SYG 2000 – Principles of Sociology


General Education Credit: S (WR)
High School Credit: 0.5

Course Instructor: Jeanne Holcomb
Jeanne Holcomb, Ph.D.
Meet Your Instructor

About The Course

The work of sociologists is to “make the familiar strange.” This course explains what we mean by this, how we go about doing such, and why it is both important and necessary to think critically about our social world. We will address several paradoxical questions in our time together:

  • Do we create culture or does culture create us?
  • How do we know what we know without explicit instruction?
  • Why do we need deviants to hold us together as a society?
  • How do “great equalizers” such as public education create and reproduce some of the greatest and most persistent social inequalities?
  • Why is authority lost the moment that force is used?
  • How is inequality the manifestation of abundance?
  • How can human inventions such as gender and race be real but not exist? (And yes, as you will discover, we wily sociologists view these concepts as figments of our collective imaginations.)

In doing so, this course s hall provide you with not just a bunch of random facts and names, but with a new way of seeing, thinking about, and approaching your social world. As Mills says above, sometimes the journey to “thinking like a sociologist” is a troubling path, but my hope is that it will be one that is wonderfully rewarding.

Course Goals

First and foremost, by the end of the course, you will be equipped with the tools for thinking like a sociologist. You will gain an understanding of our various theoretical perspectives and analytical tools for understanding individuals, social groups, patterns in social interaction, and stratification and inequality related to gender, racial, ethnic, class and sexual identities (among others). In addition, you should have a healthy start on developing a seasoned “sociological imagination”—a tool that will enable you to not only understand your own social position and experiences within a broader historical and social context, but those of others as well. Lastly , my hope is that you will have an appreciation for the relevance and importance of sociology in effecting social change, and an appreciation for your own role in this endeavor too.

Satisfied High School Graduation Requirement Subject: Elective (GE)