Several Carleton courses feature an academic civic engagement (ACE) component, through which students learn about issues affecting Northfield while helping the community. Students, professors, and the community have found these courses to be extremely positive. The SOAN Department offers a few such courses.


SOAN 262: Anthropology of Health and Illness

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.

Students in this class have previously worked with Growing Up Healthy to conduct library-based research on subpopulations such as Faribault’s Somali population and issues such as refugee mental health and culturally specific presentation of symptoms. Other students worked with HealthFinders to develop and administer surveys in both English and Spanish. Students also organized and led focus groups and did participant observation in waiting rooms. This project culminated in a presentation to the HealthFinders Board.

Prerequisites: The department strongly recommends that Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 be taken prior to enrolling in courses numbered 200 or above


SOAN 314: Contemporary Issues in Critical Criminology

This course examines contemporary criminological issues from a critical, sociological perspective. Our focus is on the United States with topics under examination including white collar crime, racial disparities in the criminal justice system, mass incarceration and other transformations in punishment, prisoner reentry, and the risk of recidivism. In addition to understanding both classic and contemporary sociological research and theory, we will seek answers to questions like: What is crime? Who is considered a criminal? What social changes drove the United States to get “tough” on crime?  What effects does incarceration have on prisoners, their families, their neighborhoods and communities? What happens when prisoners return to society?

Prerequisites: The department strongly recommends that Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 be taken prior to enrolling in courses numbered 200 or above