Below is a list of available courses offered by the Sociology Department. Consult the Registrar’s Office and the College Catalog for registration information.
SOC 101 - HUMAN SOCIETIES
A study of the development and structure of human societies. Students are introduced to major sociological concepts, principles, and theories which contribute to a better understanding of the social world. Hours credit: 3.
SOC 114 - CONTEMPORARY U.S. SOCIETY
An introduction to contemporary social life in the United States through a survey of social structures, social interaction, and social change. Topics include the American family, sports, gender inequality, deviance and social control, electronic media, and the evolving concept of community. Hours credit: 3.
SOC 205 - SPORTING AMERICA
An introduction to the cultural history of the United States through the lens of sport. Topics will include immigration and assimilation; the creation and maintenance of ethnic, racial, and national identities; class and leisure; industrialization and incorporation; civil rights; and women's rights. Hours credit: 3. Alternate years.
SOC 209 - DEVIANCE AND SOCIAL CONTROL
The creation and enforcement of societal rules, and why and how rules are violated. General explanations of deviance will be applied to a wide variety of specific examples ranging from public nudity to international crime. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: Sociology 101R or 114. Offered alternate years.
SOC 216 - CONTEMPORARY SOCIAL PROBLEMS
An application of sociological and anthropological perspectives toward understanding some widely recognized contemporary social problems such as sexual and racial discrimination, substance abuse, family violence and sexual abuse, AIDS, health care reform, global inequality, overpopulation, and the destruction of natural environments. The class focuses on creative and practical solutions, with particular attention to how countries similr to the U.S. address such problems. As their course project, students may choose to complete a practicum experience in connection with one of many service agencies in the Lynchburg area. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: SOC 101R or 114. Offered alternate years.
SOC 218 - FAMILY AND KINSHIP
An examination of family and kinship, with primary focus on the contemporary U.S. Special attention will be given to the significance of gender in systems of kinship and to the interaction between family and other institutions. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: SOAN 101 or 114. Offered alternate years.
SOC 221 - THE INDIVIDUAL & SOCIETY
An examination of the life course and its social context. Attention will be given to institutions and demographic factors that condition individuals' choices and contribute to a sense of personal well-being or distress in the United States. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Offered alternate years.
SOC 231 - AMERICA AT THE MARGINS
An examination of the social construction of difference in late 20th and early 21st century America. This course focuses on social groups and communities that live on the physical and metaphorical borders of American culture such as addicts, queers, criminals, and illegal immigrants. Particular attention will be given to the ways in which their presence shapes contemporary ideological discourse. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. Alternate years.
SOC 262 - TOPICS IN SOCIOLOGY
Concentrated reading and discussion pertaining to a specific area or issue in sociology. Previous topics include Racial and Ethnic Relations, Inequality in American Life, and Mothers and Daughters in American Culture. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or one course in Sociology.
SOC 265 - SOCIAL THEORY
Discussion of the nature and role of theory in social research. Notable works in sociology and anthropology will be read, discussed, and evaluated. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: Sociology 101R or 114R or permission of the instructor.
SOC 295 - SOCIAL RESEARCH METHODS
Students learn about the primary ways that social scientists gather data, including: surveys and interviews; content analysis; experiments; observation and field research. Students will write a complete research project proposal, which includes the following elements: identifying a research topic and writing a concise research question; conducting a review of the existing scholarly literature on a topic; writing an annotated bibliography and a literature review; and choosing and justifying appropriate methodologies for their topics. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: SOC 101R or 114; or permission of the instructor. Offered second semester.
SOC 310 - COMMUNITY
This course is designed to give students some tools for thinking and talking about community, allowing them room to explore the meaning and value of that concept, in various guises and from varied points of view. While focused on the U.S., the course will frequently compare the concepts and practices of community in the U.S. to those of other societies. The course is structured around some large questions within which the class will consider issues or topics related to community. For example, around the question "In what ways does technology affect community?" the class will explore the use of automobiles and INTERNET chat-rooms. Around "How do we encourage or conserve community?" students will examine ecology and architecture. It is better to see the course as an open, ongoing dialog, dynamic and circular, rather than a linear series of lectures about topics in some definite order. The main objective of the course is to leave students with their own, informed sense of community and enough ideas, concepts, skills, and resources to enhance their future understanding of community however they may create or experience it. Hours Credit: 3. Prerequisite: junior standing or permission of instructor. Offered alternate years.
SOC 327 - SOCIAL STRATIFICATION
A study of the nature, causes, and consequences of social inequality. Students will analyze concepts of class, status, and power, and examine issues such as credentialism and upward mobility, welfare, unemployment, and comparable worth. The course concentrates on distributive processes in the United States but is broadly comparative and includes the study of international inequality. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: Sociology 101 or 114 or permission of the instructor. Offered alternate years.
SOC 335 - DEV COUNTRIES OF THE CARIB BASIN
An exploration of the challenges and obstacles facing the developing countries in this region. The course is structured to address a series of controversial issues such as: Why are some countries developing rapidly while others remain stagnant? Are rates of poverty, hunger or other indicators of social well-being improving over time in countries that post economic gains? What roles, if any, should the United States and other industrialized countries play in providing technology, foreign aid, or other forms of assistance? Topics will include population growth, the emerging roles of women, the impact of transnational corporations and international trade, destruction of natural habitats, and eco-tourism. Students develop case studies of a particular country in the region and may choose to participate in a mock international forum. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: junior standing or permission of the instructor. Offered alternate years.
SOC 342 - ASSUMING WHITENESS
An examination of the creation, representation, and maintenance of "whiteness" as a racial category. It explores the process by which certain groups have moved from racial "other" to "white," the visual representation of "whiteness," and the social, cultural, and political ramifications of being white (and non-white) in America. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: junior standing or permission of the instructor. Alternate years.
SOC 344 - RACE & ETHNICITY IN FILM
This course will provide a history of the representation of racial and ethnic minorities in popular film and its socio-cultural implications, an application of sociological perspectives toward understanding popular film, and an examination of minorities as audiences and filmmakers. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or one course in sociology.
SOC 367 - RESEARCH PROJECT
An investigation of a sociological problem, under the supervision of a member of the Department. Hours credit: 1; 2; or 3. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.
SOC 368 - RESEARCH PROJECT
An investigation of a sociological or anthropological problem, under the supervision of a member of the Department. Hours credit: 1; 2; or 3. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.
SOC 396 - SOCIAL RESEARCH ANALYSIS
A practical workshop on how social scientists analyze data. With an emphasis on learning by doing, students will practice both qualitative and quantitative techniques. Among qualitative skills, students will learn how the basics of conducting interviews, oral histories, focus groups, and field research relate to analysis. They will also learn various techniques of coding and analyzing qualitative data and how to coherently write analyses of such data. Among quantitative skills, students will learn to find useful patterns for testing hypotheses; will use simple statistical software and real data sets to examine the distribution of and associations among sociocultural variables; and will learn when to use and how to interpret basic descriptive and inferential statistics, including percentages, cross tabulations, scatterplots, and regression coefficients. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: junior standing and SOC 295 or the equivalent; or permission of the instructor. A student may receive credit for two of these courses: MATH 227, POL 231, PSYC 227R, or SOC 396.
SOC 495 - SEMINAR ADVANCED SOCIAL RESEARCH
In this capstone course for the major, students will focus on high-level, applied analysis of recent research in the field. Goals include sharpening analytical abilities, honing skills for writing or speaking professionally about important sociological issues, and finishing the major with knowledge of some important studies from major academic journals. Students will also practice skills needed for making the transition to graduate school or employment, including writing critiques of professional research in an area of the student’s interest and selection of a previously written paper to revise as a writing sample. Finally, students will hear presentations or engage in other activities to facilitate meeting their goals following graduation. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: senior standing and either SOC 295 or 396 or the equivalent
SOC 496 - SOCIOLOGY THESIS
Students will undertake an original, independent research project under the supervision of a faculty member. The finished project will approach a paper of publishable quality, suitable for submission to professional conferences. Findings from these projects will, at least, be presented to the faculty and majors. Note: this course is an option for students who meet a minimum QPR requirement in the major and who are advised to pursue the project based on their personal and professional goals. Hours credit: 3. Prerequisite: senior standing and SOC 495 or permission of the instructor.
SOC 496L - ADVANCED ANALYSIS
Students will collect original data or apply a specific method as part of their thesis project, under the direction of a faculty mentor. Students complete an analysis of data that meets professional standards and gain practical experience in conducting advanced research projects. Highly encouraged for students with plans for graduate or professional school or professional careers that prioritize analytical skills. Hours credit: 1. Corequisite: SOC 495 or 496. Offered on a Pass/Fail basis only.
SOC 497H - HONORS IN THE MAJOR
SOC 498H - HONORS IN THE MAJOR