Courses

Sustainable Development:

Sustainability & Development in the Non-Western World

Earth

The world continues to change dramatically, both technologically and socially. The last century has witnessed an increase in average lifespan in many countries, the growth of multinational corporations, the depletion of national and natural resources, and the tremendous advances in technology and production capacity in many countries. There is also a growing disparity gap between the Western and the non-Western world (the North and South) in regards to education, health, resources, financial means, etc. This course serves as an introduction to the core concepts, principles, and practices of sustainable development (SD). It examines the environmental, economic, and social frameworks of SD by focusing on changing patterns of consumption, production, and distribution of resources. It examines the role of NGOs & foreign aid; the economic dependency and trade organizations; the debate of world hunger; the water management crisis; the energy sector; and urbanization in the non-Western world. The course ties the basic principles together through case studies of various established and emerging mega-cities. 

By the end of the course, students should:

  • Be able to evaluate SD framework and approaches.

  • Be able to understand the historical evolution and impact of SD in the non-Western world.

  • Be able to understand the economic, social, and environmental challenges to sustainability & development.

  • Be able to more effectively research and write about sustainability in international contexts. 

Textbooks:

  • Elliot, Jennifer A.  An Introduction to Sustainable Development  (4th Edition) Routledge.

  • Zetland, David. The End of Abundance: Economic Solutions to Water Scarcity Aquanomics Press.     

Sociology: Deviance & Social Control (EEG)

A central objective of this course is to critically examine the relationship between deviance and social control through the historical construction of different theoretical perspectives on deviance. These perspectives guide our thinking about and our actions towards deviance. Throughout history, numerous religious authorities, legal experts, philosophers, politicians, police, therapists, activists, and social scientists have produced a variety of perspectives on these matters.

This course explores behavior that counters the culturally accepted norms or regularities. The social implications of deviancy are reviewed, and theoretical formulations regarding deviant behavior are analyzed from a sociological perspective. By the end of the course, students are able to:

  • Analyze deviance or violation of social norms from a sociological perspective

  • Develop a working knowledge of sociological theories of deviance

  • Apply sociological theories of deviance to explain and understand the processes involved in creating norms and the social meanings attached to breaking those norms

  • Discover and re-evaluate own ideas, opinions, and values concerning deviance

Textbook: Inderbitzin, M.; Bates, K.; & Gainey, R. Deviance and Social Control, Sage Publications.

Sociology: Social Stratification

Donation Jar

The course covers major classical and current approaches to social stratification in sociology, with some special emphasis on evolutionary approaches, issues related to the evolution of social inequality with industrial development and globalization, and comparative social mobility.

Textbooks:

Piketty, Thomas. Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Massachusetts: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  

Taibbi, Matt. The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap. New York: Spiegel & Grau Trade Paperbacks. 

 Black Studies: Intersectionality -

Black Women in the Atlantic World

Image by Guillaume Bassem

This course examines the foundations, ideas, concerns, and implications of Black feminism within the context of the Black Atlantic. A major goal of this class is to foster dialogue and develop critical thinking towards various relevant discussion themes about Black feminism as a site of theory and practice emphasizing social, political, and personal transformation. The course provides an opportunity to especially examine the intersections of gender, race, and class, Caribbean culture, sexuality, and perception through course topics that focus on the influence and power – both individual and social or systemic - of women and men in society.

Textbook: Phillips, Layli. The Womanist Reader.  Routledge: Taylor & Francis Group. 

Introduction to Sociology

Pile Of Books

Sociology is a social science discipline that examines human behavior and human experience in relation to its social context. Because we are all acting within a social context, you will find that you already know a great deal about the topics that sociology addresses. At the same time, however, because American culture has a strong emphasis on the individual and the most often uses a psychological perspective to understand human behavior and experience, most Americans find the insights of the sociological perspective surprising and unexpected.

This course introduces students to the basic tools of sociology – the concepts, theoretical perspectives, and research methods that sociologists use to understand human behavior and experience. By the end of the course, students should: 

  • Have a solid understanding of basic sociological concepts;

  • Be able to use the tools of sociology to perceive and critically examine the social structures and social processes that affect your life and the world around you;

  • Be able to read published work written by sociologists.

Textbook: Giddens, Et. Al. Introduction to Sociology, W.W. Norton & Company 

Sociology: Social Change

Change

As an interdisciplinary critical review of social change strategies and their historical and contemporary contexts, this course is an opportunity for students to continue developing their sociological imagination as it relates to social change in society, both domestically and internationally. Students consider the social origins, purposes, and consequences of social change in contemporary societies, and learn the emphasis of ways in which change agents, trends, and social contexts, reproduce, reinforce, and challenge prevailing institutional relationships. This course critically explores the evolution of social change by investigating topics that are both theoretical and practical in nature. The goal of this course is to expand an understanding of the dynamic relationships between the impetus for social change and the consequences of change as reflected in local and global communities.  Students explore social movements, legislative and political systems, violence-based conflict, market systems and economics, education and multimedia, direct service, and alternative communities.  

Textbook: McMichael, Philip. Development & Social Change: A Global Perspective. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications. 

Sociology: Criminal Justice

Judge and Gavel

Sociological understanding of criminal justice is an important aspect of the broader comprehension of the field. The objective of the course is to approach the theories, organization, and practices of criminal justice from a sociological perspective in order to simultaneously develop expertise in the field of criminal justice and to understand how issues related to the police, courts, and corrections are informed by larger sociological principles and concepts such as power, institutions, race, ethnicity, gender, social class, discretion, inequality, social control, and so forth. The goal is to de-emphasize the basic criminal justice facts and emphasize sociological issues in criminal justice that require more extensive discussion. Students  learn the foundational concepts of criminal justice (the what), but, more importantly, students gain a greater understanding of its functions, processes, and outcomes (the why).

Textbook: Kubrin, Charis E., & Stucky, Thomas D. Introduction to Criminal Justice: A Sociological Perspective. California: Stanford University Press.