Scientific Inquiry: Society and Culture Courses
Knowledge of principles of human functioning and conduct in social and cultural contexts is essential for living in a culturally diverse and interdependent society. Understanding scientific approaches to discovering these principles enhances informed decisions for the public good and provides a way of thinking about problems and issues that complements other areas of inquiry and experiences. Through taking courses in this area, students learn about principles of human functioning and conduct in social and cultural contexts and come to understand how these are studied using scientific methods. Students take two courses in different subjects studied from the perspectives of the social sciences; they are thus exposed to varying approaches and levels of analysis (e.g., physiological, evolutionary, mental, social and cultural processes). Students who are CAHSS majors/minors may apply one Scientific Inquiry: Society and Culture course (4 credits) per major/minor program to partially satisfy both major/minor and Common Curriculum requirements.
ANTH 1006 Paranormal Archaeology (4 Credits)
This course explores the virtues and limitations of the scientific method for understanding human society and culture. To accomplish this goal it uses selected mysteries and puzzles from the human past that have intrigued, over many years, professional scientists and the general public alike. The course considers a wide variety of topics having anthropological relevance--Bigfoot, the Big Stone Heads of Easter Island, the Great Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Earthen Burial Mounds of North America, and other phenomena--in an effort to sort out hard facts, pure fantasies, and genuine mysteries. This course examines where the more outrageous explanations of mysterious phenomena come from, and investigates why such explanations are of continuing popularity in modern society. This course counts toward the Scientific Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement.
ANTH 1010 Anthropology: Humankind in Context (4 Credits)
This course is a basic one in Anthropology that covers all four major subfields of the discipline including Physical Anthropology (Biological), Archaeology, Linguistics and Cultural Anthropology. It focuses on many aspects of anthropology that have applicability today in understanding our species' place in the world, the development of cultural and biological diversity over time, the growth of complex societies and analyses of contemporary cultures. This class allows us to view ourselves inclusively, taking a broad look at many aspects of our shared humanity on a world-wide basis. This is accomplished by not only studying modern cultures, but also by looking at the history of our species over millions of years. This course counts toward the Scientific Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement.
ANTH 2060 Human Migration (4 Credits)
This course on transnational migration introduces students to the important theoretical discussions of why and how people migrate and maintain transnational lives. The course examines how migrants change, and in turn bring social, economic and cultural changes to their new destinations as well as to the places that they left behind. Research on transnational migration examines the flows of people, ideas, behaviors, and goods that tie together migrants' communities of origin and destination, and the subsequent creation of new cultures and identities. While the process of transnational migration is not new, the scale of current transnational migration patterns makes today's migration streams different from earlier ones. The lives of migrants today span multiple countries as they maintain social and economic networks across national borders. The ethnographic studies assigned give students an understanding of the changing gender roles and expectations of migrants; the transnational practices migrants carry out to maintain ties to their counties of origin; the maintenance of households in which members are dispersed across borders; and the collective involvement of migrants in the political process and economic development of their countries of origin. This course counts toward the Scientific Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement.
ANTH 2061 Gender, Change, Globalization (4 Credits)
Gender, Change and Globalization introduces students to anthropological approaches to the study of gender and globalization with a focus on social and cultural change. Globalization involves interconnected linkages and flows of commodities, and people and media that are dictated by market demands, facilitated by advanced technologies and regulated by state policies. Difference groups of individuals are located in varying positions within global flows that reflect larger power structures. While globalization brings about uniformity, it also produces differences as people respond to and oppose changes to local cultural practices and economic conditions. The reach of global processes has social and cultural implications for locally established gender ideologies, norms and division of labor. The course presents a survey of cross-cultural variations in gender identities and practices and analyzes how men and women are affected differently by the economic and cultural changes brought about by globalization, such as international development policies, migration and media productions. Contemporary social issues are discussed to explore these transformations and the effects they have on people's everyday lives. This course counts toward the Scientific Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement.
COMN 1210 Foundations of Communication Studies (4 Credits)
This course offers students an introduction to the study of communication. Students will explore the role of communication in domains that cut across the spectrum of human social life, from communication among individuals, to relationships, to marriage and families, to groups, to organizations, to communication at societal and global levels. In addition to focusing on the specific nature of communication in these distinct settings, students learn as well the different conceptual models for describing and understanding communication across these settings. This course counts toward the Scientific Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement.
COMN 2100 Fundamentals of Communication Theory (4 Credits)
Basic concepts, theories and models of the communication process.
COMN 2140 The Dark Side of Relationships (4 Credits)
This course is designed to familiarize students with theory and research that focuses on the dark and bright sides of human relationships. In particular, we explore those dysfunctional, distorted, distressing, and destructive elements that sometimes comprise our relations with family members, friends, co-workers, and romantic partners, for example. Additionally, we explore relational issues that typically are presumed to be dark but function to produce constructive outcomes, as well as phenomena that are typically judged as bright but function to produce destructive relational outcomes.
ECON 1020 Introduction to Micro- and Macroeconomics I: History and Theories (4 Credits)
This course presents an introductory analysis of how the economic aspects of our society operate. We begin with a brief examination of the development of human economic arrangements and how these developed into the kind of economy we have today. We then look at some of the historical development of how people thought that economic activity works and how they thought it should work. Then we go into an examination of the workings of markets and economic competition--what we call micro-economics--by examining some of the relevant theory as well as its embodiment in developments in the U.S. economy. Following that, we examine in much more detail the theory and some current issues involved in what we call macro-economics--the study of the workings of the national economy as a whole, with its concerns to explain such matters as the national rates of unemployment and price inflation, along with a study of the monetary and financial aspects of the economy and the promises and problems of gender from many different directions. This course counts toward the Scientific Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement.
GEOG 1410 People, Places & Landscapes (4 Credits)
In this course, students will study the location of people and activities across the surface of the Earth. Describing the locations and patterns of human activity only lays the foundation for exploring how and why such patterns have developed historically, and how they relate to the natural environment and other aspects of human behavior. This course counts toward the Scientific Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement.
GEOG 2401 The Human Population (4 Credits)
This course covers the fundamental concepts of demography with an emphasis on its relevance to inquiry in disciplines including economics, business, geography, environmental science, political science and sociology. This course counts toward the Scientific Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement.
GEOG 2430 World Cities (4 Credits)
The study of world cities from a geographical perspective emphasizes the following general topics: 1) worldwide urbanization and globalization processes; 2) the study of cities as nodes within global, regional, and national urban systems; 3) the internal spatial structure of land uses within cities; 4) the spatial dimensions of economic, social, political, and cultural processes in cities; and 5) environmental elements, involving human interrelationships with the natural environment in an urban setting. Urban patterns and processes are examined in each of the world's major regions, including in-depth analysis of focus case study cities. This course counts toward the Scientific Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement.
GEOG 2511 Principles of Sustainability - Honors (4 Credits)
Principles of Sustainability introduces students to fundamental issues and concepts of Sustainability. This topic concerns the long-term viability of a number of phenomena, from the environment to the economy. Sustainability is commonly defined as meeting the needs of the current generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Students will be introduced to issues inherent in discussions of sustainability. The major areas of focus include definitions of ecological and environmental sustainability, economic and political sustainability, social justice, and various metrics used to assess sustainable behavior and practices. Students will study the theory, principles and practices of sustainability, and participate in discussion and writing exercises based on lecture and readings. This course counts toward the Scientific Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement. Enrollment restricted to students in the Honors Program.
GWST 1112 Introduction to Gender and Women's Studies (4 Credits)
This course provides an introduction to the discipline of gender and women's studies. All cultures engage in a complex process of assigning cultural values and social roles which vary according to the cultural environment in which human interaction occurs. Among these, the process of translating biological differences into a complex system of gender remains one of the most important. Gender and women's studies aims to understand how this process of 'gendering' occurs, and its larger effects in society. This course also explores how this system of meaning relates to other systems of allocating power, including socioeconomic class, social status, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, and nationality. Using this lens, this course explores contemporary social developments and problems. Gender and women's studies is about studying, but it is also about meaningful engagement with the world. This class presents students with a variety of types of texts from sociological articles to literary fictions and documentary and fictional cinema to explore gender from many different directions. This course counts toward the Scientific Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement.
GWST 2750 Race, Gender and Genetics (4 Credits)
This course examines science’s construction of race historically—a process intimately connected to gender—to understand contemporary trends in medicine and genetics. Starting in the 1700s and spanning to the present, we’ll look at how and why race and gender are articulated by scientists, how those constructions slip into the mainstream, and how these histories inform present practices in science.
GWST 2760 Gender & Environmental Racism (4 Credits)
This course surveys the field of environmental racism and its connections to gender. Together, we will use intersectional feminist theory to untangle how environmental racism shapes broad practices (e.g. locating dangerous industry and waste near communities of color and in developing nations) and specific cases (e.g. Dakota Access Pipeline). As we examine these practices, we will explore how environmental practices affect people with different biological, personal, and social genders.
MFJS 2210 Introduction to Media and Culture (4 Credits)
Course introduces students to the organization of the U.S. media industries and their historical and contemporary role in U.S. culture. This course counts toward the Scientific Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement.
MFJS 2280 Politics and Media (4 Credits)
We examine the nature of the media and how media institutions shape the way citizens understand politics. We discuss global media institutions and the role media play in various societies. We explore the role of media in providing information for citizens in a democracy, examine how the media influence the political process, and investigate how the goals of and changes within the media industry influence the effect media coverage has on the political process. Through our study, we explore how the media either enhance or limit the potential for citizens to contribute to democracy. This course counts toward the Scientific Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement.
PLSC 1000 Introduction to American Politics (4 Credits)
Philosophical traditions, historical background, structure and functioning of American government, and political attitudes and behavior. This course counts toward the Scientific Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement.
PLSC 1110 Comparing Politics around the World (4 Credits)
This course introduces the basic concepts of comparative politics. Key questions include: are countries becoming more democratic, and will all states follow something akin to the model of the United States? Or are differences between countries becoming even more apparent, with old ethnic rivalries, styles of governance, and religious movements having an impact on the divergent evolution of regimes? The class compares politics primarily in four countries: the United Kingdom, Japan, and China. This course counts toward the Scientific Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement.
PLSC 1610 Introduction to Political Thought: Power, Liberty, and Justice (4 Credits)
This course presents an introduction to some of the key ideas and questions in the study of politics. As an introductory course, it cannot present a systematic overview of the entire study of politics; rather, it seeks to introduce students to some central concerns in the study of politics. In this course we learn about the basic principles of human conduct in social contexts and explain how social scientific methods are used to understand these underlying principles. This course counts toward the Scientific Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement.
PLSC 1810 Introduction to Law and Society (4 Credits)
This course introduces the relationship between law and society, exploring principles of legal conduct in social contexts and explaining how social scientific methods are used to understand these principles. Questions discussed include what is the relationship between the “law-on-the-books” and “law-in-action,” and what can we learn from gaps between formal law and the “real” law that is experienced in society? Empirical examples may include international comparisons and the evolution of law over time. This course counts toward the Scientific Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement.
PLSC 2001 Law and Politics (4 Credits)
Introduces the relationship between law and politics, describing the basic principles of legal conduct in political contexts and explaining how social scientific methods are used to understand these underlying principles. Questions explored include the following: Where does the law come from? Whose interests does it reflect? Does formal legal change lead to practical political and social change? Why do we comply with the law? What are the limits of enforcement? This course counts toward the Scientific Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement. It also satisfies the department distribution requirement in law. Prerequisite: sophomore standing.
PLSC 2050 Anarchy or Order? World Politics (4 Credits)
World politics is characterized by the absence of any overarching governmental authority; the "sovereignty" of individual states creates an international anarchy. This anarchy creates a permissive environment that influences how states and other global actors relate to each other. This course introduces the evolution of the modern international system and provides an overview of the major concepts and theoretical approaches used in the study of world politics. The principle aim of the course is to provide an analytical framework to understand and evaluate international events and issues. Satisfies department distribution requirement in comparative/international politics. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing.
PLSC 2340 Political Economy of Development: From Smith to Sachs (4 Credits)
Free-market capitalism is supposed to improve people’s lives, yet we know it is also associated with economic inequality and political instability. This is especially true in numerous developing countries that attempted to transition to free market, 'democratic' political systems after the end of the Cold War. We begin by examining the founding doctrines of free market capitalism during the industrial revolution and then jump forward in time to study the evolution of the current international foreign aid regime, and international financial institutions (i.e., the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank). Students are expected to devote substantial time to reading and writing in the course, and will use theory and history to examine issues related to 'development' and globalization. Additionally, as a part of the Scientific Inquiry: Society and Culture component of the core curriculum, students will learn to: (1) describe and examine core principles of human behavior, organization, and conduct across social and cultural contexts, and (2) describe, explain, and critique the use of social scientific methods to understand underlying principles of human functioning as they relate to political and social responses to economic change. This course counts toward the Scientific Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement.
PLSC 2415 Campaigns and Elections (4 Credits)
The U.S. holds hundreds of elections every year, but presidential elections stand alone as the only truly national contests. What influences presidential selection? What information can we gain as citizens and scholars from national presidential debates? These elections are guided by distinct rules (including nominations via primaries and caucuses, evolving campaign finance laws, and the strict requirements of the Electoral College) with ever-changing strategies to maximize support under these rules. This class provides students with the historic context and political science concepts and theories to better understand the many steps involved in electing U.S. presidents. This course counts toward the Scientific Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement.
PPOL 1910 Hard Choices in Public Policy (4 Credits)
This course provides an opportunity to develop comprehensive knowledge of America's most intriguing public policy dilemmas. Policy issues to be discussed include intergenerational equity, competitiveness, the budget and trade deficits, crime, AIDS, education, health care, the environment, entitlements, immigration, race and affirmative action, public involvement, and social welfare. This course counts toward the Scientific Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement.
PPOL 2710 Demography of Public Policy (4 Credits)
Demography is destiny." The consequences for American public policy are profound. America is aging, but becoming more diverse. A society in the midst of dynamic change is a society full of possibilities, but vulnerable to conflict. Values become indeterminate, with traditional communities vying for legitimacy with emergent cultures. Social movements, often populist in nature, challenge the established political order. This course focuses on the delineation of effective public policies to deal with demographic challenges, including (1) immigration policy; (2) the process of assimilation; (3) education; (4) geographic realignment; (5) competitive advantage of the United States relative to the European Union, Russia, and China. This course counts toward the Scientific Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement.
PSYC 1001 Foundations of Psychological Science (4 Credits)
This course is an introduction to the scientific study of mind and behavior. It includes topics such as the biological basis of behavior, the developmental transitions from infancy through old age, the principles underlying perception, learning and memory, and the ways in which behavior is affected by its physical, social, and cultural context. This course counts toward the Scientific Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement.
SOCI 1810 Understanding Social Life (4 Credits)
This course is an introduction to the discipline of sociology and to the insights it provides into the human condition. This course counts toward the Scientific Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement.
SOCI 2250 Criminology (4 Credits)
Social meaning of criminal behavior; relationship between crime and society in particular, how production and distribution of economic, political and cultural resources shape construction of law, order and crime; different types of crime, criminals and victims, and efforts to understand and control them. This course counts toward the Scientific Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement.
SOCI 2540 Current Social Problems (4 Credits)
We often think about social problems in our social worlds. However, rarely do we consider how certain situations come to be defined as problems and why some "problems" remain a focal point of public attention while others fade, even when the circumstances around that issue have not improved. In this course, we look at these very issues. Using current social problems, we explore how a social phenomenon comes to be seen as a social problem, what is at stake in this process, and how these dynamics matter in terms of thinking about inequality. This course counts toward the Scientific Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement.