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SOC 325 The Body in Society

This course provides a sociological perspective on the human body. While the body is a biological entity, the body is also social. The perceptions and meanings of the body are embedded in complex socio-cultural contexts. Students will examine how social processes and cultural practices shape human bodies and our everyday lived experiences. The course will also discuss bodies in relation to gender, sexuality, race, class, age, ability, and health. Lecture, discussion, multimedia materials, and a variety of readings are used to study the relationships between the body, culture, and society. Competence Statement Knows and understands the sociological perspective on the body and embodiment well enough to interpret, analyze, and evaluate the body in society at an advanced level.


4 Undergraduate credits

Effective August 16, 2015 to present

Meets graduation requirements for

Learning outcomes


  • Knows key concepts, theories, and body-related processes in the field of body studies.
  • Develops the higher order thinking skills needed to analyze contemporary social issues in relation to the body.
  • Understands and appreciates how gender, sexuality, race, class, age, ability, and health influence embodied experiences in everyday life.
  • Applies course materials to one's own life, allowing for a deeper understanding of bodily experience.
  • Writes analytical papers that are informed, well reasoned, and literate at an upper division college level.

Minnesota Transfer Curriculum

Goal 5: History and the Social and Behavioral Sciences

  • 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.

Goal 7: Human Diversity

  • 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.

Spring 2024

Section Title Instructor books eservices
50 The Body in Society Enke, Janet Lynne Books for SOC-325-50 Spring 2024 Course details for SOC-325-50 Spring 2024