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SSCI 501 Great Ideas: Classics of Social Science

The social sciences have been shaping views of the human condition for more than 150 years. This seminar explores those ideas that continue to engage and perplex thoughtful observers of social life. Students become acquainted with writing by major thinkers like Karl Marx, Max Weber, Emile Durkheim, Georg Simmel, Sigmund Freud, Ruth Benedict, Frantz Fanon and Hannah Arendt. The course addresses the social and historical roots of the great ideas as well as the moral aspirations and creative impulses of these social scientists.


Special information

Overlap: SSCI 501G Great Ideas: Classics of Social Science. Note: Senior status required. Students must have earned 90 credits prior to taking this course or receive special permission from the department.
4 Undergraduate credits

Effective August 1, 1999 to present

Learning outcomes


  • Can demonstrate oral communication skills through active participation in the seminar process.
  • Can demonstrate the critical thinking and skills necessary to assess and compare theoretical texts at the senior undergraduate level.
  • Can do analytic writing that is informed and well- reasoned and demonstrates higher level understanding of central foundational concepts of the social sciences.
  • Can understand, compare, evaluate and critique the theories of such seminal social science thinkers at Marx, Freud, Weber, Durkheim, Benedict, Arendt, and others.