Fall 2022

  • SOAN 100: “We’re all in this together!” Rhetorical Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic

    When the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, a series of cultural messages quickly materialized in U.S. society. Statements such as, “we’re all in this together” and “the silver linings of coronavirus,” emphasized unity and gratitude while existing socio-political and generational divides were reinforced with “it’s a hoax” and “young people are spreading the virus.” What do these messages reveal about ourselves and society? This A&I seminar introduces students to the formal discipline of sociology through deconstructing rhetorical responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. We seek to understand why these cultural messages are problematic using an intellectual perspective that emphasizes “the social construction of reality.”

    6 credits; Argument and Inquiry Seminar, Writing Requirement, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter, Intercultural Domestic Studies; offered Fall 2022 · Annette Nierobisz
  • SOAN 110: Introduction to Anthropology

    Anthropology is the study of all human beings in all their diversity, an exploration of what it means to be human throughout the globe. This course helps us to see ourselves, and others, from a new perspective. By examining specific analytic concepts—such as culture—and research methods—such as participant observation—we learn how anthropologists seek to understand, document, and explain the stunning variety of human cultures and ways of organizing society. This course encourages you to consider how looking behind cultural assumptions helps anthropologists solve real world dilemmas.

    6 credits; Social Inquiry, International Studies; offered Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023 · Colin McLaughlin-Alcock, Constanza Ocampo-Raeder
  • SOAN 111: Introduction to Sociology

    Sociology is an intellectual discipline, spanning the gap between the sciences and humanities while often (though not always) involving itself in public policy debates, social reform, and political activism. Sociologists study a startling variety of topics using qualitative and quantitative methods. Still, amidst all this diversity, sociology is centered on a set of core historical theorists (Marx/Weber/Durkheim) and research topics (race/class/gender inequality). We will explore these theoretical and empirical foundations by reading and discussing influential texts and select topics in the study of social inequality while relating them to our own experiences and understanding of the social world. 

    6 credits; Social Inquiry; offered Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023 · Elizabeth Trudeau, Annette Nierobisz
  • SOAN 214: Neighborhoods and Cities: Inequalities and Identities

    Inequalities and identities are well understood yet too often disconnected from the context of space and place. In this class, we discuss the ways that neighborhoods and cities are sites of inequality as well as identity. Neighborhoods are linked to the amount of wealth we hold; the schools we attend; the goods, services, and resources we have access to; and who our neighbors are. Neighborhoods are also spaces where identities and community are created, claimed, and contested. They can also be sites of conflict as they change through gentrification or other processes that often reflect inequalities of power, resources, and status. In this course, special attention will be paid to how race, gender and sexuality, and immigration shape inequalities and identity in neighborhoods and cities. This course will also include an academic civic engagement component, collaborating with local communities in Minnesota.

    Prerequisites: The department strongly recommends that Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 be taken prior to enrolling in courses numbered 200 or above. 6 credits; Social Inquiry, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter, Intercultural Domestic Studies, Writing Requirement; offered Fall 2022 · Daniel Williams
  • SOAN 252: Growing up in an Aging Society

    Both the U.S. and global populations are trending toward a world with far fewer young people than ever before. So, what does it mean to grow up in a rapidly aging society? This course explores age, aging, and its various intersections with demographic characteristics including gender, sexuality, race, and social class. We situate age and aging within the context of macro-structural, institutional, and micro-everyday realms. Some topics we will examine include: media depictions and stereotypes; interpersonal relationships and caregiving; the workplace and retirement; and both the perceptions and inevitable realities of an aging population.

    6 credits; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement, Writing Requirement, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter, Intercultural Domestic Studies; offered Fall 2022 · Annette Nierobisz
  • SOAN 322: Buddhist Studies India Program: Contemporary Buddhist Culture

    This course introduces students to the complexity and plurality of Buddhist traditions that have flourished in diverse societies and cultures in the modern era. This course enables students to sympathetically understand and critically investigate various Buddhist traditions and their historically and culturally specific configurations of philosophical beliefs, cultural values, everyday practices, social institutions, and personal experiences. Focusing on Buddhist traditions of South and Southeast Asia, Japan, and Tibet, we explore topics including syncretism and popular religion, monasticism, gender, economic development, social movements, political violence, and religious revival. Students expand their research skills in anthropology through field assignments in Bodh Gaya.

    Prerequisites: Acceptance into the Buddhist Studies Program required 7 credits; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement, International Studies; offered Fall 2022 · Arthur McKeown
  • SOAN 326: Ecology and Anthropology Tanzania Program: Cultural Anthropology of East Africa

    The course introduces students to East Africa–its geography, people groups, and their cultures. The focus will be on the peoples of Tanzania and their linguistic groupings. We shall look at what scholars and the citizens themselves say about their origins, social, economic, ecological, and modern conditions. The course explores the history, social structure, politics, livelihood and ecology, gender issues, and the changes taking place among the Maasai, Arusha, Meru, Chagga, and Hadzabe cultural groups. Homestays, guest speakers, and excursions in northern Tanzania offer students and instructors enviable interactions with these groups and insights into their culture and socio-ecology.

    Prerequisites: One Anthropology, Biology or Environmental Studies course or instructor consent 7 credits; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement, International Studies; offered Fall 2022 · Anna Estes
  • SOAN 330: Sociological Thought and Theory

    Many thinkers have contributed to the development of sociology as an intellectual discipline and mode of social inquiry; however, few have had the influence of Emile Durkheim, Karl Marx, and Max Weber. This course focuses on influential texts and ideas generated by these and other theorists from sociology’s “classical era,” how these texts and ideas are put to use by contemporary sociologists, and on more recent theoretical developments and critical perspectives that have influenced the field. 

    Prerequisites: The department strongly recommends that Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 be taken prior to enrolling in courses numbered 200 or above 6 credits; Social Inquiry, Writing Requirement; offered Fall 2022 · Wes Markofski
  • SOAN 396: Advanced Sociological and Anthropological Writing

    This course explores different genres of writing and different audiences for writing in the social sciences, focusing particular attention on scholarly articles published in professional journals in sociology and anthropology. To that end, students both analyze sociological and anthropological articles regarding commonalities and differences in academic writing in our two sister disciplines. Students work on their own academic writing process (with the help of peer-review and instructor feedback). The writing itself is broken down into component elements on which students practice and revise their work.

    Prerequisites: Completion of Sociology/Anthropology 240 or submission of a topic statement in the preceding spring term and submission of a comps thesis proposal on the first day of fall term. Senior Sociology/Anthropology major or instructor permission 6 credits; S/CR/NC; Social Inquiry, Writing Requirement; offered Fall 2022 · Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg
  • SOAN 400: Integrative Exercise

    Senior sociology/anthropology majors fulfill the integrative exercise by writing a senior thesis on a topic approved by the department. Students must enroll in six credits to write the thesis, spread as the student likes over Fall, Winter, and Spring terms. The process begins with the submission of a topic statement in the preceding spring term and concludes with a public presentation in spring of the senior year. Please consult the Sociology and Anthropology website for a full description. 1 credit; S/NC; offered Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023 · Wes Markofski, Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg, Liz Raleigh, Constanza Ocampo-Raeder, Annette Nierobisz

Winter 2023

  • SOAN 110: Introduction to Anthropology

    Anthropology is the study of all human beings in all their diversity, an exploration of what it means to be human throughout the globe. This course helps us to see ourselves, and others, from a new perspective. By examining specific analytic concepts—such as culture—and research methods—such as participant observation—we learn how anthropologists seek to understand, document, and explain the stunning variety of human cultures and ways of organizing society. This course encourages you to consider how looking behind cultural assumptions helps anthropologists solve real world dilemmas.

    6 credits; Social Inquiry, International Studies; offered Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023 · Colin McLaughlin-Alcock, Constanza Ocampo-Raeder
  • SOAN 111: Introduction to Sociology

    Sociology is an intellectual discipline, spanning the gap between the sciences and humanities while often (though not always) involving itself in public policy debates, social reform, and political activism. Sociologists study a startling variety of topics using qualitative and quantitative methods. Still, amidst all this diversity, sociology is centered on a set of core historical theorists (Marx/Weber/Durkheim) and research topics (race/class/gender inequality). We will explore these theoretical and empirical foundations by reading and discussing influential texts and select topics in the study of social inequality while relating them to our own experiences and understanding of the social world. 

    6 credits; Social Inquiry; offered Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023 · Elizabeth Trudeau, Annette Nierobisz
  • SOAN 207: Sociology of Gender

    What is gender and how do we make sense of it? Ideas about gender have a powerful influence on our lives and society but understanding this influence can be complex. From the recent women’s march and #MeToo movement to debates about transgender rights, our social landscape is full of pressing questions related to gender. Why does gender inequality persist? How is gender identification determined? Is it possible to eliminate gender categorization or is it inevitable? This course will offer students an overview of sociological theories that explain how societies think about and are built on gender and gender differences. It will cover variations in how individuals experience and identify based on embodied and lived differences as well as the social forces that shape how society defines gender categories and gendered behavior.

    Prerequisites: The department strongly recommends that Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 be taken prior to enrolling in courses numbered 200 or above 6 credits; Social Inquiry, Intercultural Domestic Studies; offered Winter 2023 · Elizabeth Trudeau
  • SOAN 228: Public Sociology of Religion

    From the discipline’s earliest days, sociologists have considered religion a fascinating and perplexing object of study. Classical sociologists devoted enormous attention to the topic of religion, famously linking it to the development of capitalism and Western modernity (Weber), to social solidarity and symbolic classification systems (Durkheim), to political passivity and social conservatism (Marx), and to the varying forms of social, economic, and political life found in the world’s great civilizations. This course focuses on special topics in the contemporary sociology of religion, with a particular emphasis on religion in public and political life in American and global civil society.

    Prerequisites: The department strongly recommends that Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 be taken prior to enrolling in courses number 200 or above 6 credits; Social Inquiry, International Studies; offered Winter 2023 · Wes Markofski
  • SOAN 233: Anthropology of Food

    Food is the way to a person’s heart but perhaps even more interesting, the window into a society’s soul. Simply speaking understating a society’s foodways is the best way to comprehend the complexity between people, culture and nature. This course explores how anthropologists use food to understand different aspects of human behavior, from food procurement and consumption practices to the politics of nutrition and diets. In doing so we hope to elucidate how food is more than mere sustenance and that often the act of eating is a manifestation of power, resistance, identity, and community.

    6 credits; Social Inquiry, International Studies; offered Winter 2023 · Constanza Ocampo-Raeder
  • SOAN 256: Africa: Representation and Conflict

    Pairing classics in Africanist anthropology with contemporary re-studies, we explore changes in African societies and in the questions anthropologists have posed about them. We address issues of representation and self-presentation in written ethnographies as well as in African portrait photography. We then turn from the visual to the invisible realm of African witchcraft. Initiation rituals, war, and migration place selfhood and belonging back in this-world contexts. In-depth case studies include, among others: the Cameroon Grassfields, the Bemba of Zambia, and the Nuer of South Sudan. Prerequisites: The department strongly recommends that Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 be taken prior to enrolling in courses numbered 200 or above 6 credits; Social Inquiry, International Studies, Writing Requirement; offered Winter 2023 · Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg
  • SOAN 262: Anthropology of Health and Illness

    An ethnographic approach to beliefs and practices regarding health and illness in numerous societies worldwide. This course examines patients, practitioners, and the social networks and contexts through which therapies are managed to better understand medical systems as well as the significance of the anthropological study of misfortune. Specific topics include the symbolism of models of illness, the ritual management of misfortune and of life crisis events, the political economy of health, therapy management, medical pluralism, and cross-cultural medical ethics. Prerequisites: The department strongly recommends that Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 be taken prior to enrolling in courses numbered 200 or above 6 credits; Social Inquiry, Writing Requirement, International Studies; offered Winter 2023 · Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg
  • SOAN 278: Urban Ethnography and the American Experience

    American sociology has a rich tradition of focusing the ethnographic eye on the American experience. We will take advantage of this tradition to encounter urban America through the ethnographic lens, expanding our social vision and investigating the nature of race, place, meaning, interaction, and inequality in the U.S. While doing so, we will also explore the unique benefits, challenges, and underlying assumptions of ethnographic research as a distinctive mode of acquiring and communicating social knowledge. As such, this course offers both an immersion in the American experience and an inquiry into the craft of ethnographic writing and research.

    Prerequisites: The department strongly recommends that 110 or 111 be taken prior to enrolling in courses numbered 200 or above 6 credits; Social Inquiry, Intercultural Domestic Studies; offered Winter 2023 · Wes Markofski
  • SOAN 310: Sociology of Mass Incarceration

    Since the 1980s, the United States criminal justice system has embarked on a social experiment we now call, “mass incarceration.” The outcome – unprecedented rates of imprisonment, particularly in BIPOC communities – has had devastating consequences for individuals, families, neighborhoods, and American society. This course explores the causes and consequences of mass incarceration. Potential topics include: race, class, gender, and age in the prison system; the impacts of incarceration on children and intimate partners who get left behind; punishment strategies such as solitary confinement and the death penalty; the lucrative business of the prison industrial complex; and the promise of prison abolition.

    Prerequisites: Prerequisites: The department strongly recommends that Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 be taken prior to enrolling in courses numbered 200 or above. 6 credits; Social Inquiry, Writing Requirement, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter, Intercultural Domestic Studies; offered Winter 2023 · Annette Nierobisz
  • SOAN 331: Anthropological Thought and Theory

    Our ways of perceiving and acting in the world emerge simultaneously from learned and shared orientations of long duration, and from specific contexts and contingencies of the moment. This applies to the production of anthropological ideas and of anthropology as an academic discipline. This course examines anthropological theory by placing the observers and the observed in the same comparative historical framework, subject to the ethnographic process and to historical conditions in and out of academe. We seek to understand genealogies of ideas, building on and/or reacting to previous anthropological approaches. We highlight the diversity of voices who thought up these ideas, and have influenced anthropological thought through time. We attend to the intellectual and political context in which anthropologists conducted research, wrote, and published their works, as well as which voices did/did not reach academic audiences. The course thus traces the development of the core issues, central debates, internecine battles, and diversity of anthropological thought and of anthropologists that have animated anthropology since it first emerged as a distinct field of inquiry to present-day efforts at intellectual decolonization. 

    Prerequisites: Socilogy/Anthropology 110 or 111, and at least one 200- or 300-level SOAN course, or permission of instructor. 6 credits; Social Inquiry, International Studies, Writing Requirement; offered Winter 2023 · Constanza Ocampo-Raeder
  • SOAN 335: The Politics of Public Art

    In this class we will explore the politics of public art. While we will look at the political messaging of public art, we will also seek to understand how public art, through its integration into a social geography, has a political impact beyond its meaning. We will see how art claims public space and structures social action, how art shapes social groups, and how art channels economic flows or government power. By tracing the ways that art is situated in public space, we will examine how art enters into urban contest and global inequality. For the purposes of this class, we will focus primarily (but not exclusively) on public art in urban settings. Class activity will include exploration of public art and students will be introduced to key concepts of urban spatial analysis to help interrogate this art.

    Prerequisites: The department strongly recommends that Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 be taken prior to enrolling in courses numbered 200 or above 6 credits; Social Inquiry; offered Winter 2023 · Colin McLaughlin-Alcock
  • SOAN 400: Integrative Exercise

    Senior sociology/anthropology majors fulfill the integrative exercise by writing a senior thesis on a topic approved by the department. Students must enroll in six credits to write the thesis, spread as the student likes over Fall, Winter, and Spring terms. The process begins with the submission of a topic statement in the preceding spring term and concludes with a public presentation in spring of the senior year. Please consult the Sociology and Anthropology website for a full description. 1 credit; S/NC; offered Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023 · Wes Markofski, Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg, Liz Raleigh, Constanza Ocampo-Raeder, Annette Nierobisz

Spring 2023

  • SOAN 110: Introduction to Anthropology

    Anthropology is the study of all human beings in all their diversity, an exploration of what it means to be human throughout the globe. This course helps us to see ourselves, and others, from a new perspective. By examining specific analytic concepts—such as culture—and research methods—such as participant observation—we learn how anthropologists seek to understand, document, and explain the stunning variety of human cultures and ways of organizing society. This course encourages you to consider how looking behind cultural assumptions helps anthropologists solve real world dilemmas.

    6 credits; Social Inquiry, International Studies; offered Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023 · Colin McLaughlin-Alcock, Constanza Ocampo-Raeder
  • SOAN 111: Introduction to Sociology

    Sociology is an intellectual discipline, spanning the gap between the sciences and humanities while often (though not always) involving itself in public policy debates, social reform, and political activism. Sociologists study a startling variety of topics using qualitative and quantitative methods. Still, amidst all this diversity, sociology is centered on a set of core historical theorists (Marx/Weber/Durkheim) and research topics (race/class/gender inequality). We will explore these theoretical and empirical foundations by reading and discussing influential texts and select topics in the study of social inequality while relating them to our own experiences and understanding of the social world. 

    6 credits; Social Inquiry; offered Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023 · Elizabeth Trudeau, Annette Nierobisz
  • SOAN 113: Sociology of Work & Organizations

    Most of us “go to work” at some point in our lives. Whether it’s a summer job, a side hustle or a life-long career, people invest a lot of our time and energy into planning to be, preparing for, and operating as members of the “workforce.” Work shapes all aspects of people’s lives from their ability to provide for basic needs to their personal and social identities. In industrialized societies work is often characterized by membership in complex formalized organizations. However recent history and sociological theory raise a lot of questions about how work and organized labor may be changing. How do we define success? Who makes the most money and why? Have recent events like the pandemic changed the way we approach work? This course will cover classic and contemporary research into social organizations and the shifting landscape of work in post-industrial society. Topics will include the rise of complex for profit and nonprofit organizations, inequality in the workplace, sex work and illicit labor, and recent trends in the labor force. 

    6 credits; Social Inquiry, International Studies; offered Spring 2023 · Elizabeth Trudeau
  • SOAN 201: Colonialism, Oil, And The War On Terror: The Global Middle East

    Through processes like colonialism, oil extraction, and the war on terror, the Middle East forms an important pivot, shaping global political and economic structures. This course will examine how the Middle East has developed in dynamic interaction with the wider globe. Yet, we will resist the urge to treat the Middle East merely as an object of Western intervention. Rather, we will explore how the West and wider globe are also shaped by this interaction. In particular, we will examine how ideas about modernity, secularism, and liberalism—key elements of contemporary Western identity—are shaped through dynamic interconnection with Middle East.

    6 credits; Social Inquiry, Writing Requirement, International Studies; offered Spring 2023 · Colin McLaughlin-Alcock
  • SOAN 208: Gentrification

    Gentrification, a process of neighborhood-level class displacement, whereby devalued urban areas are redeveloped into trendy hubs, is one of the predominant modes of urban change in the twenty-first century. In this class, we will first develop a general understanding of how gentrification works. Then we will direct ethnographic attention to explore how gentrification takes place in specific contexts around the globe. We will examine how social boundaries, power relationships, and identities are reorganized through gentrification; how class and racial disparity are produced and enforced; how the social meaning of place impacts neighborhood change; and how communities have resisted gentrification.

    Prerequisites: The department strongly recommends that Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 be taken prior to enrolling in courses numbered 200 or above 6 credits; Social Inquiry, International Studies; offered Spring 2023 · Colin McLaughlin-Alcock
  • SOAN 240: Methods of Social Research

    The course is concerned with social scientific inquiry and explanation, particularly with reference to sociology and anthropology. Topics covered include research design, data collection, and analysis of data. Both quantitative and qualitative methods are considered. Students will demonstrate their knowledge by developing a research proposal that is implementable.

    Prerequisites: Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111; Sociology/Anthropology 239, Mathematics 215 or Statistics 120 6 credits; Social Inquiry, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter, Writing Requirement; offered Spring 2023 · Annette Nierobisz
  • SOAN 307: Human Trafficking

    The FBI receives praise and criticism for shutting down Backpage.com. A conspiracy theory about online furniture company Wayfair goes viral. Jeffrey Epstein is arrested. What do these disparate events have in common? They are all recent incidents that raise the question: when and how will the United States respond to the crime of human trafficking? In the past several decades activists and governments around the world have been increasingly focused on addressing human trafficking. However, there is often disagreement about the best way to understand and attempt to prevent a crime that is tied to a complex host of social, political, and cultural forces. This course will cover how human trafficking is defined, measured and studied as well as the cultural and political factors that affect how it occurs and how we try to respond to it. Topics will include labor, sex and organ trafficking, globalization, migration and inequality, and the criminalization/decrminalization of sex-based labor. 

    Prerequisites: The department strongly recommends that Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 be taken prior to enrolling in courses numbered 200 or above. 6 credits; Social Inquiry, Intercultural Domestic Studies; offered Spring 2023 · Elizabeth Trudeau
  • SOAN 313: Woke Nature: Towards an Anthropology of Non-Human Beings

    The core of anthropological thought has been organized around the assumption that the production of complex cultural systems is reserved to the domain of the human experience. While scholars have contested this assumption for years, there is an emerging body of scholarship that proposes expanding our understandings of culture, and the ability to produce meaning in the world, to include non-human beings (e.g. plants, wildlife, micro-organisms, mountains). This course explores ethnographic works in this field and contextualizes insights within contemporary conversations pertaining to our relationship with nature, public health, and social justice movements that emerge within decolonized frameworks.

    Prerequisites: The department strongly recommends that Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 be taken prior to enrolling in courses numbered 200 or above 6 credits; Social Inquiry, International Studies, Writing Requirement; offered Spring 2023 · Constanza Ocampo-Raeder
  • SOAN 400: Integrative Exercise

    Senior sociology/anthropology majors fulfill the integrative exercise by writing a senior thesis on a topic approved by the department. Students must enroll in six credits to write the thesis, spread as the student likes over Fall, Winter, and Spring terms. The process begins with the submission of a topic statement in the preceding spring term and concludes with a public presentation in spring of the senior year. Please consult the Sociology and Anthropology website for a full description. 1 credit; S/NC; offered Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023 · Wes Markofski, Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg, Liz Raleigh, Constanza Ocampo-Raeder, Annette Nierobisz

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