Course Offerings

Click here for current Sociology and Anthropology courses.

Fall 2014

We do not offer any courses this term.

Spring 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.

Adolescence Under the Microscope

SOC 281 - Novack / Novack

This course focuses on adolescence through the lens of social psychology. Insights from sociology, anthropology, and psychology are employed to explicate the adolescent experience in the United States in contrast to other societies. Topics include: the impact of liminality on adolescent identity in cross-cultural perspective; adolescence as objective reality or cultural fiction; adolescence and peer relations, gender and suicide; and new technologies and virtual adolescence. Each student engages in a research project focusing on adolescence and identity through either interviews or observational techniques. The final project is a group analysis of adolescence as reflected in Facebook.

Special Topics in Sociology

SOC 290 - Chin

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

Spring 2014 Topics:

SOC 290-01: Health and lnequality: An Introduction to Medical Sociology (4). An underlying premise of the class is that social factors, not just biological ones, influence health outcomes. We focus on how everyday environments affect health--both through macro-level institutions, such as how the shape of our health-care system impacts the delivery of care, to micro-level interactions, such as how doctor-patient relations vary with socioeconomic status, gender, and race-ethnicity. Questions we address include: How is the medical profession changing? What are the pros and cons of market-driven medicine? Does class have an enduring impact on health outcomes? Students should be willing to engage in sociological analysis and critical thinking about the social construction of inequalities in disease, health, and medicine. (SS4) Chin. Spring 2014 and alternate years

SOC 290-02: Contemporary Polish Politics, Society, and Culture (4). Spring Term Abroad. This topical seminar focuses on an interdisciplinary examination of the Polish society through formal study and direct exposure to its people and culture. It covers social, political, and economic issues related to the transition away from Communism that Poland and other Central European countries have been undergoing over the course of the past 20-plus years. Those issues are examined in a broader historical and cultural context The chief educational objective of the course is demonstrate to American students that the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness can be achieved (1) despite major historical, cultural, and geopolitical adversities, and (2) within a framework of political, social. and economic institutions that are markedly different from those they have known in the United States. (SS4) Jasiewicz. Spring 2014

Seminar in American Social History

SOC 367 - Senechal

An examination of selected topics in the social history of the United States. Requirements include a major research paper based on original source material. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different. Spring 2014 topic: SOC/HIST 367: Seminar: 9/11 and Modern Terrorism (4). Terrorism is a form of collective violence famously illustrated in the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon near Washington on September 11, 2001. This course provides an intensive interdisciplinary examination of the origins of the 9/11 attacks and the terrorist organization that launched them. The course also addresses the impact of the attacks and the future prospects of mass violence against civilians, as well as the role of the media in covering (and dramatizing) terrorism. Much of the course focuses on the social divisions and conflicts that lead to terrorism and its increasingly lethal nature over time. Topics include "old terrorism" (as seen in Northern Ireland and Algeria), "new terrorism" (such as that associated with Al Qaeda), the logic of terrorist recruitment, and the nature of and spread of weapons of mass destruction. (HU) Senechal. Spring  

Winter 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.

General Sociology

SOC 102 - Chin (Multiple Sections)

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

Contemporary Social Problems

SOC 202 - Eastwood (Multiple Sections)

A study of the relationship of social problems to the cultural life and social structure of American society. An analysis of the causes, consequences, and possible solutions to selected social problems in American society.

Power and Status: An Introduction to Social Influence

SOC 205 - Chin

This seminar explores the fundamental sociological concepts of "power" and "status" and how they are related to social influence. Power and status undergird social inequality on both a macro and a micro level. Students view the types, uses, and consequences of power and status differences through a structural social psychological lens, while analyzing leadership in organizational contexts. Students compare the nature of "power" versus "status" and investigate the ways power and status 1) parallel, 2) differ, and 3) interact with one another in theory and in practice of creating, maintaining, and changing our social world. Students are asked to think creatively about what role status and power dynamics have in shaping all aspects of everyday social life, particularly their lives at W&L.

Nations and Nationalism

SOC 234 - Eastwood

This course examines the rise and global spread of national identity over the last five centuries by considering cases from Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas and using these to test major theories of nationalism from history and the social sciences. Major questions considered include the following: What, if any, are the empirically identifiable relationships between national identity and other major dimensions of "modernization," such as the rise of the modern state and industrial capitalism? Is nationalism a cause, consequence, or victim of "globalization"? Can we construct a theory of the spread of national identity that not only makes sense of macro-level patterns but also articulates clear "microfoundations" and identifiable causal mechanisms?


SOC 270 - Novack

An examination of theories of deviance from a sociological perspective. Particular emphasis is placed on the causes of deviant acts and on the social processes utilized in evaluating these behaviors. Theoretical applications are made to crime and mental illness.

Social Revolutions

SOC 272 - McCaughrin

This seminar provides an in depth exploration of a variety of social revolutions. The overarching goal of the course is to discern whether or not a single "theory of revolutions" can be constructed. Are there common patterns to be observed in (and common causes behind) events as separated by time, place, and ideology as the 17th-century "Glorious Revolution" in England, the French Revolution, Latin American revolutions (including the Wars of Independence and the Mexican Revolution), the Russian Revolution, and more recent events such as the revolution that brought the current regime in Iran to power? To this end, students read and discuss a variety of such theories that have been put forward by sociologists, historians, and political scientists and then consider case studies of the aforementioned social revolutions in order to scrutinize these theories.

Gender and Sexuality

SOC 280 - Novack

An anthropological and sociological investigation of sex roles in preliterate and modern societies. Special consideration is given to the role of innate sexual differences, cultural variation, technology, and power in determining patterns of male dominance. Emphasis is placed on real and mythical female and male power in the context of changing relationships between men and women in American society.

Senior Seminar in Sociological Analysis

SOC 395 - Jasiewicz (Multiple Sections)

This course is designed as a capstone experience for majors with the sociology emphasis. Students, utilizing their knowledge of sociological theory and research methods, design and execute independent research projects, typically involving secondary analysis of survey data. Working on a subject of their choice, students learn how to present research questions and arguments, formulate research hypotheses, test hypotheses through univariate, bivariate, and multivariate analyses (utilizing appropriate statistical packages such as SPSS), and write research reports.

Directed Individual Study

SOC 401 - Chin, Eastwood, 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.


SOC 453 - Jasiewicz

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

SOC 493 - Eastwood (Multiple Sections)

Honors Thesis.