Sociology and Anthropology Courses

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Fall 2014

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

Introduction to Anthropology

SOAN 101 - Bell, Jenkins (Multiple Sections)

An examination of people and their cultures. An introduction to the techniques employed by the physical anthropologist, archaeologist, and ethnographer is provided. Specific subjects considered include: the physical prerequisites to the acquisition of culture, archaeological interpretation of cultural behavior, and the influences of culture upon the individual and society.

General Sociology

SOAN 102 - Eastwood, Novack (Multiple Sections)

Human society: culture, personality, human nature, social groups, associations, and institutions; analysis of major institutions and of modern social trends.

FS: First-Year Seminar in Anthropology

SOAN 181 - Jenkins

SOAN 181: FS: Culture in Contemporary Africa: Beyond the Dark Continent (3). First-Year Seminar. Prerequisite: First-year class standing. This seminar examines the diverse groups of people within the African continent and how anthropologists have approached understanding this diversity, in the context of an increasingly interconnected world. Students first explore the dynamic history of the continent, with particular focus on colonialism and anthropologists' role in colonialism, in order to examine the politics of representation and social change. We also explore several pertinent topics in specific social and historical contexts, such as the construction of personhood, gender, ethnicity, religion, and politics, and we examine the experiences, idioms, and structures of social inequality in relation to international development and clientism, with particular attention on popular discourses about wealth and power in the media and local idioms of witchcraft, vampires, and the occult. (SS4) Jenkins. Fall 2014


SOAN 206 - Gaylord

An examination of anthropologically-oriented archaeology. Specific subjects to be considered will include the history of the subdiscipline, theoretical developments, field techniques, substantive contributions for the prehistoric and historic subareas and recent developments in theory and methodology.

Theories of Social Psychology

SOAN 212 - Chin

An introduction to three major paradigms present in the sociological tradition of social psychology. The course examines social structure and personality, structural social psychology and symbolic interactionist framework. The three paradigmatic approaches are used to understand how macro-level processes influence micro-level social interaction and vice versa.

Race and Ethnic Relations

SOAN 228 - Novack

An analysis of minority groups in America. Theories of ethnicity are examined focusing on the relationship between class and ethnicity, and on the possible social and biological significance of racial differences. Attention is also given to prejudice and discrimination, as well as to consideration of minority strategies to bring about change.

Post-Communism and New Democracies

SOAN 246 - Jasiewicz (Multiple Sections)

A comparative analysis of transition from Communism in the countries of the former Soviet bloc. Cases of successful and unsuccessful transitions to civil society, pluralist democracy, and market economy are examined. The comparative framework includes analysis of transition from non-Communist authoritarianism and democratic consolidation in selected countries of Latin America, the Mediterranean, Southeast Asia, and South Africa.

Feminist Anthropology

SOAN 275 - Goluboff

This course covers the complex and sometimes "awkward" relationship between feminism and anthropology. We explore topics such as the place of feminist theory and politics within the discipline of anthropology, the problems involved in being a feminist and an anthropologist, and the creation of feminist ethnography.

Special Topics in Anthropology

SOAN 291 - Bell

A discussion of a series of topics of anthropological concern. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Winter 2015 topics:

SOAN 291-01: Topics in Anthropology: Campus Sex in the Digital Age (3). This class explores how the cell phone has impacted hooking up and dating on campus, with particular attention to Washington and Lee University as a case study. We discuss the development of campus sexual culture in America and the influence of digital technology on student sociality. Students use open source digital research tools to analyze data (interviews, focus groups, and statistics) collected about dating and hookup behavior at our college. As a digital humanities project, students work in groups to post their analyses on the class WordPress site. Goluboff.   SOAN 291-02: Topics in Anthropology: Contemporary Forms of Slavery (3). This course introduces students to how anthropologists have studied 'contemporary forms of slavery', a term representing many forms of inequality, including child labor, debt bondage, and religious practices, among others. The course investigates the language of slavery and what ideas we have about the practice in historical and contemporary forms, while also examining the historical development of using the term to describe these varying forms of inequality. Throughout the course, we examine the complexity involved in applying universalistic ideas of human rights, and the social, political, and economic dimensions of inequality. Jenkins.

SOAN 291-03: Topics in Anthropology: Consumer Cultures (3). "It is extraordinary to discover that no one knows why people want goods," or so observed a famous pair of authors -- one an anthropologist, the other an economist -- in 1979. What, since then, have anthropology and interrelated disciplines learned about consumer desire? This course considers human interaction with the material world in a variety of cultures, periods, and scales. From socio-cultural and political perspectives, what do consumers hope to accomplish by buying, patronizing, or using products like Barbies, bottled water, craft beer, tattoos and piercings, football games, farm houses, history museums, cemeteries, or asylums? How does consumerism facilitate claims to social connection, personal identity, and meaning? And how do potentially constructive roles of buying "stuff" relate to debt, hoarding, and environmental overexploitation? Bell.

SOAN 291-04: Topics in Anthropology: Anthropology of International Development (3). This course introduces students to theories, practices, and experiences of economic and social development initiatives that seek to address economic growth, poverty, and inequality. We begin with an overview of the key theoretical and policy frameworks that have informed development initiatives in the post-colonial context. We then examine particular themes in various cultural contexts, specifically discussing gender and households, the informal economy, the experience of poverty and suffering, and the role of governmental and non-governmental organizations. We also examine anthropology's critical engagement with policies of economic development and the role of anthropologists in the planning and execution of development projects. Jenkins.

Fall 2014 topic:

SOAN 291: Economic Anthropology (3). This course presents a cross-cultural survey of economic practices throughout time and around the world. Using classic and contemporary anthropological studies, we seek to understand how people have organized production, exchange, and consumption, and how these processes articulate with community dynamics such as religious beliefs, ethical codes, social networks, and gender roles. With case studies ranging from prehistoric foragers to contemporary cell phone users, we investigate culturally diverse and socially embedded understandings of commodities, gifts, property, success, and wealth. Bell.

Theorizing Social Life

SOAN 360 - Goluboff

This seminar considers the development of theory about social life and culture within anthropology and sociology. We read the works that have shaped, and continue to shape, major theoretical trends in these interconnected disciplines.

Methods of Social Inquiry

SOAN 375 - Chin (Multiple Sections)

The rationale and utility of research and its relationship to social and political theory. The two major aspects of social inquiry-measurement and interpretation-are examined focusing on the structuring of inquiry, modes of observation (experiments, surveys, field research, unobtrusive research, etc.), and analysis of data. The course includes lectures, discussions and field exercises.

Special Topics in Sociology

SOAN 390 - Novack

A discussion of a series of topics of sociological concern. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Fall 2014 topic:

SOAN 390: Microsociology (3). Prerequisite: One course in Sociology or Anthropology. The focus of this seminar is on the intricacies of social interaction.  Particular emphasis is placed on three theoretical approaches: symbolic interaction, social dramaturgy, and social construction.  Each model is examined with regard to the meaning of interaction and the manner in which it operates.  Emphasis is also placed on socialization and self-development within the context of social determinism and voluntarism.  The final segment of the course views the various interactionist perspectives as elements to be incorporated in developing a more coherent, emergent image of social interaction. Novack.  

Directed Individual Study

SOAN 402 - Bell, Chin, Eastwood, Goluboff, Novack (Multiple Sections)

A course for selected students, typically with junior or senior standing, who are preparing papers for presentation to professional meetings or for publication. May be repeated for degree credit with permission and if the topics are different.


SOAN 453 - Novack

Supervised off-campus experience in a social service agency, research organization or project, or therapeutic or custodial institution. May be repeated for degree credit with permission and if the topics are different.

Honors Thesis

SOAN 493 - Bell, Eastwood (Multiple Sections)

Honors Thesis.

Spring 2014

We do not offer any courses this term.

Winter 2014

We do not offer any courses this term.