Sociology

The program in sociology is designed to reflect the historic importance of the discipline in the liberal arts education and tradition. The sociology curriculum teaches students to recognize how social processes, social institutions, and culture are produced through humans interacting with one another, and how social, economic, political, and historical forces shape, and are shaped by, social relationships. Through the progressive acquisition of skills, students learn the basic principles of sociology and apply these to the critical analysis of social problems, social issues, and social relationships. Research and internship opportunities in the major ask students to put their sociological knowledge and skill set to use in real-world settings. Throughout their sociological journey, students are encouraged to become responsible and engaged community members who are committed to creating positive social change.

Sociology presents many distinctive ways of looking at the world, and its focus on critical and creative thinking, problem solving, and analysis makes an education in sociology an excellent point of departure for a number of careers. Opportunities for the sociologist are numerous and vary greatly. Historically, the most popular career fields for graduates with a sociology degree are education, social service, government, business, research, community-based organizing, and organizational management. In recent years, there has been considerable growth in medical and legal career opportunities for sociologists, as well.

Requirements for the Sociology Major (36 semester hours)

  • SOC 186 Navigating Social Worlds (4)
  • SOC 303 Sociological Theory (4)
  • SOC 402W Qualitative Methods of Social Research (4)

Five 100- or 300-level Sociology Courses or from approved list of electives outside of Sociology (20 semester hours)

(Two must be at the 300-level)

Approved list of electives outside of Sociology

  • AES 150 Introduction of American Ethnic Studies (4)
  • IDS 205 Chemawa Indian School Partnership Program (2)
  • IDS 215 Willamette Academy Service Learning (2)
  • WGS 353W Feminist Theory (4)

Senior Experience, chosen from: (4 semester hours)

  • SOC 388W Internship in Sociology (6)
  • SOC 499 Senior Seminar in Sociology (4)

Requirements for the Sociology Minor (20 semester hours)

  • SOC 186 Navigating Social Worlds (4)
  • Sixteen additional Sociology semester hours or from approved list of electives outside of Sociology (16) (Only two of these can be at the 100-level)

Students usually start their minor in sociology with a 100-level exploration course. SOC 186 -- Navigating Social Worlds -- is the gateway course to other 300- and 400-level courses and is required for the minor. In addition, students must take four additional semester hours for a minor in sociology, with no more than two of these being at the 100-level. The 300-level courses have a prerequisite of SOC 186 Navigating Social Worlds or any 100-level Sociology course. The 400-level methods courses have prerequisites of SOC 186 Navigating Social Worlds and SOC 303 Social Theory.

Indicators of Achievement

Student Learning Outcomes for the Sociology Major

  1. Students will develop their capacity to think sociologically, cultivating in them a “sociological imagination” with which to interpret the social world
  2. Students will develop their ability to recognize and apply multiple theoretical perspectives to an understanding and analysis of human agency and social structure
  3. Students will develop the tools needed to think methodologically about how to gather and use data to study social life
  4. Students will cultivate and strengthen their ability to think critically and write analytically
  5. Students will plan and implement an original research project through which they demonstrate an integrated understanding of sociological thinking, theory, and research and analysis methods

Faculty


Course Listings

SOC 121 Gender in Society (4)

This course is an introduction to the fundamental of human gender socialization and performance. It will emphasize social and cultural constructions of gender and examine the fluidity of gender in various cultures worldwide. Further, it will examine how gender inequality is built into the structure of social institutions such as family, media, and education, and how we actively construct the system of gender relations in our daily lives. Consideration will be given to the ways that gender intersects and interacts with other social categories such as race, class, ethnicity, age, ability and sexuality.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Social Sciences; PDE
  • Prerequisite: First and second year only
  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Staff

SOC 131 Sociological Inquiry (4)

This course introduces students to the nature of sociological inquiry through the exploration of a specifically defined topic. Emphasis will be given to how sociologists methodologically and theoretically study and derive meaning from the world around us. Topics of critical investigation may include, but are not limited to, art worlds, globalization today, our aging society, technology and the future, childhood and adolescence, religion and spirituality. Students may take this course multiple times for credit if the topic is different.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Social Sciences
  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Staff

SOC 132 Sport and Society (4)

This course introduces the student to sociology through examination of “sport” as a social thing. Students will critically analyze how sport is a prominent manifestation of culture, values and norms, socialization, stratification, difference and inequality, social mobility, economy, and the media, among other dimensions of society. Freshmen and Sophomores only or consent of instructor.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Social Sciences
  • Prerequisite: First or second year only
  • Offering: Alternate Years
  • Instructor: Strawn

SOC 182 Racism & White Supremacy in the U.S. (4)

This course examines the historical, political, economic and sociological dynamics of race, racism, and white supremacy in the United States. It investigates how institutions and culture reproduce the structures of inequality that impact the self-concept, interactions, opportunities and life chances of all people in the United States. This course focuses on the various ways race and ethnicity are created and re-created in society, and the way these social constructions permeate all aspects of societal life, despite remaining largely invisible and normalized. By analyzing the complex intersections of race, racism and white supremacy within the U.S. political and social structures, students gain a critical analysis of historic and contemporary racial inequality, and consider the effectiveness of the various solutions put forth by public policy, academics, and community activists.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Social Sciences; PDE
  • Prerequisite: First and second year only
  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Drew

SOC 124 Global Sociology: Nation/Empire/Race/Gender (1)

Why do nation-states go to war? Can international institutions promote peace? And how do people organize across borders to address injustice? This course examines the politics and sociology of war, peace, and knowledge-making across borders and investigates how race, class, gender and colonial legacies structure the world. We will think about power, inequality and resistance from a “global perspective” and reflect on the ways that global events shape our everyday lives.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Social Sciences; World Engagement: PDE
  • Prerequisite: First and second year only
  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Koomen

SOC 186 Navigating Social Worlds (1)

This course is organized as a "gateway" to the discipline of sociology, which is the study of processes and relationships we all know as "society." The course introduces the student (a) to the four primary dimensions into which sociology is loosely organized -- social systems, social institutions, human agency and interaction, and culture; (b) to the ways in which sociologists ask and analyze research questions; and (c) to the theories and research methods sociologists use to examine social relationships. The course emphasizes reading primary sources, class discussions, and other appropriate pedagogical methods. By the end of the course, students will have developed their own "sociological imagination" and, in particular, a critical perspective on relationships of power, on social inequality, and on social change.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Social Sciences
  • Prerequisite: First and second year only
  • Offering: Every semester
  • Instructor: Staff

SOC 199 Topics in Sociology (1-4)

A semester-long study of topics in Sociology. Topics and emphases will vary according to the instructor. This course may be repeated for credit with different topics. See the New and Topics Courses page on the Registrar’s webpage for descriptions and applicability to majors/minors in other departments.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Topic dependent
  • Prerequisite: Topic dependent
  • Offering: Occasionally
  • Professor: Staff

SOC 299 Topics in Sociology (1-4)

A semester-long study of topics in Sociology. Topics and emphases will vary according to the instructor. This course may be repeated for credit with different topics. See the New and Topics Courses page on the Registrar’s webpage for descriptions and applicability to majors/minors in other departments.cs.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Topic dependent
  • Prerequisite: Topic dependent
  • Offering: Occasionally
  • Professor: Staff

SOC 303 Sociological Theory (4)

This course introduces the undergraduate to the important theoretical paradigms that have historically oriented the discipline of sociology. Classical sociological theory emerged in the works of Durkheim, Marx, and Weber, among others. Out of the ideas of these thinkers evolved the major schools of modern sociology, in particular Structural-Functionalism, Symbolic Interactionism, Neo-Marxism, and Neo-Weberian theories of modernity. Throughout the 20th century, new critical paradigms have emerged to challenge the modern schools, including postmodern and cultural critiques, as well as feminist, race, and queer theories. More recently, theories of globalization have attempted to synthesize a diversity of sociological paradigms to explain contemporary social phenomena.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Social Sciences
  • Prerequisite: SOC 186  or any 100-level Sociology course
  • Offering: Every semester
  • Instructor: Lorenzen

SOC 334 Inequality in Society (4)

Social stratification, the hierarchical arrangement of groups of people, creates and maintains inequalities in society based upon status and differential access of legitimized power. The course examines how this core concept in sociology helps to explain empirical questions about the structuring of inequality, its social and political consequences, and its maintenance and transformation. Consideration will be given to how the social systems of gender, sexuality, social class, race, age and disability shape individual life opportunities, institutions, and the cultural norms and values of society.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Social Sciences
  • Prerequisite: SOC 186 or any 100-level Sociology course
  • Offering: Occasionally
  • Instructor: Staff

SOC 350 Pan-African Revolutions and Black Liberation (4)

This course examines Pan-African revolutions, black liberation struggles, and anti-colonial solidarity movements around the world. Through the texts of Pan-Africanist thinkers and revolutionaries, we will investigate the history of black internationalist theorizing and organizing and examine international political sociology through anticolonial and Afro-centric lenses. Case studies may include black liberation struggles, revolutions and solidarity movements in Burkina Faso, Cuba, Ethiopia, Ghana, Haiti, the Pacific, South Africa, Tanzania, the USA, Western Europe, and their transnational reach.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Arts & Humanities, Social Sciences; PDE
  • Prerequisite: SOC 186 or any 100-level Sociology course
  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Koomen

SOC 355 Health and Society (4)

Drawing from a diverse range of theoretical and methodological resources, this course examines contemporary topics in the sociology of health and illness. Topics include the role of sociological theory in understanding health and illness; social meanings and experiences of illness; patient-professional relations in medicine; health inequalities across and between race, class, and gender; health and the life course; healthcare delivery systems and patient outcomes; the Affordable Care Act; and other key developments in the field such as medical ethics and health movements.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Social Sciences; PDE
  • Prerequisite: SOC 186 or any 100-level Sociology course
  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Drew

SOC 356 Race/Class/Gender/Sexuality & the Media (4)

Through the study of the media, sociologists ask significant questions about the content, consumption and production of cultural discourse, as well as the social context in which it emerges. Sociological study of the media attends to the significance of this social institution, its relationship with other major societal systems, and the consequences of how and what the media presents in the daily lives and interactions of individuals. As a primary agent of socialization, media have an unprecedented role in shaping group relations and social identity, conditioning consumers into society’s dominant ideologies of racism, classism, sexism & heterosexism. Therefore, transforming these systems to promote social justice necessitates a critical examination of the media’s relationship to race/class/gender/sexuality, as well as how consumers both perpetuate and challenge media-constructed “reality.”

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Social Sciences
  • Prerequisite: SOC 186 or any 100-level Sociology course
  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Drew

SOC 362 Sexualities (4)

This course will examine and challenge essentialist and biologically determinist perspectives regarding sexual identity, desire, and expression. It will use a sociological perspective to analyze social influences on sexuality and the consequences of the sexual stratification system in place in U.S. society. Particular attention will be placed on examining techniques of social control, sites of sexual injustice and oppression, and how sexual inequality is built into and stems from the structure of social institutions. Consideration will be given to how sexuality intersects and interacts with other social categories, such as race, class, ethnicity, age, ability, and gender.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Arts & Humanities, Social Sciences; PDE
  • Prerequisite: SOC 186 or any 100-level Sociology course
  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Staff

SOC 364 Transnational Feminism (4)

Many feminists try to think, dialogue, and organize transnationally. This raises challenging questions: Is there a global sisterhood of women? Can feminists promote solidarity across divides of class, race, nationality, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion, and language? This course asks students to critically examine these questions through the study of black feminisms, critical race theory, anticolonial and postcolonial theories, and other approaches. The course will examine the emergence of transnational feminism as interdisciplinary field of study, introduce students to key concepts such as identity, difference, solidarity, and intersectionality, and explore the dilemmas and opportunities of transnational feminist theory and praxis.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Arts & Humanities, Social Sciences; PDE
  • Prerequisite: SOC 186 or any 100-level Sociology course or one AES course at any level
  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Koomen

SOC 382 Human Rights: Research and Advocacy (4)

Can activists working across borders change the world? How can researchers and activists promote human rights in the face of repression? This upper division seminar examines scholarship on human rights and transnational advocacy networks. We will study interconnected transnational struggles for women’s human rights, workers’ rights, immigrant rights, racial justice, and the rights of indigenous peoples.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Social Sciences; PDE
  • Prerequisite: SOC 186 or any 100-level Sociology course
  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Koomen

SOC 386 Special Topics in Sociology (2 or 4)

This course offers timely exposure to a variety of relevant topics in sociology. Topics might include the study of homelessness, poverty, death and dying, or cultural diversity.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Social Sciences; PDE (topic dependent)
  • Prerequisite: SOC 186 or any 100-level Sociology course or consent of instructor
  • Offering: Every semester
  • Instructor: Staff

SOC 388W Internship in Sociology (6

This course provides an opportunity for students to work in selected social service and other organizations supervised by on-site professionals. Opportunity to observe the operation of agencies and develop some skills in working with people. Students spend 12 to 15 hours a week interning and attend a weekly seminar.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing-centered; Social Sciences
  • Prerequisite: SOC 186, and SOC 303, and SOC 402W
  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Drew

SOC 399 Topics in Sociology (1-4)

A semester-long study of topics in Sociology. Topics and emphases will vary according to the instructor. This course may be repeated for credit with different topics. See the New and Topics Courses page on the Registrar’s webpage for descriptions and applicability to majors/minors in other departments.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Topic dependent
  • Prerequisite: Topic dependent
  • Offering: Occasionally
  • Professor: Staff

SOC 402W Qualitative Methods of Social Research (4)

This course will introduce students to qualitative research methods in sociology and cover the major forms of qualitative inquiry including research design, data collection, data coding and analysis, and research ethics through the study of a specific research topic in sociology. The relationship between theory and research will also be considered as it pertains to the topic under analysis. Students will be required to conduct original research, write a literature review, and produce a research report of their findings.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing-centered; Social Sciences
  • Prerequisite: SOC 186 and SOC 303
  • Offering: Every Semester
  • Instructor: Lorenzen

SOC 429 Topics in Sociology (1-4)

A semester-long study of topics in Sociology. Topics and emphases will vary according to the instructor. This course may be repeated for credit with different topics. See the New and Topics Courses page on the Registrar’s webpage for descriptions and applicability to majors/minors in other departments.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Topic dependent
  • Prerequisite: Topic dependent
  • Offering: Occasionally
  • Professor: Staff

SOC 490 Research and Independent Study (2 or 4)

This course is intended only for the qualified advanced student with a solid preparation in the theory and methods of sociology who wishes to do an intensive research analysis or advanced independent study in an area not covered by an existing course in the department.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Social Sciences
  • Prerequisite: SOC 186, SOC 303, and SOC 402W
  • Offering: Occasionally
  • Instructor: Staff

SOC 499W Senior Seminar in Sociology (4)

Through an original research project, students will apply the theoretical and methodological knowledge gained in the major to a concrete research question (or issue) studied throughout the semester. This research project, as well as weekly seminar discussion around a selected topic, will allow students to consider the range of sociological sub-specialties composing the discipline, collect and analyze relevant data to enhance sociological knowledge, and effectively communicate research and the research process.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing-centered; Social Sciences
  • Prerequisite: SOC 186, and SOC 303, and SOC 402W
  • Offering: Spring semester
  • Instructor: Staff

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