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Sociology of Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality
Boston University Fall 2018
This course explores race, class, gender, and sexuality as intersecting axes of stratification, identity, and experience. Drawing from current sociological research and feminist theory, we will analyze how these intersections can be applied to understanding social problems and structures. At this course’s foundation is an exploration of intersectionality. Intersectional feminist scholarship examines social issues beyond focusing on singular identity categories in order to more accurately address the complex realities of being human. Race, class, gender, sexuality, national origin, citizenship, age, ability and other social locators intersect to form myriad experiences and power arrangements, all of which shape our identities, interpersonal relationships, and encounters with institutions, politics, and culture. Together, we will explore social inequality through this framework, examining the processes by which these categories are socially constructed, interconnected, and maintained within interactions and institutions. We conclude with a discussion of potential pathways for social change.
Sociology of gender
Boston University Spring 2019
Sociologists conceptualize gender as a socially constructed system of stratification. In this overview of the field, we will examine the ways that ideas about gender differences organize our behavior, institutions, and opportunities. The course begins by exploring central theoretical perspectives sociologists use to study gender and their critiques. We will then use these theoretical tools to examine how gender both structures–and is structured by– institutions. To do so, we will employ an intersectional lens to explore how gender intersects with other vectors of identity (including race, sexuality, class, age, nationality, citizenship, and ability) in institutional settings. Course topics include theorizing and studying gender; gender and the family; gendering processes in childhood, adolescence, and emerging adulthood; gendered labor; gender-based violence; the gendering of crime and criminalization; global economies of the body; reproductive rights and justice; and gender and resistance. By the end of the course, you will have developed a sociological imagination to see gender as a structural force that orders both the social and the material world in systematically unequal ways, and knowledge on how individuals, communities, and policy makers are working collectively to resist gender-based forms of oppression.
YOUTH & SOCIAL INEQUALITY
University of Massachusetts Amherst Fall 2014
This course investigates the social construction and social control of adolescence. The teen years are often considered a distinct developmental period of physical, psychological, and social turmoil. In society, youth are frequently framed as either at risk or deviant, rebellious, and even dangerous. Yet young people are often negotiating restrictive institutions, including oppressive educational environments, media and marketing exploitation, familial control, and increasing criminalization. Engaging with critical approaches to youth cultures, this course examines both the structural conditions that have shaped adolescence as the phase in the life course most associated with delinquency, deviance, and risk, as well as the diverse strategies young people have developed in resistance to the cultural constraints on their lives.
Sexuality & Society
University of Massachusetts Amherst Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Summers (Online) 2013-2016
This course explores how society shapes how we come to understand and experience sexuality. While sexuality is often considered one of the most personal aspects of life, this class examines its multiple social influences. The course begins by reviewing historical and theoretical approaches to sexuality and making sense of how sexuality is socially constructed. Using an intersectional lens, students investigate how sexuality converges with gender, race/ethnicity, and class in society. Students then examine how social institutions such as the government, the media, and schools structure sexuality. Finally, the course considers current research on the social control of sexuality in families, peer groups, workplaces, the legal system, and through violence, and concludes by exploring how individuals and communities resist oppression and actively take part in the negotiation of sexual meanings, identities, and desires.
GENDER & CRIME
University of Massachusetts Amherst Fall 2013 and Spring 2014; Boston University Spring 2019
This course explores the extent and causes of gender differences in crime. In the United States, the federal and state prisoner gender demographics are stark: 93 percent of all prisoners are men, while only 7 percent are women. Using a feminist lens, this course interrogates the underlying social forces that shape these gender discrepancies in both the perpetration and prosecution of crime. The course is organized into five units: gendered contexts of crime, gender & urban crime, perspectives on punishment, gender-based violence, and intimate labor. Together, students examine how cultural ideologies about masculinity and femininity shape criminalization, victimization, and offending. The course employs an intersectional approach that attends to how race, class, sexual orientation, and citizenship further impact gendered experiences of crime and criminalization.
Principles of Sociology
University of Massachusetts Amherst Fall 2015; Boston University Spring 2019
This class offers an introduction to the field of sociology. Sociology is the scientific study of the social behaviors of people, groups, and societies. Sociologists study social phenomena of all kinds, at both micro (i.e.: interaction, interpersonal dynamics, agency) and macro (i.e.: systems, organizations, institutions) levels. As a survey course, students will explore broad strokes of sociological inquiry, examining the connections between the larger forces of history and personal experiences by engaging what C. Wright Mills coined in 1959 “the sociological imagination.” Through lecture, readings, films, and discussion students will work together to analyze everyday life through the lens of sociology, examining the relationships between the individual, society, social institutions, and social structure.
Gender & Sexuality I: An Interdisciplinary Introduction
Boston University Fall 2018
Nature vs. nurture? Is it biology or social construction? Polarized debates like these are often invoked in discussions of gender and sexuality. In this co-taught, interdisciplinary course, we will discard the “either/or” elements in these debates to explore gender and sexuality from the perspectives of natural science, social science, and the humanities. We will also interrogate how different disciplines (e.g. biology, sociology, and literary studies) define gender and how those definitions influence the modes of critical analysis common in those disciplines. Topics include the evolutionary origin of sexes; evolution, development, and social construction of sex, gender, and sexuality; sexual differences, similarities and diversity in bodies, brains, and behavior. Through the course we will work with many different kinds of readings, including empirical research articles and scholarly essays in the natural sciences and social sciences, scholarly works from the humanities, and creative and artistic works. Disciplines will span biology, anthropology, archeology, psychology, sociology, history, religion, literature, and philosophy. This interdisciplinary introduction is the first of the two-course required gateway sequence for the minor in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.
Sociology 222: The Family
Sociology 106: Race, Gender, Class, and Ethnicity
Women’s Studies 512/712: Feminist Approaches to Sexual Identities and Cultures