My passion for teaching is fueled by my research experience, the ongoing global and local issues that impact us all, and my genuine interest in connecting with my students and learning from them as they learn from me. In each class, I encourage students to interrogate our taken-for-granted and “common sense” beliefs. This means activating their sociological imagination and engaging in critical thinking to produce a richer and broader perspective of the world and our place in it.
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Photo credit: Maricela Jalavalero
This course examines the diverse nature of intimate family relationships in today’s society. The definition of family in the context of cohabitation, marriage, child rearing, and living apart but together is demonstrated as the focus of understanding traditional and unconventional aspects of social infrastructure. Family connotes strong emotional bonds, not simply for those born into the same bloodline, but also for those who choose to align their lives as a support structure, caring unit, and cultural guide. This course offers an objective analysis of the social concept of family.
Students in this course study the reciprocal relationship between society and those considered aged by society, utilizing concepts and theoretical frameworks applicable to that population group. This course explores the social forces that impinge on the aging process, including socially constructed images of the aged, and patterns of inequality of gender, race, and economics. For your final project in this course, students will conduct one life history interview and analyze the narrative content of the interview as it relates to course theories and concepts.
Sociology of the Family
Sociology of Aging
SELECTED COURSE DESCRIPTIONS
This course examines relationships and interactions between society and the environment. This includes inquiries into how the natural world and its degradation influence the way societies are organized by studying human communities as part of natural ecosystems. Using the sociological perspective, the materials presented here demonstrate the ways in which environmental issues are fundamentally structural and must be understood as such in order to be addressed. We will focus on the sociological aspects of environmental issues, drawing from literature in political economy, social inequality, social constructionism, sociology of knowledge, and social movements. We will also consider issues of development and globalization to bolster our understanding of the relationship between structural conditions and lived experiences in our own country and abroad.
Race and Ethnicity
This course includes an analysis of relations between dominant groups and minority groups that make up American society. Theories of racial stratification and prejudice, the meaning of racial differences, racialization, conflict, and modes of accommodation are emphasized. By the end of the course, students should understand why we attach meaning to race and ethnicity, including the sociohistoric constructions of race and ethnicity and contemporary socioeconomic trends; how race changes over time and place; the history and development of race relations in the U.S.; racial stratification outside of the U.S.; and the major sociological concepts and theories of race and ethnicity.
This course will give students an understanding of the various methodological approaches that constitute qualitative research methods, with special emphases on types of interviewing, observation techniques, ethnographic field-based methods, and content analysis. Students will learn the techniques of qualitative research and engage in philosophical, ethical, and theoretical conversations around qualitative methods. The course will explore issues of research ethics as they pertain to qualitative research in the social sciences as well as the history and epistemological basis of qualitative research methodology. Students are encouraged to take a general social science methods course before or in conjunction with this course.
This course examines social inequality and categories of difference from a sociological perspective. Students interrogate social difference and stratification on the basis of race/ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality by examining how these categories are constructed, institutionalized, and experienced. The course also focuses on economic and labor-based inequality through the lens of contemporary global processes. By the conclusion of the course, students will be able to identify mechanisms and processes in contemporary life that contribute to patterns of inequality both across the U.S. and between the U.S. and other countries.