Sociology Course Offerings

SOCI 100 Introduction to Sociology – GS 3
This course examines the basic nature of human relationships, customs, institutions, social structure and culture. It emphasizes how they affect our beliefs and behavior and how they express our fundamental concerns and values. The course teaches the basic concepts, methods and perspectives of sociology as a social science and it uses them to consider such topics as family life, groups and organizations, sex and age roles, racial/ethnic and class inequality, religious and political movements, and social problems. Taught every year.

SOCI 111 Cultural Anthropology – GS 3
This course analyzes concepts and methods in the study of world cultures from a comparative anthropological perspective. Emphasis is placed on select non-U.S. societies, cultures and ethnographic regions, as well as on prehistoric societies and archaic state civilizations. Taught every year.

SOCI 122 Criminology
Criminology is the scientific study of crime and criminal behavior. This class will survey classic and contemporary theoretical and empirical scholarship dedicated to understanding the nature and extent of criminal actions, the social organization of efforts to control criminal behavior, and the effectiveness of such efforts. Taught every year.

SOCI 228 Corrections in American Society
This course focuses on society’s organized response to individuals accused or convicted of criminal offenses. Students in the course will study a) the philosophy, theory and practice of corrections systems and strategies for adults and juveniles, b) empirical research on the effectiveness of various corrections strategies and c) contemporary challenges and debates about corrections practices in the United States. Offered annually.

SOCI 234 Society, Sex and Marriage
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SOCI 235 Work in America – GS 6
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SOCI 239 Social Welfare Policy and Services
The history and current state of social welfare policy and services is the major focus of this course. Various frameworks and methods used by policy scholars to analyze social welfare policy will be introduced and applied. Past and present examples of social welfare policy at federal, state, county, city and agency levels will be studied in terms of the historical and contemporary factors that shaped them; the political and organizational process that influenced them; their impact on social welfare services, practices and practitioners; and the extent to which they help or hinder the general health and well-being of people. This course will also study the history, mission and philosophy of the social work profession.

SOCI 240 Social Work Practice: Individuals and Families
This course presents the generalist model of social work practice, which uses the strengths perspective and empowerment approach. Students will understand the knowledge and values and demonstrate the skills necessary for bachelor’s level social work competencies. Individual practice assessment is focused on the examination of clients’ strengths and problems in the interaction among individuals and between people and their environments. Students will also learn to develop a contract and how to plan and carry out intervention and evaluation techniques. The course is also designed to provide instruction and practice in interaction skills necessary for interviewing social work clients, and confronting ethical dilemmas that may arise in social work practice. Working with clients in a culturally sensitive way is emphasized. Information is provided about the development of professional relationships that are characterized by mutuality, collaboration and respect for the client system. Taught every year.

SOCI 241 Social Work Practice: Organizations and Communities
This course focuses on generalist social work practice with groups, organizations and communities and developing cultural competence in social work practice. Students will learn about organizational culture, agency policy, developing and managing agency resources and implementing agency change. The course will also cover approaches to community change, evaluating macro practice, advocacy and social action. Content will emphasize professional relationships that are characterized by mutuality, collaboration, respect for the client system and incorporate use of social work supervision within macro practice. The course will also cover the knowledge, values and skills to enhance human well-being and amelioration of the environmental conditions that affect people adversely. Emphasis is placed on practice skills by working with clients of differing social, racial, religious, spiritual and class backgrounds and with systems of all sizes, including an understanding of differential assessments and intervention skills to serve diverse at-risk populations. Taught every year.

SOCI 246 Issues in Archeology
Archaeology is the study of the human past through the remains of their material culture. Archaeology uses many different approaches and tools to study and explain how people lived in the distant and not-so-distant past. Artifacts, sites, settlements, and landscapes may be studied to help reveal how people lived, how they saw themselves and their world, what the environment was like, and how these factors interrelated and changed through time. In this class students will gain an overview of what archaeology is, how archaeology is done, and what it can tell us about our world, past and present. Taught every year.

SOCI 260 / WMGS 260 Gender and Culture
What is gender and how is it related to culture? This anthropology course takes a cross-cultural look at the concept of gender, examining men’s and women’s roles, masculinity, femininity and sexuality as they are expressed around the world. Particular attention will be given to gender as it relates to popular forms of culture and everyday life. Both the history of anthropological studies of gender and new directions in the field will be introduced. Extensive use of films, videotapes and student-directed projects. Alternate years.

SOCI 289 Special Topics
A seminar course primarily designed for first-year students, sophomores and juniors, on a special topic in sociology or anthropology. It may be proposed by either students or an interested faculty member. Prerequisite: instructor’s consent.

SOCI 300 Social Research Methods
Survey of quantitative approaches to sociological research. The course provides an overview of the survey research process including research design, data collection and data analysis. Students will develop the tools to be critical and careful readers of social research. Finally, all students will design and execute an original research project. Prerequisite: SOCI 100 and SSCI 224 or instructor’s consent. Taught every year.

SOCI 316 Native People of North America
This course will examine the indigenous cultures of North America prior to the European invasion. Native American societies from throughout North America will be covered; however, the course will focus on the early peoples of Wisconsin and the Great Lakes region. In this course, Native American culture will be studied through reviewing a combination of archaeological research and ethno-historic documentation. Taught every year.

SOCI 314 Native Peoples of South America
This course will examine the native peoples of South America, from the pre-Columbian world to the present day. We will read from a variety of secondary and primary sources in order to learn about the cultures and history of ancient and modern Amerindians. Topics discussed will include gender, violence, religion and myth, shamanism, exploration, the indigenous rights movement and the role of ethno history and archeology in recovering the past of one of the world’s most mysterious regions. Taught every year.

SOCI 345 Social Stratification
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SOCI 351 Classical Sociological Theory – GS 10
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SOCI 352 Foundations of Social Theory – GS 10
This course traces the development of social theory from the Enlightenment to the 21st century. Topics examined include: the nature of science and other forms of knowledge; the relationship between self and society; how social order is maintained; how power is exercised; how meanings emerge; and how change occurs. Running through the course is the question of what social theory offers to us individually and collectively in understanding and acting in a world that is complex and multi-layered. Offered annually.

SOCI 355 Contemporary Sociological Theory
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SOCI 375 Script and Literacy in Cross Cultural Perspective
This course will introduce students to the study of ancient scripts and other forms of graphic communication from around the world. There will be a special focus on the graphic systems of the New World, such as Anishinaabe pictographs, Mayan glyphs and Inka knotted string records (khipu). While the class will focus on pre-Columbian scripts, it will also examine graphic systems from around the world, both in the past and today. Alternate years.

SOCI 380 Sociology of the Gang
In 1928, sociologist Frederick Thrasher published "The Gang," a study of 1,313 gangs in Chicago. Today, over 80 years later, gangs are still part of the American scene and sociologists are still trying to understand the young people who form and join them and the “elemental social processes” that are part of gang phenomena. In this course, we will survey the general theories and findings of sociologists and criminologists who have studied gangs in the U.S., read monographs and articles reporting findings from contemporary studies of gangs and gang behavior, and learn about various approaches to gang prevention and intervention. Prerequisite: SOCI 100 or SOCI 122 recommended. Alternate years.

SOCI 481 / SOCI 482 and 482 Human Service Internship (year-long course)
The seminar format of human service internship is organized around the student working in the human service field and the supervision he or she receives in the field. The combination of the internship, field supervision and reflection in seminar is focused on developing student application of knowledge of major social competencies and values necessary for generalist social work practice. An internship should offer the student an opportunity to practice these skills: evaluation and assessment of group and individual psychosocial functioning, plan/policy development and implementation, intervention, referral, advocacy, collaboration, cultural competence and application of professional ethics. Students are expected to locate the internship, with the assistance and approval of the instructor, before the beginning of the semester and should be on site within the first two weeks of school. Internships should meet the state of Wisconsin regulation and licensing requirements which can be obtained from the instructor. Often placements will require the student have their own transportation with a clear driving record (in order to transport clients or drive to see clients in their homes), pass drug and background tests, and have some flexibility in their schedule. Students are expected to work 10-12 hours per week for the academic year, with a break between semesters. Prerequisite: instructor’s consent. Taught every year.

SOCI 489 Special Topics
This is a seminar course that is offered whenever a mutual interest in a more specialized topic in sociology or anthropology exists for a member of the faculty and a sufficient number of students. Prerequisite: instructor’s consent.

SOCI 490 Independent Study
Individual study of an approved topic in sociology or anthropology under the direction of a sociology or anthropology faculty member. Permits faculty and students to explore together some subject of special or personal interest. Reading and tutorial discussion are required, written work is optional. Prerequisite: instructor’s consent and approval of the associate dean of social sciences.

SOCI 444 Health, Illness and Society
Health, just like wealth, is stratified across society. In country, state, city or neighborhood some people or groups are healthy while others are disproportionately sick. In an effort to answer “why,” this course focuses on the socio-behavioral determinants and population distribution of health disparities of the United States. In this class we will examine articles, narratives, charts and graphs to not only understand disparities in mental and physical health but to critique them, forming our own opinion along the way. This course intends to provide answers to three central questions: How do health disparities emerge and propagate?; How do social institutions and elements of the social environment – especially race/ethnicity, class, gender, and social relationships – influence health?; and How does health influence education, income and occupational status? Prerequisite: SSCI 224 Basic Statistics.

SOCI 492 Directed Research
Qualified students may perform sociology or anthropology research projects under the direction of a sociology or anthropology faculty member. Prerequisites: instructor’s consent and approval of the associate dean of social sciences.

Alumna Profile

Carie Goral ’99 directs Wisconsin Campus Compact’s AmeriCorps VISTA Service Learning Project. In the role, she recruits and supports 35 VISTA volunteers statewide and provides outreach to community organizations and K-12 and post-secondary students, faculty and staff, helping them promote and develop service-learning and civic engagement activities.