Courses of Special Interest

Fall 2013

SOC/CRJ  4620: Social Inequality: Class, Status, and Power

Class inequality in America has increased to higher levels than at any other time in the last century.  Why does inequality continue to increase, and what are the consequences for society?  How do those with privilege and power in our society reproduce their class position?  What are the barriers to upward mobility for the poor?  What are the experiences of those on welfare?  What has been the effect of globalization on social inequality in America, and has globalization increased or decreased social inequality between nations?

SOC/CRJ  4640: Globalization and Human Rights

In this course we explore questions of: What are human rights? And how they are affected by globalization? We will also explore four major contemporary human rights issues in depth: 1) Human trafficking and modern day slavery; 2) Recent genocides such as in Darfur; 3) Child Soldiers; and 4) Gender and human rights.  These are issues of current – and urgent – significance in our increasingly interconnected world.  One of the goals of this class will also be to learn how to learn about the current conditions in other parts of the world, how they affect us, and why we should care.  Students will choose a topic that is particularly interesting to them for more in-depth independent research for the course.  Ultimately, we will examine how our lives are materially and ethically intertwined with those of others across the globe as we are all part of what are increasingly becoming global economic, political, and cultural systems.

SOC/CRJ  4520:  Criminology

This course covers the theories related to the study of crime, criminals, and criminal behavior.  We will explore both sociological and criminological theories and consider their applicability and effectiveness in the treatment and prevention of crime.

SOC/CRJ  4910:  Perspectives on Social Justice and Education

Perspectives on Social Justice in Education will be taught by three faculty members in Concordia’s Center for Policy Studies and Social Justice, allowing students to experience a range of views on what constitutes a just system of education.  The course will address macro-level policy issues like the No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top legislation, the community and social factors that influence educational outcomes for individual students, and much more in between.  Class sessions will be structured like graduate level seminars, where each participant contributes to the group’s learning by sharing their responses to the readings and personal connections to the ideas there raised.

SOC/CRJ  4530: Sociology of Corrections

This course examines correctional programs, mostly focusing on prisons, from a sociological perspective.  We will explore how and who we attempt to correct in society.  We will take a critical look at how prisons are gendered, power is negotiated, and mistreatment is normalized.  The prison will be investigated from many different angles, including how it is a ‘total institution’, a human warehouse, and part of the prison industrial complex.  Additionally, we will look at how we utilize other forms of corrections which arguably both widen the net of controlling citizens while simultaneously reducing recidivism.

SOC/CRJ  4990: Internship (Offered all semesters)

This course provides students with the opportunity to complete an internship as part of their degree and to integrate their academic learning with work experiences.  Recent internship placements have been at juvenile detention centers, police departments, law offices, and grassroots organizations such as the Chicago Association Against Racist and Political Repression. If you are interested in completing an internship for summer/fall 2013 or spring 2014, please submit the required forms as soon as possible to the coordinator of the criminal justice program, Dr. Jodie Dewey. Materials can be found on the department website or on students’ dashboard.

Spring 2014

SOC/CRJ  4320: Juvenile Delinquency

This course covers topics and theories pertaining to youthful crime.  Students will critically explore the prevalence, prediction, prevention, and treatment of juvenile delinquency, as well as investigate organizations and social control agents who are charged with defining and resolving the delinquency ‘problem.’  Students will perform a sociological analysis on the juvenile justice system, examining it as a process that organizes the day-to-day life of young people.

SOC 4420: Marriage and Family

This course examines current issues in marriage and the family from a sociological perspective.  Topics covered include recent trends in marriage, divorce, and the number of children; diversity in family forms; issues of gender and work in the family; and parenthood.

SOC/CRJ  4425:  Sociology of Gender and Sexualities

In this course students will explore theoretical perspectives surrounding the construction of femininity, masculinity, and various sexualities. We will engage in a sociological analysis of various genders and sexual meanings, uncovering how both are institutionalized and hence, regulated in society.  How are we socialized to understand and display our gender and sexuality in culturally appropriate ways?  How do we internalize the meanings of being a woman or a man? In what ways do social institutions support and reproduce these meanings?

SOC/CRJ  4430: Social Deviance

Students will gain insight into the process of becoming, being, and exiting deviance.  We will explore sociological and criminological theoretical perspectives related to particular deviant behaviors (i.e. those who use drugs or engage in risky behaviors).  However, by studying ‘others’ we will engage in a self-reflective process that reveals more about our culture, society and our individual social position within it that, not surprisingly, allows us to see ourselves as ‘normal.’  

SOC/CRJ  4910: Special Topics -- Poverty and Culture

In this course, we will explore cutting-edge, close-up cultural analyses of the poor in order to understand how culture shapes, and is shaped by, poverty and inequality -- a hotly debated topic in sociology.  We will also explore the potential of cultural analysis to illuminate otherwise invisible problems the poor encounter, with the goal of proposing solutions that can remove these obstacles. 


POS 2400-Criminal Justice

WGS 4910 - Gender in Contemporary American Film

The focus of this course will be to analyze patterns of masculine and feminine representations in contemporary American film. Students will analyze the ways pop culture reproduces and reinforces perceptions of masculinities and femininities through the media of film.


SOC 4630 - Urban Sociology
In the United States, Chicago was the laboratory within which the first generation of leading American sociologists elaborated their research agendas. The “Windy City” served as a prototype for urban processes associated with advancing industrialization, drawing populations from the countryside (largely European peasantry or Southern African-Americans) into dense patterns of residence and enterprise. Fueled by industry, the modern metropolis in the western context has left an enduring stamp on our understanding of the city and its growth. In this course, we will examine the social dynamics of both the industrial and contemporary city. Using the modern industrial metropolis as a baseline, we will pay special attention to the global and local dynamics that drive urban restructuring and generate the social order of contemporary cities in both the U.S. and developing world. We will simultaneously analyze the corresponding shifts in urban sociology’s key concepts and questions regarding the nature of urban life. Throughout the course, we will also explore how city residents’ thoughts, feelings, and actions both shape and are shaped by the built environments and local cultures they inhabit.

SOC 4425 - Sociology of Gender and Sexualities
Societies are organized by gender. Our current understanding about sexuality derives and is dependent upon a gender dichotomy. This course will explore both gender and sexuality as a social construction. How are we socialized to understand and display our gender and sexuality in culturally appropriate ways? How do we internalize meanings of being a woman or a man? In what ways do social institutions support and reproduce these meanings?

SOC 4910 - Special Topics : Gender, Crime, and Prison
In the last 30 years women’s involvement in crime has increased significantly and at a higher rate than men. According to the 2010 FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, women made up 25.5% of all arrests. Additionally, more women are being allowed into or seeking out employment in all levels of correctional work. Why is the correctional system now only beginning to see more women pass through its doors? How are women viewed and subsequently handled by the criminal justice and correctional systems? With more women as social control agents, does how we respond to criminals and manage prison behavior change? Does adding more women guarantee that patriarchy within the system will decrease? More broadly, how does gender as a mediating structure affect criminal and correctional systems?