Skip to Navigation | Skip to Content

Academics: Courses

Sociology Courses 2008-09

151 Sociological Principles and Perspectives (3). Fall and Spring. This course is an introductory study of human social activity. The primary objectives of the course are: 1) to introduce students to origins, basic concepts, theories, and research methods of sociology, 2) to provide students with an overview of the structure, effects, promise, and limitations of our most basic social institutions, 3) to provide students with an overview of the nature of social organization, 4) to encourage students to think analytically and critically about the society in which they live, and 5) to introduce students to the traditions of Christian reflection on social life.

153 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (3). Fall and Spring. This course involves the study of cultural diversity around the globe, both historically and geographically. The course introduces the foundational elements of cultural anthropology including topics of field work, cultural relativism, ethnocentrism, participant observation, ethnography, ethnology as well as major anthropological theories. The course addresses the diversity, as well as commonality of cultural systems, both in time and space, through studying major components of cultural systems, such as kinship, religion, politics, and economics. Students are exposed to an awareness of their place within a particular cultural context, as well as their culture’s place within a global and historical context.

210 The Criminal Justice System (3). Spring. A survey and analysis of law enforcement, the courts, and corrections with special attention given to the ethical, legal, and social issues that must be confronted when these components of the traditional criminal justice system are expected to bring about social justice to offenders, victims, and society in general. Goals of restoration and moral accountability are also addressed.

250 Diversity and Inequality in the United States (3). Fall and Spring. This course analyzes the social meanings of our various identities (i.e., race-ethnicity, class, and gender); how these identities affect our self-concepts; and the impact of these identities upon our social and societal relationships. The primary objectives of this course are to study the social definitions of gender, race, and class; to examine the impact of these social constructs on human behavior, identity, and interactions with other persons; to develop a sociological understanding of the nature of structured inequality, and patterns of discrimination; to become familiar with social-scientific methods appropriate for the studying of diversity and inequality; and to understand the promise and challenge of biblical reconciliation for seeing ourselves as image bearers of God and for easing the social tensions associated with diversity and inequality in the United States.

252 African Diaspora in the Americas (3). Fall, odd years. This course examines selected topics that have arisen in recent African Diasporafocused research. Using a comparative model, this course investigates the experiences of Black people from a variety of societies and nations (such as Brazil, Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, and the United State of America) in the Americas. This course begins with a presentation of a conceptual framework for understanding the African Diaspora in the Americas and includes a critical Christian perspective. Various themes will be addressed at the individual, community, and societal level using historical, ethnographic, and geo-political approaches.

253 Intercultural Communication (3). Fall and Spring. An examination of the anthropological principles relating to cross-cultural communication. This examination requires an extensive comparison of the components of cultural systems and the nature of cultural dynamics. The areas of application include government, business, peace corps, development, and mission work, with special emphasis on the last two. Special topics include developing an appropriate attitude regarding indigenous cultures and the management of culture shock. Also cross-listed Communication Arts and Sciences 253.

255 Social Science Statistics (4). Fall and Spring. This course is an introduction to statistics and computer application in one of the social sciences. Concepts and procedures taught include levels of measurement, measures of central tendency, correlation techniques, probability theory, and hypothesis tests. This course is intended to meet the core Mathematics requirement for students with declared majors in Sociology and Social Work. Sociology and Social Work majors usually take this course in the sophomore or junior year. Prerequisites: An introductory course in one of the social sciences (e.g., Sociology 151 or Psychology 151) and meeting the Calvin admission requirement in Mathematics.

302 Urban Sociology (3). Spring. This course is an introduction to the purposes, problems, and prospects of cities in the United States and in other parts of the world. The theoretical portion of the course will introduce basic concepts of urban ecology and urban political economy. In the applied portion, functionalism and conflict theory will be addressed to help students to understand the interaction of social factors that produce change in cities and suburbs. The transformational theology of Abraham Kuyper will be used to focus a Christian perspective.

303 Anthropology of Religion (3). Spring, odd years. This course takes a comparative approach to the study of religion — focusing on the universal characteristics of religious beliefs such as myth, ritual, and the sacred. Students will develop a critical understanding of the approach anthropology takes to the study of religion and will be encouraged to develop a critical understanding of that approach particularly from a faith perspective. Emphasis will also be given to grappling with the reality of personal faith in a global context of religious diversity, including the diversity in expression of Christianity.

304 The Family (3). Spring. An intensive culturally comparative and historical analysis of the family as an institution. The contemporary courtship, marriage, and divorce patterns of the American family are also discussed.

306 Sociology of Deviance (3). Fall, even years. An analysis of deviant behavior: its causes, manifestations, prevention, and programs of control. Special attention is given to the role of social norms in generating as well as controlling deviance. Emphasis is put on ways in which social structures generate and label deviance. Implications are drawn for various institutions, particularly the school and the church.

308 Demography and World Population Problems (3). Fall, even years. This introduction to demographic analysis of society includes a consideration of the major demographic theories of population growth and how these contribute to an understanding of population explosion; a review of how the socio-cultural dimension of human society affects major sources of population growth (fertility, mortality, migration, and how variations in these reciprocally affect society); and an analysis of the causes and consequences of population size, distribution, and composition for human society.

311 Religion and Society (3). Fall. The course will focus on recognizing the social aspects of religion and thinking critically about what influences the ways in which people practice their faith and what role faith plays in shaping human behavior. Particular attention is paid to the North American experience of Christianity. This course will examine beliefs, practices, organizations, and cultures from a sociological perspective, looking as well at the historical and philosophical underpinnings of the perspective and what that means for our study of religion. Not offered 2008-2009.

314 Contemporary Social Problems (3). Fall and Spring. The course will begin with a theoretical examination of social problems generally. Various contemporary social problems will be discussed with one selected for major emphasis.

315 Sociology of Sport (3). Spring. A study of the social and social-psychological dynamics of sports in modern society. Areas receiving special attention are youth sports, interscholastic sports, and professional sports. Emphasis is put on describing and understanding sports participants and observers and the relationship of sport as an institution to the rest of social structure. Not offered 2008-2009.

316 Social Gerontology (3). Spring odd years. A cross-cultural examination of how various societies react toward the elderly. Specific substantive issues included are: Discrimination against the elderly, familial relationships, social security, nursing home services, housing needs, and employment opportunities. There is an analysis of proposed changes in American society which would give assistance to older adults.

317 Death, Dying, and Bereavement (3). Spring even years. This course investigates death-related behavior in America and cross-culturally through the lens of various sociological perspectives, seeking to understand patterns of social interaction surrounding and giving meaning to dying, death, and bereavement. Topics include: Death meanings and anxiety, religion and death-related customs, the dying process, hospice as a social movement, bioethical and legal issues, the funeral industry and death rituals, and social understandings of the bereavement process. Not offered 2008-2009.

318 Sociological Theory (3). Fall. An assessment of sociological theory in terms of its historical development and current role in understanding human behavior. Particular attention is given to the function of theory in the research process. Direction is given to the student in the formulation of sociological hypotheses from data. Prerequisite: Sociology 151.

319 Special Problems and Current Issues in Criminal Justice (3). Concerted attention will be paid to a major criminal justice related issue or problem, focusing particularly on those for which a Reformed Christian sociological perspective is most strategic. Confronting the drug problem, and white collar crime are illustrations of these issues. Course may be taken two times in the study of different issues and problems for a total of 6 semester hours.

320 Social Research (3). Fall and Spring. An assessment of the nature of the research process as applied to the study of theoretical problems in social science. Students are guided in designing and conducting a research project, involving definition of the problem, consideration of appropriate methods, and the collection and analysis of data. Prerequisites: Sociology 151 and 255.

380 Internship in Sociology (3). Fall. Students are placed in an internship setting related to an area of sociological practice or research. Students work eight hours per week under the direction of an on-site supervisor and participate in regular seminar meetings conducted by the college instructor. Internship experiences will assist students in integrating previously acquired sociological knowledge and research skills in a particular setting. Each student will author a project that communicates learning throughout the internship. Prerequisites: Senior sociology major, completion of Sociology 151, 255, and completion of or concurrent registration in Sociology 318 and 320.

390 Independent Study.

395 Sociology Integrative Seminar (3). Spring. This course provides students with an opportunity to re-visit, at a more advanced level, the basic assumptions and concepts of the discipline of sociology; to explore the bearing of Christian faith, in particular a Reformed perspective, on the shaping of scholarly research; to consider what it means to practice sociology; and, in addition, students are challenged to synthesize, integrate, and assess what they have learned in sociology and to reflect on the role and contributions of the discipline in understanding current social issues in American culture. Prerequisites: Biblical Foundations I or Theological Foundations I, Developing a Christian Mind, Philosophical Foundations, Sociology 151, 255, and 318.