We live in a world that is changing very quickly. Sociology gives us the tools to understand our own lives and those quite remote from us. The premise of this class is that in order to benefit from the sociological perspective, we need to learn how to ask certain basic questions. We need to know how to seek answers through methods that strive to be systematic and generalizable.We will begin with some of the essential questions: How are the things that we take to be natural socially constructed? How do we live today? How determined is social life? Does the individual make a difference? How is social order possible? Then we will ask what techniques are available to make sense of these questions. We will review comparative, historical, demographic, experimental, and ethnographic methods. Along the way, we will study core concepts including ethnocentrism, social networks, community, unanticipated consequences, social capital, race, class, and gender.
We will strive to understand how interaction in micro-level contexts affects larger social processes and how such macro-level processes influence our day to day lives. We will learn to conceive of inequality by asking how race, class, and gender work in tandem. We will address one of the crises of recent sociology -- whether we can actually isolate the effects of social context. We will think about how social science is changing at a time when we are literally swimming in oceans of data generated by the internet.
MOOCs stand for Massive Open Online Courses. These arefree online courses from universities around the world (eg. StanfordHarvardMIT) offered to anyone with an internet connection.
How do I register?
To register for a course, click on "Go to Class" button on the course page. This will take you to the providers website where you can register for the course.
How do these MOOCs or free online courses work?
MOOCs are designed for an online audience, teaching primarily through short (5-20 min.) pre recorded video lectures, that you watch on weekly schedule when convenient for you. They also have student discussion forums, homework/assignments, and online quizzes or exams.