Sociology focuses on the systematic understanding of social interaction, social organization, social institutions, and social change. Major themes in sociological thinking include the interplay between the individual and society, how society is both stable and changing, the causes and consequences of social inequality, and the social construction of human life.
This course introduces you to some of the main themes, concepts, and perspective of this discipline. The primary goal of this course is for you to develop a “sociological imagination”—the ability to understand human lives as shaped by historically-conditioned social forces. We will start our intellectual journey by defining sociology. Next, we’ll learn about the research methods that researchers use to answer sociological questions and generate knowledge. We’ll then discuss fundamental organizations of our societies, race, gender, culture, and social inequalities. In the later part of the semester, we’ll learn about our social worlds, such as family, education, social movement, and we’ll also strive to connect to urgent issues such as COVID-19 and climate change. The course will end with student group projects that aim to identify a social problem and propose solutions.