How is society possible? Are human beings free? Can the individual make a difference? This course explores these and other fundamental questions drawn from the social sciences. Through films, novels, classroom exercises, and topical readings students investigate the relationship between the individual and society. Cross-cultural perspectives are integrated into the course.
- Develops the critical thinking skills needed to analyze and interpret social science data from a variety of sources.
- Knows key concepts of social science and understands the relevance of those ideas for both the biography of individuals and the history of societies.
- Understands and appreciates how differences in culture, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexual orientation contribute significantly to the shaping of societies and the course of their histories.
- Understands and appreciates the nature of citizenship and democracy in the twenty-first century for the purpose of developing a sense of ethical and civic responsibility.
- Writes analytical papers that are informed, well reasoned, and literate.
- 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.