Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2023

Course Description

This is a required course for Sociology majors and provides a strong foundation of classical and contemporary theory that can inform your [senior] theses, honors projects, or other research endeavors. Social theories help us to make sense of the world around us and better understand different vantage points and positionalities. Theory, thus, allows us to understand and interpret individuals' and groups’ decisions, actions, social norms or violations of social norms, ideas, statuses, and values as well as the ecosystem that people interact and participate within. Throughout this course, we will gain an orientation to classical sociological thought (as defined by the canon) but will take care to discuss the limitations of these various theories, especially the absence/exclusion of select voices and experiences and what needs further theorization. From there, we can leverage theory to imagine how a more equitable society can be formed. Canonical Note: While this class will cite and reference many classical sociological texts that reflect the disciplinary canon (largely from the perspective of White men and presenting a Eurocentric framework), we will work diligently to problematize these texts and insert a critical analysis of race, gender, class, sexuality, etc., that remains historically under-theorized but imperative, nonetheless. Through inserting contemporary voices and perspectives from the margins, we are not only advancing our training as social theorists, we are becoming accountable to the present social realities we are faced with, including but not limited to, racial capitalism, structural racism, class division and conflict, gender bias and violence, mass incarceration, the school-to-prison pipeline, and other notable social problems.

Student Outcomes

Students will be able to: • Define and apply classical sociological theories to our understanding of contemporary social problems o We will take this a step further by problematizing classical interpretations and understandings of our social realities • Center and uplift voices/perspectives excluded from the canon and recognize their contributions to the advancement of social theory o *Students will also develop an understanding of the roles of power and privilege in human interactions • Develop analytical skills to support your sociological writing and reasoning across research projects