Social Sciences

  • CGS SS 101: Introduction to Historical Sociology and the Social Sciences
    This course introduces the disciplines of anthropology, sociology, social psychology, economics, and history. Students examine and apply methods and principal concepts to the problems of contemporary society. The course also explores the processes involved in an analysis of culture, society, the socialization process, stratification, and social institutions. Cross-cultural studies help demonstrate the universal social needs of people and illustrate how these various needs are met.
  • CGS SS 102: Social Change and Modernization in the Western World
    This course examines the processes of modernization and social change in the West and Middle Ages to the present. The historical phenomena of industrialization, liberalism, nationalism, imperialism, socialism, communism, fascism, and globalization--all of which are associated with modernization as it took place in the 19th and 20th centuries--are examined both in their historical contexts and within the framework of the classical sociological theories of social change. The historical case study offers the students a vehicle for analyzing in depth the impact of these phenomena on the life, institutions, and ways of thinking in Western societies.
  • CGS SS 103: Changing Times, Changing Minds: Revolutions in the Ancient World through the Enlightenment
    This course examines social change in ideologies, governance, economies, and social structures of the Western world. It will consider the rise of monotheism and democracy in the ancient world, the role of trade in economic and political development, and shifts in social inequalities. It will look at challenges to authority with the Reformation, the political philosophies of the Enlightenment, and their impact on the social and political revolutions of the 18th century. Along the way, students gain familiarity with the social science "toolkit" of analytical concepts. Course themes of social, cultural, political, and economic change will be illustrated by sites in southern New England. [Open only to students admitted to the CGS January Program]
  • CGS SS 104: Changing Times, Changing Minds: The Industrial Revolution to the Digital Revolution
    This course focuses on social change in ideologies, governance, economies, and social structures of the West. It looks at technological innovation, the triumphs and trials of capitalism, and the impact of industrial society on ordinary workers. It considers the views of classical liberalism and its twin challengers, communism and fascism. It examines the devastation of industrialized warfare and racialized mass murder and the new international structures that resulted. It concludes with the globalization of economies and social structures in the digital revolution. Our study of social change will be deepened by visits to relevant sites in England and France. [Open only to students admitted to the CGS January Program]
  • CGS SS 201: Social Change and Modernization in the Non-Western World: Russia and China.
    This course centers on two case studies of modernization that began during the second half of the 19th century and still continue today: those of Russia and China. The state known until 1917 as the Russian Empire, during most of the 20th century as the Soviet Union, and since 1992 as the Russian Federation is considered an example of a society that underwent rapid social change in part as a result of the challenges posed by the industrialized countries of the West. It serves as a basis for comparison with the process of modernization undertaken by China at approximately the same time. The understanding students acquire regarding the dramatic complexities of social, political, and economic changes enhance their grasp of the problems facing the contemporary world.
  • CGS SS 202: America's Response to Aggression and Revolution: U.S. Foreign Policy Since the 1930s
    This course focuses on American foreign policy from the late 1930's to the present. After considering U.S. policy immediately before and during World War II, the course explores how the United States responded to the global challenge posed by the Soviet Union and international communism during the long struggle known as the Cold War. The factors that led to the Cold War, the nuclear arms race, America's involvement in Vietnam, and, ultimately, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War are examined. The course concludes by analyzing challenges to American national interests and security in the early decades of the 21st century.
  • CGS SS 250: Death, Grief, and Mourning in Victorian Culture
    Examines the key place "death" occupied in the Victorian cultural and social imagination, using an interdisciplinary approach for its materials and for its method. The course will focus on literary and artistic portrayals of death and mourning, demographic and cultural change, the origins of medical epidemiology, the rise of spiritualism, and shifting views of the meaning of life and death in a modernizing world. Required materials, assignments, and experiential exercises (such as an excursion to Cambridge's Mount Auburn Cemetery) reinforce trans-Atlantic connections and the prevalence of cultural attitudes about death and mourning.