Sociology and Anthropology (SOAN)
Chair: Associate Professor Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg
Professors: James F. Fisher, Beverly Nagel, Nader Saiedi, Nancy C. Wilkie
Visiting Professor: Naran Bilik
Associate Professors: Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg, Jerome M. Levi
Assistant Professors: Annette Nierobisz, Meera Sehgal
Joining two disciplines as it does, the Sociology and Anthropology Department at Carleton seeks to present a truly unified vision of them, both in the major as a whole and in many of the individual courses. Our principal goal is to give students a comparative perspective on human societies, exploring the vast range of similarities and differences among them in space and time.
Non-majors may take either 110 or 111. We strongly recommend, however, that students considering a major in the department take both of them (in either order) by the end of the sophomore year. Unless otherwise noted, 110 or 111 is prerequisite for courses numbered 200 and above, though juniors and seniors lacking the prerequisite may apply to the instructor for permission to enroll.
Requirements for a Major:
Sixty-six credits in the department, including 110, 111, 240, 330, 331 and 400. In addition, students must complete Mathematics 115 or 215 or earn a score of 4 or 5 on the MATH AP Stats exam before taking Sociology/Anthropology 240. Students should plan on taking the theory courses, 330 and 331, and the research methods course, 240 in their junior year. The integrative exercise is spread out over the senior year, with most of the work falling in winter term. A maximum of 12 credits can be applied toward the major from relevant courses in off-campus programs.
In keeping with our philosophy of comparative studies and commitment to understanding human societies other than the one we live in, majors are strongly urged to develop an in depth study of a culture other than their own. This may be done through regular courses, independent study, or on off-campus programs. Early in their junior year, students should discuss ways of integrating such an in-depth study into their work in the major with their advisers.
SOAN 100. The Myths of Crime What is crime? Who is the typical offender? What percentage of the American population is victimized by crime? This course will examine popular answers to these and other pressing questions about crime and contrast them with sociological informed accounts. As a firstyear seminar, the course is designed to help students acquire a critical perspective on crime and more importantly, to separate fact from fiction. In the process students will learn how to locate and interpret sociological evidence, and how to assess theoretical accounts of crime. By the end of the course students will have a better sense of the larger sociological enterprise. 6 cr., S/CR/NC, SS, FallA. Nierobisz
SOAN 110. Introduction to Anthropology An introduction to cultural and social anthropology which develops the theoretical rationale of the discipline through the integration of ethnographic accounts with an analysis of major trends in historical and contemporary thought. Examples of analytical problems selected for discussion include the concepts of society and culture, value systems, linguistics, socio-cultural analysis of economic, social, political and religious institutions, as well as ethnographic method and the ethical position of anthropology. 6 credits cr., SS,RAD, Fall,Winter,SpringStaff
SOAN 111. Introduction to Sociology An introduction to sociology, including analysis of the sociological perspective, culture, socialization, demography, and social class and caste institutions in modern industrial societies and cultures; stability and change in societies of the twentieth century. Pros and cons of various theoretical strategies will be emphasized. 6 cr., SS, Fall,Winter,SpringStaff
SOAN 130. Population and Food in the Global System This course focuses on issues of population growth, hunger, and world food supply. Topics to be considered include: dynamics of population growth and demographic change; food production systems and sustainable development in the Third World; sociopolitical and ecological causes of famine; and patterns of world food distribution. Special attention will be given to policies aimed at controlling population and increasing food production, and why they succeed or fail. No prerequisites. 6 credits cr., SS, FallB. Nagel
SOAN 205. Guatemala Program: Indigenous Language Instruction During the first two weeks of the program, students will receive intensive instruction in a Mayan language spoken in the field research area (either K'iche or Mam). While this intensive language instruction will not provide fluency in the language, it will provide basic language skills that will facilitate and enrich students' field research. 2 cr., S/CR/NC, ND, WinterB. Nagel
SOAN 220. Class, Power, and Inequality in America The processes, structures, and functions of stratification in advanced capitalist societies. Marxist, neomarxist, Weberian, and functionalist models of class analysis; theories of status attainment and mobility; the relationship between class, gender, and ethnicity; the relation of education to status attainment; class and socialization; models of justice and rationality; and the global stratification system. Prerequisite: Sociology 111 or consent of the instructor. 6 credits cr., SS, WinterN. Saiedi
SOAN 221. Law and Society Law has an impact on every aspect of our lives, from the conditions of our birth to the conditions of our death and everything else in between. As we enter the twentyfirst century, the pervasiveness of law continues to grow. We begin this course by exploring the ubiquity of law and the implications of this for our daytoday lives. Next we examine definitions of law, the development of law, and the extent to which law is shaped by the wider social and cultural contexts in which it is embedded. We conclude by examining specific issues such as legal consciousness, the legal profession, and law and social inequality. Readings include classic and contemporary theoretical works on law and society, and current empirical applications. 6 cr., SS, FallA. Nierobisz
SOAN 222. Working in the New Economy A "new economy" has dominated North American society since the early 1980s. Many aspects of social life have been reoriented by the new economy but its effects are most pronounced in the contractual relationship between workers and their employers. In this course we examine transitions in the relationship between these two sets of economic actors, employers and employees. Specific topics include job satisfaction, skill, worker autonomy, balancing work and family, workplace discrimination, and overwork. 6 credits cr., SS, Not offered in 2005-2006.
SOAN 225. Social Movements In this course we will consider questions of how ordinary women and men have come together to reshape the societies in which they live and the difficult choices they have faced in the process. We will explore factors affecting the emergence, growth, structure and impact of social movements as their participants intentionally attempt to bring about social change, transform social relationships and reshape social values. Major theoretical perspectives (concerning collective behavior, resource mobilization, and new social movements) will be examined in light of some of the most important social movements from around the world. Prerequisites: Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 or permission of instructor. 6 credits cr., SS, WinterM. Sehgal
SOAN 226. Anthropology of Gender This course examines gender and gender relations from an anthropological perspective. We discuss such key concepts as gender, voice/mutedness, status, public and private spheres, and the gendered division of labor, and explore the intellectual history of these terms and how they have been used. The course focuses on two areas: 1) the role of sex, sexuality, and procreation in creating cultural notions of gender, and 2) the impacts of colonialism, globalization, and economic underdevelopment on Third World women. Readings include both theoretical articles and ethnographic case studies from around the world. Prerequisite: Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 or permission of the instructor. 6 credits cr., SS,RAD, FallP. Feldman-Savelsberg
SOAN 230. Human Evolution and Prehistory A survey of the course of human evolution from Australopithecenes to the Upper Paleolithic. Areas of discussion include paleoanthropology, genetics, primate ethology, the role of archaeology in providing evidence for human evolution and culture, and the importance of environment and technology in the evolution of culture. No prerequisite. 6 credits cr., SS, SpringN. Wilkie
SOAN 234. Ecology, Economy, and Culture This course examines the ways in which economic goods are embedded in social relations. When does a thing become a commodity? What relationships exist between culture and ecology? Formulating an anthropological perspective for the interpretation of "economic facts," we will examine simularities and differences among hunter-gatherers, horticulturalists, and peasants. We will also discuss the interpretation of traders in the brokering of culture, asymmetrical articulation of local and transnational economies, gender bias in classical exchange theory, Mauss on gift-giving and Marx on "commodity fetishism." Theoretical material will be illustrated with ethnographic examples from Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas. 6 cr., SS, SpringJ. Levi
SOAN 236. Activism, Collective Action, and Social Change This class will start by examining ideas of activism and social change, beginning at Enlightenment conceptions of self and society and following how the notion of what constitutes activism has changed through time. We will look at theoretical arguments over what motivates and hinders activism and collective action. We will compare theories of collective action and social movements, look at organizing models and practices, and evaluate social change mechanisms. This course will use community service learning to do observations of social change projects. 6 cr., SS, Not offered in 2005-2006.
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. Prerequisites: Sociology and Anthropology 110 and 111 and Mathematics 115. 6 cr., SS, WinterA. Nierobisz
SOAN 241. Guatemala Program: Field Research Methods
Designed to prepare students for their independent research projects, this course will train students in field research methods. It will cover topics in participant observation, interview methods, and research ethics. Students will develop the prospectus for their field research project as their major assignment for this course. 4 cr., SS, WinterB. Nagel
SOAN 242. Qualitative Thinking
In this course we examine the epistemological assumptions and techniques of qualitative research. We begin by examining questions such as: How do we know what we know? What questions guide our research? Does it matter who the researcher is? What do we do to the objects/subjects of our research? What issues arise in studying 'Others'? Whose interests does research serve? Who uses or misuses it? Can qualitative research address social justice issues? These discussions are followed by hands-on practical experience thinking and researching from a qualitative perspective. This course is useful to students applying for junior fellowships, study abroad programs, or planning to use a qualitative approach in their comps. Prerequisites: Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 or permission of instructor. 6 credits cr., SS, SpringM. Sehgal
SOAN 244. Biodiversity Conservation, Culture, and Development How can the need for intensive human social and economic development be reconciled with the conservation of biodiversity? This course explores the wide range of actions that people take on a local, national, and international level to address this question. We will use political ecology and conservation biology as theoretical frameworks to examine the role of traditional and indigenous approaches to biodiversity conservation as well as contemporary debates about integrated conservation development across a spectrum of cultures in North America, Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Prerequisite: Sociology/Anthropology 110, 111, or permission of instructor. 6 credits cr., SS, Spring B. Nagel, T. Nega
SOAN 250. Ethnography of Latin America This course explores the historical development and contemporary experience of selected peoples and cultures of Latin America. We will examine the historical and structural processes that have shaped contact among indigenous, European, and African peoples in Latin America during Conquest and the colonial period, under conditions of global economic expansion and state formation, and in present day urban centers and extractive/agricultural "frontiers." Special attention will be given to local-level transformations and resistance. Examples will be drawn principally from Mayan, Afro-Brazilian, Aymara-Quechua, and mestizo cultures. 6 credits cr., SS,RAD, FallB. Nagel
SOAN 251. Guatemala Program: Community Development, Cultural Empowerment and Social Change in Guatemala
This seminar focuses on the role of community groups, social movements, local governments, and non-governmental organizations in promoting cultural empowerment, more equitable and sustainable development, and human rights. Through readings, as well as meetings and interviews with cultural and human rights activists, development practitioners, and others, we will study the ways that Guatemalans are working to rebuild communities, promote cultural revitalization and empowerment, and forge paths to more equitable and sustainable economic growth. The final week of the program will involve a field trip to Chiapas, Mexico, to provide a comparative study of these issues. 4 cr., SS,RAD, WinterB. Nagel
SOAN 252. Middle Eastern Social Theory Modern Middle Eastern social theory is strongly influenced by both interpretations of Islam and by modern Western social theory and political philosophy. This course is divided into three parts. The first discusses classical Islamic views on culture, philosophy, jurisprudence, theology, mysticism, and politics. The second explores the Middle East as the object of Western social theory. Part three discusss the contemporary social and political structure of the Middle East and its relation to the ideas that are developed by the Middle Eastern social thinkers. 6 credits cr., SS, Not offered in 2005-2006.
SOAN 254. Anthropology of South Asia This course will consider some of the methodological and theoretical problems involved in studying complex Hindu civilization. Topics such as caste, marriage and kinship, economics, politics and leadership, religion and social change will be treated, primarily as they appear at the level of selected Hindu and Buddhist villages of India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. 6 cr., SS, Not offered in 2005-2006.
SOAN 255. Sociology, Culture and Politics in South Asia
South Asia is a region of immense diversity where more than two billion people live. We will explore the intertwined societies of modern South Asia (India Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka)-through a focus on key areas of everyday life such as family, gender, marriage, caste, class, religion, politics and social movements. Questions we will consider include: What is the impact of globalization? Why is religious fundamentalism seemingly on the rise? Are South Asian women uniquely oppressed? Why is there a nuclear arms race? Course materials to be examined include video documentaries, Bollywood Films, web-based resources, literature, and newspaper articles in addition to scholarly books and articles. Prerequisites: Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 or permission of the instructor.
6 credits cr., SS,RAD, FallM. Sehgal
SOAN 256. Ethnography of Africa This course emphasizes the study of several sub-Saharan African societies so as to deal with themes that have concerned anthropologists working in Africa. The types of questions anthropologists have posed about African societies, and the role Africa has played in the development of anthropological theory is explored. Texts include three classics, The Nuer and Chisungu, and witchcraft, oracles and magic as well as contemporary re-studies and ethnographic case studies by both African and Western scholars to address issues affecting the entire continent, including colonialism, gender, AIDS, local-state relations, the role of history, and debates about cultural identities. Prerequisite: Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 or permission of the instructor. 6 cr., SS,RAD, FallP. Feldman-Savelsberg
SOAN 259. Comparative Issues in Native North America This course examines the cultural and historical situation of indigenous groups in the United States, Mexico, and Canada to develop a comparative perspective for understanding native peoples in North America. How have indigenous peoples variously coped with continuity and change? What strategies have they employed in pursuit of political sovereignty, economic survival, and cultural vitality? In answering these questions, we will explore the politics of representation regarding "the Indian" as a symbol in national consciousness; the negotiation of identity in inter ethnic contexts; patterns of resistance; the impact of European powers and state agendas; and the resurgence of tradition. 6 credits cr., SS, Not offered in 2005-2006.
SOAN 260. Myth, Ritual, and Symbolism Exploring the ways in which people make sense of their world through myth, ritual and symbolism, this course takes an anthropological approach to the study of comparative religion. What is the relationship between "myth" and "history?" How do animals, food, color, music, and the human body function as idioms of symbolic communication? Why is ritual credited with the ability to heal illnesses, offer political commentary, maintain cosmic harmony, and foster social cohesion through the exhibition of interpersonal tensions? Examining major theories in the anthropology of religion, students learn to record and analyze both "familiar" and "unfamiliar" myths, rituals, and symbols. 6 credits cr., SS, FallJ. Levi
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. Case studies range from birth and death to epilepsy, AIDS and cancer, and from a working class neighborhood in Philadelphia, to Hmong immigrants, to South African street children. Prerequisite: Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 or permission of the instructor. 6 cr., SS, WinterP. Feldman-Savelsberg
SOAN 266. Urban Sociology In this course, we will explore ideas about cities and humans who live there through a series of lenses including: city as place, city as symbol, city as location of assimilation and integration and the opposite, city as a site of segregation and extremes of power and capital. How do cities work and for whom? By combing theoretical readings with case studies, we will move from historical ethnographies of cities and communities, to current studies of cities in global context. 6 cr., SS, WinterA. Falcon
SOAN 272. Ethnicity and Race
This course examines ethnic and racial relations and the notions of them from an anthropological perspective. We focus on such theories as primordialism, instrumentalism, myth-complex, and boundaries, exploring the intellectual history and spatial distribution of these theories. Readings include both theoretical articles and ethnographic case studies from around the world. 6 credits cr., SS, SpringN. Bilik
SOAN 274. Language and Culture
Starting with basic knowledge of linguistic anthropology, this course examines the links between language and culture. We engage important theories of linguistic anthropology such as social memories, linguistic relativity, the power of language, language ideology, the performance of language, and speech community. Readings include both theoretical articles and ethnographic case studies from around the world. 6 credits cr., SS, SpringN. Bilik
SOAN 282. Anthropology of Japan This course examines "Japaneseness" from an anthropological perspective. We read and discuss anthropological texts and other related literature that have helped the western academy in forming images of Japanese society and culture. We also investigate the Anthropological Other in Japan, such as Koreans and Nikkei Brazilians. Prerequisite: Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 or permission of the instructor. 6 credits cr., SS, Not offered in 2005-2006.
SOAN 284. Anthropology of China This course examines China from an anthropological and sociological perspective. Readings include both theoretical articles and ethnographic case studies; readings from other disciplines are also supplementary. We deal with both Han and non-Han peoples. Students are expected to gain a holistic understanding of China with regards to its changes of politico-symbolic boundaries, its power relations, and its connection to globalization. We will also talk about "translingual practice" as represented by symbolic negotiations between the traditional, changing Chinese view and the views that come from outside. Prerequisites: Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 or permission of instructor. 6 credits cr., SS, WinterN. Bilik
SOAN 286. Anthropology of East Asia
This course examines East Asian cultures and societies from an anthropological perspective. China, Mongolia, Japan and Korea are linked historically, culturally, and linguistically; each part of this "cultural complex" shares common features with the other while maintaining distinct traits. This class explores an historical Chinese script-culture sphere, including Japanese, Korean, and many other groups. We examine the superpower geopolitics that forced the opening up of China and Japan and is thus vital for understanding East Asian history, culture and society. Readings include both theoretical articles and ethnographic case studies from the region. 6 cr., SS, Not offered in 2005-2006.
SOAN 290. Guatemala Program: Directed Reading
During winter break 2005-2006, participants are asked to read selected works chosen to provide background on Guatemalan history, Mayan culture, and contemporary social issues in preparation for the field seminar. Students will write an integrative essay on this material and participate in discussions covering the readings during the first week of the program. 2 cr., ND, WinterB. Nagel
SOAN 295. Guatemala Program: Independent Field Project
Students will carry out a field research project of their own design related to the concerns of cultural empowerment and development, developed in Sociology/Anthropology 241. This component of the program will consist of four weeks of intensive field research in a Guatemalan community, followed by a one-week period in Quetzaltenango, during which participants will write their research papers. The course will conclude with a research symposium, in which students will present their research to program participants and interested community members. 6 cr., ND, WinterB. Nagel
SOAN 302. Anthropology and Indigenous Rights This seminar examines the relationship between culture and human rights from an anthropological perspective. By asking "who are indigenous peoples?" and "what specific rights do they have?" this course introduces students to a comparative framework for understanding cultural rights discourse. Given the history of intolerance to difference, the seminar demonstrates the need to explore the determinants of violence, ethnocide, and exploitation routinely committed against the world's most marginalized peoples. At the same time, it also asks about the limits of tolerance, if human rights abuses are perpetrated under the banner of cultural pluralism. Students will analyze case studies drawn from Africa, Asia, and the Americas, as well as issues that cross-cut these regions. Prerequisite: Sociology/Anthropology 110, 111 or permision of the instructor; upper division coursework in anthropology, sociology, history or philosophy recommended. 6 credits cr., SS, SpringJ. Levi
SOAN 303. Criminology: Classical and Contemporary Perspectives This course is designed to familiarize students with sociological approaches to the study of crime and criminal behavior and criminal justice responses to criminal activity. Students will learn dominant sociological theories of crime, understand how social forces play a key role in crime and reactions to crime, and understand how sociological theory and research can prevent criminal activity. 6 cr., SS, SpringA. Nierobisz
SOAN 312. Actors and Issues in Contemporary Third World "Development" This course focuses on the processes known as "development," the roles of various social actors in these processes, and the social, environmental, and human rights implications of these processes. We discuss the concept of development, the construction of an ideology of development, and the various theoretical perspectives on development within the fields of sociology and anthropology. Specific issues that we examine include: the political economy of agrarian change; gender issues in development; international development actors and institutions, and their roles in shaping the social and environmental impacts of development; the role of social movements and grassroots organizations in contesting development activities and in shaping new models and meanings of development; and strategies for sustainable, democratic development locally, nationally, and internationally. 6 cr., SS, Not offered in 2005-2006.
SOAN 330. Sociological Thought and Theory Classical sociological theory has been concerned with at least three fundamental questions. They are the nature of the historic transition from feudalism to capitalism, the appropriate method of social studies, and the form of a rational society. Beginning with the Enlightenment and romanticism, we study nineteenth century positivism, liberalism, Marxism and nihilism, and investigate the ideas of Weber and Durkheim at the turn of the century. 6 cr., SS, FallN. Saiedi
SOAN 331. Anthropological Thought and Theory A systematic introduction to the theoretical foundations of social and cultural anthropology with special emphasis given to twentieth century British, French and American schools. The course deals with such seminal figures as Morgan, Boas, Malinowski, Radcliffe-Brown, Levi-Straus, Harris, Sahlins, Bourdieu, and Geertz. The reading strikes a balance between ethnographic accounts and theoretical statements. Prerequisites: Sociology/Anthropology 110 and 330 or consent of the instructor. 6 credits cr., SS, SpringJ. Fisher
SOAN 332. Contemporary Social Theory A basic overview of the major debates in contemporary sociological theory, from 1920s to the present. Unlike the classical sociological theory in which both grand models and substantive theories are addressed by the same writer, there is a division of labor in the contemporary social theory. Thus some theorists emphasize the foundational grand categories (like Lukacs, Habermas, Sombart, Marcuse, Mead, Foucault, Wallerstein, Gadamer, Sorokin, Parsons, Lyotard and others), whereas others have contributed substantive ideas to a a specific field (Moore, Skocpol, Wright, Collins, Manheim, Olson, Smith, Kohn, Bernstein, Bell and others). We will explore both directions of contemporary social theory. 6 cr., SS, SpringN. Saiedi
SOAN 395. Ethnography of Reproduction This seminar explores the meanings of reproductive beliefs and practices in comparative perspective. Using ethnographies, it explores the relation between human and social reproduction. It focuses on (but is not limited to) ethnographic examples from the U.S./Canada and England and from sub-Saharan Africa (societies with relatively low fertility and high utilization of technology and societies with mostly high fertility and low utilization of technology). Topics examined include fertility and birth, fertility rites, new reproductive technologies, abortion, population control, infertility, child survival and child loss. Prerequisites: Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111; and 226, 260, or 262; or permission of the instructor. 6 cr., SS, SpringP. Feldman-Savelsberg
SOAN 395. Idioms of Inequality: Ethnicity, Gender, and Exchange in Latin America
Focusing on Indian as well as Hispanic cultures in Mexico, Central, and South America, this course will analyze the ways in which identity is processed through symbols of difference. It seeks to understand how ethnicity, gender, and exchange sometimes operate as means for achieving solidarity and complementarity, yet at other times function as the quintessential sources for inequality. Drawing ethnographic materials from Latin America, this course examines the meaning and significance of culturally variable expressions of inequality as modulated through critical social relations. An emphasis will be placed on highlighting salient theoretical debates through the interpretation of both classic and contemporary ethnographies. Prerequisites: Sociology/Anthropology 110, 111, upper division coursework in Latin American Studies, or permission of the instructor. 6 cr., SS, FallJ. Levi
SOAN 400. Integrative Exercise The integrative exercise in Sociology and Anthropology consists of carrying out and presenting a major piece of research, and in sharing and discussing the work-in-progress with a group of others engaged in the same process, under the guidance of a faculty supervisor. Please consult the Sociology/Anthropology Handbook for Majors for a full description. 6 cr., S/NC, ND, Fall,Winter,SpringStaff