Sociology and Anthropology Courses

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 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 - Eastwood, Jonathan R. (Jon)

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.

Fall 2020

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 - Narayanan, Sandhya 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 - 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 Anthropology

SOAN 181 - Narayanan, Sandhya K.

First-year seminar.

Fall 2020, SOAN 181-01: First-Year Seminar: Art of the Shade: The Anthropology of Insults, Sarcasm, and Back-Handed Compliments (3).  Prerequisite: First-year class standing only. What does TheRock have in common with the Dowager Countess of Downton Abbey? Other than their charm and charisma, they are masters at talking trash and throwing shade at their opponents. We explore the anthropology of insults, sarcasm, and other types of pointed forms of comedy, and see how anthropologists study insults, sarcasm, and jokes. We also discuss what these types of comedic performances tell us about our need to express our feelings about social difference, form social bonds, or just have a moment in the spotlight. Let the shade throwing begin! (SS4) Narayanan .

Archaeology

SOAN 206 - Gaylord, Donald A.

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.

Anthropology of Death

SOAN 235 - Bell, Alison K.

Death is of course universal - "it is appointed for all once to die" - but cultural understandings of death vary enormously. This course provides an overview of death practices from prehistory to the present. Discussion covers diverse beliefs in the afterlife, the nature of the soul, and proper dispositions of the body. Readings include archaeological studies of funerary practices in European prehistory, ethnographic accounts of belief and behavior in diverse cultures throughout the world, classic anthropological theories of how funerary ceremonies articulate with social relations, and journalistic representations of contemporary American practices - including the rise in cremation, green burials, celebratory funerals, idiosyncratic gravestones, and online memorials.

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.

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?

Introduction to American Indian Religions

SOAN 285 - Markowitz, Harvey J.

This class introduces students to some of the dominant themes, values, beliefs, and practices found among the religions of North America's Indian peoples. The first part of the course explores the importance of sacred power, landscape, and community in traditional Indian spiritualities and rituals. It then examines some of the changes that have occurred in these traditions as a result of western expansion and dominance from the 18th through early 20th centuries. Lastly, the course considers some of the issues and problems confronting contemporary American Indian religions.

Special Topics in Anthropology

SOAN 291B - Markowitz, Harvey J.

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

Fall 2020, SOAN 291B-01: Special Topics in Anthropology: Psychological Anthropology (3). An introduction to psychological anthropology, that subfield of cultural anthropology that examines the influence of a society's culture on individual cognitive and emotional attributes. The first half of the seminar presents a general overview of psycho-anthropological history, theories, and methodologies. The second half focuses on one of the most recent orientations of the subfield - ethnopsychology - which studies how non-western peoples categorize, describe, and explain human psychological processes. Markowitz.

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

SOAN 401 - Goluboff, Sascha

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 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 - 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.

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.

Spring 2020

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.

Laboratory Methods in Archaeology

SOAN 211 - Bell, Alison K.

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.

A World of Data: Baseball and Statistics

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

An introduction to the world of data and data analysis, emphasizing Bayesian methods. Taking the case of contemporary sports, with a particular focus on baseball, it teaches students how to build models of player performance while also asking important questions about the limitations of such approaches to human activities. What is gained and lost in the world made by measuring human actions in reliable ways? How is our experience in the world--in this case as athletes playing and spectators living sports--affected when we see it in terms of statistics and predictive models? What interests and what concerns make up our lives when we engage the world in this way? What interests and concerns may be obscured? The course offers a rare opportunity to acquire some expertise in producing data-driven knowledge and decisions while also reflecting on what it is like to be a non-expert living in the world shaped by such expertise.

Adolescence Under the Microscope

SOAN 281 - Novack, David R. / Novack, Lesley L.

This course focuses on adolescence through the lens of social psychology. Insights from sociology, anthropology, and psychology are employed to explicate the adolescent experience in the United States in contrast to other societies. Topics include: the impact of liminality on adolescent identity in cross-cultural perspective; adolescence as objective reality or cultural fiction; adolescence and peer relations, gender and suicide; and new technologies and virtual adolescence. Each student engages in a research project focusing on adolescence and identity through either interviews or observational techniques. The final project is a group analysis of adolescence as reflected in Facebook.

Lakota Land Culture, Economics and History

SOAN 286 - Markowitz, Harvey J. / Guse, Aaron J. (Joseph)

This class focuses on the cultural, economic, and historical dimensions of the Lakotas' (Titonwan tawapi ) ties to their lands as expressed in their pre- and post-reservation lifeways. It includes a 10 day field trip to western South Dakota to visit and meet with people in the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Reservations and the Black Hills.

Special Topics in Sociology

SOAN 290 - Perez, Marcos E.

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

Spring 2020, SOAN 290-01: Topic: Global Urban Sociology (3). An exploration of the complexities of city life in an increasingly globalized world, focusing on three broad topics. First, we examine the challenges caused by urbanization in both developed and developing societies: how to provide basic services for urban residents, avoid environmental degradation, and mitigate poverty, inequality, and violence. Second, we discuss the economic role that cities have played during different historical periods. Third, we consider how urban life may change in the future, looking especially at technology and climate change. Perez .

 

Special Topics in Anthropology

SOAN 291 - Rainville, Lynn

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

Spring 2020, SOAN 291-02: Artifacts, Maps, & Archives: An Ethno-Historic Approach to W&L's Past (3).  Applying interdisciplinary methods to study four centuries of W&L material culture and historic records. We use these items to uncover additional stories about W&L founders, its evolving curriculum, and buildings. We visit multiple collections of art, ceramics, artifacts, and documents on campus, and walk several miles across on- and off-campus historic landscapes, including local graveyards. Students synthesize this material and produce several deliverables: (1) additional historic layers to the online campus map (campusmap.wlu.edu); (2) a poster for the term-ending Spring Festival; and (3) biographical sketches of under-studied members of the W&L community. Rainville.

Seminar: 9/11 & Modern Terrorism

SOAN 367 - Senechal, Roberta H.

Terrorism is a form of collective violence famously illustrated in the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon near Washington on September 11, 2001. This course provides an intensive interdisciplinary examination of the origins of the 9/11 attacks and the terrorist organization that launched them. The course also addresses the impact of the attacks and the future prospects of mass violence against civilians, as well as the role of the media in covering (and dramatizing) terrorism. Much of the course focuses on the social divisions and conflicts that lead to terrorism and its increasingly lethal nature over time. Topics include "old terrorism" (as seen in Northern Ireland and Algeria), "new terrorism" (such as that associated with Al Qaeda), the logic of terrorist recruitment, and the nature of and spread of weapons of mass destruction.