by broader interpersonal, familial, social and political perspectives. The role of contemporary media representation of intimate relations and their challenges is included in the analysis.
Prerequisite: None.

SOC/PSC3600 Theory and Methods of Social Scientific Research 4 semester hours
Cross-listed with PSC 3600 and CRJ 3600.
This course provides an overview of the methods used to devise, design and perform social science research. Following a brief overview of the nature and philosophy of science, quantitative, qualitative and rational choice approaches are explored, as students generate their own social science research questions and create appropriate research designs.
Prerequisites: SOC 1100, PSC 1500, or CRJ 1010.

SOC/PSC3610 The Politics of European Integration 4 semester hours
Cross-listed with PSC 3610. For description, see PSC 3610.

SOC/PSC/BIO3700 Politics of Global Health and Medicine 4 semester hours
The course addresses the question of how social and political factors, such as race, nationality or social class, as well as governmental laws, regulations and politics shape and are shaped by individual and population health and well-being around the world. Among other questions, students discuss the impact of structural violence of social inequalities on human suffering and on the access to health care and medical care, including access to medications. The ethicality of medical research is also included in that discussion. Assigned readings and discussions address 1) the determinants of disease and health inequalities between populations and over time; 2) how social and political factors influence medical knowledge, health care and medical care; and 3) what must be done to combat and prevent health inequalities in local, national and global contexts.
Prerequisite: SOC 1100 or PSC 1500 or SOC 2150.
Highly Recommended: SOC/PSC 3480 or BIO 3540.

SOC4400 Seminar in Sociological Theory and Practice 4 semester hours
The course focuses on the examination of prevailing sociological perspectives and their relation to researchable questions. Readings from contemporary and postmodern sociological theorists on selected topics build the foundations for students’ individual research. Examples of the most recent conceptualizations of specific social and cultural issues broaden students’ perspective of sociology as a discipline. Students design and conduct their own research project - collect data, analyze and interpret them and write the final paper. (Offered every other year)
Prerequisites: SOC 2200; SOC/PSC 3600.

SOC 2810, 3810, 4810 Special Topics 4 semester hours
Students are individually placed with community organizations and agencies where they work and acquire professional experience The Department of Sociology offers periodic special topics courses on a variety of topics. Current and future topics include Sociology of Sports, Sociology of Education, Sociology of Reproduction, and Sociology of Food. Students from all majors are encouraged to take these courses.
Prerequisites: None.

SOC2940, 3940, 4940 Community Internship 2–4 semester hours
Students are individually placed with community organizations and agencies where they work and acquire professional experience. The internship is recommended for students in their junior or senior year. The internship gives students an opportunity to learn the daily operation of community institutions and to develop skills they need to work in culturally diverse contexts. At the same time, students apply their sociological imagination and mindfulness developed in the classroom as well as their knowledge of sociological theories to the interpretation of the directly observed and experienced aspects of social life.
Prerequisite: Consent of the instructor.