My courses generally have a "lecture with discussion" format, essay exams, and a term paper assignment that emphasizes integrating data from the world around us and library research.

SC 008 Marriage and the Family

This course analyzes marriage and the family, primarily in the United States.  We begin, however, with some anthropological materials so as to understand what aspects of the family are universal and also the tremendous variability of the family.

The course is organized around several themes:

Students utilize the readings in organizing their comprehensive essay exams.  They also write a term paper integrating library research and "real world data" from their own families.

Students are asked (especially in the term paper) to reflect on aspects of their own families.  Often this also is connected to the question of what kind of family they might wish to create.  In addition, students are asked to think about what responsibilities one has regarding other people's families, especially by means of influencing family policy (government, corporate, school policy).  Without the production, rearing, and socialization of children, a society ceases to exist.  The question for each student then is, what are one's own responsibilities--either in private, occupational, or public life--in this endeavor of our society to reproduce itself and thereby continue to exist.

SC 144 Legal and Illegal Violence Against Women

This course grew out of my research on rape and gradually evolved to looking at many types of violence against women.  The title, admittedly cumbersome, is intended to emphasize that although many types of violence against women are against the law, other types of violence are not or were not illegal (e.g., unnecessary surgery, social norms promoting anorexia, witch burning) in certain eras and cultures.

The course analyzes how violence and the threat of violence are used to maintain the system of stratification by gender; in other words, to keep women as second class citizens.  We read about issues such as medical violence, female genital mutilation, social standards of beauty and eating disorders, rape, pornography and advertising, wife abuse/girl friend abuse, and incest.  Students organize their essay exams around three questions: what causes the violence, what are the effects of the violence, and what are the solutions?  Students write term papers integrating library research and the data they collect (e.g., case history, content analysis, or a survey).  Several sessions of the course focus on empowerment and solutions.

SC 154 Medical Sociology

This course has two main topics.  The first is the social creation of disease.  We study the social creation and patterning of various diseases, disabilities, injuries, and death  (e.g., heart attacks, infant mortality, malnutrition, and radiation).  The second topic is the societal response to these problems.  We analyze the medical system as a work system; i.e., look at health care from the point of view of sociology of work and occupations.  Special emphasis is placed on the structure and power of the professions; professional-client relationships (health workers interacting with patients); the social meanings of health and illness; the formal organizations and institutions within which health work is carried on; and the impact of technology on medical care.

Students utilize the readings in organizing their comprehensive essay exams. Students also write a term paper integrating library research and "real world data," often based on their work or volunteer experiences in medical organizations or on a medical problem faced by themselves or a family member.

SC 564  Research Seminar in Medical and Family Sociology

This is a small, fast paced, project based seminar designed for students who enjoy a challenge.  Each student designs, researches, and writes up a carefully supervised individual project using detailed open-ended interviews.   Topics do not have to relate to campus life, but often students choose college-related topics.  For example, recent student projects include "College Students Who Choose Not to Drink," "The Development of Food Habits of College Students," "Witnessing Parental Violence: Effects on Dating Patterns of College Students."

Back to home page