Social Psychology examines the relationship between individuals and their social environment; specifically, how individuals are influenced by, yet also shape, the groups and organizations in which they participate in and the social structure in which they interact. We will focus on both behavioral and psychological dimensions of individual’s interactions: how are the thoughts, feelings, and actions of individuals influenced by the presence of others? How do individuals make sense of their social worlds? How do gender and race/ethnicity influence our “individual” thoughts, feelings, and actions? How do individuals make decisions about how to behave, and how to evaluate the behavior of others? How do we acquire a sense of self and what is the relationship between self and the social world? How do we present our selves in everyday life? We will address these questions using various social psychological theories from both Psychology and Sociology--though drawing heavily from a Symbolic Interactionist tradition--and apply them to a range of topics: development of the self, emotion, deviance, collective behavior and social movements.

Analysis of human cultural adaptations in various societies around the world.

This course will explore the nature of systems of inequality, as they appear in human societies, focusing on the political, economic, and social forces that help produce inequality and social stratification.  Issues of class, race/ethnicity, gender, and sexuality—and their intersections—receive particular attention in regard to inequality and stratification. Various sociological concepts and theories of inequality are examined in class to help describe and explain social inequality in the United States and elsewhere, taking into account global dimensions of social stratification. A lab component is also part of this course; it serves as a vehicle for illuminating, in an experiential way, the trends, concepts, and theories of stratification that we will cover in the course of the semester. This class is part of our Engaged Department Initiative, which is reflected in many of the lab activities and volunteering opportunities that are essential elements and required aspects of this class.

The Capstone Seminar is designed to give students the opportunity to review major sociological theories and concepts, to experience additional professional socialization, and to engage with and in sociological research. In this course students will conduct an ethnographic study on a topic relevant to course readings and produce a final paper based upon the results of that research.