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College of Social & Behavioral Sciences

Previous Courses

  • Fall 2018
    • Seminar in Sociological Theory
      • Course Description:
        • Theory is the foundation of research and the culmination of years of research. Theory allows us to make sense of the data that we collect as social scientists. This course will introduce you to a range of authors and subjects to introduce you to the art of theory. The course is intended to help you build the skills necessary for effective research through informed theory application. While the course will not be a survey of the range of theoretical ideas, it attempts to expose you to a diversity of authors, regions of the world, and topics while still providing a foundation in the pivotal figures in social theory.

    • Introduction to Sociology
      • Course Description:
        • As the course title states, this class is intended to introduce you to central issues in society.  The course will acquaint you with a number of sociological perspectives and theoretical orientations.  By taking this course, you will develop a sense of the range of issues covered by social scientists and the various perspectives and tools used to understand these issues.  We will approach this course through the perspective of political economy, which is, by its very nature, an orientation that dissects the world we live in. 
      • Course Objectives:
        • Students will be familiarized with the basic perspectives in sociology.
        • The course will facilitate mastery of basic sociological concepts.
        • Students will expand their knowledge of basic sociological issues, including issues of social class, race/ethnicity, gender, and sexuality.
        • The course is designed to enable the student to understand sociological issues both in United States’ society as well as in the global context.
        • This course also encourages students to develop a better understanding of their culture and society and how they fit into it, and to apply the sociological perspective to the analysis of social situations.
        • The student should gain a knowledge of cultural and social differences, be able to apply sociology to international issues, and to understand the role of the world citizen. 

    • Indigeneity and Environment
      • Course Description:
        • Since 1492, indigenous peoples have faced genocide through direct military conquest, biological warfare, and the intentional destruction of their environment. The underlying cause of this genocide has changed little since 1492. In order for the contemporary economic system to operate, it requires vast amounts of resources and energy to create the products it sells in the global marketplace. From the very origins of the capitalist system in the 1400’s to the present day, these resources have been found where people already live. In order to access these resources, the people who already occupy the area are displaced, poisoned, and/or murdered.
        • In this class, you will learn about indigenous relationships with the environment and how interactions with Europeans and other invading groups have altered this interaction with nature. We will begin with an understanding of how indigenous groups view nature differently than Western societies and move to the general interaction of societies with the environment. By looking at our general interaction with the environment, we will be able to discuss the similarities and differences between the indigenous and sociological critiques of contemporary environmental interactions.
        • We will look at the specific examples of natural resource extraction in indigenous territory and the processes involved. We will compare and contrast past struggles with contemporary conflicts. By looking at historical examples, you will be able to place the contemporary struggles in context to better understand why the conflicts are occurring and what the future may hold for these societies. We will also look at a variety of social movements within indigenous societies to resist invasion and encroachment. Additionally, we will contemplate the role of the social scientist in these struggles and movements.


    • Sociological Theory
      • Course Description:
        • Sociological theory is the backbone of the study of Sociology.  It provides us with the lens through which we understand the world.  Theory is to the sociologist as the microscope is to the biologist (they have theories too, but just play along with the analogy!).  Theories allow us to see the world at different levels of abstraction and to connect the lived experiences of people with the social world they inhabit.  Theories frame our understanding and allow us to make sense of a complex social world.  In this class, you will be exposed to three of the most notable, if not controversial, social theorists: Marx, Weber and Durkheim.  Because they are central to the discipline, we spend more time with these theorists.  You will also hear from some lesser-known figures in Sociology to give you perspective on the “voices from below” that are often left out.

      • Course Objectives
        • You will be familiar with the main concepts of the central theorists in Sociology.
        • You will gain insight from Sociologists who highlight issues of gender and race/ethnicity.
        • You will see the application of Sociology to an increasing international, globalized world.
        • You will be able to apply Sociological concepts to the contemporary world.
        • You will gain an appreciation for understanding the world through a theoretical lens, developing your own “Sociological Imagination.”

      • “No social study that does not come back to the problem of biography, of history and of their intersections within society has completed its intellectual journey.” C. Wright Mills

      • “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.” Karl Marx
  • Spring 2018
    • Introduction to Sociology
      • Course Description:
        • As the course title states, this class is intended to introduce you to central issues in society.  The course will acquaint you with a number of sociological perspectives and theoretical orientations.  By taking this course, you will develop a sense of the range of issues covered by social scientists and the various perspectives and tools used to understand these issues.  We will approach this course through the perspective of political economy, which is, by its very nature, an orientation that dissects the world we live in. 
      • Course Objectives:
        • Students will be familiarized with the basic perspectives in sociology.
        • The course will facilitate mastery of basic sociological concepts.
        • Students will expand their knowledge of basic sociological issues, including issues of social class, race/ethnicity, gender, and sexuality.
        • The course is designed to enable the student to understand sociological issues both in United States’ society as well as in the global context.
        • This course also encourages students to develop a better understanding of their culture and society and how they fit into it, and to apply the sociological perspective to the analysis of social situations.
        • The student should gain a knowledge of cultural and social differences, be able to apply sociology to international issues, and to understand the role of the world citizen. 

    • Sociological Theory
      • Course Description:
        • Sociological theory is the backbone of the study of Sociology.  It provides us with the lens through which we understand the world.  Theory is to the sociologist as the microscope is to the biologist (they have theories too, but just play along with the analogy!).  Theories allow us to see the world at different levels of abstraction and to connect the lived experiences of people with the social world they inhabit.  Theories frame our understanding and allow us to make sense of a complex social world.  In this class, you will be exposed to three of the most notable, if not controversial, social theorists: Marx, Weber and Durkheim.  Because they are central to the discipline, we spend more time with these theorists.  You will also hear from some lesser-known figures in Sociology to give you perspective on the “voices from below” that are often left out.

      • Course Objectives
        • You will be familiar with the main concepts of the central theorists in Sociology.
        • You will gain insight from Sociologists who highlight issues of gender and race/ethnicity.
        • You will see the application of Sociology to an increasing international, globalized world.
        • You will be able to apply Sociological concepts to the contemporary world.
        • You will gain an appreciation for understanding the world through a theoretical lens, developing your own “Sociological Imagination.”

      • “No social study that does not come back to the problem of biography, of history and of their intersections within society has completed its intellectual journey.” C. Wright Mills

      • “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.” Karl Marx
    • Fall 2017

      • Indigeneity and Environment
        • Course Description:
          • Since 1492, indigenous peoples have faced genocide through direct military conquest, biological warfare, and the intentional destruction of their environment. The underlying cause of this genocide has changed little since 1492. In order for the contemporary economic system to operate, it requires vast amounts of resources and energy to create the products it sells in the global marketplace. From the very origins of the capitalist system in the 1400’s to the present day, these resources have been found where people already live. In order to access these resources, the people who already occupy the area are displaced, poisoned, and/or murdered.
          • In this class, you will learn about indigenous relationships with the environment and how interactions with Europeans and other invading groups have altered this interaction with nature. We will begin with an understanding of how indigenous groups view nature differently than Western societies and move to the general interaction of societies with the environment. By looking at our general interaction with the environment, we will be able to discuss the similarities and differences between the indigenous and sociological critiques of contemporary environmental interactions.
          • We will look at the specific examples of natural resource extraction in indigenous territory and the processes involved. We will compare and contrast past struggles with contemporary conflicts. By looking at historical examples, you will be able to place the contemporary struggles in context to better understand why the conflicts are occurring and what the future may hold for these societies. We will also look at a variety of social movements within indigenous societies to resist invasion and encroachment. Additionally, we will contemplate the role of the social scientist in these struggles and movements.

    • Spring 2017

      • Sociology of Globalization
        • Course Description:
          • Currently, political-economic institutions transcend national boundaries and are increasing the influence they have on the daily lives of people around the world. In the popular press and media, the term “globalization” has been used to characterize the changes taking place in our world today, but this class will take a critical look at the term globalization and the changes in global political and economic structures. This course will focus on political bodies and agreements, such as the World Trade Organization, to understand their operation and the implications for people around the world. In addition, the course will examine the role of political-economic agendas and the creation of such entities as the IMF and the World Bank. At the conclusion of the course, the students will have a better understanding of what has been called “globalization” and the political and economic institutions that shape their lives.
        • Course Objectives:
          • Students will be able to:
            • Master an understanding of diversity as defined by Minnesota State Mankato. " According to MNSU-M, “diversity is defined in comprehensive terms as the many faceted ways in which human beings differ from one another. Often overlapping, these differences can include: age, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, mental/physical ability, race/ethnicity.”
            • Acquire a substantive knowledge base to identify the impact of oppression for individuals from diverse populations, specifically how the global capitalist system has detrimentally affected diverse cultures around the world..
            • describe the history and operation of the contemporary global economy including the global institutions: The World Bank, The International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization.
            • communicate the negative consequences of the pursuit of a neoliberal strategy for economic growth.
            • assess the limitations and potential for overcoming the devastating effects of the neoliberal model of growth.

      • Social Change
        • Course Description:
          • Social Change describes the broad transitions in society resulting from a variety of mechanisms. Social Change includes social movements such as the Civil Rights movement that changed legal discrimination in the United States. Social Change also includes broad historical changes such as the transition from feudalism to capitalism. Social Change has also resulted from climatic or ecological influences. While some social change may occur imperceptibly through slow change over time, most social contemporary change results from the struggle of the oppressed against the oppressors. This course will take a sober look at social change in our contemporary global society. You will be introduced to social change movements and the repression of those movements. You will also study alternatives to contemporary social arrangements.

        • Course Objectives
          • Students will be introduced to various theories of social change.
          • Students will learn concrete examples of social change in a variety of regions of the world.
          • Students will learn how repression by groups in power is used to challenge social change for greater equality.
          • Students will develop an understanding of the common causes of social problems driving social change.

    • Fall 2016
    • Spring 2016

      • Sociology of Globalization

      • Sociology of the Environment
        • Course Objectives:
          • The environment tends to be taken for granted, and it is often assumed to be separate from society. People are an inseparable part of nature and must interact with it if they are to survive. This course will look at this relationship over time and cross-culturally. The course will examine the various ways nature is perceived as well as different ideas about how to understand our relationship with nature. The course will address a number of contemporary concerns regarding the environment, including food production, toxic chemicals, natural resource extraction, and climate change. We shall also contemplate solutions to the current environmental issues facing society now and into the future.
        • Learning Outcomes
          • Students will be able to:
            • Master an understanding of diversity as defined by Minnesota State Mankato. " According to MNSU-M, “diversity is defined in comprehensive terms as the many faceted ways in which human beings differ from one another. Often overlapping, these differences can include: age, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, mental/physical ability, race/ethnicity.”
            • Acquire a substantive knowledge base to identify the impact of oppression for individuals from diverse populations.
            • Obtain the analytical skills necessary to make links between historical practices and contemporary societies across the world.
            • Explain the basic structure and function of various natural ecosystems and of human adaptive strategies within those systems.
            • Discern and analyze patterns and interrelationships of the biophysical and psycho-social cultural systems.
            • Describe the basic institutional arrangements (social, political, economic) that are evolving to deal with environmental and natural resource challenges.
            • Evaluate critically environmental and natural resource issues in light of understanding about interrelationships, ecosystems, and institutions.

    • Fall 2015

      • Indigeneity and Environment

      • First Year Experience
        • Course Goals:
          • To promote further development of student success skills such as reading, writing, and speaking; help students gain intellectual confidence; build expectation of academic success and provide assistance in making transition to the university.
        • Course Objectives
          • You will:
            • Experience higher personal expectations of his/her ability to meaningfully participate in academic life;
            • Define and give examples of critical thinking;
            • Interact with other students regarding academic matters;
            • Affirm that careful thinking is an important aspect of the educational process;
            • Make a comfortable transition to college life.

    • Spring 2015

    • Fall 2014

    • Spring of 2014

    • Fall of 2013
      • Sabbatical

    • Spring of 2013
      • Sabbatical

    • Fall 2012

    • Spring 2012

    • Fall 2011

    • Spring 2011

    • Fall 2010

    • Spring 2010
      • Introduction to Sociology
      • Environmental Sociology
        • Course Description:
          • The environment tends to be taken for granted, and it is often assumed to be separate from society.  People are an inseparable part of nature and must interact with it if they are to survive.  This course will look at this relationship over time and cross-culturally.  The course will examine the various ways nature is perceived as well as different ideas about how to understand our relationship with nature.  The course will address a number of contemporary concerns regarding the environment, including food production, toxic chemicals, natural resource extraction, and climate change.  We shall also contemplate solutions to the current environmental issues facing society now and into the future.

      • Medical Sociology
        • Course Description:
          • As health care costs rise and  medical bills become the primary cause of bankruptcies, concern for the health of the vast majority of residents in the US becomes paramount.  Understanding the factors governing people’s health and well-being is crucial to addressing health problems such as access to healthcare, level of care, spread of infectious disease, and preventable disease and death.  This course focuses on the social factors driving health and illness in the US and other regions of the world.  Little known to the general public, the number one predictor of a person’s health is social and ecological factors.  Social class and environmental factors, such as pollution, are by far the greatest predictors of someone’s health than any other single factor such as diet, medical care, high risk behaviors, and heredity.  This course will introduce students to some of the social factors affecting people’s health outcomes.  Students are encouraged to view health as part of a complex web of social, environmental, political, economic as well as biological forces.  Of particular focus in this course are issues of diet and obesity, the social origins of the spread of disease, environmental racism, socially created hunger, and “culturally aware” care.

    • Fall 2009

    • Spring 2009

    • Fall 2008

    • Spring 2008

    • Fall 2007

    • Spring 2007

    • Fall 2006