The departments of Sociology and Community & Environmental Sociology offer several courses that specifically focus on race, justice, and inequality:
SOC 134: Sociology of Race and Ethnicity in the United States
The nature of inter-group relations; emphasis on various forms of racism, discrimination, and white privilege; historical background and characteristics of American Indians, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities; a consideration of economic, housing, political, legal, educational, familial, and health challenges faced by minority groups in US society.
SOC 220: Ethnic Movements in the United States
Sociological analysis of historical and recent ethnic/racial conflict and movements in the U.S., including the relations between European Americans, African Americans, Mexican Americans, Native Americans, and Asian Americans, with additional material on other groups and relations.
SOC 205/206: Intercultural Dialogues
Intercultural Dialogues (ICD) promotes diversity on campus by bringing students of different backgrounds together for discussion, projects, and gatherings outside of class.
CES 341 Labor in Global Food Systems
Provides an overview of our current food system and how new technologies and globalization are reshaping it, focusing especially on the implications for workers throughout the food chain. We will also learn about the ways that social movements are working to reshape commodity chains by promoting local production, fair trade, and labor justice
SOC 440: Ethnicity, Race, and Justice (syllabus)
This course utilizes a variety of theoretical and empirical tools from social and legal research to examine four interconnected domains surrounding the intersection of ethnicity, race, and justice: 1) racial and ethnic relations in society 2) racial and ethnic differences in crime and violence, 3) racial and ethnic disparities in the criminal justice system, and 4) race and ethnicity under the law. A variety of specific topics will be addressed, including sociological theories of racial/ethnic differences in violence, disparities in punishment (including the death penalty), and the consequences of mass incarceration for racial/ethnic inequality. Given the voluminous amount of legal research specific to racial differences, a major focus of this course will be to move beyond the black/white dichotomy, with a specific emphasis on US Latinos – the largest minority group in the United States.
LEGAL STUDIES/SOC 441: Criminology (syllabus)
Criminology is the scientific study of crime and deviance. This course explores sociological
explanations of crime, deviance, and social control in order to understand, contextualize, and
analyze criminal behavior. In short, this is course about crime and its causes. Special attention
will be paid to: the idea of social control (formal and informal) and the social contexts of crime
and violence such as families, schools, and neighborhoods
SOC 443: Immigration, Crime and Enforcement (syllabus)
Few topics in contemporary society have more sociological significance and public policy salience than the study of immigration, crime, and border enforcement. Drawing from research in law and the social sciences, this course engages both historical and present-day debates surrounding immigration and crime, with specific emphasis on (1) theories of migration and criminal behavior that inform these debates; (2) the motivation for, and effectiveness of, immigration enforcement; (3) the increasing use of criminal justice tools (e.g. the police and the prison) in border enforcement, and; (4) the experiences of living undocumented in the United States. Given that Hispanics comprise the largest group of foreign-born residents in the United States and the majority of undocumented immigrants in the US are from Mexico, a significant focus of this course will be on Latino immigration and the U.S.-Mexico border.
SOC 496: Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality
This course examines the workings of race, class, gender, and sexuality in American society. Though they are often taken for granted or go unrecognized, race, class, gender, and sexuality are central axes of stratification, identity, and experience. They operate as ways of categorizing people with very real consequences in people’s lives, particularly the opportunities they have and the challenges they face. In this course, we examine these categories as social constructions that help rationalize and justify social inequality. To explore how race, class, gender, and sexuality intersect to shape individual experiences, interpersonal interactions, and society more broadly, we examine how these differences and inequalities manifest in varied contexts, including the media, schools, the economy, and the legal and criminal justice system.
CES 540 Sociology of International Development, Environment, and Sustainability
Sociological analysis of relationships among economic growth, environmental sustainability and social justice in the developing world. Considers frameworks for understanding poverty, hunger, educational and technological inequality, and the impact of globalization on prospects for socially and ecologically sustainable development.
CES 541 Environmental Stewardship and Social Justice
Application of sociological theory and analysis to environmental issues. Course examines the ways in which environmental stewardship and conflict are embedded within broader cultural, social, and political contexts.
CES 578: Poverty and Place
This course presents a sociological overview of place-based poverty in the United States, concentrating on the economic structure of poor places and the characteristics of the people who live in those places. We will examine the allocation of economic and social rewards in contemporary society with an emphasis on persistently poor rural regions and communities; analysis of selected groups of people of color, their poverty statuses, and economic opportunities and outcomes; and poverty programs and their consequences for structural and cultural changes. As the semester progresses, class participants will gain an increased awareness of the nature and scope of poverty in the United States, develop an understanding of the explanations for poverty, especially as it is experienced by certain groups of people, and begin to critically evaluate public policies intended to address poverty. Additionally, class participants will increase their sociological skill set by gathering evidence and critically engaging in sociological theory.
SOC 626: Social Movements
Role of social structure, authorities and movement participants, and leadership in the origins, mobilization, participation, strategy and tacts, and potential for success of social movements.
SOC 922: Race and Ethnic Relations
Theoretical, methodological, and current research problems.
SOC 987: Seminar in Race & Ethnicity
The Race & Ethnicity (“R&E”) workshop or training seminar is a space for students, faculty, and visiting speakers to present and discuss work-in-progress that relates to the sociological study of race and ethnicity.