Sociology and Anthropology Courses

Winter 2017

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 - Markowitz, Harvey J.

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.

Introduction to Anthropology

SOAN 101 - Gaylord, Donald A.

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 - Chin, Lynn G. (Lynny)

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

Power and Status: An Introduction to Social Influence

SOAN 205 - Chin, Lynn G. (Lynny)

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.

Qualitative Methods

SOAN 208 - Bell, Alison K.

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.

The History of Violence in America

SOAN 256 - Senechal, Roberta H.

An examination of the social origins, evolution, and major forms of extralegal, violent conflict in the United States, including individual and collective violence and conflict related to race, class, gender, politics, and ethnicity, especially emphasizing the 19th and 20th centuries. Major topics include theories of social conflict, slavery and interracial violence, predatory crime, labor strife, and inter-ethnic violence.

Migration, Identity, and Conflict

SOAN 268 - Eastwood, Jonathan R. (Jon)

This course focuses on the complex relationship between migration, political institutions, group identities, and inter-group conflict. The course is a hybrid of a seminar and research lab in which students (a) read some of the key social-scientific literature on these subjects, and (b) conduct team-based research making use of existing survey data about the integration of migrant populations into various polities.

Art & Science of Survey Research

SOAN 276 - Jasiewicz, Krzysztof

This course is designed as a group research project devoted to the art and the science of survey research. Students prepare a list of hypotheses, select indicators, construct a questionnaire, conduct interviews, analyze data, and write research reports. When appropriate, the course may include service-learning components (community-based research projects). Winter 2017 topic: Voting Behavior of W&L Students in the 2016 National Elections. Students find out the outcome of the 2016 presidential race among their peers and learn how social and economic background and individual value systems influence choices made in the voting booth. In the process, they study various theories of voting behavior and learn how to design and execute a scientific survey, and properly interpret collected data.

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 2017, SOAN 291A-01: Land in O'odham Cultural, Economic, and Historical Perspectives (3). Additional-cost field trip to O'odham reservations in Arizona required. This class focuses on the cultural, economic, and historical dimensions of the O'odham (Papago and Pima) Indians' ties to their lands. The seminar first examines how pre-reservation O'odham expressed these ties in their oral traditions and rituals. Next, students place O'odham economics in historical perspective paying particular note to the major 19th- and 20th-century forces that eroded the O'odham's original land base and control over their economic practices. The class also considers attempts of O'odham peoples to solve present-day economic problems in ways that are compatible with their cultural heritage. 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 2017, SOAN 291B-01: 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, French fries, blue jeans, tattoos, and piercings? 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.

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 403 - Eastwood, Jonathan R. (Jon)

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 - Bell, Alison K.

Honors Thesis.

Honors Thesis

SOAN 493 - Jasiewicz, Krzysztof

Honors Thesis.

Fall 2016

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, Alison K.

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 - Novack, David R.

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

General Sociology

SOAN 102A - Chin, Lynn G. (Lynny)

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

Archaeology

SOAN 206 - Gaylord, Donald A.

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.

Biological Anthropology

SOAN 207 - Bell, Alison K.

This course considers the emergence and evolution of Homo sapiens from fossil, archaeological, and genetic evidence. The class focuses on evolutionary mechanisms; selective pressures for key human biological and behavioral patterns, such as bipedalism, intelligence, altruism, learned behavior, and expressive culture; relations among prehuman species; the human diaspora; and modern human diversity, particularly "racial" variation. The course also examines theories from sociobiology and evolutionary psychology about motivations for modern human behaviors.

Race and Ethnic Relations

SOAN 228 - Novack, David R.

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.

European Politics and Society

SOAN 245 - Jasiewicz, Krzysztof

A comparative analysis of European political systems and social institutions. The course covers the established democracies of western and northern Europe, the new democracies of southern and east-central Europe, and the post-Communist regimes in eastern and southeastern Europe. Mechanisms of European integration are also discussed with attention focused on institutions such as European Union, NATO, OSCE, and Council of Europe.

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.

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.

Theorizing Social Life

SOAN 360 - Goluboff, Sascha

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, Lynn G. (Lynny)

The rationale and practice of social research methods and their relationship to social theory. Major aspects of social inquiry - such as asking questions, creating hypotheses, measurement and interpretation are examined. The course includes lecture, discussion, and completing a major term-long research project.

Directed Individual Study

SOAN 403 - Goluboff, Sascha

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 - Bell, Alison K.

Honors Thesis.

Honors Thesis

SOAN 493 - Jasiewicz, Krzysztof

Honors Thesis.

Spring 2016

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.

Land in Lakota Culture, Economics, and History

SOAN 186 - Guse, Aaron J. (Joseph) / Markowitz, Harvey J.

Additional fee. A review of the history of Lakota land from 1851 to present and its importance to Lakota cultural identity, political sovereignty, and economic development. We examine specific federal policies including the treaties of 1851 and 1868, the extermination of the buffalo herds, the confiscation of the Black Hills, the creation of the reservation system, and the Dawes Act among others. Students spend nine days off-campus to participate in workshops at the Center for American Indian Research and Native Studies and to visit sites in and around the Pine Ridge Reservation, the Rosebud reservation, and the Black Hills.

Laboratory Methods in Archaeology

SOAN 211 - Gaylord, Donald A.

This course introduces students to archaeological lab methods through hands-on experience. readings. and fieldtrips. Students process and catalogue archaeological finds ensuring they maintain the archaeological provenience of these materials. Activities include washing, labeling, photographing, measuring, and recording pertinent aspects of each artifact in an archaeological database. Students then 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.

Exploring Social Networks

SOAN 265 - Eastwood, Jonathan R. (Jon)

This course is an introduction to network analysis. Students learn some of the major network analysis literature in sociology and related fields and develop their skills as network analysts in laboratory sessions. Social science, humanities, business, and public health applications are emphasized.

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 Anthropology

SOAN 291 - Bell, Alison K.

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

Spring 2016, SOAN 291-01: Domains of The Dead: Anthropologies of Cemeteries (4). This course teaches students how to think anthropologically about cemeteries, querying them in theory-grounded, systematic, testable ways for information about past and current people's social relations, cultural dispositions, values, beliefs, and aspirations. Assigned readings expose students to key theoretical texts from the anthropology of death and mourning as well as to historical surveys of cemeteries as they vary throughout the United States. Of special interest in the course is the recently documented proliferation of idiosyncratic forms of commemoration diverging considerably from previous centuries of more somber practice. Examples of this florescence and of its more restrained predecessors abound in the Valley of Virginia, and students investigate first-hand a range of cemeteries in Rockbridge, Augusta, and Rockingham Counties. Students record decorative motifs and epitaphs on gravestones as well as objects left on gravesites and work to read them as evidence of cultural expression and change. (SS4) Bell.

Seminar: 9/11 & Modern Terrorism

SOAN 367 - Senechal, Roberta H.

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.