Department of Sociology

Professors Emeriti: Marilyn Fernandez. Charles H. Powers

Professors: Alma M. Garcia, Laura Nichols, Enrique S. Pumar ( Fay Boyle Professor), Laura Robinson (Department Chair)

Associate Professors: Patrick Lopez-Aguado

Assistant Professors: Erick Berreleza, S.J., Di Di, Molly M. King

Senior Lecturer: Cara Chiaraluce

The Department of Sociology offers a course of study that provides students with cutting-edge sociological ideas and foundations culminating in a bachelor of science degree. The curriculum prepares students to enter graduate school or pursue other professional opportunities. The major and minor promote sociological perspectives and insights that are applicable to our own lives. Students also gain a "sociological imagination" that unveils a greater understanding of the social forces and processes that shape our societies and influence socializations, institutions, cultures, and individual decisions.

Requirements for the Major

In addition to fulfilling undergraduate Core Curriculum requirements for the bachelor of science degree, students majoring in sociology must complete the following departmental requirements:

  • SOCI 1

  • SOCI 35, 118, 119, 120, 198

  • SOCI 121 or 122

  • Eight electives. Seven upper-division sociology electives and one lower-division from among the following: SOCI 30, 33, 49, 60, 65, and 91

Requirements for the Minor

Students must fulfill the following requirements for a minor in sociology:

  • SOCI 1, 35, 119

  • And your choice:

    • Choose 1 of SOCI 30, 33, 49, 60, 65, or 91 and 3 upper division sociology electives

    • OR Choose 4 upper-division sociology electives

Lower-Division Courses

1. Principles of Sociology

Introduces students to the field of sociology. Emphasis on the major sociological perspectives and the basic elements of sociological analysis. Introductory exposure to research methodology. (4 units)

11A. and 12A. Cultures & Ideas I and II: The Human Condition

This two-course sequence focuses on a major theme in human experience and culture over a significant period of time. Courses emphasize either broad global interconnections or the construction of Western culture in its global context. Course one will cover disruption of global cultures in the context of social and economic history, and course two will cover emerging global cultures in the age of the internet. Successful completion of C&I I (SOCI 11A) is a prerequisite for C&I II (SOCI 12A). (4 units each quarter)

30. Self, Community, and Society

Explores a specific topic related to the self, community, and society. Use of sociological theories, research, community-based learning, and civic engagement activities to help students analyze and explore the role of the individual in influencing community and society as well as how the individual is shaped by these entities. (4 units)

33. Social Problems in the United States

Provides an overview of contemporary social problems in the United States from a sociological perspective, with a major emphasis on the ways race, class, and gender shape the development of specific social problems and the public policies offered to address them. Topics may include the economy, poverty, homelessness, and social inequality. (4 units)

35. Introduction to Research Design and Methods

Introduces students to the logic and basic methods of sociological research. The focus is on three research methods used regularly by sociologists: participant observation, interviewing, and surveys/statistical analysis. Through a combination of readings and exercises, students will be exposed to a few of sociology's best practices lessons using each of these methods, and making appropriate sampling decisions based on the nature of a project. We will reflect on research ethics and on opportunities for integrating quantitative and qualitative methods throughout the course. (4 units)

49. Tech, Social Media, and Society

Examines the impact new media and computer technologies have had on society as well as the role of individuals, groups, and societies on the development of this technology. Looks at the transforming or potentially transforming effects of communication technology on civic engagement. (4 units)

60. Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship---Leading Change

This interdisciplinary course examines social entrepreneurship and innovation in the context of global and local social issues. Critical skills such as creativity, critical and ethical thinking, reflection, transformative communication, leadership, empathy, and teamwork, are enhanced. Students participate in a human-centered design thinking skills training, innovate a solution to a social or environmental problem, and create a business model canvas and case study of the innovation for the final project. (4 units)

65. Crime and Delinquency

Broadly surveys major issues surrounding the causes and nature of, and solutions to, the problem of crime and delinquency in the United States. (4 units)

91. Lower-Division Seminar in Sociology

Seminar for first-year students and sophomores on selected issues in sociology. May be repeated once for credit if topic changes. Prerequisite: By permission of the instructor and sociology chair only. (4 units)

Upper-Division Courses: Theory, Methods, and Capstone

117. Sociology's Analytical Frameworks and Conceptual Approaches

Considers sociology as an integrated and coherent discipline by reviewing the development of different analytical frameworks which, when considered together, convey much of the conceptual power and rich history of the discipline. Required of all sociology minors. Does not fulfill the SOCI 119 requirement for the major. (5 units)

118. Qualitative Methods

Provides students with an understanding of qualitative methods for social research by focusing on (1) classical and contemporary sociological works employing qualitative methods, and (2) a selection of qualitative methods and techniques in sociology. Students gain hands-on experience by producing a series of qualitative research projects. Prerequisite: SOCI 35. (5 units)

119. Sociological Theory

Provides a critical overview of the origins, purpose, and contentious insights of contemporary sociological perspectives stressing the role of theory in the scientific method. Required of all majors and minors. (5 units)

120. Survey Research and Statistical Analysis

Applies quantitative research designs and statistics to examine sociologically relevant research questions empirically, with attention to the scientific reasoning behind quantitative methodology. Statistical analyses conducted using a statistical package such as SPSS. Prerequisites: SOCI 1, 35. (5 units)

121. Research Capstone

In this course, students will have an opportunity, under the direct supervision of a faculty member, to design and implement a research project bringing together theoretical and research perspectives to support a research question. This course is open to sociology majors and graduating seniors only. Prerequisites: SOCI 1, 35, 118, 119, and 120. (5 units)

122. Applied Capstone

Demonstrates the application of sociological research and insights to the challenges of modern business, human service, and public sector organizations. Practice components bring students into contact with people who are incorporating sociology to improve the functioning of their organizations and to inform policymaking. Sociology majors only. Prerequisites: SOCI 1, 35, 118, 119, and 120. (5 units)

Upper-Division Courses: Professional Development in Sociology

195. Silicon Valley Seminar

Seniors, who have successfully completed SOCI 118, 119, 120 121 or 122,.

In the early 20^th^ century, Chicago School sociologists approached the city as a collection of distinct but interdependent neighborhoods, or an "urban mosaic." They sought to understand the origins and dynamics of connected neighborhoods, and the forces that determined their fate and bound them together. Borrowing from this logic and the blurring of place that has occurred in expansion, this course approaches Silicon Valley as a constellation of interacting neighborhoods, experiences, and populations. The course traces recent history and populations to provide students with an understanding of the forces (political, economic, social, and cultural) that produce and sustain Silicon Valley; how different populations experience and interpret the region; and an understanding of Silicon's Valley past and present challenges (e.g., homelessness, gentrification, ethnic and racial resorting, mobility, and gangs). This course combines classroom instruction with community engagement to provide experiential learning opportunities in local neighborhoods and their institutions.

Prerequisites: SOCI 118, SOCI 119, SOCI 120, SOCI 121 or SOCI 122 and recommendation of faculty. (5 units)

198. Internship

Presents an opportunity for students with senior standing to reflect on their sociological insights gained in human service/community, government, or business organizations. Prior to enrolling in this course, students must have completed an internship placement approved by the faculty internship coordinator and requiring a minimum of 40 hours of work. Students working 40--60 hours enroll for 2 units, those working 61--100 hours enroll for 4 units, and those working more than 100 hours enroll for 5 units. Prerequisite: SOCI 35. (2, 4, or 5 units)

Upper-Division Electives

109. Sociology of Education

Introduces students to the main issues in the sociology of education, including the role of individuals, different types of schools and organizations, community, and policy. Students will analyze their own educational trajectories and understand the experiences of others by engaging in a community-based learning placement and reflecting on their observations and by analyzing data from schools and neighborhoods. The education system in the United States will be the main focus, with some opportunities for cross-cultural analysis. This course requires that students meet all the qualifications for enrolling in and completing an Arrupe placement. (5 units)

125. Honors Thesis

Ordinarily requires an overall GPA of 3.3, a GPA of 3.5 in the major, completion of SOCI 121, and approval of a thesis proposal defining a topic, outlining a theoretically driven research design, and having a timetable for conducting various stages of the research. May be taken only with special permission of the sociology chair. (5 units)

126. Intersectionality: Principles and Praxis

How do categorical identities, including race, gender, class, sexuality, disability, etc., work together to create our lived experiences? What is the use of intersectionality as a buzzword, or public concept, in contemporary struggles for social recognition, integration, and equity? This course is an introduction to thinking about intersectionality, as a theoretical frame, a description of lived experience, and method of praxis. It will examine the history and application of intersectionality from black women\'s movements of the 1970s, to its codification in legal theory, to current scholarship and activism that have intersectionality and intersectional experiences at their core. Also listed as WGST 125 . (5 Units)

127. Interpersonal Relations and Group Dynamics

Explores the structure and social processes of socialization in small and large groups. Concepts such as power and prestige, leadership, communication networks, collaboration and conflict, game theory, and distributive justice are examined. (5 units)

127A. Philosophical and Sociological Approaches to Contemporary Moral Issues

This course examines western philosophical and sociological approaches to morality and social issues. Students analyze professional ethics and dilemmas, compare philosophical and sociological theories of morality, and then apply these theories to social issues related to economic, gender, racial, and sexual inequality. Students practice being "public sociologists" by enlisting knowledge and research to encourage individual, societal, and political decisions that are ethical and justice-oriented. A background in philosophical ethics helps public sociologists consider their own moral development as well as the salient issues at stake when considering potential solutions to controversial social problems. Thus, being a public sociologist means taking a stand on complex ethical issues by having a foundation in both philosophical and sociological moral methodology. (5 units)

128. Religion, Science, and Technology

In this course, students learn religion, science, and technology from a social scientific perspective. Social scientific theory and data about human behavior and societies will enable us to make more well-informed decisions about our civic and professional lives. In this course, students will develop an understanding of how the social sciences produce knowledge in distinctive ways and gain experiences in assessing theory and evidence with a specific focus on the intersection between religion, science, and technology. (5 units)

130. Social Entrepreneurship: Leading Change

This interdisciplinary course examines social entrepreneurship and innovation in the context of global and local social issues. Essential skills, such as creativity, critical and ethical thinking, reflection, transformative communication, leadership, empathy, and teamwork, are enhanced. Students participate in a human-centered design thinking skills training, innovate a solution to a social or environmental problem, and create a business model canvas and case study of the innovation for the final project. (5 units)

SOCI 131 - Sociology of Gender

Gender is a central organizing principle in social relations, giving rise to institutional and social practices that distinguish between men and women on the basis of apparent difference and inequality. This course develops the sociological analysis of gender systems in contemporary American society. In this course, we will critically examine the multiple ways that gender (and connections between gender, race, and sexuality) structures the social world in which we live, and the way that race and sexuality interact with gender. (5 units)

132. Inequality and the American Dream

This course examines how inequality has emerged and is sustained in American society, and how it has contributed to the creation of a social hierarchy---that is, the process of social stratification. We will specifically examine this phenomena through the lenses of economic class, which is the root of social stratification theory, as well as gender and race. You will gain tools to critically examine the historical and contemporary operation of social inequality broadly defined and how it relates to the American dream. (5 units)

133. Politics and Society in Developing Societies

Explores social order and political change in developing nations. Content includes the relationship between economic and social development and the emergence of democratic, authoritarian, or revolutionary regimes in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Emphasis is on ways in which the international system influences development through investigation of theories of interdependence, dependency, and globalization. (5 units)

134. Globalization and Inequality

Encompasses overview of globalization as a long-term historical process. Focus on the impact in the developing world; on people moving from the developing to the developed world; the displacement of some and new opportunities for others during different periods of globalization; and the long-term implications of privilege and marginality that globalization has produced. Examination of case material based on Latin American, African, and Asian historical experiences; exploration of theoretical models of high rates of poverty in the developing world; and practical steps to reduce marginalization on a global scale. (5 units)

135. Women and Social Change in Latin America

Examines the relationship between gender, political participation, national development, and the process of social change in Latin America. With an emphasis on selected case studies such as Mexico, Cuba, Guatemala, Bolivia, and El Salvador, the contributions of women to social justice is situated in the context of transnational relations. Also listed as WGST 128. (5 units)

136. Sociology of Sexualities

This course examines sexuality and the various theoretical and methodological approaches that have been used in sociological studies of sexuality, including those that guide sexuality-related analyses of identities, practices, and behaviors; power and politics; sexual interaction and social relations (at the micro and macro levels); morality and social control; and intersectionality. Such explorations include examining the history of sexuality in the West, and social and academic debates on sexuality, including the types of evidence used to support various theoretical and/or political conclusions that impact particular groups of people differently. (5 units).

137. Global Development and Social Change

Examines how conflicts and significant social, economic, and political trends and issues in contemporary United States society and in the world contribute to social change and global migration. . The course discusses contemporary sociological concepts, principles, theories, and applications for understanding population movements as they search for social justice around the world. (5 units)

138. India, China, and the United States

Using India, China, and the United States as case studies, students will understand the historical and current trends in global population growth, as well as the critical social, cultural, economic, and environmental factors that impact and are impacted by population change. They will also critically learn about the methods used to derive demographic data that are available to educate and aid in the process of informed decision-making. (5 units)

139. Sports and Society: Controversies and Issues

This course introduces the sociological study of sports in society by considering the following questions: 1) How do culture and values influence sports, 2) How do sports influence culture and values, and 3) What is the relationship between sports and the media, politics, economics, race, social class, sexual orientation, and other critical variables sociologists use to understand society. This course will also include discussion of student questions related to sports and society, which will be integrated throughout the course. The course is thus interested in social change in sports as well as social change through sports. (5 units)

140. Urban Sociology

Involves critical inquiry into urban sociology and theoretical and practical exposure to urban issues. Explores unresolved paradoxes in how we understand urban life and the role of structural and cultural conditions in creating or adding to urban problems such as marginalization, gentrification, displacement, crime, housing, and the social organization of urban America. (5 units)

In this class students will examine how popular culture in the era of mass imprisonment (approximately 1970-present) has socialized, reflected, and resisted the discourses central to driving and legitimizing the expansion of carceral control. We will discuss how particular tropes and narratives about crime and justice have been used to justify increasing police budgets and legal powers, as well as magnify restrictions and penalties against criminalized communities. Students will explore the ways that these stories and images have been represented in various forms of media (particularly film and television), and learn to connect these representations to the politics of carceral expansion prevalent at the time. Throughout this course we will discuss how storytelling, evolving technology, and cultural/artistic movements have been essential for convincing the public to see criminal threats as real and restrictive social control as necessary; at the same time, these have also been key for artists and organizers seeking to challenge the logic of law-and-order politics, reflect the experiences of those most impacted by these politics, or defend their communities from carceral state violence. (5 units)

148. Diversity Issues in Contemporary American Organizations

Offers a serious exploration of both the ethical and practical challenges posed by the diversity of stakeholder interests in organizations. Critical reflection on the implications of client-centered approaches to organizational activity for people working in organizations, and also for structure, culture, communication, and process in those organizations. Requires a community-based learning placement working alongside and/or in the service of persons who are marginalized in the local community. (5 units)

149. Tech, Innovation, and Culture

Examines the impact the organization of business and social culture has on the development of science/technology and the transforming effects of rapid scientific and technological innovations on our economies and societies. (5 units)

150. Immigrant Business in the United States

Immigrant businesses represent a growing sector within the United States economy and contribute to social, political, and cultural changes in the United States. Examines the development and significance of immigrant business owners and the communities clusters within which these businesses are located including Silicon Valley. Also listed as ETHN 170. (5 units)

152. Inequality in the Economy and Workplace

This course examines socioeconomic, racial, and gender disparities in the economy and workplace, how these differences have developed, the impacts of socialization, and the changing nature of labor markets, work, and family dynamics. We will explore fundamental social theories and research methods used by sociologists to examine social structures; policies and practices; mobility and opportunity; wealth and wage gaps; family dynamics; and labor unions. Also listed as WGST 181. (5 units)

153. Race, Class, and Gender in the United States

Examines the sociological nature of the intersectionality of race/ethnicity, social class, and gender by focusing on the interrelationships among social institutions, power relationships, and cultural patterns. May also focus on the impact of popular culture on the social construction of social identities. Also listed as ETHN 151 and WGST 115. (5 units)

157. Sociology of Family

Examines how family forms have changed over time in the United States, including the macro causes and consequences of different family structures and role expectations. Patterns and dynamics of dating, family formation, child-rearing, divorce, and extended family support systems are also covered. Also listed as WGST 182. (5 units)

158. Deviance and Social Control

Examines noncriminal violations of social norms from a variety of sociological perspectives. Topics typically include eating disorders, relationship abuse, child abuse, sexual harassment, substance abuse, and homosexuality. Theoretical emphasis on classical and contemporary critical theory, including feminist, critical race, and queer perspectives. (5 units)

159. Crime and Punishment

Examines criminal behavior on the aggregate level, and its effects in the United States and other societies. Topics typically include sexual assault and domestic violence, homicide, global terrorism, corporate, and political crime. Theoretical emphasis on classical and contemporary critical and social justice perspectives. (5 units)

160. Law and Society

Surveys classical and contemporary sociological theories of law and society. Topics typically include the social construction of law; law and capitalism; law and social solidarity; gender, race, and class inequality and the law; and private/public divisions and the law. (5 units)

161. The Criminal Justice Systems

Examines criminal justice systems in the United States and other countries from a comparative perspective. Topics typically include law enforcement, the courts, corrections (prisons and probation), and juvenile criminal justice systems. Theoretical emphasis on classical and contemporary critical and social justice perspectives. (5 units)

162. Gender and Justice

Includes topics relevant to gender and justice related to criminology and criminal justice systems, with a particular emphasis on the experiences of women and justice. Also listed as WGST 188. (5 units)

163. Leisure and Work in the 21st Century

Examines the ideological and institutional characteristics of modern industrial society and some of its basic problems, such as alienation, affluence and work motivation models, primary group influences, and leadership behavior. The course also covers how new technologies and flexible work schedules impact family relations and personal leisure. (5 units)

164. Social Movements

Involves analytical study of collective behavior principles and typology of crowds, mass behavior, and public demonstrations. The course also studies how new social movements manipulate the application of resource mobilization and representation strategies, framing, and discourse analysis to mobilize bias. (5 units)

165. Human Services

Provides an introduction to the field of human services. Topics include the connections between societal understanding of social problems, programs, and policies; work and management issues in public and nonprofit human service agencies; human services in a multicultural context; and opportunities to learn through community-based placements serving marginalized communities and from human service professionals. (5 units)

168. Democracy, Populism, Authoritarianism

Involves analysis of power relations in the United States and examination of different dimensions of power and popular participation. Particular emphasis is on the development of state-society relations, legitimation, strategies of resistance, and civil society. (5 units)

172. Management of Health Care Organizations

Explores the sociological and practical issues of operations, financing, and management in organizations providing services for people with health problems (organizations such as nursing homes and hospitals) or people with infirmities (organizations such as senior care centers and assisted living facilities). Also listed as PHSC 172. (5 units)

175. Race and Inequality

Examines the racial/ethnic inequality that African, Asian, Hispanic, and Native Americans and other groups experience in contemporary United States society. This course covers theories of race and ethnicity, examines empirical research on a range of topics (poverty, social class, assimilation, identity, segregation, stereotyping), and explores the meaning and consequences for racial/ethnic inequality in the future. Also listed as ETHN 167. (5 units)

176. Caring for the Greatest Generation

A survey of public policy issues particularly affecting the elderly. Includes consideration of the legal aspects of death and dying, involuntary commitment, guardianship and conservatorship, age discrimination, public benefit programs, and nursing homes. (5 units)

180. Immigrant Communities

Explores the impact of immigration to the United States, particularly the effect of the immigration reform law of 1965 that resulted in large increases in immigration to the United States, particularly from Latin America and Asia. This wave of immigrants and their U.S.--born children has significantly changed the fabric of American society. Examines case studies of immigrants and the second generation from Cuba, Mexico, Nicaragua, Vietnam, and Haiti using comparative sociological perspectives and theories of community formation . Also listed as ETHN 171. (5 units)

190. Advanced Seminars in Sociology

Seminars for juniors and seniors in which selected issues in sociology or current problems of social relevance are investigated in depth. Like in any seminar, students who enroll in the course are expected to actively contribute to the examination of the topics at hand. May be repeated once for credit if topic changes. (5 units)

194. Peer Educators

Peer educators in sociology work closely with a faculty member to help students in a course understand course material, think more deeply about course material, benefit from collaborative learning, feel less anxious about testing situations, and/or to help students enjoy learning. Enrollment is by permission of the instructor. (1 or 2 units)

199. Directed Reading/Directed Research

Involves intensive reading in areas not emphasized by the department. Independent research on specific topics not fully covered in departmental courses. May be repeated once for credit, under certain circumstances and with the approval of the sociology chair. Written departmental approval necessary in the quarter prior to registration. (5 units)

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