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Mary J. Osirim
Judith R. Porter
Robert E. Washington

Associate Professor:
David Karen, Chair

Assistant Professor:
Ayumi Takenaka (on leave, 2004-05)

The major in sociology provides a general understanding of the structure and functioning of modern society, its major institutions, groups and values, and the interrelations of these with personality and culture. Students examine contemporary social issues and social problems, and the sources of stability, conflict and change in both modern and developing societies. The department offers training in theoretical and qualitative analysis; research design and statistical analysis; and computer-based data processing. It also maintains the Social Science Data Library and Statistical Laboratory.

Major Requirements

Requirements for the major are Sociology 102, 103, 265, 302, Senior Seminar (398, 399), four additional courses in sociology (at least one of which must be at the 300 level) and two courses in sociology or an allied subject. Allied courses are chosen from a list provided by the department.

A major in sociology with a concentration in the field of African-American Studies or in the field of Gender and Society is also available. Students electing these fields must fulfill the major requirements (102, 103, 265, 302, and 398, 399); the core course in the special field (229: Black America in Sociological Perspective or 201: The Study of Gender in Society); two 200-level courses in the department and two additional courses in sociology or an allied field, each offering an opportunity for study in the special field; and one additional 300-level course in sociology. The department specifies the allied courses that may be elected in each field. Students should inquire about the possibility of coursework at Haverford and Swarthmore Colleges and the University of Pennsylvania.


Honors in sociology are available to those students who have a grade point average in the major of 3.5 or higher and who produce a paper in a departmental course during senior year that is judged outstanding by the department. Independent research is possible during the senior year for students with a grade point average in the major of 3.3 or higher.

Minor Requirements

Requirements for the minor are Sociology 102, 265, 302 and three additional courses within the department. Though there is no minor in African-American Studies available through the sociology department, students can minor in Africana Studies through the Africana Studies Program, see page 86.

SOCL B102. Society, Culture and the Individual

Analysis of the basic sociological methods, perspectives and concepts used in the study of society, with emphasis on culture, social structure, personality, their component parts and their interrelationship in both traditional and industrial societies. The sources of social tension, order and change are addressed through study of socialization and personality development, mental illness, delinquency and modernization. (Porter, Division I)

SOCL B103. U.S. Social Structure

Analysis of the structure and dynamics of modern U.S. society. Theoretical and empirical study of statuses and roles, contemporary class relations, the distribution of political power, and racial, ethnic and gender relations in the United States; and stratification in education systems, complex organizations, the labor market and the modern family. (Osirim, Division I)

SOCL B201. The Study of Gender in Society

The definition of male and female social roles and sociological approaches to the study of gender in the United States, with attention to gender in the economy and work place, the historical origins of the American family, and analysis of class and ethnic differences in gender roles. Of particular interest in this course is the comparative exploration of the experiences of women of color in the United States. (Osirim, Division I) Not offered in 2004-05.

SOCL B205. Social Inequality

Introduction to the major sociological theories of gender, racial-ethnic and class inequality with emphasis on the relationships among these forms of stratification in the contemporary United States, including the role of the upper class(es), and inequality between and within families, in the work place and in the educational system. Global stratification is examined as well. (Karen, Division I; cross-listed as Growth and Structure of Cities 205)

SOCL B212. Sociology of Poverty

Analysis of the causes and effects of poverty in the United States. Topics include trends in poverty and the relationship between poverty, the economy, the political system, the family and educational institutions. The culture-of-poverty approach and government programs for the poor, including current programs, are analyzed. (Porter, Division I)

SOCL B215. Challenges and Dilemmas of Diversity: Racial and Ethnic Relations in American Society

This course will explore the sociological theories of racial/ethic prejudice, discrimination and conflict; the historical development of racial/ethnic groups in the United States; and current patterns and problems of racial/ethnic relations and the social policies being proposed to resolve those problems. (Takenaka, Washington, Division I)

SOCL B217. The Family in Social Context

A consideration of the family as a social institution in the United States, looking at how societal and cultural characteristics and dynamics influence families; how the family reinforces or changes the society in which it is located; and how the family operates as a social organization. Included is an analysis of family roles and social interaction within the family. Major problems related to contemporary families are addressed, such as domestic violence and divorce. Cross-cultural and subcultural variations in the family are considered. (Osirim, Division I) Not offered in 2004-05.

SOCL B225. Women in Society: The Southern Hemisphere

A study of the contemporary experiences of women of color in the developing world. The household, workplace, community and the nation-state, and the positions of women in the private and public spheres are compared cross-culturally. Topics include feminism, identity politics and self-esteem; and tensions and transitions encountered as nations embark upon development. (Osirim, Division I)

SOCL B227. Sports in Society

Using a sociological, historical and comparative approach, this course examines such issues as the role of the mass media in the transformation of sports; the roles played in sports by race, ethnicity, class and gender; sports as a means of social mobility; sports and socialization; the political economy of sports; and sports and the educational system. (Karen, Washington, Division I)

SOCL B229. Black America in Sociological Perspective

This course provides sociological perspectives on various issues affecting black America: the legacy of slavery; the formation of urban ghettos; the struggle for civil rights; the continuing significance of discrimination; the problems of crime and criminal justice; educational underperformance; entrepreneurial and business activities; the social roles of black intellectuals, athletes, entertainers and creative artists. (Washington, Division I)

SOCL B239. The New African Diaspora: African and Caribbean Immigrants in the U.S.

An examination of the socioeconomic experiences of immigrants who arrived in the U.S. since the landmark legislation of 1965. After exploring issues of development and globalization at "home" leading to migration, the course proceeds with the study of immigration theories. Major attention is given to the emergence of transnational identities and the transformation of communities, particularly in the northeastern U.S. (Osirim, Division I; cross-listed as Growth and Structure of Cities 236)

SOCL B242. Urban Fieldwork

This praxis course intends to provide students with hands-on research practice in field methods. In collaboration with the instructor and the Praxis Office, students will choose an organization or other group activity in which they will conduct participant observation for several weeks. Through this practice, students will learn how to conduct field-based primary research and analyze sociological issues. (Takenaka, Division I; cross-listed as Anthropology 242) Not offered in 2004-05.

SOCL B249. Sociological Perspectives on Asian-American Communities

This course is an introduction to the study of Asian-American communities that provides comparative analysis of major social issues confronting Asian-Americans. Encompassing the varied experiences of Asian-Americans and Asians in the Americas, the course examines a broad range of topics — community, migration, race and ethnicity, and identities as well as what it means to be Asian-American and what that teaches us about American society. (Takenaka, Division I; cross-listed as Anthropology 249) Not offered in 2004-05.

SOCL B258. Sociology of Education

Major sociological theories of the relationships between education and society, focusing on the effects of education on inequality in the United States and the historical development of primary, secondary and post-secondary education in the United States. Other topics include education and social selection, testing and tracking, micro- and macro-explanations of differences in educational outcomes, and international comparisons. (Karen, Division I)

SOCL B265. Research Design and Statistical Analysis

An introduction to the conduct of empirical, especially quantitative, social science inquiry. In consultation with the instructor, students may select research problems to which they apply the research procedures and statistical techniques introduced during the course. Using SPSS, a statistical computer package, students learn techniques such as crosstabular analysis, multiple regression-correlation analysis and factor analysis. (Karen, Division I or Quantitative Skills)

SOCL B266. Schools in American Cities

(Cohen, Division I; cross-listed as Education 266 and Growth and Structure of Cities 266)

SOCL B267. The Development of the Modern Japanese Nation

An introduction to the main social dimensions central to an understanding of contemporary Japanese society and nationhood in comparison to other societies. It also aims to provide students with training in comparative analyses in sociology. (Takenaka, Division I) Not offered in 2004-05.

SOCL B301. Research Practicum in Education

This course will facilitate students doing their own research in the sociology of education. Using a variety of datasets from the National Center for Education Statistics, we will investigate a range of topics. Possible foci include race, class and gender differences in the educational experience; the effects of tracking, athletic participation and other factors on educational outcomes; and the role of cultural capital in educational achievement. (Karen) Not offered in 2004-05.

SOCL B302. Social Theory

Analysis of classical and modern theorists selected because of their continuing influence on sociological thought. Among the theoretical conceptions examined are: social psychology of self, culture, power, social class, status, bureaucracy, religion and the sacred, modernization, social conflict, social change, deviance, and alienation. Theorists include: Mead, Durkheim, Marx, Webert, Gramsci, Mills, Firestone. (Washington, Division I)

SOCL B310. Sociology of AIDS

An analysis of major sociological issues related to AIDS, including the social construction of the disease, social epidemiology, the psychosocial experience of illness, public opinion and the media, and the health care system. The implications of political and scientific controversies concerning AIDS will be analyzed, as will the impact of AIDS on the populations most affected in both the United States and Third World countries. Must be taken concurrently with Sociology 315. (Porter, Division I)

SOCL B314. Immigrant Experiences

This course is an introduction to the causes and consequences of international migration. It explores the major theories of migration (how migration is induced and perpetuated); the different types of migration (labor migration, refugee flows, return migration) and forms of transnationalism; immigration and emigration policies; and patterns of migrants' integration around the globe. It also addresses the implications of growing population movements and transnationalism for social relations and nation-states. (Takenaka, Division I) Not offered in 2004-05.

SOCL B315. Sociology of AIDS Internship

An internship open only to those who are concurrently enrolled in Sociology 310. (Porter, Division I)

SOCL B330. Comparative Economic Sociology: Societies of the North and South

A comparative study of the production, distribution and consumption of resources in Western and developing societies from a sociological perspective, including analysis of precapitalist economic formations and of the modern world system. Topics include the international division of labor, entrepreneurship and the role of the modern corporation. Evidence drawn from the United States, Britain, Nigeria, Brazil and Jamaica. (Osirim; cross-listed as Growth and Structure of Cities 330)

SOCL B350. Movements for Social Justice in the U.S.

Throughout human history, powerless groups of people have organized social movements to improve their lives and their societies. Powerful groups and institutions have resisted these efforts in order to maintain their own privilege. Although inequalities of power and privilege have always existed, and while protest activity is a constant part of our political history, some periods of history have been more likely than others to spawn protest movements. In American history, we think of the 1930s and1960s in this way. Will there soon be another period of significant protest? What factors seem most likely to lead to social movements? What determines their success/failure? We will examine twentieth century social movements in the U.S. to answer these questions. Includes a film series. (Karen, Division I) Not offered in 2004-05.

SOCL B354. Comparative Social Movements: Power, Protest, Mobilization

A consideration of the conceptualizations of power and "legitimate" and "illegitimate" participation, the political opportunity structure facing potential protesters, the mobilizing resources available to them and the cultural framing within which these processes occur. Specific attention is paid to recent movements that have occurred both within and across countries, especially the feminist, environmental and peace movements. (Hager, Karen, Division I; cross-listed as Political Science 354) Not offered in 2004-05.

SOCL B355. Marginals and Outsiders: The Sociology of Deviance

An examination of unconventional and criminal behavior from the standpoint of different theoretical perspectives on deviance (e.g., social disorganization, symbolic interaction, structural functionalism, Marxism) with particular emphasis on the labeling and social construction perspectives; and the role of conflicts and social movements in changing the normative boundaries of society. Topics will include homicide, robbery, drug addiction, alcoholism, mental illness, prostitution, homosexuality and white-collar crime. (Washington) Not offered in 2004-05.

SOCL B375. Women, Work and Family

(Golden, Division I; cross-listed as Political Science 375)

SOCL B398. Senior Seminar: Sociology of Culture

Seminar on theoretical issues in the sociology of culture; required of all senior sociology majors. Open to Bryn Mawr senior sociology majors only. (Washington)

SOCL B399. Senior Seminar: The Social Context of Individual Behavior

Microsociological theories such as exchange theory, symbolic interactionism and ethnomethodology are discussed and contrasted with modern macrosociological traditions. This seminar is required of and limited to Bryn Mawr seniors majoring in sociology (Porter)

SOCL B403. Independent Study

Senior majors have the opportunity to do individual research projects under the supervision of a faculty member. (staff)

Students may choose electives from courses offered at Haverford College. Bryn Mawr majors should consult their department about major credit for courses taken at other institutions.

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