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Sociology at Hobart and William Smith Colleges is activist and change oriented. Students typically study social behavior in modern industrial societies, especially the United States. Sociology stands between the humanities and the physical sciences, embracing core humanist concerns while at the same time incorporating the methodological rigor of the physical sciences. The sociology program at HWS has a strong justice-oriented dimension; not only do our faculty seek to convey an understanding of society, but its members have a keen interest in social problems, social theory, and social change. All faculty are involved in research and teaching that involves social issues, such as race, class, and gender inequality, community, alcohol and other drug abuse, prison life, welfare policy, organizational dysfunction, urban life, educational reforms, and marriage and the family. Much of what we teach revolves around issues of personal and social development, the distribution of social rewards, and the liberatory power of sociological consciousness.

The Sociology Department offers disciplinary majors in Sociology and Anthropology Sociology; the department offers a minor in Sociology. All courses to be credited toward any major or minor in the department must be passed with a grade of C- or better.

Sociology Policy on Courses Transferred In to the Major/Minor:
1) Students can take SOC 100 elsewhere.

2) Sociology majors/minors must take the required core courses (SOC 211, 212, and 300) at HWS. Exception: they have taken the course here at least once but have not achieved the minimum grade of C- or better. Students must get the approval of the department chair and the faculty member(s) teaching the course at HWS before transferring in a substitute core course taken elsewhere.

3) Sociology majors must take SOC 464/5 (senior seminar) and the 300-level seminar at HWS. No exceptions.

4) Students must petition for permission to count 200-level sociology electives taken elsewhere. The petition should include a full course syllabus as well as information about the instructor’s credentials (i.e., the field in which they hold a Ph.D.). The department’s usual practice is not to count courses that are taught by faculty without a sociology degree. The department chair will circulate the student’s petition to the department faculty for consideration.

disciplinary, 11 courses
SOC 100; SOC 211; SOC 212; SOC 300; SOC 465; and six additional sociology courses at the 200-level or higher, at least one of which must be at the 300-level. One 200-level or higher anthropology course can substitute for a 200-level sociology elective course. All courses must be passed with a grade of C- or higher. No more than one course with a CR grade may be counted towards the major.

disciplinary, 6 courses
SOC 100; either SOC 211, SOC 212 or 300; and four additional sociology courses. All courses must be passed with a grade of C- or higher. No more than one course with a CR grade may be counted towards the minor.

disciplinary, 11 courses
ANTH 110; SOC 100; any four of the five courses from department core offerings (ANTH 273, ANTH 306, SOC 211, SOC 212, SOC 300); a 400-level seminar in either anthropology or sociology; two electives in anthropology and two electives in sociology that together form a cluster, to be chosen in consultation with the adviser. All courses must be passed with a grade of C- or higher. No more than one course with a CR grade may be counted towards the major.

SOC 100 Introduction to Sociology An introduction to the fundamental concepts of sociology, this course focuses on such central issues as the social nature of personality; the effects of social class, race, and gender on social life; the interactional basis of society; and the place of beliefs and values in social structure and social action. A fundamental concern is to analyze the reciprocal nature of social existence to understand how society influences us and how we, in turn, construct it. Typically, the course applies the sociological perspective to an analysis of American society and other social systems. (Freeman, Harris, Kosta, Monson, Perkins, Sutton, offered every semester) Note: All upper level sociology courses require SOC 100 as a prerequisite.

SOC 206 Kids and Contention This class tackles the contentious history of childhood and youth in the U.S. context from a sociological perspective. We'll explore the history of childhood and youth, paying close attention to the ways in which young people are able to impact their social environment. Childhood is a social category that has historically been constructed by policies that fulfill the needs of adults. This course will provide us with a context to understand and interpret those policies and also investigate how children respond. We'll also examine how policy and other institutions inform particular norms, values, and stereotypes of young people, sometimes regardless of data or input from the young people themselves. Throughout the semester, we'll evaluate the role(s) of children in the various institutions, including schools, families, courts, neighborhoods, peer groups, and as consumers.  Prerequisite: SOC 100. (Freeman, offered annually)

SOC 211 Research Methods This course is an introduction to the basic issues and fundamental trends of social research. The logic of inquiry, research design, sampling, validity, reliability of indicators in social data, and logistical and ethical problems in the collection and analysis of data form the central problems for consideration. Techniques of data collection, such as, participant observation, content analysis, experimental design, unobtrusive measures, and survey research are discussed. The course is intended to prepare students for original research efforts and also to help them become more sophisticated consumers of the literature of the social sciences today. Prerequisite: SOC 100. (Monson, Sutton, offered every semester)

SOC 212 Data Analysis This course provides an introduction to the organization and analysis of data in the process of social research. Presentation of data in tabular and graphic forms, the use of elementary descriptive and inferential statistics, and the use of bivariate and multivariate analytic procedures in the analysis of data are examined. This course includes a laboratory experience in the use of computing software to display data and test hypotheses. The course is ultimately intended to prepare students for original research efforts and to help them become more sophisticated consumers of the literature of the social sciences today. Prerequisite: SOC 100. (Perkins, Freeman, offered annually)

SOC 220 Social Psychology In this seminar course, major theoretical perspectives and classic empirical studies in social psychology are introduced. The emphasis is on exposure to a variety of viewpoints in the literature. Theoretical orientations, such as learning theory, exchange theory, role theory, symbolic interaction, attribution theory, and cognitive balance models are surveyed during the term. Furthermore, studies in substantive areas, such as social norms and behavioral conformity, attitude change, interpersonal attraction, group dynamics, conflict and cooperation, and leadership are examined in light of these major perspectives. The course gives attention to the congruencies and disparities among psychological and sociological perspectives within the interdisciplinary field of social psychology. Prerequisite: SOC 100. (Perkins, offered alternate years)

SOC 223 Inequalities Inequality is a fundamental aspect of social structure but we, as individuals, frequently find it simple to justify without investigating its history. Despite the adoption of the rhetoric of equal rights and democratic values, inequality thrives in the United States. Our placement in Geneva, NY allows us, as sociologists, a unique opportunity to observe these systems of inequality within our city and relate them to broader patterns in the nation as a whole. This course is designed to give students a foundational knowledge in sociological theory of inequality stemming from Marx, Weber, and DuBois and continuing through contemporary theories of intersectionality. These perspectives will then be used to understand inequality in social class, race, gender, sexualities, and in the global arena. . Prerequisite: SOC 100. (Freeman, offered annually)

SOC 224 Social Deviance This course explores the social etiology of deviant behavior, the functions of deviance, and societal reactions to deviance. An interdisciplinary approach is taken to the internalization of norms, guilt, shame, punishment, and conformity as they relate to deviance. Various theoretical approaches are examined. Social deviance is considered as a regular aspect of societies, and this course is directed toward a normative theory of culture, addressed to the problems of order, conflict, and change. Prerequisite: SOC 100. (Harris, Sutton, offered annually)

SOC 225 Working Families What is a "working family?" What work is done by families? When do families work well, and who or what makes these judgments? The family is analyzed as a social institution embedded in particular historical contexts, one which reflects broad economic change, cultural shifts, and political movements. Particular attention is paid to how various axes of social inequality (gender, class, race, and sexuality) shape the experience of family life at the individual level, and the evaluation of various family forms at the societal level. The questions we consider include: How are families affected by the institution of paid work, and how do workplaces respond (or not) to shifting family configurations? Are two-parent, single-parent, or extended families more common historically and cross-culturally? What social forces contribute to divorce rates? What are the causes and consequences of male-breadwinner and dual-earner families? How have cultural norms concerning motherhood and fatherhood changed over time? Prerequisite: SOC 100. (Monson, offered annually)

SOC 226 Sex and Gender What is the connection between biological sex and our identities as men and women? How is the variation over time and across cultures in gendered behavior explained? What are the sources and consequences of differences between women and men? How are these differences linked to inequalities of race and class as well as gender? What social forces will alter gender relations in the future? This course provides an introduction to sociological perspectives on gender relations as a social structure. Several theoretical frameworks for understanding the sources and persistence of gender differences and inequality are considered. Students examine a range of social institutions and ideological constructs shaping the social structure of gender, such as the state, family, employment, sexuality, and reproduction. Prerequisite: SOC 100. (Monson, offered alternate years)

SOC 238 Immigrant America Ethnicity and race are constantly evolving social constructions, yet they remain among the most persistent forms of structured social inequality. Focusing on the United States, but with reference to other multi-ethnic societies, this course will consider the immigration histories to examine why and how the salience of ethnic identity increases and decreases at particular historical moments, how the categories of race and ethnicity inform each other, and how they are inexorably related to the continuous remaking of the American mainstream. This course will pay particular attention to the immigration patterns of the turn-of the-twentieth-century (Ellis Island) groups, and the Chicago-school tradition of urban ethnographies that documented the lives of those groups during the 20th and 21st centuries. (Kosta, offered alternate years)

SOC 242 Sociology of Business and Management This course provides an "applied" sociological analysis of the major trends shaping business in the United States and worldwide. Students explore the nature of business organization and management, at the micro level in its institutional forms and the business and management environment, at the macro level as it operates within economic and cultural systems, and within global contexts. The issues of demographic effects, ethical concerns, technological innovation, the role of producers and consumers, and the changing role of government are considered. Prerequisite: SOC 100. (Harris, offered alternate years)

SOC 244 Religion in American Society This course focuses upon religion in American society from the post World War II era to the present, using sociological theory and empirical research to form the basic analytical perspective. A survey of the major religious traditions is provided along with an introduction to contemporary cults, sects, and new religious movements. Topics such as civil religion, processes of secularization and revival, social and demographic influences on belief and practice, organizational structures, church and state relations, and political activism of religious groups are examined. Discussion concerning the theological, ethical, and political implications of sociological claims about religion is also encouraged. Prerequisite: SOC 100. (Perkins, offered alternate years)

SOC 253 Global Cities Everywhere, in numbers unheard of before, people are flocking to the world's cities, in many cases, regardless of the fact that when they arrive there, they find living conditions awful or even worse. Why? What do people want from cities? This course seeks to answer these questions by exploring the overarching concept of "the global city" developed in the aftermath of the restructuring of the world economy since the mid-1970s. It will examine the historical emergence of global cities (née "world cities"), and critically assess this conceptualization as a paradigm, theory, and research agenda within urban studies. We start with an overview of urbanization processes in the U.S. from the 19th century onwards, introduce the central body of theoretical literature on global cities, and continue exploring thematic topics such as new forms of inequality, labor relationships, neighborhood dynamics, and forms of fragmentation and segregation, through a comparative focus of urban processes around the world. A central feature of this course is the exploration of 21st century urbanism in the non-Western world. Prerequisite: SOC 100. (Kosta, offered alternate years)

SOC 255 Social Problems in Ireland The focus of this course is the examination of fundamental social problems confronting contemporary Western societies. How social problems have emerged or have been perpetuated in recent years, and how social problems are defined and perceived by particular social groups, are important issues for this course, as is the consideration of various types of attempts to address these problems. In particular, the course poses the following questions: In what ways does a focused look at Ireland reveal particularly distinctive problems or essentially mirror larger patterns of problems facing most modern Western nations? And to what extent do the social problems reflect distinct or overlapping issues confronting the peace and stability of local communities and the nation of Ireland as a whole? What are the sources or causes of a social problem and what are the local and national programs and policies that emerge in attempts to address them, and how effective are these interventions? (Perkins, offered Fall 2017)

SOC 258 Social Problems The focus of this course is the examination of fundamental social problems confronting contemporary American society. How social problems have emerged or have been perpetuated in recent years, and how social problems are defined and perceived by particular social groups are important issues for this course, as is the analysis of possible solutions to these problems. Poverty, racism, care of the aged, alcohol and substance abuse, the AIDS epidemic, pornography, juvenile delinquency, prostitution, family violence, abortion, children's rights, church and state conflicts, gun control, and capital punishment are some examples of topics for this course. Prerequisite: SOC 100. (Staff, offered occasionally)

SOC 261 Sociology of Education This course is an examination of the interplay between the formal ideal and informal personal aspects of education and other social processes. Topics of discussion include the potential of critical experience as contrasted to institutional certification; the assessment of personal career choices; educational experience as a lifelong aspect of the legitimation and stratification processes; friendships and voluntary association as resources for the resolution of stress; and education as a selective recruitment and promotion process involved with evolving social trends. Participants are expected to work from a critical, introspective sociological perspective. Prerequisite: SOC 100. (Mason, Freeman, offered annually)

SOC 263 Juvenile Delinquency This course outlines the history of juvenile delinquency in the United States and highlights current trends and patterns of delinquent behavior. A number of explanations have been proposed for why young people engage in deviance and crime, and a range of responses have been developed to identify, rehabilitate, and at times punish juveniles who do not behave appropriately. This course provides an in-depth look into these explanations and responses, and it critically examines how social power, inequalities, gender, poverty, and other sociological themes are intertwined with juvenile offending and the social control of juvenile delinquents. A sample of substantive topics focused on in this course includes gangs, juvenile sex offenders, substance abuse, violence, and the juvenile justice system. (Sutton, offered annually)

SOC 291 Ghettos and Ethnic Enclaves This class navigates the roles of neighborhoods and communities in contemporary urban life in an era of globalization by focusing on ghettos and enclaves in U.S. cities. Early Chicago School scholars understood both ghettos and immigrant colonies as poor inner-city spaces that isolated immigrants and people of color. However, today immigrants/ethnic enclaves are considered to be temporary platforms for assimilation based on ethnic solidarity, while ghettos are seen as inner-city neighborhoods where minorities get trapped in a cycle of poverty. Why are some minority neighborhoods viewed positively, while others are not? This course discusses both micro interactions between people in these spaces and macro structural forces such as migration, race, and ethnicity, gender, and trans-nationalism and globalization that shape them, and students will seek answers for why these neighborhoods become stigmatized or celebrated. Topics throughout the semester include the past and present development of ghettos and enclaves, immigrants and their communities, barrios, social inequality, racial segregation, public housing and urban politics, transnational communities, new ethnic communities, and gentrification.

SOC 300 Classical Sociological Theory The founders of sociology were deeply concerned about problems that continue to be of vital importance for contemporary sociological inquiry. Questions such as the nature of society and its relationship to individuals, the relation between sociological theory and social practice, whether sociology is a science and, if not, what it is, and so on, are all absolutely central to the sociological enterprise, and yet often become lost. This course returns to the classics in an effort to uncover the questions sociologists need constantly to ask themselves if they wish to reflect cogently upon their role in the contemporary world. Required of all sociology majors. Prerequisite: SOC 100. (Harris, Kosta, offered annually)

SOC 357 Race and Education This course provides an in-depth analysis of the ways in which education in the United States, at times challenges and at times reproduces racial hierarchy. Using a combination of macro and micro level sociological theories (e.g., structural functionalism, social reproduction, intersectionality, interactional), we'll explore the socialization, organization, and assessment practices of schooling in the United States with a lens toward racial inequality. Education is often touted as the key to equality, particularly in the U.S. context. This course explores how education, despite this idealized view, has reproduced, and in some cases, exacerbated existing social inequalities. Using both micro and macro sociological frameworks, we will engage several key works that establish how schools create a social order that is not egalitarian and, how, in fact, schools were never intended to promote equality across demographic groups. We will also explore reforms and alternatives to promote racial equality through schooling. Discussions of primary texts will not only engage sociological theory but will also analyze methodological choice and relevance for questions of educational equality. (Freeman, offered alternate years)

SOC 362 Criminology This course provides a comprehensive overview of criminological theory and its applications. The major theories of crime and criminal behavior are presented, crime trends and patterns are investigated, and the main sources of crime data are critically assessed. Substantive crime topics such as fear of crime, victimization, drug use, murder, burglary, white-collar deviance, and sexual assault are also examined. Although interdisciplinary approaches to understanding crime will be explored given that the field of criminology in inherently interdisciplinary, this course is ultimately grounded in broader sociological principles and concepts, including but not limited to race, gender, class, power, social inequality, socialization, and social interaction. Discussions of course topics will be theoretical and empirical, with special attention given to the roles that data and research play in the evaluation of theory and the development of evidence based practices for responding to crime. (Sutton, offered alternate years)

SOC 370 Religion, Politics, and Lifestyle Sociological theory has long debated the role of religious belief and practice in the maintenance and transformation of society. Does what is sacred essentially maintain the social patterns and power structure of society or do various forms of belief and spirituality make a crucial contribution to movements producing social change? Has religion become a less important element of society in the modern world through growing secularization or is it continually transformed with renewed social influence in society? These questions about the effects and prevalence of sacred beliefs and institutions are examined through the views of both classic and contemporary sociologists.  This advanced seminar course examines variation in the social significance of religion by looking at how alternative movements as well as dominant beliefs and practices in modern Western societies have remained influential, faded to marginality, or reemerged in political and social life. Three debates will be highlighted: the problem of pluralism spawning religious conflict, the question of the inevitability of secularization, and the possibility of imposing a separation between religion and the modern political state. (Perkins, offered alternate years)

SOC 375 Social Policy This course focuses on U.S. income support policies designed to address poverty due to old age, unemployment, and single parenthood, using case studies of other Western welfare states for comparative purposes. The course traces the historical development and restructuring of the U.S. welfare state, from the "poor laws" in the colonial era, through the New Deal of the 1930s, the War on Poverty in the 1960s and 1970s, and the "end of welfare" at the turn of the 21st century. Central questions considered include how families, labor markets, and states intersect, and whether welfare states' policies ameliorate or reinforce inequalities of gender, race, and class. Prerequisite: SOC 100. (Monson, offered alternate years)

SOC 401 Pro Present (1/2 credit) This class equips students with a toolkit to finalize independent research and present it professionally at an academic conference. Seniors who are pursuing honors projects, advanced independent studies, or furthering research projects initiated in Research Methods are invited to apply to the instructor for admission. Students will learn how to critique sociological work, strengthen their own arguments, build a professional verbal and visual presentation, field questions from those outside of their area of expertise, and present their work confidently and coherently. This course culminates in a required professional poster presentation at the Eastern Sociological Society annual meeting (or a comparable professional sociological conference) in spring of the same year. Thus, while the course is 1/2 credit, all contact hours occur during the first seven weeks of the semester. (Staff, offered occasionally)

SOC 450 Independent Study Permission of the instructor required. (Offered annually)

SOC 456 1/2 Credit Independent Study Permission of the instructor required. (Offered annually)

SOC 465 Senior Seminar: Research Practicum Prerequisite: Students must have passed SOC 211 and either SOC 212 or 300. (Staff, offered annually)

SOC 495 Honors Permission of the instructor required. (Offered annually)

SOC 499 Internship in Sociology A minimum of 150 hours of work or practice under the supervision of a sociology faculty adviser. Students are expected to keep a reflective journal and to produce a paper that relates their experience to more general issues in sociology. The length and scope of the paper shall be determined in consultation with the internship faculty adviser. Internship adviser permission is required to take this course, and prior departmental approval is required for any students who wish to repeat SOC 499. Permission of instructor.

Sociology Courses Taught Occasionally
SOC 201 Sociology of International Development
SOC 222 Social Change and the Individual
SOC 228 Social Conflict
SOC 230 The Sociology of Everyday Life
SOC 231 Sociology of Art and Culture
SOC 233 Women and Political Mobilization in the Third World
SOC 240 Gender and Development
SOC 241 Sociology of Sport
SOC 243 Religion, State, and Society in Modern Britain
SOC 248 Medical Sociology
SOC 250 Population Crisis in the Third World
SOC 256 Power and Powerlessness
SOC 257 Political Sociology
SOC 259 Social Movements
SOC 260 The Sociology of Human Nature
SOC 298 Sociology of Mass Communications
SOC 312 Advanced Quantitative Methods
SOC 325 Moral Sociology and the Good Society
SOC 330 Symbolic Interaction
SOC 331 Sociology of Art and Culture
SOC 340 Feminist Social Theory
SOC 350 Sociology of Knowledge
SOC 380 Totalitarian Society

Note: A number of regularly offered bidisciplinary courses and interdisciplinary program courses carry credit for the Sociology major. Examples include BIDS 214The Politics of Reproduction, BIDS 229 Two Cities: New York and Toronto, BIDS 245 Men and Masculinity, BIDS 288 White Mythologies, and BIDS 295 Alcohol Use and Abuse. Students are encouraged to see the Bidisciplinary Program offerings and to check with department faculty about such offerings.

Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.