Sociology and Anthropology Courses

Fall 2021

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 - STAFF / Eastwood, Jonathan R. (Jon)

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 in Sociology

SOAN 180 - STAFF / Eastwood, Jonathan R. (Jon)

First-year seminar.

Fall 2021, SOAN 180-01: FS: First-Year Seminar in Sociology: The Sociology of Conflict (3). Prerequisite: First-year class standing only.  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. Cataldi.

Biological Anthropology

SOAN 207 - Bell, Alison K.

This course considers the emergence and evolution of Homo sapiens from fossil, archaeological, and genetic evidence. The class focuses on evolutionary mechanisms; selective pressures for key human biological and behavioral patterns, such as bipedalism, intelligence, altruism, learned behavior, and expressive culture; relations among prehuman species; the human diaspora; and modern human diversity, particularly "racial" variation. The course also examines theories from sociobiology and evolutionary psychology about motivations for modern human behaviors.

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.

Discovering W&L's Origins Using Historical Archaeology

SOAN 230 - Gaylord, Donald A.

Not open to students who have taken SOAN 181 with the same description. This course introduces students to the practice of historical archaeology using W&L's Liberty Hall campus and ongoing excavations there as a case study. With archaeological excavation and documentary research as our primary sources of data. we use the methods of these two disciplines to analyze our data using tools from the digital humanities to present our findings. Critically, we explore the range of questions and answers that these data and methods of analysis make possible. Hands-on experience with data collection and analysis is the focus of this course, with students working together in groups deciding how to interpret their findings to a public audience about the university's early history. The final project varies by term but might include a short video documentary. a museum display, or a web page.

Post-Communism and New Democracies

SOAN 246 - Jasiewicz, Krzysztof

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?

Health and Inequality: An Introduction to Medical Sociology

SOAN 278 - Chin, Lynn G. (Lynny)

This course introduces sociological perspectives of health and illness. Students examine topics such as social organization of medicine; the social construction of illness; class, race and gender inequalities in health; and health care reform. Some of the questions we address: How is the medical profession changing? What are the pros and cons of market-driven medicine? Does class have an enduring impact on health outcomes? Is it true that we are what our friends' eat? Can unconscious racial bias affect the quality of care for people of different ethnicities? What pitfalls have affected the way evidence-based medicine has been carried out?

Gender and Sexuality

SOAN 280 - Goluboff, Sascha

This class will investigate gender and sexuality cross-culturally. We will give special consideration to biology, cultural variation, intersectionality, and power. The class will be structured around a collaboration with Project Horizon, a local organization that provides education and programming to address the pervasive problem of domestic and sexual violence. Students will volunteer their time there, as well as produce programming ideas for healthy sexual culture on our campus. 

Theorizing Social Life: Classical Approaches

SOAN 370 - Jasiewicz, Krzysztof

Sociologists and anthropologists have traditionally approached their role as students of social and cultural phenomena from two different paradigmatic starting points: a so-called "Galilean" model and an "Aristotelian" model. Practitioners were thought that they could eventually arrive at covering laws as powerful as those of physics or, falling short of this ideal, arrive at significant generalizations about human phenomenon. This class explores the trajectory of this paradigmatic split among some of the founders of sociology and anthropology and how these theorists utilized their chosen paradigms to make sense of social and cultural life. We also explore the assumptions about human nature, society, and culture that informed each of these theorists approaches and the wider historical contexts influenced their thought.

Directed Individual Study

SOAN 403 - Jasiewicz, Krzysztof

A course for selected students with junior and senior standing, especially for honors students, with direction by different members of the department. May be repeated for degree credit with permission and if the topics are different.

Honors Thesis

SOAN 493 - Eastwood, Jonathan R. (Jon)

Honors Thesis.

Honors Thesis

SOAN 493 - Chin, Lynn G. (Lynny)

Honors Thesis.

Spring 2021

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.

Laboratory Methods in Archaeology

SOAN 211 - Gaylord, Donald A.

Additional special fees may apply. If necessary, some financial aid may be available through departmental funds. This course introduces students to archaeological lab methods through hands-on experience, readings, and fieldtrips. Students process and catalogue archaeological finds ensuring they maintain the archaeological provenience of these materials. Using the scientific method and current theoretical motivations in anthropological archaeology, students learn how to develop and test hypotheses about the site under consideration by analyzing the artifacts they themselves have processed. We visit several archaeology labs in order to experience, first hand, the range of projects and methods currently undertaken by leading archaeologists. Students then use the archaeological data to test their hypotheses and produce a report of their research, which may take the form of a standard archaeological report, an academic poster, or a conference-style presented paper.

Peoples of Central Europe Through Literature and Film

SOAN 225 - Jasiewicz, Krzysztof

This course provides basic information about the citizens of Central European nations of Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary. Beliefs, attitudes, and value systems of the people of Central Europe are examined against the backdrop of major historical events of the 20th century.  Core textbook readings are supplemented by feature films, video materials, novels, short stories, plays, and poetry.  Class discussions focus on interpreting these works of art in the context of comparative historical-sociological analysis of the Polish, Czech, and Hungarian cultures and societies.

Anthropology of American History

SOAN 238 - Bell, Alison K.

This course explores issues within historic American communities that ethnographers often investigate among living groups, including cultural values, religious ideologies, class structures, kinship networks, gender roles, and interethnic relations. Although the communities of interest in this course ceased to exist generations ago, many of their characteristic dynamics are accessible through such means as archaeology, architectural history, and the study of documents. Case studies include early English settlement in Plymouth, Massachusetts; the 18th-century plantation world of Virginia and South Carolina; the post-Revolutionary Maine frontier; and 19th-century California.

Ethnographies of Global Poverty

SOAN 258 - Sanchez, Shaundel

When we research poverty, we tend to look first to large international organizations, such as the World Bank and United Nations, but given their emphases on data, statistics, and economic theory, we are left with an understanding of poverty without a human face. One rarely comes across discussions of global poverty derived from the everyday lives of people living in poverty. In this course, we learn about poverty through ethnographic accounts written by anthropologists. These accounts demonstrate that people living in poverty have names, ambitions, and histories, and their everyday lives are interconnected with our own in more ways than we imagine.

Cults

SOAN 260 - Goluboff, Sascha

In this course, we will explore the phenomenon of cults (also known as NRMs -- new religious movements). We will look at the development of cults, how they operate, and the experiences of those who participate in them. We will discuss brainwashing, gender, violence, sexuality, child rearing, and the possibility of objectivity on the part of the researcher. Special units include a QAnon expert and Marsha Goluboff Low who spent eighteen years as an Ananda Marga yogic nun. 

Special Topics in Sociology

SOAN 290 - Chin, Lynn G. (Lynny)

A discussion of a series of topics of sociological concern. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Spring 2021, SOAN 290-01: Special Topics in Sociology: Belonging in College (3).  All college students face the problem of becoming part of their campus community. College is a transformative, but nerve-wracking transition for most students. At many colleges, the traditional student experience involves leaving home and entering a new environment without the comfort and protection of their former social ties. On the one hand, severing old ties provides students freedom to explore new identities and perhaps even reinvent themselves. On the other hand, this state of detachment is stressful as students may compare themselves to their new peers and frequently ask themselves: "How do I measure up?", "Do I fit in?", and "Do I belong"? This seminar explores the questions of what does it mean to "belong" in college and how academic institutional structures shape inequalities in who gets to "fit in" and who "belongs". Students will also be asked to examine the additional barriers for inclusion and belonging for "nontraditional" students (e.g. first-generation and low-income students, students of color, non-heterosexual students, religious minorities, international students, students with disabilities, older students, etc.). Although "belonging" and "inclusion" are current buzzwords on American college campuses, these issues are not new and it is clear that diversification has not lead directly to integration, especially as colleges try to diversify their student body. Chin.

Special Topics in Anthropology

SOAN 291A - Narayanan, Sandhya K.

A discussion of a series of topics of anthropological concern. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Spring 2021, SOAN 291A-01: Special Topics in Anthropology: Anthropology of Performance (3).  This course is intended as an introduction to the fundamentals of performance from an anthropological perspective. We will cover the basic theoretical foundations of performance and performance theory, and then delve into the ways that anthropologists, linguists, and philosophers have explored performances and 'performative' acts across time and around the world. Through this course, students will expand their definitions of what constitutes a performance, and even rethink instances from everyday life as performative acts. Lastly, we will see the ways that ideas about performance and performative genres are tightly enmeshed within social projects and societal norms and expectations that they come from. Narayanan.

Special Topics in Anthropology

SOAN 291B - Rainville, Lynn

A discussion of a series of topics of anthropological concern. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Spring 2021, SOAN 291B-01: Special Topics in Anthropology: Ethnohistory of W&L's Past (3).  In this course we will apply interdisciplinary methods to study four centuries of W&L material culture and historic records. These items will be used to uncover additional stories about W&L founders, its evolving curriculum, and buildings. As COVID protocols permit, we will visit multiple collections of art, ceramics, artifacts, and documents on campus. We will also explore on and off-campus historic landscapes, including local graveyards. Students will synthesize this material and produce several deliverables: (1) additional historic layers to the online campus map (https://campusmap.wlu.edu/), (2) a poster that analyzes the past social networks of our community, and (3) biographical sketches of under-studied members of the W&L community. Rainville.

Winter 2021

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 - Bell, Alison K.

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 - Eastwood, Jonathan R. (Jon)

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.

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.

Basic Statistics in the Social Sciences

SOAN 218 - Chin, Lynn G. (Lynny)

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.

Language, Culture, and Communication

SOAN 252 - Narayanan, Sandhya K.

This course surveys anthropological approaches to understanding the intersections among language, culture and society. Topics include non-human communication systems, the origins of human language, and methods of establishing historical relationships among languages. Formal linguistic analysis receives some attention, but the greatest part of the course concerns language in sociocultural contexts. Examples of linguistic phenomena in ethnographic perspective are drawn from people around the world, including the Gullah, the Apache, and the Bedouin of Egypt.

Anthropology of Public Policy

SOAN 257 - Sanchez, Shaundel

Traditionally, political scientists, economists, and even sociologists have mainly studied policy. In this course, we explore how anthropologists are uniquely positioned to read, understand, and interpret different policies and their effects through anthropological training. By using a variety of methods, anthropologists provide essential contributions to the field of public policy. We analyze how anthropologists have provided a unique perspective on problems caused particular policies, the success of some policies, the meanings policies hold for various types of actors, and the ways people engage with policies. Additionally, we learn how policies create social spaces and actors, manage populations, and transform political systems. Some of the policies we will discuss involve welfare, the family, the environment, humanitarianism, and immigration. We conclude by discussing ethical dilemmas related to the anthropology of policy. Upon completing this course, students will understand how anthropology contributes to the critique, analysis, and implementation of various types of policies.

States, Data, and Population Policies in the Americas

SOAN 264 - Eastwood, Jonathan R. (Jon)

While concentrating on the societies of the Americas, students focus on two of the main domains within which states seek to understand and influence populations: policies governing the collection of information about their residents, such as the census, and those governing migration. The course is made up of two interwoven parts, a traditional seminar portion that examines such policies from the perspective of historical sociology and a data-lab portion in which we perform exploratory visualization of historical and contemporary census and migration data from the region, using the "tidyverse" suite of R packages. We reflect critically on our own work, making use of perspectives afforded by the historical sociology portion of the course.

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).

Seminar in Medical Anthropology

SOAN 277 - Markowitz, Harvey J.

Despite radical differences in theory and procedure, the diagnosis and treatment of diseases are human cultural universals. This seminar first examines the beliefs and practices that comprise the medical systems found among a wide variety of non-western peoples. We then investigates the responses of a number of non-western communities to the introduction of western, biomedical practices. We finish by considering such ethical issues as whether or not non-western peoples who supply western doctors and pharmacologists with knowledge of curing agents should be accorded intellectual property rights over this information; in what situations, if any, should western medical personnel impose biomedical treatments on populations; and should anthropologists make use of indigenous peoples as medical trial subjects as was allegedly done by Napoleon Chagnon.

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 Anthropology

SOAN 291A - Bell, Alison K.

A discussion of a series of topics of anthropological concern. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Winter 2021, SOAN 291A-01: Special Topics in Anthropology: Collective Memory (3). Why do some places, events, objects, symbols, or individuals become central to understandings of heritage, while others seem ignored or forgotten? How do people use material objects - including landscapes, monuments, and museums - in negotiations of memory and history, identity and belonging, or debates about good and evil? This course examines cultural, social, political, and economic processes of memorialization through case studies from regional, national, and global contexts. This exploration of collective, if contested, memory making also covers topics such as heritage tourism, dark tourism, memorialization as witnessing, and ethics of remembrance. Bell.   

 

Senior Seminar in Social Analysis

SOAN 395 - Jasiewicz, Krzysztof

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.

Directed Individual Study

SOAN 401 - Eastwood, Jonathan R. (Jon)

A course for selected students, typically with junior or senior standing, who are preparing papers for presentation to professional meetings or for publication. May be repeated for degree credit with permission and if the topics are different.

Directed Individual Study

SOAN 403 - Goluboff, Sascha

A course for selected students with junior and senior standing, especially for honors students, with direction by different members of the department. May be repeated for degree credit with permission and if the topics are different.

Directed Individual Study

SOAN 403 - Gaylord, Donald A.

A course for selected students with junior and senior standing, especially for honors students, with direction by different members of the department. May be repeated for degree credit with permission and if the topics are different.

Directed Individual Study

SOAN 403 - Bell, Alison K.

A course for selected students with junior and senior standing, especially for honors students, with direction by different members of the department. May be repeated for degree credit with permission and if the topics are different.

Directed Individual Study

SOAN 403 - Narayanan, Sandhya K.

A course for selected students with junior and senior standing, especially for honors students, with direction by different members of the department. May be repeated for degree credit with permission and if the topics are different.

Honors Thesis

SOAN 493 - Goluboff, Sascha

Honors Thesis.

Honors Thesis

SOAN 493 - Markowitz, Harvey J.

Honors Thesis.

Honors Thesis

SOAN 493 - Eastwood, Jonathan R. (Jon)

Honors Thesis.