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    Skidmore College
  Nov 17, 2017
Catalog 2017-2018 
Catalog 2017-2018


Chair of the Department of Sociology: John Brueggemann

Professors: Catherine White Berheide, John Brueggemann, Kristie Ford, David Karp, Rik Scarce, Susan Walzer

Associate Professors: Amon Emeka, Xiaoshuo Hou, Andrew Lindner

Assistant Professors: Jennifer Mueller

Department Overview

Some say that "there is a sociology of everything," and, indeed, sociology is perhaps the single most diverse discipline of them all. Sociology explores every intricacy of our social worlds, from the ways we interact in small groups to crime and deviance, from race and gender relations to love and divorce, from the role of religion in everyday life to environmental justice, and more. Sociology majors graduate with the ability to gather data independently about these phenomena, to analyze them statistically and qualitatively, and to apply theories to explain them. Perhaps most importantly, sociology deepens students' awareness of the social forces affecting their lives and those of others, enabling them to address a host of social issues critically and constructively.
As a traditional liberal arts major, sociology inspires students to be lifelong learners. As a contemporary, cutting-edge social science, sociology empowers students and prepares them for a rich variety of post-baccalaureate experiences. Recent graduates from our department have gone on to careers in law, public health, business, teaching, governmental agencies, and nongovernmental (nonprofit) organizations. Many have pursued graduate study in some of the foremost sociology departments in the country or have earned advanced degrees in law, criminal justice, public health, nursing, social work, and education, to name but a few. Still others have undertaken public service in the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, Teach for America, City Year, and elsewhere.

EXPLORATIONS IN SOCIOLOGY: Selected 200- and 300-level sociology courses each semester incorporate exploration in sociology through special emphasis on collaborative learning, research, service learning, or writing (designated C, R, S, or W, respectively, in the master schedule listing). Courses integrating an exploration in sociology carry 4 rather than 3 credit hours.

Exploring Sociology through Collaborative Learning
The collaborative learning exploration in sociology requires that students spend three hours each week in addition to class time in small group activities, working collectively or independently to contribute to group projects. This time will be devoted to group meetings, independent work, and meetings with the instructor to advance group projects. Products of this work will be assessed by the instructor via group presentations or project papers written collaboratively, in aggregation (each student writes a section of the paper), or independently (each student writes an independent paper based on the group project). This module accommodates a wide array of cooperative group structures varying by length, membership, and size, as well as varying formats for assessment including individual and group grades. One example of a collaborative project is the assignment of a different research article to each group, with each group developing and offering a presentation to the class based on its article. Another example is a semester-long group assignment in which rotating team leaders are responsible for delivering discrete project reports (oral and/or written) based on various concrete tasks (e.g., Web-based research, off-campus interviews, data analysis, and field trips).

Exploring Sociology through Research
The research exploration in sociology requires that students spend three hours each week in addition to class time engaging in independent or collaborative research projects that are related to the course material. This time will be spent developing research questions, reviewing relevant literature, collecting data, analyzing data, and presenting research findings in written reports, oral presentations, or other media. Courses incorporating this module may provide more intensive introductions to specific elements in the research process or particular methodologies such as content analysis or quantitative analysis. Students will meet regularly with the instructor to report on their progress and to receive advice and feedback from the instructor. Students' research will be evaluated based on their finished products (research papers, oral presentations, etc.).

Exploring Sociology through Service Learning
The service learning exploration in sociology requires that students spend three hours each week in addition to class time volunteering for a campus or community nonprofit organization for a minimum total of thirty-nine hours of community service. Faculty expect that some of these hours at the beginning and end of the course will be spent on logistics, such as identifying and interviewing prospective service opportunities. Students' service work will be integrated with the academic component of the course. Faculty will assess service work through various strategies requiring students to reflect on their service work in light of course materials and related academic projects, such as (a) research papers that respond to service issues, (b) journals or field notes analyzing service work to be turned in to the instructor, (c) integrative essay questions or exams, (d) in-class oral presentations, or (e) combinations of the above.

Exploring Sociology through Writing
The writing exploration in sociology requires a fourth classroom contact hour each week. Students will undertake writing assignments integrated with the subject matter of the course. Writing assignments and their evaluation will be consistent with guidelines for Skidmore's writing-intensive courses.

Five courses provide "gateway" experiences that orient students to the main issues in the field of sociology, specifically SO 101, SO 201, SO 202, SO 203, and SO 204. Each of these gateway experiences has no prerequisite, fulfills the social sciences requirement, and serves as a prerequisite for most other sociology courses. Each introduces students to core sociological concepts (i.e., social structure; social inequality; socialization; social norms; social roles; social identity; institutions; social theory; social research) and key skills (i.e., written and oral presentation; reading empirical research; active application of sociological concepts). These courses are most appropriate for first- and second-year students.

These courses require students to have completed one of the gateway courses: SO 209, SO 211H, SO 212, SO 213, SO 217, SO 219, SO 221, SO 223, SO 224H, SO 225, SO 226, SO 227, SO 230, SO 251, SO 299.

While these courses typically only require students to have completed one gateway course and one other sociology course, their advanced level presumes that students will have taken at least one intermediate sociology course: SO 304, SO 305, SO 306, SO 314, SB 315, SO 316, SO 322, SO 324, SO 325, SO 326, SO 328, SO 329, SO 331, SO 332, SO 333, SO 351, SA 355, SO 371, SO 372, SO 375, SO 376, SO 377, SO 399.

Major Requirements


Minor Requirements




Course Listing


SO 215 - China in Transition  
SO 229 - Visual Sociology