Sociology and Anthropology Courses

Winter 2023

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

Introduction to Anthropology: Investigating Humanity

SOAN 101 - Brown, Christopher

This course is an introduction to the four subfields of anthropology: physical/biological anthropology, archaeology, linguistics, and cultural anthropology. The course explores how we humans understand each other, what we do, and how we got to where we are today. Topics include human evolution; cultural remains in prehistorical and historical contexts; connections among language and social categories like gender, class, race, and region; and social organization in past and present contexts. Concepts such as culture, cultural relativism, ethnocentrism, and global and local inequalities are discussed.

Introduction to Sociology: Investigating Society

SOAN 102 - Perez, Marcos E.

An introduction to the field of sociology including both micro and macro perspectives, this course exposes students to key topical areas in the discipline and includes readings that show the range of research methodologies in the field today. The sociological meaning of concepts such as social group, nation, state, class, race, and gender, among others, are discussed. Topics may include social inequalities, group processes, collective action, social networks, and the relationship between social organization and the environment.

FS: First-Year Seminar: The Sociology of Conflict

SOAN 180A - Cataldi, John

This interactive class provides an introduction to social conflict with an emphasis on striving for objectivity while exploring the perspectives of various groups.  Concepts of group culture, collective identity, collective memory, and commemoration are closely interrelated with each other and are used as investigative tools when studying social conflict.  We are surrounded by diverse elements in our community and beyond, each with unique and sometimes opposing sentiments.  We will explore groups that have been on the forefront of controversy such as the police, the military and various ideological groups, with clinical rather than normative intent so as to expand our understanding of the world around us. 

FS: First-Year Seminar in Sociology: Sociology of Race and Ethnicity

SOAN 180C - Chin, Lynn G. (Lynny)

Basic Statistics in the Social Sciences

SOAN 218 -

Introductory statistics course designed to help students become good consumers of statistics, but especially geared for students interested in sociology, archeology, and anthropology. Topics include descriptive and inferential statistics, sampling, and regression analysis. Students also get practical experience with cleaning and analyzing real world secondary data.

Data Science Tools for Social Policy

SOAN 222 - Eastwood, Jonathan R. (Jon)

Students learn about how we think about and estimate causal effects, and practice important contemporary techniques with real data, culminating in reports analyzing the effects of a policy intervention of their choice. All work will be done in R. No previous experience with R is required, but some basic previous exposure to linear regression will be helpful.

European Politics and Society

SOAN 245 - Jasiewicz, Krzysztof

Same as POL 245. A comparative analysis of European political systems and social institutions. The course covers the established democracies of western and northern Europe, the new democracies of southern and east-central Europe, and the post-Communist regimes in eastern and southeastern Europe. Mechanisms of European integration are also discussed with attention focused on institutions such as European Union, NATO, OSCE, and Council of Europe.

Neighborhoods and Inequality

SOAN 266 - Eastwood, Jonathan R. (Jon)

This course examines the ways in which residential context relates to social and economic inequalities. Drawing on empirical literature from sociology and related fields, we consider both (a) how residential contexts may shape individuals' opportunities and (b) the factors that may shape the persistence or change of concentrated advantage and disadvantage across those residential settings. Half of the course is a traditional seminar and half is a data analysis lab in which we learn tools of spatial data analysis and then apply them in individual student projects on contemporary cities.

Art & Science of Survey Research

SOAN 276 - Jasiewicz, Krzysztof

This course is designed as a group research project in questionnaire construction and survey data analysis. Students prepare a list of hypotheses, select indicators, construct a questionnaire, collect and analyze data, and write research reports. When appropriate, the course may include service-learning components (community-based research projects).

Special Topics in Sociology: What is Power?

SOAN 290D - Perez, Marcos E.

Special Topics in Sociology: (de)Constructing Disability in the U.S.

SOAN 290E - Sutton, Alexander

Special Topics in Anthropology: Anthropology of Human-Animal Relationships

SOAN 291F - McCarty, Sue A. (Sue Ann)

Special Topics in Anthropology: Collective Memory: Anthropology of Memorization

SOAN 291G - Gaylord, Donald A.

Why do some places, events, objects, symbols, or individuals become central to understandings of heritage, while others seem ignored or forgotten? When canonical, written history takes a back seat, how do people use material objects – including landscapes, monuments, and museums – to negotiate memory and history, or identity and belonging. How do debates about morality enter into this discourse? This course examines cultural, social, political, and economic processes of memorialization through case studies from regional, national, and global contexts. Additionally, this exploration of collective, if contested, memory making covers a variety of topics including heritage tourism and the ethics of remembrance.

Senior Seminar in Social Analysis

SOAN 395 - Chin, Lynn G. (Lynny)

This course is designed as a capstone experience for majors with the sociology emphasis. Students, utilizing their knowledge of sociological theory and research methods, design and execute independent research projects, typically involving secondary analysis of survey data. Working on a subject of their choice, students learn how to present research questions and arguments, formulate research hypotheses, test hypotheses through univariate, bivariate, and multivariate analyses (utilizing appropriate statistical packages such as SPSS), and write research reports.

Senior Seminar in Anthropological Analysis

SOAN 396 - McCarty, Sue A. (Sue Ann)

In this course, senior SOAN majors with an emphasis in anthropology review, augment, and synthesize their understandings of anthropological theory, methods, substantive findings, and ethical issues. To do so, we share common readings on research methods and the integration of anthropological method and theory, and we sustain a term-long workshop focused on students' research projects and papers. Each student identifies a topic of interest. Consulting with peers and the instructor, each student considers analytical methods and theoretical orientations, identifies appropriate sources, and proposes a course of research and writing. Once the proposal is vetted, students pursue their research designs and circulate partial drafts for peer and instructor review. They produce a final paper and present their findings orally with visual accompaniment to the class.

Directed Individual Study: Studying African American Families in Rockbridge County

SOAN 401D - Rainville, Lynn

In this independent study, students will explore and deploy genealogical methods to establish kinship connections among Black Families in Rockbridge and Lexington, c. 1800-WWII. This research involves searching archival repositories, analyzing genealogical materials, and compiling biographical information about local residents and uncovering their occupational, economic, and social connections to Washington and Lee University over the past two centuries. This data will be used analyze the social networks among and between W&L and community members. As we identify descendants of these former residents we will partner with interested family members to understand their family history and legacies.

Directed Individual Study

SOAN 403 - Jasiewicz, Krzysztof

A course for selected students, typically with junior or senior standing, who are preparing papers for presentation to professional meetings or for publication.

Directed Individual Study

SOAN 403 - Bell, Alison K.

A course for selected students, typically with junior or senior standing, who are preparing papers for presentation to professional meetings or for publication.

Directed Individual Study

SOAN 403 - Chin, Lynn G. (Lynny)

A course for selected students, typically with junior or senior standing, who are preparing papers for presentation to professional meetings or for publication.

Honors Thesis

SOAN 493 - Eastwood, Jonathan R. (Jon)

Honors Thesis.

Fall 2022

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

Introduction to Anthropology: Investigating Humanity

SOAN 101 - McCarty, Sue A. (Sue Ann)

This course is an introduction to the four subfields of anthropology: physical/biological anthropology, archaeology, linguistics, and cultural anthropology. The course explores how we humans understand each other, what we do, and how we got to where we are today. Topics include human evolution; cultural remains in prehistorical and historical contexts; connections among language and social categories like gender, class, race, and region; and social organization in past and present contexts. Concepts such as culture, cultural relativism, ethnocentrism, and global and local inequalities are discussed.

Introduction to Sociology: Investigating Society

SOAN 102 - Chin, Lynn G. (Lynny)

An introduction to the field of sociology including both micro and macro perspectives, this course exposes students to key topical areas in the discipline and includes readings that show the range of research methodologies in the field today. The sociological meaning of concepts such as social group, nation, state, class, race, and gender, among others, are discussed. Topics may include social inequalities, group processes, collective action, social networks, and the relationship between social organization and the environment.

FS: First-Year Seminar: The Sociology of Conflict

SOAN 180A - Cataldi, John

This interactive class provides an introduction to social conflict with an emphasis on striving for objectivity while exploring the perspectives of various groups.  Concepts of group culture, collective identity, collective memory, and commemoration are closely interrelated with each other and are used as investigative tools when studying social conflict.  We are surrounded by diverse elements in our community and beyond, each with unique and sometimes opposing sentiments.  We will explore groups that have been on the forefront of controversy such as the police, the military and various ideological groups, with clinical rather than normative intent so as to expand our understanding of the world around us. 

FS: First-Year Seminar in Anthropology: Exploring Monacan, Scots-Irish, and African-American Socio-Cultural Landscapes in the Great Valley of Virginia

SOAN 181A - Gaylord, Donald A.

While the natural history of the Great Valley of Virginia spans geological times scales of over a 150 million years, people likely have lived here for fewer than 20,000 years. The relatively short span of human history here has seen dramatic and accelerating impacts on the landscape. History is understood here, not as the writing of Roman alphabets or Arabic numerals, but as a palimpsest of innumerable past inscriptions on the world that may be deciphered using a variety of tools and analytical methods. Importantly, using different approaches will lead us to different stories, but by bringing together multiple lines of evidence we may develop a fuller picture of the dynamic interactions between humans and their environment. This evidence may include ancient petroglyphs, old roadbeds, erosion deposits, family lore, or the growth rings of bald cypress trees. In this course we will work to re-imagine the socio-cultural landscape of the Great Valley as a multi-vocal site of human experience where many types of inscription remain for us to interpret. Using an interdisciplinary approach to archaeology we will engage with written history, oral histories, geology, palynology, soil chemistry, and dendroecology among other sources of evidence to understand the changing landscape of the Valley over the last 20 millennia.

Archaeology

SOAN 206 - McCarty, Sue A. (Sue Ann)

An examination of anthropologically-oriented archaeology. Specific subjects to be considered will include the history of the subdiscipline, theoretical developments, field techniques, substantive contributions for the prehistoric and historic subareas and recent developments in theory and methodology.

Qualitative Methods

SOAN 208 - Perez, Marcos E.

Qualitative research methods are widely used to provide rich and detailed understandings of people's experiences, interactions, narratives, and practices within wider sociopolitical and economic contexts. Typical methods include oral histories, interviews, participant observation, and analysis of visual and textual culture. Students will engage in research aligned with community interests. Stages of the project will include topic identification, research design, ethical and legal considerations, choosing an appropriate methodology, data collection, analysis and write-up, and presentation and critique.

Post-Communism and New Democracies

SOAN 246 - Jasiewicz, Krzysztof

Same as POL 246. A comparative analysis of transition from Communism in the countries of the former Soviet bloc. Cases of successful and unsuccessful transitions to civil society, pluralist democracy, and market economy are examined. The comparative framework includes analysis of transition from non-Communist authoritarianism and democratic consolidation in selected countries of Latin America, the Mediterranean, Southeast Asia, and South Africa.

Poverty and Marginality in the Americas

SOAN 263 - Perez, Marcos E.

In recent decades, some global transformations have increased inequality and marginality in various regions of the world. Neoliberalism has generated both opportunities and challenges to human development In different countries. This course focuses on how the undermining of safety nets, the decline of models of economic growth centered on state intervention, and the internationalization of labor markets have affected societies in Latin America and the United States. Students analyze the structural causes of marginality and how the experience of poverty varies for people in both regions. We rely on anthropological and sociological studies to address key questions. How do disadvantaged individuals and families in the Americas deal with the challenges brought about by deindustrialization, violence, and environmental degradation? How do their communities struggle to sustain public life? What are the processes causing many people to migrate from one region to the other?

Exploring Social Networks

SOAN 265 - Eastwood, Jonathan R. (Jon)

This course is an introduction to network analysis. Students learn some of the major network analysis literature in sociology and related fields and develop their skills as network analysts in laboratory sessions. Social science, humanities, business, and public health applications are emphasized.

Conceptions of Race and Health: Black & White=Gray

SOAN 279 - Chin, Lynn G. (Lynny)

This seminar tackles the question of what is "race" and how does it affect health? In the United States, "race" is a concept frequently taken for granted. But what does "race" signify? Does race denote something inherently biological, cultural, or structural about one's ancestry, background, or lifestyle? Is race truly a stable "ascribed" characteristic that has predictive implications for peoples' everyday well-being? By specifically concentrating on the case study of health disparities for African-Americans in the United States, we explore the concept of "race", and how societal conceptions of race affect health policy, people's health outcomes, their access to healthcare, and their relationship to the medical establishment.

Special Topics in Sociology: Producing Culture from the Margins

SOAN 290C - Sutton, Alexander

How does our cultural-historical understanding of artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Ludwig von Beethoven inform how we categorize and evaluate artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat and Kendrick Lamar? This course will examine the creation of cultural objects (music, visual art, literature, film/television), with particular attention to representations of race, class, gender, sexuality, and the various intersections of marginality in the contemporary world. Drawing from the relevant literature in sociology, philosophical aesthetics, and cultural studies, we will look at how the production of contemporary culture perpetuates and challenges social inequality. 

Topics in Anthropology: Political Ecology

SOAN 291A - Brown, Christopher

This course employs a case study approach to explore the ways in which power mediates human-environment relations. Starting with fundamental texts of ecological anthropology, we will learn how religious rituals in Papua New Guinea affect the viability of swidden agriculture amidst conditions of scarce arable land; how Balinese “water temples” regulate sophisticated irrigation systems; and how pastoralists devise systems of land use and resource management as adaptations to desertification in Central Africa. After developing a theoretical understanding of the dynamics that shape social-ecological systems, this perspective is applied to a wide range of contemporary case studies. How does neoliberal governance in Nigeria contribute to ecological collapse in the Niger Delta region? How does the push for “green energy” and the exploding demand for lithium impact local communities and ecosystems in Bolivia? How do the politics of indigeneity shape community responses to fracking in Canada? Through close reading and discussion of recent anthropological case studies, the course poses the broader question of how political systems could be transformed to better address the pressing ecological concerns facing humanity. 

Theorizing Social Life: Contemporary Approaches

SOAN 371 - Eastwood, Jonathan R. (Jon)

This course is an introduction to selected recent theoretical work in anthropology and sociology. Our two disciplines are not the same but they overlap. The best scholars in each discipline tend to read in both. We take such an approach in this course, looking at examples of (and opportunities for) cross-pollination.

Directed Individual Study: Researching African American Families at W&L, 1780-1940

SOAN 401B - Rainville, Lynn

Directed Individual Study: Survey Data Methods

SOAN 401C - Eastwood, Jonathan R. (Jon)

Honors Thesis

SOAN 493 - Eastwood, Jonathan R. (Jon)

Honors Thesis.

Spring 2022

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

FIELD METHODS IN ARCHAEOLOGY

SOAN 210 - Gaylord, Donald A.

LABORATORY METHODS IN ARCHAEOL

SOAN 211 - Bell, Alison K.

LABORATORY METHODS IN ARCHAEOL

SOAN 211 - McCarty, Sue A. (Sue Ann)

WORLD OF DATA:BASEBALL & STATS

SOAN 220 - Eastwood, Jonathan R. (Jon) / Kosky, Jeffrey L.

TOPIC: GLOBAL URBAN SOCIOLOGY

SOAN 290A - Perez, Marcos E.

TOPIC: INTRO TO CRIMINOLOGY

SOAN 290B - Cataldi, John

TOPIC:ETHNOHISTORY OF W&L PAST

SOAN 291A - Rainville, Lynn

TOPIC: SOCIAL MEDIA ANALYTICS

SOAN 291B - Dogan, Hulya

TOPIC: INDIG HEAL SYS & LAKOTA

SOAN 291C - Markowitz, Harvey J.