This course introduces and explores the sociological perspective. The central theme of the course is what C. Wright Mills called the sociological imagination which enables us to grasp history and biography and the relations between the two within society. Students explore how they are embedded in ever widening social circles that range from local to global. The focus is on how social forces such as culture, race and ethnicity, nationality, religion, social class, and gender contribute to the shaping of societies and the course of their histories. Students use conceptual tools drawn from sociology to analyze a range of contemporary social issues.
- Knowledge of key concepts and theoretical approaches in sociology at an upper division college level.
- Ability to write clearly (coherence, grammar, organization) and effectively communicate knowledge of the sociological perspective at an upper division college level.
- Ability to apply the sociological perspective to personal experiences and observations of social life at an upper division college level.
- Development of critical thinking skills needed to analyze and interpret social life from a sociological perspective at an upper division college level.
- Employ the methods and data that historians and social and behavioral scientists use to investigate the human condition.
- Examine social institutions and processes across a range of historical periods and cultures.
- Use and critique alternative explanatory systems or theories.
- Develop and communicate alternative explanations or solutions for contemporary social issues.
- Understand the development of and the changing meanings of group identities in the United States' history and culture.
- Demonstrate an awareness of the individual and institutional dynamics of unequal power relations between groups in contemporary society.
- Analyze their own attitudes, behaviors, concepts and beliefs regarding diversity, racism, and bigotry.
- Describe and discuss the experience and contributions (political, social, economic, etc.) of the many groups that shape American society and culture, in particular those groups that have suffered discrimination and exclusion.
- Demonstrate communication skills necessary for living and working effectively in a society with great population diversity.