Course Descriptions

Please see OASIS for current semester offerings; not all courses are offered every semester)

Courses taught by Dr. Ella Schmidt

Ethnic Diversity in the U.S. (ANT 4316): Ethnic Diversity in the U.S. is an upper division anthropology exit course which follows a seminar format based on class discussions.  It focuses on ‘ethnicity’ and ‘ethnic diversity’ in the U.S. as social constructions that respond to specific moments in the history of the U.S.  The goal of this course is to give students the opportunity to explore different theoretical perspectives dealing with the dynamics of history, class, and ethnicity in the U.S.  Students are encouraged to critically look at what specific national discourses express about ethnic and class realities and how these constructions reflect particular hegemonic interests.

Gender in Cross-cultural Perspective (ANT 4302): Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspectives is an upper division anthropology exit course that follows a seminar format based on class discussions.  It focuses on the social constructions of gender based on particular historical and cultural processes of four specific social formations (pre-colonial-colonial societies, agricultural societies, pastoralist societies and state based). The goal of this course is to give students the opportunity to explore the connections between different socio-economic formations and the gender systems they created through time.  In fact, the ultimate goal of this course is to understand that gender systems are products of particular histories and particular peoples (and thus particular ideological systems).

Language and Culture (ANT 4620): This course has been designed to provide students an opportunity to focus on contemporary issues of language and culture and the very complex influences they exert on our understanding of our daily lives and realities.  Besides focusing on theoretical considerations, this course affords students the opportunity of applying knowledge generated in class to the analysis of the role language plays in the construction of realities that are seen through the lenses of gender, class, ethnicity, and power and the effects words have in the readings and understandings of those realities.  Through a short fieldwork project, students will be encouraged to analyze the role of language in the media (i.e. radio, tv, newspapers, ads,) and the internet in the production and reproduction of ideologies and hegemonies in issues of representation and imposition

Mexico and Central America (ANT 4323): The Columbian “discovery” of the ‘New World’ forced the interaction of realities and cultural systems that were profoundly different, many would claim unintelligible.  Since the early years of the Spanish conquest, the “Indian problem’ has haunted democratic leaders, dictators, policy makers, and, especially, the indigenous populations themselves.  National discourses (sometimes racist or classist, other times a combination of the two) have been constructed based on a set of assumptions that attempted to explain this “Indian problem”.

Senior Seminar (ISS 4935): See description above.

Courses taught by Dr. Vikki Gaskin-Butler

Introduction to the Social Sciences, ISS 3013: Integrates the range of social science fields into a global interdisciplinary perspective. Views social institutions and issues from perspectives of changing paradigms.

Personality, PPE 4003: Methods and findings of personality theories and an evaluation of constitutional, biosocial, and psychological determinants of personality.

Women’s Mental Health, SOP 4744: This course will stimulate students’’ critical engagement of research related to the psychology of women. This course will also enable students to understand women’’s experiences resulting from biological and social/cultural factors.

Cross-Cultural Psychology, SOP 4723: This course focuses on understanding culture and psychology, emphasizing cross-cultural research methodology and critical thinking. Cross-cultural psychology underscores the connections between culture, emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.

Psychology of Religion, SOP 4450: The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the empirical study of the psychology of religion and spirituality. This course will also focus on the origin of this field of study, including the pioneering work of William James.

Courses taught by Dr. Rebecca Johns:

Geographic Perspectives on Nature. GEO 4940: This seminar explores human concepts of nature from the Pleistocene to the present. Critical ideas within social construction of nature, from the Sumerians and Egyptians to the post-modern era (including ecofeminism, deep ecology, and animal rights) are explored.

Introduction to the Social Sciences, ISS 3013: See description above.

World Regional Geography, GEA 2000: Comparative and analytical analysis of representative regions of the world with emphasis on cultural, political, economic, environmental, and physical diversity

Qualitative Research Methods, ISS 3930: This is a hands-on course that provides students the opportunity to explore alternatives to the traditional statistical analysis of quantitative data in investigating social science topics. Focus groups, interviews, participant observation and archival methods are among the techniques utilized in the class.

Political Geography, GEO 4471: This course explores the spatial distribution of power at the national and international scales. The historic development of the unique system of representation in the United States is discussed. Contemporary struggles over space, including regional and global conflicts are evaluated from within a structural perspective.

Medical Geography, GEO 4930: This course explores the spatial distribution of disease and patterns of health at the national and global scales. Landscape epidemiology, newly emerging infectious diseases, the mortality transition, and other key concepts in medical geography are explored.

Global Conservation, GEO 4268: This course explores the distribution, exploitation, and conservation of environmental resources at a global scale. Special attention is paid to the socio-economic and political factors impacting resources use, degradation and amelioration. Causes and solutions to the most pressing environmental problems are explored from within a social science perspective.

Courses taught by Dr. Susan Allen

INTRODUCTION TO SOCIAL WORK,   SOW 33O3 – This course provides a broad overview of the social work profession and the theoretical bases that guide generalist social work practice and intervention.  It covers the following topics: a history of social work, with emphasis on the effects of social forces in shaping the profession today and in the future; the National Association of Social Work Code of Ethics and how it affects social work practice; the relationship of social work to other human service professions; and fields of generalist social work practice (e.g. school social work, criminal justice, and mental health). Students are required to do a 20 hour volunteer experience at a community social service agency to expand their understanding of social work practice.

AMERICAN SOCIAL WELFARE SYSTEMS,  SOW 3210 – This course provides a framework for  under- standing the historical development of American social welfare, its value base, and its response to populations at risk (e.g., people of color, ethnic groups, the developmentally challenged, women, children, the elderly,  and individuals with same sex preferences). From the conceptual perspective, emphasis is placed on understanding social welfare in terms of its etiology (values), decision-making (policy), and organizations (programs and services). From the historical perspective, emphasis is placed on critical analysis of social, economic, and political forces that have shaped the development of social welfare policy and institutions.  Attention is given to the problems of poverty, patterns and effects of discrimination and oppression, and societal responses to them through history to the present.

HUMAN BEHAVIOR AND THE SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT  I, SOW 3101 – The central focus of this course is the application of social and ecological systems to the normative developmental tasks and adaptive processes of the individual across the life span. Using a social systems perspective, emphasis is placed on forming an understanding of socio-cultural, psychological, spiritual, and biological factors as they impact human development and social functioning. The effects of the social environment (e.g., neighborhoods, schools, religious organizations, legal systems, health care systems, economic systems) upon human development are examined with particular attention to variables of diversity (e.g., socioeconomic status, gender expectations, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and age).  These variables are explored as sources of oppression and discrimination, as well as potential sources of developmental strength.

Multicultural America,   SOW 4522 – This course is an introduction to the study of diverse cultures, which constitutes American society.  The content centers on multiculturalism, cultural diversity, and social issues related to that diversity.  The overall goal is to begin to understand and appreciate more fully the realities of cultural similarities within American society; and to understand the impact that cultural competence of service providers, or lack thereof, may have on the provision of services, particularly to populations whose social experiences and culture is different from that of the provider.  It will also assist students in the study of their own cultural heritage, values, and perspectives as well as biases and stereotypes they may have about culturally different populations. The course attempts to debunk racial, ethnic, and cultural myths and stereotypes about special population groups within American society.