Sociology
Offered by the Sociology department.

Our goal is to educate Wheaton students so that they may live consciously and thoughtfully in the world. Equipping them with the necessary intellectual tools, we teach our students the art and science of sociology, including its theories and methods, to work and act as informed global citizens.

Major requirements effective with the Class of 2018 and beyond

Sociology major worksheet

The major program in sociology requires 9 courses and must include:
SOC 101 Introduction to Sociology
or SOC 190 Self and Society
SOC 141 Statistics for Social Sciences
or SOC 272 Analyzing Social Trends
or MATH 141 Introductory Statistics
or PSY 141 Statistics for Social Sciences
SOC 201 Sociological Theory
SOC 202 Research Methods in Sociology
SOC 402 Senior Seminar
or SOC 403 Senior Pro-seminar

Two courses at the 300 level.

Two additional courses selected in consultation with the advisor.

Students are expected to take SOC 101 or SOC 190 in their freshman or sophomore year, and SOC 402 or SOC 403 in their senior year. Students must also take SOC 272 or MATH 141.

Major requirements for the Class of 2017

Sociology major worksheet

The major program in sociology requires 10 courses and must include:
SOC 101 Introduction to Sociology
or SOC 190 Self and Society
SOC 272 Analyzing Social Trends
or MATH 141 Introductory Statistics
SOC 301 Sociological Theory
SOC 302 Research Methods in Sociology
SOC 402 Senior Seminar
or SOC 403 Senior Pro-seminar

Five courses, including one at the 300 level, selected in consultation with the advisor.

Minor

Sociology minor worksheet

The minor in sociology requires five courses, one of which must be at the 300 level.

  • Sociology

    SOC 098 – Experimental Course

    From time to time, departments design a new course to be offered either on a one-time basis or an experimental basis before deciding whether to make it a regular part of the curriculum. Refer to the course schedule for current listings.

  • Sociology

    SOC 099 – Selected Topics

    An opportunity to do independent work in a particular area not included in the regular courses.

  • Sociology

    SOC 101 – Introduction to Sociology

    This course invites students to explore key questions about society. How do the societies in which we live shape us? And how do our actions in turn shape, reinforce, or change these societies? Why do people conform to social rules most of the time, and how do we respond when they deviate? How do large groups organize and coordinate work, family, decision-making, and other realms of collective life? How do they distribute wealth, income, and other valuable resources? How and why do they create inequalities on the basis of class, race, gender, ethnicity, and sexuality? This course introduces students to sociological thinking and research on these questions and many more.

  • Sociology

    SOC 102 – Introduction to LGBT+ Studies

    Sexuality is an important part of human life and society, but despite claims that we were all “born this way,” its meanings and social significance have changed over the course of history. This class offers an introduction to that history, looking at the rise of sexuality-based classifications in law and medicine, the development of sexual identity politics, and the intersections of sexuality with gender, race/ethnicity, and class. We will examine the history of social movements for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and other minority gender/sexuality groups’ rights, and we will ask how that history shapes LGBT+ politics in the U.S. today.

  • Sociology

    SOC 104 – Contemporary Social Problems

    This course will focus on the distressing, harmful, and threatening social situations that plague many societies, which include poverty, social inequality, crime, drug addiction, unemployment, terrorism, and so on. We will investigate these social problems from the point of view of general theoretical approaches as well as from the point of view of specialized theories. Particular attention will be given to the social construction of social problems. Consideration will also be given to social policy, or the set of official strategies intended to manage specific social problems. Finally, we will also discuss the practical steps, the forms of service, that may be taken to alleviate these troublesome situations.

  • Sociology

    SOC 111 – Criminology

    This course provides a multidisciplinary approach to understanding crime and criminal behavior. The individual actor, the social environment, the law and the criminal justice system will be examined in order to better understand violent crime, juvenile delinquency, gangs, organized crime, white-collar crime, etc. We will also focus on the alternative of restorative justice.

(Previously Sociology 211)

  • Sociology

    SOC 141 – Statistics for Social Sciences

    The purpose of this course is to introduce one to the quantitative methods that the social sciences use while researching and analyzing the surrounding social world. The course is designed to center itself around the creation of a statistical tool-belt made up of conceptual tools and methodological skills which quantitative researchers utilize and implement during the research process. In this light, this course is an introduction to the application and the interpretation of quantitative research design and analysis. Several core areas of quantitative sociology will be explored at the descriptive, bivariate, and multivariate level.

  • Sociology

    SOC 175 – Media and Society

    The role and influence of the media in contemporary societies, with specific attention to questions regarding: the influence of the media over people’s lives in “mass society,” the political ideology inherent in mass media messages, the organization of media industries and the media as means for subcultural expressions.

  • Sociology

    SOC 190 – Self and Society

    This course examines theoretical modes of sociological inquiry and empirical research through an in-depth study of the self and society. Through classical and contemporary readings, five areas are explored: the construction of the self; socialization and sexuality; the power of social structures and circumstances; deviance; and globalization and social change.

This course is intended only for sociology majors or prospective majors. All others can be admitted only by permission of the instructor.

  • Sociology

    SOC 198 – Experimental Course

    From time to time, departments design a new course to be offered either on a one-time basis or an experimental basis before deciding whether to make it a regular part of the curriculum. Refer to the course schedule for current listings.

  • Sociology

    SOC 199 – Selected Topics

    An opportunity to do independent work in a particular area not included in the regular courses.

  • Sociology

    SOC 200 – Social Movements

    The course examines national liberation movements, social revolutions, and labor and environmental justice movements. The course We live in a society where the individual finds themselves locked into powerful political, cultural, social, and economic systems. These systems are often characterized as being highly resistant to change. Yet, there are times where individuals challenge and attempt to modify these systems in mass. These occasions of social movement, while infrequent, are crucial to understand because they are one of the few representatives of instances where the powerless actively confront the powerful. Over the course of the term, we will dive into the sociological literature that exists on social movements while noting its strengths, weaknesses, and areas of future research. To do so we will confront pertinent questions such as: What is (and is not) a social movement? Who joins social movements and why? How to social movements happen? What strategies do social movements use? How do movements succeed? How do they fail? Fortunate for us, we have a wide spectrum of literature that provide answers to these questions while also highlighting many historical and contemporary social movements in the United States and abroad. Ultimately, the study of social movements will allows one not only to reflect on collectivization of individuals towards a common goal, but it also can give attention towards the nature of power, conflict, and legitimation in society and how these dynamics contribute towards the relationship(s) that exist between an individual’s agency and society’s social structure.

  • Sociology

    SOC 201 – Sociological Theory

    The primary objective of this course is to provide a broad overview of the major sociological theorists and theories. Accordingly, the student will become familiar with the classical (pre-World War II) as well as with the contemporary (post-World War II) theoretical paradigms in sociology. Students will cultivate their sociological imaginations as they learn to apply the theories.

(Previously Sociology 301)

  • Sociology

    SOC 202 – Research Methods in Sociology

    This course is designed to introduce students to the practical tools of doing both quantitative and qualitative research. Students will examine the relationship between theory and methods, develop an understanding of the logic of social research, and learn to critique and design research on social issues. This course will prepare students to design and carry out the capstone research project.

(Previously Sociology 302)

  • Sociology

    SOC 204 – Contemporary Social Problems

    This course will focus on the distressing, harmful, and threatening social situations that plague many societies, which include poverty, social inequality, crime, drug addiction, unemployment, terrorism, and so on. We will investigate these social problems from the point of view of general theoretical approaches as well as from the point of view of specialized theories. Particular attention will be given to the social construction of social problems. Consideration will also be given to social policy, or the set of official strategies intended to manage specific social problems. Finally, we will also discuss the practical steps, the forms of service, that may be taken to alleviate these troublesome situations.

  • Sociology

    SOC 210 – Inequality

    What is social “class” and how do we understand class inequality? How does one’s “class” position shape one’s social standing and life’s chances? The course focuses on class analysis from various perspectives and investigates social stratification, inequality, mobility, poverty, wealth, power, domination and commodification in the globalized world.

  • Sociology

    SOC 211 – Criminology

    This course provides a multidisciplinary approach to understanding crime and criminal behavior. The individual actor, the social environment, the law and the criminal justice system will be examined in order to better understand violent crime, juvenile delinquency, gangs, organized crime, white-collar crime, etc. We will also focus on the alternative of restorative justice.

  • Sociology

    SOC 215 – Working: Society and the Meanings of Work

    What role does work play in people’s lives? Why is work organized the way that it is? Should it or can it be changed? How does work affect the way that people treat each other? Can work be controlled and managed? This course will address these questions while investigating the social, political and cultural forms of work in the U.S. and Japan.

  • Sociology

    SOC 220 – Sociology of the Body

    As social actors, we all have bodies that shape our experiences in society, signaling who we are and how we may be treated. Social norms and institutions shape our very bodies and how we use them: medical technologies, fitness and beauty ideals, and social norms for polite manners—all products of human societies—influence the appearance and functioning of our bodies. The primary goal of this class is to learn to think about the body sociologically: in everyday interactions, in organizations, and in society at large. We’ll also ask how studying the body can enhance our understanding of society.

  • Sociology

    SOC 221 – Deviance and Social Control

    The primary objective of this course is to develop a sociological and critical analysis of various types of deviant behaviors and deviant statuses, including criminality, delinquency, alcoholism, mental illness, physical defects, etc.

  • Sociology

    SOC 225 – Health and Medicine

    This course will examine medicine as an institution and explore the consequences of its organization for public policy. Should doctors control health care? Should medicine be socialized? Has medicine made us healthier? Does our system of health care devalue women? The course will investigate these and other questions.

  • Sociology

    SOC 230 – Race and Ethnicity

    This course focuses on historical and contemporary issues of race and ethnic inequalities in the United States. Our goal is to examine sociological theories of race and ethnic relations and to understand how the social construction of race, and racism have influenced organizations, institutions and identities.

  • Sociology

    SOC 235 – Families in Transition

    Has the obituary for the American family been written prematurely? How can we better understand contemporary families by studying families cross-culturally and in diverse social and racial/ethnic groups? How does a social scientific analysis illuminates the nature of gender, dating, marriage, parenting, violence and divorce? We explore the changing nature of the family as an institution as well as the transitions individual families undergo.

  • Sociology

    SOC 240 – Conflict and Genocide

    The course offers a comparative study of genocides, which are examined in relation to modernity, colonialism, nation-building, wars and postcolonialism. It also investigates why some cases of mass killings have not been acknowledged as genocides.

  • Sociology

    SOC 245 – How Organizations Work

    Organizations structure much of our lives from birth (in hospitals) to education (in schools) to employment (in government, corporate, academic, or nonprofit) to death. They record our existence and track our spending habits. Understanding how organizations work is central to understanding modern society. We will explore: organizational structure and process, including leadership, power, decision-making and communication; organizational culture; policies, and the diversification and globalization of contemporary organizations. The course is infused with questions around the operations of race, class and gender in contemporary organizations.

 Students may take this course at the 300-level (even if they have taken the 200-level course) which would include: a 4-6 hour per week internship in a formal organization, additional recommended readings, and presentations to the entire class tying the key concepts from the readings to their internship organization.

  • Sociology

    SOC 255 – Living in Cities: Urban Sociology

    Cities are the most important form of settlement in the modern world. They are workshops of innovation in technology, culture and manners. Because the city is a settlement and not an institution, the course will encourage students to use methods and concepts derived from several disciplines to understand the city. The course explores the organization, growth and conflicts of a number of the world’s major cities.

  • Sociology

    SOC 260 – Gender Inequality

    How do we learn to be women and men? How are our cultural beliefs and social institutions gendered? How do different sociological and feminist theories illuminate gender relations? How can we better understand the perpetuation of inequality by examining images of women in the media, sexism in language and violence against women? How is sexism related to racism, class stratification and heterosexism?

  • Sociology

    SOC 265 – Food and Society

    Few things are said to be more important for our sustenance than food. This course explores the social contexts in which food is situated. We will examine numerous topics in relation to what we eat, including the variety of ways in which food can be produced, the implications of an increasingly globalized food system, how food can distinguish individuals and cultures, and the consequences of our current mode(s) of food consumption. The course will include material from a variety of scientific and popular culture sources through several different mediums, including text, podcast, and documentary film.

  • Sociology

    SOC 270 – Immigration

    There are currently massive and rapid movements of people across national borders for jobs, residence, political asylum, family integration, trade, business and tourism. This course explores multiple causes and consequences of immigration.

  • Sociology

    SOC 272 – Analyzing Social Trends

    Have you ever wondered whether the population is growing too fast? How many of us are poor? How ethnically diverse are we? Is the American family falling apart? These questions are debated all the time in the media. But are they telling the whole story? This team-taught course will provide the key to analyzing descriptive statistics–including how they are constructed, displayed and disseminated–to illuminate the stories that lie hidden behind the headlines.

  • Sociology

    SOC 275 – Disability and Difference

    Disability Studies examines the societal treatment and lived experiences of people with disabilities. While disability is often seen as a deviation from “normal” functioning, it is a near-universal human experience. This class takes a critical approach to disability, asking questions like: To what extent is disability “natural,” and to what extent is it mediated by cultural norms, medicine, and politics? What does disability, in combination with gender, class, race, and age, reveal about power and inequality in society? And how might we work toward a future in which more people can be meaningfully included in the life of our society?

  • Sociology

    SOC 282 – Visual Sociology

    What do snapshots, home movies and advertising tell us about modern societies? What role should graphic design play in social research? What do we do when we go to the movies (whether in Calcutta or Boston), and what do we see when we get there? These are a few of the questions that social scientists ask as they produce or interpret the images that the camera has made, which play an ever more important role in how we view and conduct our lives and communicate with others.

  • Sociology

    SOC 285 – Latino Community

    The course will examine the various Latino populations in the United States: Mexican Americans, Cuban Americans, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, etc. Issues that are unique to these populations will be considered: culture (normative and esthetic), bilingualism, the immigrant experience, family life, the church, education and so on.

  • Sociology

    SOC 290 – Sociology of Sexualities

    Sex and sexuality appear to be purely private matters, experienced as internal and personal. We often assume that our experience of sexuality is a ‘natural’ expression of our nature or biology. Yet sexual expressions and identifications follow certain patterns that vary historically and across cultures. This course is designed to provide you with the analytic tools to explore sexual meanings and practices and to uncover the ways in which social structure and power are implicated in our experience of sexuality.

  • Sociology

    SOC 295 – Globalization

    What does it mean to be living in a globalizing world? Which global forces and how have they continually re-shaped our world? This course will examine ‘globalization’ as a set of processes and practices that breakdown borders and barriers. We will study how globalization processes continuously push and pull, create and destroy, and unmake and remake our sociocultural, economic, ecological, and political landscapes.

  • Sociology

    SOC 298 – Experimental Course

    From time to time, departments design a new course to be offered either on a one-time basis or an experimental basis before deciding whether to make it a regular part of the curriculum. Refer to the course schedule for current listings.

  • Sociology

    SOC 299 – Selected Topics

    An opportunity to do independent work in a particular area not included in the regular courses.

  • Sociology

    SOC 301 – Sociological Theory

    The primary objective of this course is to provide a broad overview of the major sociological theorists and theories. Accordingly, the student will become familiar with the classical (pre-World War II) as well as with the contemporary (post-World War II) theoretical paradigms in sociology. Students will cultivate their sociological imaginations as they learn to apply the theories.

  • Sociology

    SOC 302 – Research Methods in Sociology

    An introduction to the scientific method and its application to sociological research. Topics include formulation of research problems, sampling, measurement, data collection and analysis. Emphasis is on research design.

  • Sociology

    SOC 305 – Community in the Digital Age

    This course examines enduring questions about social behavior and relationships in light of rapidly changing technologies that enable communication across time and space. We will work to define community and uncover the lived reality of communities in our contemporary world. We will also explore social networks, social capital and collective action.

  • Sociology

    SOC 310 – Gender and Nation

    This is a course on feminist epistemology. It examines how various forms of feminist knowledge are constructed and deconstructs notions such as “woman,” gender, gender oppression, patriarchy, women’s liberation, women’s rights and sisterhood. The course examines contentious debates about and among Western, Third World, global, postcolonial, poststructural and transnational feminisms.

  • Sociology

    SOC 311 – Violence Against Women

    This seminar explores the nature of violence against women, focusing on current research on woman battering, rape, child sexual abuse and pornography. Students will compare theoretical approaches and will critically examine empirical research. The impact of race, ethnicity and class on the abuse experience are considered. A major part of the seminar involves original research by students on an issue of their choice. The semester will culminate in a symposium on violence against women organized by seminar members.

  • Sociology

    SOC 315 – Society, Technology and the Environment

    Have our cities created a way of life that is impossible to sustain? Is our technology out of control? How should we relate to our environment? We will consider these and other questions in an exploration of the impact that our social relations and technological systems have had on the conditions of human existence in contemporary society.

  • Sociology

    SOC 320 – Race, Gender and Poverty

    This course is designed to enable students to think critically about the causes and consequences of poverty and the complex and dynamic intersections of race, gender and social class. We will cover key sociological theories of stratification, mobility and persistent poverty, with a particular focus on the dynamics of race and gender.

  • Sociology

    SOC 322 – Sociology of Law

    This course examines the interrelations between law and various aspects of society. It employs a comparative and historical approach and addresses such questions as: How and why does law develop? Under what social conditions does a differentiated legal system emerge? How do legal systems vary with different forms of social institutions?

  • Sociology

    SOC 345 – How Organizations Work: Internship

    Organizations structure much of our lives from birth (in hospitals) to education (in schools) to employment (in government, corporate, academic, or nonprofit) to death. They record our existence and track our spending habits. Understanding how organizations work is central to understanding modern society. We will explore: organizational structure and process, including leadership, power, decision-making and communication; organizational culture; policies, and the diversification and globalization of contemporary organizations. The course is infused with questions around the operations of race, class and gender in contemporary organizations.

Students may take this course at the 300-level (even if they have taken the 200-level course) which would include: a 4-6 hour per week internship in a formal organization, additional recommended readings, and presentations to the entire class tying the key concepts from the readings to their internship organization.

  • Sociology

    SOC 350 – Asians and America

    What is the place of Asians in America’s cultural and political imagination? This course will examine the construct of ‘Asia’ as America’s ‘Orient’ and how Asians are Orientalized in America’s social landscape. The course will explore the social, cultural and political landscape that ‘Asians’ have come to occupy in the process of making the United States as a modern nation/state. The course will look at historical and sociological analyses, textual and personal narratives, films, music, dance, and other forms of visual representations.

(Previously Sociology 280)

  • Sociology

    SOC 398 – Experimemtal Course

    From time to time, departments design a new course to be offered either on a one-time basis or an experimental basis before deciding whether to make it a regular part of the curriculum. Refer to the course schedule for current listings.

  • Sociology

    SOC 399 – Selected Topics

    An opportunity to do independent work in a particular area not included in the regular courses.

  • Sociology

    SOC 402 – Senior Seminar

    A semester of directed research in which students receive individual attention while carrying out an empirical study. The seminar offers guidance and a framework for the many stages of the research process. Students will be expected to produce a thesis and present it publicly in February.

  • Sociology

    SOC 403 – Senior Pro-seminar

    The pro-seminar deals with conceptual analysis and critiques of theories, methodologies and paradigms employed by sociologists and by different sociological schools of thought. Various themes are explored through the application of concepts, theories, paradigms and the sociological imagination. A senior thesis and an oral defense of the thesis are required.

  • Sociology

    SOC 499 – Independent Research

    Offered to selected majors at the invitation of the department.

  • Sociology

    SOC 500 – Individual Research

    Open to majors at the invitation of the department.

John Grady

Professor of Sociology, Emeritus

Hyun Sook Kim

Professor of Sociology

Katherine Mason

Assistant Professor of Sociology/Women and Gender Studies

Karen McCormack

Associate Professor, Department of Sociology; Co-Coordinator, Peace and Social Justice Minor; Co-coordinator, Journalism Studies

Justin Schupp

Assistant Professor of Sociology

A. Javier Trevino

Professor of Sociology

Kersti Alice Yllo

Professor of Sociology, Emerita; Title IX Coordinator for Faculty