Course Descriptions and Schedules
Check Out What’s New for Spring 2014!
Sociology 303: Business and Society - Women and Entrepreneurship: Innovation, Sustainability and Social Responsibility (Dr. Kocze)
In American society and in the larger global context many women are becoming entrepreneurial leaders, community change makers, and public visionaries in response to social, economic and environmental problems. Women repeatedly demonstrate innovative acumen by expanding and transforming traditional caregiver and homemaker roles to address needs through holistic, integrative and relation-based efforts. Typically, their objectives reach beyond individual profit motives and seek to improve the quality of working and living conditions in communities. These objectives may include political and policy changes or sustainable social and environmental initiatives that have both local and broad impact. This course will give students the opportunity to learn about women and entrepreneurship through the themes of innovation, sustainability and social responsibility, and to engage in hands-on experiences with local innovators and entrepreneurs. Through the semester we will use several theoretical frameworks such as, social responsibility, social capital and eco-feminism to interrogate local and global case studies via specific sociopolitical contexts. We will use several global case studies to demonstrate how women have invented and implemented localized strategies for survival through sustainable and socially responsible ways in the wake of political marginalization, job insecurity. In the course of the semester we will theorize but also practice social responsibility through community service as part of the course experience.
Sociology 345: Advanced Seminar on Criminal Homicide (Dr. Bechtel)
The killing of one human being by another, especially the premeditated criminal killing called murder, has long been a source of public concern, fascination and curiosity. Murders gain major media air time, make front-page headlines, form the basic plot lines of numerous television programs and motion pictures, and even become major media events. Throughout most of the 20th century criminologists have focused considerable attention on criminal homicide. From the early work of H. C. Brearly in the twenties and thirties through the groundbreaking work of Marvin Wolfgang in the fifties to current cutting edge research by Kenneth Polk, much scientific research has been produced on the how, when, where and why of murder. Through reading, class discussion, and individual research, students will examine the various social forces that have been identified as major contributors to criminal homicide. Specifically, students will study the major arguments, both past and present, on the roles cultural forces (group values and attitudes, ethnic identities) and structural components (social inequality, race and gender) have played in providing potential explanations for criminal homicide. In addition, cultural and structural forces will be examined further to gain insights into the various ways society has sought to reduce and prevent murder.
Sociology 327: Sociology of Emotions (Dr. Simon)
This seminar is intended to introduce students to the fascinating field of the sociology of emotion. Although most of us think that feelings are deeply personal and private experiences—comprised of physiological and psychological elements—sociologists argue that they are heavily influenced by social factors. In this seminar, we’ll explore the social side of emotion—including how they are socially learned, shaped, regulated, controlled, and distributed in the population as well as the consequences of emotion culture, emotion norms, emotion management, emotional labor, and emotional deviance for individuals, social groups and society.
Over the semester, we’ll read and discuss five books. Some of the books focus on specific emotions such as love, sympathy and denial, while others focus on different aspects of emotion (including emotion work in the family, emotional labor and emotion management in the workplace as well as the emotions sustaining important social movements and social change). We’ll also read journal articles about emotion. Here, we’ll discuss ways in which medical students learn norms about appropriate and inappropriate feelings as well as examine interpersonal emotion management processes in the disabled community. A major theme of the course is the relationship between gender and emotion; we’ll read about and discuss gender-linked norms about the “appropriate” experience and expression of emotion for males and females as well as gender differences in actual emotional experience and expression—the topic of my own research. Throughout the semester we’ll view several films, which illustrate different aspects of emotion that we’ll be reading about.
Because this is a seminar, I will not lecture. Instead, the seminar will consist of weekly class discussions, which includes your own reactions to the readings and films. The success of the seminar depends on your active participation; with your involvement, this class will be fun and a great learning experience for all of us. Because this course emphasizes the strength of sociological analysis for understanding all aspects of social life—including those that are highly personal and private such as emotion—this learning experience will hopefully inspire you to consider majoring in sociology at WFU and/or attending graduate school in sociology in the future. My goals are for you to: (a) develop an appreciation of sociological research on the social causes and consequences of emotion; and (b) further develop your analytic, speaking and writing skills. With your active involvement, this class will not only be interesting and informative but also fun.