Sociology is the study of human society. The root idea being that we are born biological creatures and become human beings. The goal of this course is to introduce you to the sociological viewpoint and teach you how to think conceptually and critically about society. Since all societies are not alike and yet create common institutions, we will examine which concepts, theories and methods help us understand how societies evolve, function, and change. By learning and doing sociological investigation, connecting our personal lives with larger social structures and exploring a wide range of social problems that impact our lives, the course readings, discussing writing assignments will give you a glimpse into what Sociologist do and the impact of the discipline. Finally, we will explore the three major axes of inequality: race, class, and gender and how they affect each country we visit.
Field ClassCountry: South Africa
Day: 1 - Wednesday, 25 March
This field Lab is a “shock to the eyes” because we arrive at Port which is not unlike many of the Saturday afternoon visits many Westerners make in their home cities. But we are in South Africa, the home of the late Honorable Nelson Mandela and the icon of liberation against racist apartheid whose legacies still persist but are reinforced by the immediate panoramic visual contrast of a Black Township. The senses are revolted when many ask: What for did Mr. Mandela and so man of his comrades fight for if not to change the economic inequality that existed and still exists? We will use our “sociological imagination” skills to answer this and other questions as we examine both sites for the “shadows” and for their humanities. Society is an on-going human enterprise that has not straight line to freedom and justice. We will draw on our own “lived experiences” about what we know of the South African struggle to make links between their societal realities and our own. Moreover, we will assess the price paid by all human beings when anyone is excluded and whose basic material human needs are denied. Academic objectives:
- To witness first-hand structural institutional inequality.
- To explore the past by the “mirror” of the present in search justice.
- To appreciate how human beings continue to create their social world through advancing society.