Sociology Course Offerings

For the most updated information, students should view these courses on their student link. This is a general overview of the courses we currently offer. Courses may not be taught every semester or academic year. Please consult your advisor or the Undergraduate Program Coordinator with questions.

CAS SO 100: Principles in Sociology Fall ’18

An introduction to the major theories and basic principles of sociological analysis. Subjects include methods of social research and investigation; role of individuals in groups, organizations, and society; socialization and education; stratification; race and ethnicity; science, culture, and religion; formal and informal organization; and economic and political systems. Carries social science divisional credit in CAS.

CAS SO 201: Sociological Methodsfall ’18

Required of concentrators and minor concentrators. Scientific method, measurement, experimentation, survey research, observational methods, projective techniques, and content analysis.

CAS SO 203: Introduction to Sociological Theoriesfall ’18

Required of sociology majors and minors. Theoretical problems in sociology. The works of the three major founders of the discipline are the focus: Marx, Weber, and Durkheim. In-depth comparisons and contrasts in respect to themes and approaches are offered.

CAS SO 205: American Families

Nature of the American family and its ethnic and class variants. Social changes affecting courtship, mate selection, sexual behavior, reproduction, marital stability, and divorce through the life cycle. Social policies affecting family life. Interrelations of family with economy, state, religion, and other institutions. Carries social science divisional credit in CAS.

CAS SO 206: Introduction to the Sociology of Globalizationfall ’18

A sociological introduction to globalization. Explores the roles of technology, transnational corporations, and the state. Considers globalization’s impacts on the workplace, the environment, and other institutions as well as the emergence of global social movements. Also offered as CAS IR 206

CAS SO 207: Sociology of Race and Ethnicityfall ’18

Social definition of race and ethnicity. The adjustment of different ethnic groups and their impact upon U.S. social life. How prejudice and discrimination create class identities and how caste relations have affected patterns of integration during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Carries social science divisional credit in CAS. Also offered as CAS AA 207.

CAS SO 210: Confronting Persistent Social Inequalities in American Schools: Educational and Sociological Perspectivesfall ’18

Examines issues of race, culture, gender, and identity in urban elementary classrooms. Course taught at the Trotter School; transportation provided. Includes a field placement.

CAS SO 211: Confronting Racial, Cultural, Gender, and Social Identities in Urban Classrooms: Educational and Sociological Perspectives

Undergraduate Prerequisites: CAS SO 210.
Examines the sociological, cultural, and educational factors that contribute to the achievement gap and what it will take to close this gap. Course is taught at the Trotter School; transportation provided. Includes a field placement.

CAS SO 215: Sociology of Health Carefall ’18

Social, cultural, and intercultural factors in health and illness. Training and socialization of medical professionals, roots of medical power and authority, organization and operation of health care facilities. U.S. health care system and its main problems. Comparison of health care systems in the U.S. and in other countries. Carries social science divisional credit in CAS.

CAS SO 220: The Nonprofit Sector in Society

Examines the empirical composition and dynamics of the nonprofit sector. Introduces the sociological perspective on this societal space, including debates over its origins, behavior, and purpose in the US and abroad. Provides overview of market-based providers of social benefits.

CAS SO 225: Law & Societyfall ’18

The development of law as an institution of social regulation. Analysis of law and order as pursued in enforcement agencies and courts. The education of lawyers and the ethics of legal practice.

CAS SO 240 Sexuality and Social Life fall ’18

Introduction to sociological perspectives on sexuality. Historical and comparative analysis of sexuality, with a focus on the social and cultural institutions that shape sexuality in the contemporary U.S. Carries social science divisional credit in CAS.

CAS SO 241 Sociology of Genderfall ’18

An introduction to the social construction of sex and gender with a focus on the economic, political, social, and cultural forces that shape gender relations. Examines gender as a social structure that patterns institutional inequalities and everyday interactions on society. Also offered as CAS WS 241.

CAS SO 242 Globalization and World Poverty Fall ’18

Globalization and world poverty; how and why over 80% of the world remains poor and inequality increases despite economic modernization and democratization. Addresses urbanization, immigration, religion, politics, development politics, foreign aid, women, drugs, environment, food security. Special attention to Latin American, African, and Asian experiences. Carries social science divisional credit in CAS. Also offered as CAS IR 242.

CAS SO 244 Urban Sociology

An analysis of cities and urban phenomena in preindustrial, industrial, and postindustrial societies with an emphasis on European and U.S. urbanization. A comparison of social scientific “theories” used to explain these same phenomena. Carries social science divisional credit in CAS.

CAS SO 253 Sociology of Popular Culture

Sociological perspectives on popular culture and mass media, with a focus on the consumption and production of cultural goods; the effects of popular culture on politics and inequalities; and the mutual interdependence of consumer identities and cultural fields.

CAS SO 302 Social Networks

Undergraduate Prerequisites: At least one previous Sociology course, or consent of instructor.
Examines social networks in the economy, family and community, technology, politics and crime, religious and scoial movement organizations, and popular culture. Introduces the social network perspective, and its tools of analysis.

CAS SO 303 Substantive Themes in Sociological Theory Fall ’18

Undergraduate Prerequisites: CAS SO 203; or consent of instructor.
Critique and application of major sociological theories to key themes and topics. Connections between classical and modern arguments, syntheses of alternative perspectives, and gaps between various perspectives. Themes include the maintenance of social order, power and authority, conflict and change, and sources of alienation.

CAS SO 304 Formal Organizations

Undergraduate Prerequisites: at least one previous Sociology course or consent of instructor.
Formal organizations as social systems. Theory of bureaucracy and administrative functions. The bases of authority, communication systems, and formal and nonformal structures. Organizational development, trends, and relations with the social environment.

CAS SO 306 Boston’s People and Neighborhoods

Undergraduate Prerequisites: CAS SO 244; or consent of instructor.
A comparison between nineteenth- and twentieth-century neighborhoods, connecting changes in everyday life to larger demographic, economic, physical, and political changes affecting the whole city and immediate suburbs. Includes tours of several Boston neighborhoods and archival research using neighborhood newspapers.

CAS SO 313 Economic Sociology Fall ’18

Undergraduate Prerequisites: at least one previous Sociology course or consent of instructor.
Presents the sociological approach to the study of production, distribution, consumption and markets, emphasizing the impact of norms, power, social structure, and institutions on the economy. Compares classic and contemporary approaches to the economy by the social science disciplines.

CAS SO 314 Social Problems and Social Change

Undergraduate Prerequisites: at least one previous Sociology course or consent of instructor.
Focuses on social problems such as ethnic and sexual discrimination, deviance and crime, and mental disorders. A theoretical approach is taken to identify and interpret changed generated by the contradictions of industrialization and modernization.

CAS SO 315 The Social Nature of Technology

Undergraduate Prerequisites: at least one previous Sociology course or consent of instructor.
Theoretical foundations of sociology of technology from antiquity through the modern age. Explores the paradox of technology as being socially constructed, but treated as similar to nature.

CAS SO 318 Sociology of Childhood and Youth

Undergraduate Prerequisites: at least one previous Sociology course or consent of instructor.
Explores the “social construction” of childhood and youth, and examines ways in which social institutions (family, schools, media, and law) influence children’s lives in different social settings. Also examined are social and policy issues surrounding childhood in the U.S. today.

CAS SO 320 Political Sociology

Undergraduate Prerequisites: at least one previous Sociology course or consent of instructor.
Introduces theories and research in political sociology and comparative politics. Examines the ways political ideas and governmental structures affect current issues, such as U.S. presidential elections, the waging of war, genocide, gender inequality, and provision of social services.

CAS SO 323 Markets in Biomedicine and Healthcare Fall ’18

Undergraduate Prerequisites: at least one previous Sociology course or consent of instructor.
Complex ways in which market exchange impacts the practice of medicine, the delivery of patient care, and the medical profession; commodification of bodies and emotions; theoretical discussion of the market and overview of US health care system.

CAS SO 326 Drugs in the Americas

Undergraduate Prerequisites: one prior sociology course or consent of instructor.Introduces the main theoretical approaches used to analyze drugs as social constructions in the social sciences. Explores the basic history of some of the most ubiquitous stimulants of our time. Students practice thinking of social constructions in historical perspective.

CAS SO 333 The Workplace

Undergraduate Prerequisites: at least one previous Sociology course or consent of instructor.
Investigates the social organization of work. Topics include the history of industrial work, the presence of inequality at work, the impact of the work experience for individuals, and the effects of globalization and the “new economy” on work both here and abroad.

CAS SO 334 Sociology of Mental Illness Fall ’18

Undergraduate Prerequisites: at least one previous Sociology course or consent of instructor.
An evaluation of current theories and research on the social sources and consequences of mental illness. Featured topics for discussion include social-psychological perspectives on the definition, diagnosis, etiology, and treatment of mental disorders.

CAS SO 335 Sociology of Race, Class and Gender Fall ’18

Undergraduate Prerequisites: at least one prior 100- or 200-level sociology course, or CAS WS 101/102
Examines race, class, gender, and sexuality as intersecting axes of stratification, identity, and experience. Draws heavily from feminist theories in both sociology and history in order to analyze how these intersections can be applied to understanding social problems and structures.

CAS SO 352 American Masculinities

Undergraduate Prerequisites: one 100- or 200-level course in either sociology or women’s, gender, & sexuality.
Considers the biological and social organization of masculinities; the ways culture reproduces/articulates masculinities, particularly with regard to race and class; how masculine identities are expressed; male privilege; alternative masculinities; and what is at stake in negotiating contemporary masculinities. Also offered as CAS WS 352.

CAS SO 400 Advanced Research Practicum

Undergraduate Prerequisites: CAS SO 303; and junior standing; or consent of instructor.
Prepares students planning to conduct honors research project in their senior year. Students interested in developing a research project for alternate purposes will be admitted with permission of the instructor.

CAS SO 403 Seminar: Gender Stratification Fall ’18

Undergraduate Prerequisites: junior or senior standing and at least two previous Sociology courses; or consent of instructor.
Inequality between women and men in employment, occupational position, and income. Examines the nature and causes of gender stratification in industrial societies.

CAS SO 404 Seminar: The Family

Undergraduate Prerequisites: junior or senior standing and at least two previous Sociology courses; or consent of instructor.
Explores the rise of “modern” families and the plurality of contemporary family forms and processes including gay and lesbian families and new reproductive technologies. Particular attention to social and economic inequalities and their implications for family life.

CAS SO 408 Seminar: Ethnic, Race, and Minority Relations

Undergraduate Prerequisites: junior or senior standing and at least two previous Sociology courses, at least one of which must be CAS SO 207; or consent of instructor.
Formation and position of ethnic minorities in the United States, including cross-group comparisons from England, Africa, and other parts of the world. Readings and field experience.

CAS SO 411 Seminar: Sociology of the Nonprofit Sector

Undergraduate Prerequisites: junior or senior standing and at least three previous sociology courses, including CAS SO 203 and a CAS SO 300-level course or higher; or consent of instructor.
Introduction to sociological research on that part of society known as the nonprofit sector, including nonprofit organizations, community-based organizations, voluntary associations, and social movements. Focus on some of the literature’s major themes: civil society, social capital, and nongovernmental organizations.

CAS SO 418 Seminar: Sociology of Medicine

Undergraduate Prerequisites: junior or senior standing and at least two previous sociology courses; or consent of instructor.
Focuses on the medical profession, sources of its power and authority, the effects of recent changes in financing and delivery of healthcare. Medical training and decision-making analyzed. Doctor-patient interaction and the use of alternative treatments.

CAS SO 420 Seminar: Women & Social Change in the Developing Worldfall ’18

Undergraduate Prerequisites: junior or senior standing and at least two previous sociology courses; or consent of instructor.
Studies women in nonindustrial countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, stressing empirical research, theory, and methodology. Comparisons between regions and with industrial countries. Focus on sex segregation, female labor force participation, migration, fertility, family roles, and women and political power. Also offered as CAS IR 425.

CAS SO 434 Seminar: Sociology of Mental Illness Fall ’18

Undergraduate Prerequisites: junior or senior standing and at least two previous sociology courses; or consent of instructor.
An evaluation of current theories and research on the social sources and consequences of mental illness. Featured topics for discussion include social-psychological perspectives on the definition, diagnosis, etiology, and treatment of mental disorders.

CAS SO 437 Seminar: Sociology of Culture Fall ’18

Undergraduate Prerequisites: junior or senior standing and at least two previous sociology courses; or consent of instructor.
The sociology of culture in the twenty-first century. Focuses on the connection between the mind and culture. Examines the interdependence between culture, society, and individuals, and how belief, faith, knowledge, symbol, ritual, and the like both produce and are products of social organization.

CAS SO 438 Seminar on International Migration

Undergraduate Prerequisites: junior or senior standing and at least two previous sociology courses; or consent of instructor.
Explores the social dynamics of contemporary international migration, ranging from the development of transnational migrant communities to the impact of state policies that strive to regulate migrant labor flows.

CAS SO 440 Seminar: Comparative Political Sociology

Undergraduate Prerequisites: junior or senior standing and at least 3 previous sociology courses, including CAS SO 203; or consent of instructor.
Explores the “deep cultural” level behind the daily conduct of politics. A theoretical framework relying upon Tocqueville and Weber is developed and then applied to unveil the political cultures of the United States, Germany, England, Russia, China, Japan, and Mexico.

CAS SO 447 Seminar: Global Sociology

Undergraduate Prerequisites: junior or senior standing and at least two previous sociology courses; or consent of instructor.
Examines different sociological perspectives on global social dynamics and processes. Also offered as CAS IR 447.

CAS SO 448 Culture, Markets, and Inequality

Undergraduate Prerequisites: junior or senior standing and at least two previous sociology courses; or consent of instructor.
This seminar examines commerce as a cultural process, focusing on cultural production and consumption practices in fields like fashion, music, and bodily goods and services. Traces the cultural construction and maintenance of gender, race, and class inequalities in markets.

CAS SO 450 Seminar: Technology and Society

Undergraduate Prerequisites: junior or senior standing and at least two previous sociology courses; or consent of instructor.
Technologies in the four areas of knowledge, work, transportation, and biology are discussed in terms of their historical development and social implications. Benefits and costs of technology are examined with reference to current conflicts over use and misuse.

CAS SO 452 Contemporary Debates in Sexualities Research

Undergraduate Prerequisites: junior or senior standing and at least two previous sociology courses, one of which must be CAS SO 240; or consent of instructor.
Engages debates about sexual identities, practices, and communities, conceptualizing sexuality as both a social construct and an institution. Students consider how sexualities operate across social contexts, their effects on systems of inequalities, and their intersections with race, class, and gender.

CAS SO 455 Topics in Social Issuesfall ’18

Undergraduate Prerequisites: junior or senior standing and at least two previous sociology courses; or consent of instructor.
Topics seminar that takes in-depth look at a social issue. May be repeated for credit as topics change. Topic for Fall 2018: Urban Inequality. Presents theoretical approaches to investigate multiple features of urban inequality in: ghettos, gentrified neighborhoods, ethnic clusters, gated communities, among others. Examines how urban space is used both to segregate and seclude..

CAS SO 459 Seminar: Deviance and Social Control

Undergraduate Prerequisites: junior or senior standing and at least two previous sociology courses; or consent of instructor.
Sociological explanations of types of deviancy and methods of controlling it. Students select research topics ranging from behaviors and conditions perceived as deviant (e.g., crime, terrorism, sexual deviance, addictions) to methods of control (e.g., law, medical treatment, social exclusion, war).

CAS SO 460 Seminar in Economic Sociology

Undergraduate Prerequisites: junior or senior standing and at least two previous sociology courses; or consent of instructor.
Introduction to core theoretical perspectives and debates in contemporary economic sociology (structural/network, cultural, institutional/political, and performativity) with a special attention paid to morality of markets, commensuration and construction of value, money, credit and finance and inequality.

CAS SO 490 Seminar: Global Health: Politics, Institutions, and Ideologyfall ’18

Undergraduate Prerequisites: junior or senior standing and at least two previous sociology courses; or consent of instructor. What is global health? Who are the main actors in global health debates? This seminar explores the politics of global health, providing students with sociological tools, concepts, and knowledge to help make sense of conflict in contemporary global health debates.