Affiliated Departments & Programs
Marla H. Kohlman initially came to Kenyon as a dissertation fellow in 1998 and joined the faculty in sociology and African diaspora studies in 1999. Before coming to Kenyon, Kohlman was an attorney in Maryland and Washington, D.C.
Professor Kohlman's courses focus upon institutional frameworks of inequality (gender, race, class, sexuality, etc.), social theory and quantitative methods.
2000 — Doctor of Philosophy from Univ Maryland College Park
1991 — Master of Science from American University
1991 — Doctor of Jurisprudence (Law) from American University
1988 — Bachelor of Arts from Haverford College
Courses Recently Taught
This discussion-based course introduces students to several of the most important approaches to the study of African diaspora experiences. Students taking this course will find themselves engaged with a variety of disciplines (e.g., anthropology, history, literary study, psychology, sociology and visual and performing arts). Though some of the texts may change extensively from year to year, the focus of this course will be to undertake a preliminary investigation into the connections and the relationship between Africa and several other parts of the world. No prerequisite. Generally offered every spring.
The objective of this course is to critically examine social problems in the United States by using sociological perspectives to investigate the cultural and structural foundations of our society. Toward that end, students will learn sociological and criminological perspectives that provide a basic understanding of the principles of social-problems research from a sociological perspective. Among the topics to be covered are education, crime, the family and work, using examples from the Age of Enlightenment up to the present day. The most fundamental expectation of students in this course will be to use their sociological imaginations in every class period to engage in focused discussion of the readings and assignments completed outside of class. This is expected to aid students in the goal of mastering necessary skills of critical thinking and discussion, both verbally and in their writing about contemporary topics of interest and concern. Students may take only one introductory-level course. This counts toward the foundation course requirement for the major. No prerequisite.
People in the United States are keenly aware of social differences, yet few have a very precise understanding of "social class," the magnitude of social inequality in U.S. society, or why social inequality exists at all. This course provides a semester-long examination of social stratification -- a society’s unequal ranking of categories of people in historical, comparative, theoretical and critical terms. The historical focus traces the development of social inequality since the emergence of the first human societies some 10,000 years ago; the Industrial Revolution; and, more recently, the Information Revolution. The comparative focus explores how and why societies differ in their degree of inequality, identifies various dimensions of inequality, and assesses various justifications for inequality. Attention is also given to the extent of social differences between high- and low-income nations in the world today. The theoretical focus asks how and why social inequality comes to exist in the first place (and why social equality does not exist). This course offers a true diversity of political approaches, presenting arguments made by conservatives, liberals, libertarians and radicals about the degree of inequality in the United States and in the world. This counts toward the institutions and change requirement for the major. Prerequisite: 100-level sociology course or permission of instructor.
We all come from families and the family is a familiar social institution. But family is constituted not just by our individual experiences but also as a product of historical, social and political conditions. This course will examine how these conditions have shaped family life as we know it today. We will look at the social construction of the family, the psychosocial interiors of families and how governmental policy has shaped and will continue to shape families in the future. In addition, we will discuss the increasing diversity of family structures, the institution of marriage, and the social construction of childhood and parenting as represented in empirical research and legal decisions. Our underlying framework for analysis will be the gendered nature of family systems. This counts toward the culture and identity or institutions and change requirement for the major. Prerequisite: 100-level sociology course. Offered every two years.
The primary objective of this course is to explore the socio-legal construction of gender in U.S. society as we interrogate the power of underlying contemporary debates predicated upon gender. The focus of discussion is specifically on legal issues that seem to be particularly affected by our societal understanding of the feminine and the masculine as presently constructed for example, sexual orientation, rape and domestic violence. This course satisfies a requirement of the concentrations in women’s and gender studies and in law and society, as well as in the American studies major. This counts toward the institutions and change or culture and identity requirement for the major. Prerequisite: 100-level sociology course, LGLS 110 or permission of instructor. Offered every two years, in rotation with SOCY 232.
Our common sense tells us that certain acts are "wrong"; that particular persons who engage in them are "deviant." But common sense suggests little about how and why a particular act or actor comes to be understood in this way. The objective of this course is to explore the significance of deviance and crime within social life. We carry the distinction between being different, being deviant and being criminal throughout the semester. This course provides a substantial introduction to criminology, with consideration of the social characteristics of offenders and victims, crime rates and various justifications of punishment. This course should be of interest to students within many majors who are concerned with theoretical, practical and ethical questions concerning the concepts of good and evil as foundations of human society. This counts toward the institutions and change or culture and identity requirement for the major. Prerequisite: 100-level sociology course or permission of instructor. Offered every other year.
Sociology has long recognized the different roles of men and women in society, but the systematic, sociological analysis of how and why these roles have been developed and maintained continues to be a contested terrain of scholarship and popular debate. This course will analyze the social construction of gender and its salience in our everyday lives. Using sociological theory in the context of gender, we will link the private experiences of individuals to the structure of social institutions. The course will begin with the familiar world of socialization and move to the more abstract level of institutions of social control and sex-based inequalities within social institutions, including the economy and family. This counts toward the culture and identity or the institutions and change requirement for the major. Prerequisite: 100-level sociology course or permission of instructor. Offered every two years.
This course will help to guide students to draw linkages from classical theory to the formation of contemporary sociological theory. Discussion will be guided by the personal biographies of the theorists: their family background, where they were educated and what events or persons they were influenced by as they formulated the theories for which they are known. Emphasis is placed upon acquiring breadth of knowledge, rather than depth. For a more comprehensive understanding of many of the theorists discussed in this class, students are directed to SOCY 361 and SOCY 362. This course is not intended for seniors, although it is required for all majors. Students are advised to enroll in this class as soon as they begin to consider majoring in sociology. This counts toward the theory requirement for the major. Prerequisite: 100-level sociology course. Offered every year.
This course critically examines several genres of literature on the social roles of men and women at both the social-psychological and structural levels of society. We will discuss, in particular, how gender relates to concepts such as socialization, attitudes, interpersonal behavior, work roles and stratification by race, sexuality and class; and social problems that arise as a result of gender inequality. This counts toward the culture and identity or institutions and change requirement for the major and also counts toward the African diaspora studies, law and society, and women's and gender studies concentrations. Prerequisite: junior standing or permission of instructor. Offered every two to three years.
The primary objective of this course is to pursue a comprehensive examination of contemporary issues which determine social stratification in the United States and, thereby, impact public policy and societal values. Some topics that may be addressed are race relations in the United States, gender, work, family, sexuality, poverty and religion. Topics may vary from semester to semester, but they will be of importance to any discussion of the institutional forces that govern our society. Prerequisite: junior standing or permission of the instructor. Offered every two to three years.
This course explores the theoretical paradigm of intersectionality. Its principal objective is to develop an understanding of the ways in which the salient identities of class position, race and gender function simultaneously to produce the outcomes we observe in the lives of individuals and in society. While there is a large body of literature in each of the three areas (class, race, gender), only recently have theorists and researchers attempted to model and analyze the "simultaneity" of their functioning as one concerted force in our everyday lives. We will pursue this objective by exploring the roles of gender and race/ethnicity in the United States during the early development of capitalism and in the present, by re-examining key concepts in conflict theory through the lens of intersectional theory, and by studying the roles of class, gender and race/ethnicity at the level of the global economy today as in the past. This counts toward the culture and identity or theory requirement for the major. This also counts toward the senior seminar requirement for the African diaspora studies concentration and toward the American studies and women's and gender studies majors. Prerequisite: junior standing and SOCY 262 or 361 or permission of instructor. Offered every two to three years.