Sociology and Anthropology Courses

Winter 2020

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: Investigating Humanity

SOAN 101 - Goluboff, Sascha

This course is an introduction to the four subfields of anthropology: physical/biological anthropology, archaeology, linguistics, and cultural anthropology. The course explores how we humans understand each other, what we do, and how we got to where we are today. Topics include human evolution; cultural remains in prehistorical and historical contexts; connections among language and social categories like gender, class, race, and region; and social organization in past and present contexts. Concepts such as culture, cultural relativism, ethnocentrism, and global and local inequalities are discussed.

Introduction to Sociology: Investigating Society

SOAN 102 - Perez, Marcos E.

An introduction to the field of sociology including both micro and macro perspectives, this course exposes students to key topical areas in the discipline and includes readings that show the range of research methodologies in the field today. The sociological meaning of concepts such as social group, nation, state, class, race, and gender, among others, are discussed. Topics may include social inequalities, group processes, collective action, social networks, and the relationship between social organization and the environment.

Introduction to Sociology: Investigating Society

SOAN 102 - Mondal, Lipon K.

An introduction to the field of sociology including both micro and macro perspectives, this course exposes students to key topical areas in the discipline and includes readings that show the range of research methodologies in the field today. The sociological meaning of concepts such as social group, nation, state, class, race, and gender, among others, are discussed. Topics may include social inequalities, group processes, collective action, social networks, and the relationship between social organization and the environment.

Qualitative Methods

SOAN 208 - Goluboff, Sascha

Qualitative research methods are widely used to provide rich and detailed understandings of people's experiences, interactions, narratives, and practices within wider sociopolitical and economic contexts. Typical methods include oral histories, interviews, participant observation, and analysis of visual and textual culture. Students will engage in research aligned with community interests. Stages of the project will include topic identification, research design, ethical and legal considerations, choosing an appropriate methodology, data collection, analysis and write-up, and presentation and critique.

Anthropology of Disability

SOAN 215 - Bell, Alison K.

To what extent is disability culturally defined? How do understandings of being "dis-" or "differently" abled vary across time and space? In what ways is impairment "not simply lodged in the body, but created by the social and material conditions that 'dis-able' the full participation of those considered atypical" (Ginsburg and Rapp)? This course explores these issues through a trio of lenses: Virginia (c. 1830-1980); the contemporary United States; and case studies from diverse cultures around the world. Virginia offers powerful insight into cultural constructions of disability because it was an epicenter of the eugenics movement. How are perceptions of disability currently changing in the United States and abroad? How do people around the world conceptualize relationships between different abilities, race, gender, sexuality, and spirituality?

Basic Statistics in the Social Sciences

SOAN 218 - Eastwood, Jonathan R. (Jon)

Introductory statistics course designed to help students become good consumers of statistics, but especially geared for students interested in sociology, archeology, and anthropology. Topics include descriptive and inferential statistics, sampling, and regression analysis. Students also get practical experience with cleaning and analyzing real world secondary data.

Race and Ethnic Relations

SOAN 228 - Mondal, Lipon K.

An examination of why and how society creates and maintains racial and ethnic boundaries in the US. We discuss some of the crucial questions, which include: What conditions constitute a privileged group and an oppressed group? Why and how do racial/ethnic minority groups, the poor, and women experience discrimination, oppression, and exclusion in social life? Is there any racial discrimination against privileged racial/ethnic groups? How can ordinary people, policymakers, and social scientists contribute to improving race and ethnic relations among different social groups in the US?

Neighborhoods, Culture, and Poverty

SOAN 266 - Eastwood, Jonathan R. (Jon)

This course examines social-scientific research on the determinants of poverty, crime, and ill health by focusing on neighborhoods as the sites where many of the mechanisms impacting these outcomes operate. In addition to engaging with key readings and participating in seminar discussions, students conduct their own exploratory analyses of neighborhood level processes using a variety of spatial data analysis tools in R.

Seminar in Medical Anthropology

SOAN 277 - Markowitz, Harvey J.

Despite radical differences in theory and procedure, the diagnosis and treatment of diseases are human cultural universals. This seminar first examines the beliefs and practices that comprise the medical systems found among a wide variety of non-western peoples. We then investigates the responses of a number of non-western communities to the introduction of western, biomedical practices. We finish by considering such ethical issues as whether or not non-western peoples who supply western doctors and pharmacologists with knowledge of curing agents should be accorded intellectual property rights over this information; in what situations, if any, should western medical personnel impose biomedical treatments on populations; and should anthropologists make use of indigenous peoples as medical trial subjects as was allegedly done by Napoleon Chagnon.

Special Topics in Anthropology

SOAN 291A - Markowitz, Harvey J.

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

Winter 2020, SOAN 291A-01: American Indian Ethnohistory (3). No prerequisites. One of the major goals of modern ethnohistory is to use historical and anthropological methods to uncover the understandings that non-western peoples have of their own histories. This seminar introduces students to the theoretical and methodological principles of ethnohistorical research and their application to North American Indian peoples. Participants first study American Indian conceptions of time and their relationship to the criteria by which tribal communities selected and comprehended the events comprising their histories. Students then examine how Indian tribes from different parts of North America, including the Southwest, Northeast, Southeast, and Plains interpreted, evaluated, and responded to their encounters with colonial and the United States governments. Markowitz.

Special Topics in Anthropology

SOAN 291B - Bell, Alison K.

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

Winter 2020, SOAN 291B-01: Archaeology of Inequality (3). Archaeological evidence indicates that Homo sapiens lived more than 100,000 years in relatively egalitarian bands. Signs of routinized inequality--structured, often hereditary differences in access to resources--appear in several parts of the globe beginning some 10,000 years ago. How did egalitarian people devise and accept or negotiate inequity? How are inequality and struggles against it visible archaeologically in prehistoric and historic eras? We consider these issues on global, national, and local scales. Students read case studies from sites around the world and work with artifacts from the W&L "back campus." The Liberty Hall Academy tract was an academic landscape for a short time (c. 1780s-1803) and a plantation for generations (c. 1804-1860s). Artifacts excavated on the premises provide students opportunity to explore inter-related dynamics of racial, gender, and socio-economic hierarchies. A. Bell

Senior Seminar in Social Analysis

SOAN 395 - Jasiewicz, Krzysztof

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

SOAN 401 - Bell, Alison K.

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.

Directed Individual Study

SOAN 401 - Eastwood, Jonathan R. (Jon)

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.

Directed Individual Study

SOAN 403 - Markowitz, Harvey J.

A course for selected students with junior and senior standing, especially for honors students, with direction by different members of the department. May be repeated for degree credit with permission and if the topics are different.

Directed Individual Study

SOAN 403 - Bell, Alison K.

A course for selected students with junior and senior standing, especially for honors students, with direction by different members of the department. May be repeated for degree credit with permission and if the topics are different.

Honors Thesis

SOAN 493 - Eastwood, Jonathan R. (Jon)

Honors Thesis.

Fall 2019

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: Investigating Humanity

SOAN 101 - Bell, Alison K.

This course is an introduction to the four subfields of anthropology: physical/biological anthropology, archaeology, linguistics, and cultural anthropology. The course explores how we humans understand each other, what we do, and how we got to where we are today. Topics include human evolution; cultural remains in prehistorical and historical contexts; connections among language and social categories like gender, class, race, and region; and social organization in past and present contexts. Concepts such as culture, cultural relativism, ethnocentrism, and global and local inequalities are discussed.

Introduction to Sociology: Investigating Society

SOAN 102 - Eastwood, Jonathan R. (Jon)

An introduction to the field of sociology including both micro and macro perspectives, this course exposes students to key topical areas in the discipline and includes readings that show the range of research methodologies in the field today. The sociological meaning of concepts such as social group, nation, state, class, race, and gender, among others, are discussed. Topics may include social inequalities, group processes, collective action, social networks, and the relationship between social organization and the environment.

FS: First-Year Seminar in Sociology

SOAN 180A - Mondal, Lipon K.

First-year seminar.

Fall 2019, SOAN 180A-01: FS: Introduction to South Asia (3). First-Year Seminar. Prerequisite: First-year class standing only. An introduction to the historical, social, political, cultural, economic, and religious aspects of South Asia. We discuss four different societal phases of South Asia--Sanskritization (the Hindu Kingdom, Antiquity to 1204); lslamization (Muslim Sultanate, 1204-1757); Anglicization (British Colonialism, 1747-1947); and Decolonization /Hybridization (Postcolonial South Asia, 1947-2019)--emphasizing contemporary socio-cultural and political economic issues and problems. Students examine South Asia's connections to global politics, economy, and terrorism, and collaborations with U.S. and global anti-terror war efforts. To offer a critical analytical framework for studying South Asia, this seminar incorporates insights from anthropology, economics, history, political science, sociology, and women and gender studies. (SS4) Mondal.

Discovering W&L's Origins Using Historical Archaeology

SOAN 230 - Gaylord, Donald A.

Not open to students who have taken SOAN 181 with the same description. This course introduces students to the practice of historical archaeology using W&L's Liberty Hall campus and ongoing excavations there as a case study. With archaeological excavation and documentary research as our primary sources of data. we use the methods of these two disciplines to analyze our data using tools from the digital humanities to present our findings. Critically, we explore the range of questions and answers that these data and methods of analysis make possible. Hands-on experience with data collection and analysis is the focus of this course, with students working together in groups deciding how to interpret their findings to a public audience about the university's early history. The final project varies by term but might include a short video documentary. a museum display, or a web page.

Post-Communism and New Democracies

SOAN 246 - Jasiewicz, Krzysztof

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.

Revolutions and Revolutionaries

SOAN 250 - Perez, Marcos E.

An exploration of the experiences of activists, radicals, and revolutionaries in a wide variety of settings. Throughout history, individuals have organized with others to bring about different forms of social change. What is it like to be on the front lines fighting for social transformation? Why do people risk life and limb to do so? How do activists advance their goals? We examine sociological research, biographical studies, political theory, and historical sources for insights into the lives of those who make social and revolutionary movements possible.

Narrating Our Stories: Culture, Society, and Identity

SOAN 253 - Goluboff, Sascha

Taught at Augusta Correctional Center with an equal number of W&L and incarcerated students. Use insights from sociology, anthropology, and the humanities, students uncover how cultural metaphors, socioeconomic inequalities, and global realities inform and shape our identities and experiences. By reading different story-telling formats, we work towards recognizing how the ways we tell our stories impact our ability to see new outcomes and reshape cultural scenarios for ourselves, our families, and our communities. We utilize the Inside-Out Model for class instruction and assignments.

Poverty and Marginality in the Americas

SOAN 263 - Perez, Marcos E.

In recent decades, some global transformations have increased inequality and marginality in various regions of the world. Neoliberalism has generated both opportunities and challenges to human development In different countries. This course focuses on how the undermining of safety nets, the decline of models of economic growth centered on state intervention, and the internationalization of labor markets have affected societies in Latin America and the United States. Students analyze the structural causes of marginality and how the experience of poverty varies for people in both regions. We rely on anthropological and sociological studies to address key questions. How do disadvantaged individuals and families in the Americas deal with the challenges brought about by deindustrialization, violence, and environmental degradation? How do their communities struggle to sustain public life? What are the processes causing many people to migrate from one region to the other?

Introduction to American Indian Religions

SOAN 285 - Markowitz, Harvey J.

This class introduces students to some of the dominant themes, values, beliefs, and practices found among the religions of North America's Indian peoples. The first part of the course explores the importance of sacred power, landscape, and community in traditional Indian spiritualities and rituals. It then examines some of the changes that have occurred in these traditions as a result of western expansion and dominance from the 18th through early 20th centuries. Lastly, the course considers some of the issues and problems confronting contemporary American Indian religions.

Special Topics in Anthropology

SOAN 291A - Bell, Alison K. / Rowe, Barbara L.

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

Fall 2019, SOAN 291A-01: Topic in Anthropology: Consumer Cultures (3). No prerequisites. Appropriate for all class years. "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, French fries, blue jeans, tattoos, and piercings? How does consumerism facilitate claims to social connection, personal identity, and meaning? How do potentially constructive roles of buying "stuff" relate to debt, environmental over-exploitation, hoarding, and the Marie Kondo phenomenon? Bell.

Theorizing Social Life: Classical Approaches

SOAN 370 - Markowitz, Harvey J.

Sociologists and anthropologists have traditionally approached their role as students of social and cultural phenomena from two different paradigmatic starting points: a so-called "Galilean" model and an "Aristotelian" model. Practitioners were thought that they could eventually arrive at covering laws as powerful as those of physics or, falling short of this ideal, arrive at significant generalizations about human phenomenon. This class explores the trajectory of this paradigmatic split among some of the founders of sociology and anthropology and how these theorists utilized their chosen paradigms to make sense of social and cultural life. We also explore the assumptions about human nature, society, and culture that informed each of these theorists approaches and the wider historical contexts influenced their thought.

Directed Individual Study

SOAN 401 - Eastwood, Jonathan R. (Jon)

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.

Directed Individual Study

SOAN 403 - Bell, Alison K.

A course for selected students with junior and senior standing, especially for honors students, with direction by different members of the department. May be repeated for degree credit with permission and if the topics are different.

Honors Thesis

SOAN 493 - Eastwood, Jonathan R. (Jon)

Honors Thesis.

Spring 2019

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.

Field Methods in Archaeology

SOAN 210 - Gaylord, Donald A.

Additional special fees may apply. If necessary, some financial aid may be available through departmental funds. This course introduces students to archaeological field methods through hands-on experience, readings, and fieldtrips. Students study the cultural and natural processes that lead to the patterns we see in the archaeological record. Using the scientific method and current theoretical motivations in anthropological archaeology, students learn how to develop a research design and to implement it with actual field excavation. We visit several field excavation sites in order to experience, first hand, the range of archaeological field methods and research interests currently undertaken by leading archaeologists. Students use the archaeological data to test hypotheses about the sites under consideration and produce a report of their research, which may take the form of a standard archaeological report, an academic poster, or a conference-style presented paper.

Peoples of Central Europe Through Literature and Film

SOAN 225 - Jasiewicz, Krzysztof

This course provides basic information about the citizens of Central European nations of Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary. Beliefs, attitudes, and value systems of the people of Central Europe are examined against the backdrop of major historical events of the 20th century.  Core textbook readings are supplemented by feature films, video materials, novels, short stories, plays, and poetry.  Class discussions focus on interpreting these works of art in the context of comparative historical-sociological analysis of the Polish, Czech, and Hungarian cultures and societies.

Adolescence Under the Microscope

SOAN 281 - Novack, David R. / Novack, Lesley L.

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

SOAN 290 - Chin, Lynn G. (Lynny)

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

Spring 2019, SOAN 290-01: Special Topic: Belonging in College (4). This seminar explores the questions of what does it mean to belong" in college and how does academic institutional structure shape who gets to "fit in" and who "belongs". All college students face the problem of belonging. College is a transformative but nerve-wracking transition. The traditional student experience involves entering a new environment without the comfort and protection of former social ties. On the one hand, severing old ties provides students freedom to explore new identities and perhaps even reinvent themselves. On the other hand, this state of detachment is stressful as students compare themselves to their peers and ask: "How do I measure up?", "Do I fit in?", and "do I belong"? We explore the structural, interactional, and emotional barriers that all students face, and we examine the additional barriers for inclusion for "nontraditional" students. Understanding the struggles "traditional" and "non-traditional" students have in feeling like they belong is of utmost importance for developing successful inclusion interventions on campuses. Chin.

Special Topics in Anthropology

SOAN 291 - Goluboff, Sascha

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

Spring 2019, SOAN 291-01: Cults (3). An exploration of the phenomenon of cults (also known as new religious movements [NRMs]). We examine the development of cults, how they operate, and the experiences of those who participate in them. Topics of discussion include brainwashing, gender, violence, sexuality, child rearing, and the possibility of objectivity on the part of the researcher. We structure the term around a visit from Marsha Goluboff Low (Professor Goluboff's aunt), who will talk about the 18 years she spent in Ánanda Márga. Goluboff.

Special Topics in Anthropology

SOAN 291 - Markowitz, Harvey J. / Guse, Aaron J. (Joseph)

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

Spring 2019, SOAN 291-02: Land in O'odham Culture Economics and History (4). A seminar on the cultural, economic, and historical dimensions of the O'odham Indians' ties to their lands as expressed in their pre- and post-reservation lifeways. Students address three major themes: 1) O'odham land and cosmology; 2) land and economy in O'odham history; and 3) contemporary cultural and economic issues among O'odham peoples. The class spends 8 days in the Sonoran Desert region of Southern Arizona to visit sites and meet with speakers in and around the Tohono O'odham Nation. Markowitz and Guse.