Society and Culture
This course introduces students to the field of sociology through studying the role of culture in society. We examine the connections between culture and society by following four major sociological traditions, and we combine theoretical discussions with concrete sociological studies. For the conflict tradition, we read Marx's writing on alienation as well as a study about the complex relationship between domestic help and their employers in contemporary America; for the Durkheimian tradition, we discuss Durkheim's view of religion and morality while reading about why women turn to Orthodox Judaism in New York City today; for the utilitarian and rational choice tradition, we discuss rational choice theory by examining a sociological and historical analysis of the rise of early Christianity; for the microinteractionist tradition, we explore the ideas of Goffman and Bourdieu through reading a French sociologist's ethnographic account of training to be a boxer in an African American gym in Chicago. This course helps students develop a sociological imagination, as well as familiarity with research methods and social theory. Students may take only one introductory-level course. This counts toward the foundation requirement for the major. Open only to first-year and sophomore students. No prerequisite. Offered every year.