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Degrees & Courses

Summer 2016

Regular Session
June 13 - August 7, 2016

Off-Campus Courses
Online Courses


Course Descriptions

PLEASE CALL 815-753-5200 for permit course information. Course details may change. For the most up-to-date information, please see our online listings: www.niu.edu/lasbgs

ATTENTION BGS STUDENTS: You will apply for graduation during the semester in which you register for your final term. You should meet with your adviser to determine that you are registering for the correct courses. You and your adviser must be certain that your file in Registration and Records is complete and accurate with all documents (transcripts, grade changes, substitutions, adviser approval letters) and information necessary for graduation. Please carefully review your Academic Advising Report for accuracy. It is your responsibility to contact your adviser with any questions regarding discrepancies that appear on this report. You may review your Academic Advising Report through MyNIU

The deadline for applying for Summer/August 2016 graduation is June 15, 2016. You must have at least 90 total semester hours to apply for graduation. The $29.00 graduation fee will be billed to your student account. Absolutely no late applications will be accepted. The deadline for applying for December/Fall 2016 graduation is September 1, 2016.

Registration for Summer 2016 begins the week of April 4, 2016. Registration appointments are assigned based on the number of cumulative hours. Beginning early March, students may check MyNIU for their appointment day and time. Students may register on or after the assigned appointment day and time as long as there are not any holds assigned to their record. All new undergraduate students are allowed to register after meeting with an academic advisor following their orientation session (providing the appointment day and time has been reached).

If you are unfamiliar with the MyNIU system and/or need assistance, please visit

Courses titled with a computer means that the class is offered online.

BIOS 442/542

Evolution and the Creationist Challenge
BIOS 442/542: YE1, Class #s 2994/2995

The perennial culture wars raging in the USA are expressed in many areas of society. One area of attack is the opposition by the Religious Right to the teaching of evolution in public schools. Since before the famous "Scopes Monkey Trial" in 1925, school boards and legislatures have tried to eliminate, add equal doses of creationism to, or water down the coverage of evolution. They have targeted evolution as a cause for many of their perceived "social evils," don't understand science, and cannot separate evolution from "Social Darwinism."

This course will introduce students to the history of the controversy, define the opposition, and explain where each side gets their ideas and what they believe. We will then explore the philosophy of science in enough detail to be able to separate a scientific question from a non-scientific question. A preliminary survey of primarily biological evolution will provide students with the necessary information to counter creationist arguments. This course is designed to give students the ability to not only defend evolution but, more importantly, attack non-scientific intrusions into the public school system. It is not a course in biological evolution but complementary, and can be taken by any upper-level undergraduate with an interest in science and society.

Catalog Description: Evolutionary theory and tenets of present-day anti-evolutionists with emphasis on providing students with the skills to articulate the theory of evolution as it applies to the biological sciences. Not a substitute for a formal course in evolutionary theory. Recommended for students pursuing careers in secondary science education.

Ronald Toth (3 credit hours)

  • Fully online course, 06/13 - 08/04


Fundamentals of Oral Communication
COMS 100: QE1, Class #2996

This basic course is an introduction to the fundamentals of oral communication. Emphasis is on the improvement in speaking and listening skills. The course is designed with many activities to enhance your overall presentation awareness in different communication contexts.

Catalog Description: Listening and speaking competencies with a focus on skills of invention, organization, language and style, and delivery in public and other settings. Does not count for credit toward the major in communication studies.

David Simon (3 credit hours)

  • NIU-Rockford, Mondays & Wednesdays, 06/13 - 08/03, 6:30 - 9:15 pm.


Performance in Speech Communication
COMS 309: DE1, Class #2997
NOTE: This is an inter-session course.

This course is designed as a hands-on laboratory for honing your communication skills in a variety of contexts: ceremonial discourse, speaking with a manuscript and interviewing. There will also be highly individualized “coaching” to hone skills. Additionally, we will cover the mechanics of speech and relaxation and rehearsal techniques. Please feel free to contract Judy Santacaterina at jsantaca@niu.edu for additional information.

Catalog Description: Multidimensional approach to oral communication. Emphasis on developing effective speech habits: voice production, voice quality, and articulation. Oral communication in speech performance for radio/television, teaching, and other professions where oral performance is particularly important. PRQ: COMS 100.

Judy Santacaterina (3 credit hours)

  • NIU-Hoffman Estates, Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, 05/16 - 06/09, 6:30 - 9:15 pm.


Major Directors: Billy Wilder
COMS 390: DE1, Class #2998
NOTE: This is an inter-session course.

This course will examine the life and work of Billy Wilder with specific attention given to the films he directed and co-wrote. Although his films are notable for their use of humor, we will discover the development of one of his guiding principles: “In life, you have to take the bitter with the sour."

Catalog Description: Focus on the work of a major film director using the auteur theory. Artistry, vision, and social importance will be examined against the institutional background of film production. Repeatable up to six hours if subject is different.

Matthew Swan (3 credit hours)

  • NIU-Naperville, Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, 05/16 - 06/09, 6:30 - 9:15 pm.



Current Economic Issues:
Economic Analysis of Recent Legislation
ECON 370D: YE1, Class #2999

This course explores the role of economic analysis in public policy. It will examine the role government in a market economy and the analysis of specific public policies.

Catalog Description: Topics of current importance to consumers, resource owners, business, and government. May be repeated up to 9 hours as topics change and can be taken concurrently. PRQ: ECON 260 and ECON 261.

Sowjanya Dharmasankar (3 credit hours)

  • Fully online course, 06/13 - 08/04.


ENGL 308

Technical Writing
ENGL 308: YE1, Class #3000

In this fully online class, students will study the principles and strategies for planning, writing, and revising technical documents common in government, business, and industry. Some of the topics covered in this class are audience analysis and purpose, writing effectively, simplifying complex information, writing instructions, and document design.

The class will “meet” in Blackboard Learn where students will find video lectures, video demonstrations, assignment information, discussion boards, and a journal space. Students will also use an online space provided by the textbook publisher to watch video presentations, complete exercises related to the weekly reading assignment, and take quizzes.

The e-textbook Technical Communication, 10th edition, by Mike Markel, is included in the online course space, YourTechCommClass. An access code can be purchased at the University Bookstore and VCB. It can also be purchased online at http://courses.bfwpub.com/yourtechcommclass/student-access.php. Students can also register their access code at this address.

Catalog Description: Principles and strategies for planning, writing, and revising technical documents common in government, business, and industry (e.g., manuals, proposals, procedures, newsletters, brochures, specifications, memoranda, and formal reports). Topics include analysis of audience and purpose, simplifying complex information, document design, and project management.

Jan Knudsen (3 credit hours)

  • Fully online course, 06/13 - 08/04.


ENGL 400

Literary Imagination & the Holocaust
ENGL 400: YE1, Class #3001

This course will deal with how the Holocaust has influenced, informed, and been revealed through the literary imagination. Students will read various types of literature--including poetry, short stories, a short novel, drama, memoirs, and nonfictional essays--by European and American writers in order to understand the enormity of the Holocaust in human history and its impact on human consciousness. The class will focus primarily on the selected literary works (as well as one or two films), but students also will be expected to read and respond to the historical overview of the Holocaust provided for them.

Catalog Description: Topics announced. May be repeated to a maximum of 6 semester hours when topic varies.

Stephen Franklin (3 credit hours)

  • Fully online course, 06/13 - 08/04.


Victoria's Dark Night of the Soul:
The Literature of Horror, 1832-899
ENGL 400/607: CE1, Class #3002/3003

Students should expect to broaden and deepen their raw knowledge of an important period of our cultural heritage. Our aim will be to distinguish the important themes and techniques on display in these often complex and lengthy novels and try to understand how and why this horror sub-genre of “the novel” developed as it did. Students will finish the course with a good sense of the Victorian tradition in fiction–- its Realist center-line, which I’ll be talking about, as well as the arcs and tangents, both thematic and formal, proper to Victorian horror. The format will be class discussion initiated and punctuated by brief monologues (some of which will be offered by students).

"The Literature of Horror" will begin a bit pre-Victorian with Ann Radcliffe’s The Italian and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein before turning to Tennyson's poetry (such poems as "The Palace of Art," In Memoriam, and "Maud") and a few poems by R. Browning. Wilkie Collins's The Woman in White, Charles Dickens's The Mystery of Edwin Drood, George Eliot's The Lifted Veil, R. L. Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Bram Stoker's Dracula, (as well as its precursor, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's Carmilla) and Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray will follow (and we will dip into George Du Maurier's Trilby --does the name "Svengali" ring a bell?), and we will finish up with Conrad's Heart of Darkness.

Aside from becoming appropriately horrified (!), our ambition will be to address a list of questions the most basic of which will be, how did the Victorians define "the horrible”?

Catalog Description, ENGL 400: Topics announced. May be repeated to a maximum of 6 semester hours when topic varies.
Catalog Description, ENGL 607: Study of special topics and periods of literature. May be repeated to a maximum of 9 semester hours when topic varies.

Brian May (3 credit hours)

  • NIU-Naperville, Mondays & Wednesdays, 06/13 - 08/03, 6:30 - 9:15 pm.


GEOG 256/556

Maps and Mapping/Fundamentals of Mapping
GEOG 256/556: YE1, Class #s 3004/3005
GEOG 256/556: YE2, Class #s 3140/3134

Though maps have been used by civilizations for well over 5,000 years, practically all aspects of mapping today involve computers – from the collection of real-world data by GPS or satellites, to drafting and printing. Rather than study the history of maps and mapping, we will instead study the concept of maps as tools of modern communication and visualization. This course is also the starting point for NIU’s certificate of undergraduate study in Geographic Information Systems (in addition to applying toward the B.G.S.) and is required for several further courses in geography.

Catalog Description, GEOG 256: Introduction to maps as models of our earth, tools of visualization, and forms of graphic communication. Use of satellite and aerial imagery, land surveying, and geographic information systems in map production. Thematic maps and how they are used. Map design for informational and persuasive purposes. Two hours of lecture, two hours of laboratory.
Catalog Description, GEOG 556: For graduate students with little formal background in mapping. Maps as models, tools of visualization, and forms of graphic communication. Processes of map production, including imagery and surveying. Principles of map design.

Devin Moeller (256/556: YE1) / Autumn Jones (256/556: YE2) (3 credit hours)

  • YE1 & YE2: Fully online course, 06/13 - 08/04.


GEOG 303

Water Resources and the Environment
GEOG 303: YE1, Class #3006

This course in intended to provide the student with a broader understanding of water and its importance to our lives and earth’s complex environment. We will consider issues facing water such as whether the supply of water will continue, how man-made developments have altered water availability, how pollution has eroded this natural resource, and where/how we can restore our water resources. Relevant video clips, online tutorials, and supplemental readings will be used throughout the course to provide examples of water-related issues affecting northern Illinois, other regions of the U.S., as well as various countries around the world.

Catalog Description: Evaluation of water as a resource; its availability, distribution, use, and quality. Operation of the hydrologic cycle and relationships between surface water and the soil, groundwater, and atmosphere. Human impacts on water resources and the management of water-related hazards, including flooding, drought, and the spread of disease. Lecture and field experience.

Sharon Ashley (3 credit hours)

  • Fully online course, 06/13 - 08/04.


GEOG 359/557

Introduction to GIS/Fundamentals of GIS
GEOG 359/557: YE1, Class #s 3007/3008

Have you ever asked yourself, “Where in the world am I?” GEOG 359 may help you answer that question with an introductory study of the principles of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). In this online course, we develop skills in GIS, its components, and how it applies to our surrounding environment. This course is a primer for those who are interested in learning more about the dynamic and ever-changing world of GIS and its career applications.

Catalog Description, GEOG 359: Study of the fundamental principles of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Emphasis on the development of these systems, their components, and their integration into mainstream geography. Two hours of lecture, two hours of laboratory. PRQ: GEOG 256 or GEOG 352 or consent of department.
Catalog Description, GEOG 557: For graduate students with little formal background in GIS or computer mapping. Principles, components, and uses of geographic information systems. PRQ: GEOG 552 or GEOG 556, or consent of department.

Philip Young (3 credit hours)

  • Fully online course, 06/13 - 08/04.


GEOG 459/559

Geographic Information Systems
GEOG 459/559: YE1, Class #s 3009/3010

A Geographic Information System (GIS), composed of multiple map layers of a place, can facilitate problem-solving in a variety of social, environmental, and business settings. This course will apply GIS to examples from these different settings. Methods of integrating land, environmental, demographic, and business information will be demonstrated. In addition to applying to the B.G.S., this class also counts toward NIU’s certificate of undergraduate study in Geographic Information Systems.

Catalog Description, GEOG 459: Study of the conceptual framework and development of geographic information systems. Emphasis on the actual application of a GIS to spatial analysis. Two hours of lecture and two hours of laboratory. PRQ: GEOG 359 or consent of department.
Catalog Description, GEOG 559: Study of the conceptual framework and development of geographic information systems. Emphasis on the actual application of a GIS to spatial analysis. Two hours of lecture and two hours of laboratory. PRQ: GEOG 557 or consent of department.

Richard Greene (3 credit hours)

  • Fully online course, 06/13 - 08/04.


GEOL 735

Soil Mechanics
GEOL 735: YE1, Class #3011

This is a graduate-level course that explores the behavior and engineering use of soil in a variety of settings, emphasizing real-world applications. Case histories will be used to illustrate laboratory and field testing methods with examples involving construction, landfills, karst landscapes and natural hazards. Course format includes online tutorials, video clips, readings, online discussions, problem sets and short writing exercises. Soil classification, Atterberg limits, consolidation, compaction, soil shear strength, slope stability, effects of seepage and groundwater on soil stability will be covered, along with other topics of interest to the class.

Catalog Description: Mechanical behavior of soils (unconsolidated earth materials) and use in geotechnical and environmental engineering. Engineering classification of soils, Atterberg limits, field and laboratory testing methods, consolidation and compaction, foundation performance, liquefaction, piping, slope stability, seismic response, and importance of soil mechanics in solid waste disposal. Case histories and problem-solving. Students should be competent in mineralogy, physics and calculus prior to enrollment. PRQ: Consent of department.

Philip Carpenter (3 credit hours)

  • Fully online course, 06/13 - 08/04.


HIST 368

History of Chicago
HIST 368: YE1, Class #3055 (4 Week 1)

This course will consider the ways in which diverse populations changed Chicago beginning with late 17th-century French exploration and ending with distinct neighborhood identities of the 20th century. Readings and discussions will focus on how different groups contributed to the physical and cultural landscape of Chicago through diverse themes such as: industrialization, labor agitation, immigration, urbanization, crime, and local politics. Through readings, lectures, and discussions, students will trace Chicago’s development as the “Paris of the Midwest.”

Catalog Description: Survey of the history of Chicago, emphasizing the city's social structure, its' economic, political, and cultural development, and the changing meaning of locality and community.

Journey Steward (3 credit hours)

  • Online with 4 mandatory face-to-face meetings at NIU-Naperville, Mondays, 06/13, 06/20, 06/27, and 07/06, 6:30 - 8:15 pm.


HIST 469/569

The Vietnam War
HIST 469/569: YE1, Class #s 3012/3012

The Vietnam War remains one of the most divisive conflicts in American history. This course examines the factors that contributed to American military involvement in Southeast Asia. We examine the roots of Vietnamese nationalism and the influence of the Cold War on American foreign policy decisions. While this course looks at the impact of the war on the Vietnamese people, the focus is on the effect of the conflict on America. We view the Vietnam War in the context of the social justice movements of the late 1960s and the early 1970s. In addition to utilizing a standard textbook, students will also engage in oral history research and introduce them to the non-fiction and fiction literature of the Vietnam War.

Catalog Description: History of the American involvement in Vietnam between 1940 and 1975 that examines the evolving circumstances and policies leading to the American defeat.

Stanley Arnold (3 credit hours)

  • Online with 3 mandatory face-to-face meetings at NIU-Rockford, Thursdays, 06/16, 07/07, and 08/04, 6:30 - 9:15 pm.


HIST 480/580

Spies, Lies and Secret Wars:
CIA in the World
HIST 480/580: YE1, Class #s 3049/3050

Perhaps no other institution is so heavily mythologized in the popular consciousness than the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States. It is both hailed by some as the stealthy protector of world liberty and freedom and reviled by others as the epitome of tyranny and democratic hypocrisy. The course examines the CIA not solely from an American perspective but also from a global historical vantage. It employs a case study approach, with secondary readings drawing from a rich and critical historiography and primary research materials sampled from declassified, leaked and otherwise open archival sources.

Catalog Description: Involvement of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) with various peoples, governments and events around the globe.

Eric Jones (3 credit hours)

  • Fully online course, 06/13 - 08/04.


Philosophy of Religion
PHIL 370: QE1, Class #3014

The course is an introduction to some of the basic concepts and controversies in philosophical theology. Topics to be covered include the divine attributes, arguments for and against the existence of God, religious diversity, and the concept of faith, among others. Course grades will be based on several exams and quizzes, and one paper.

Catalog Description: Philosophical examination of religion, addressing such questions as: Does God exist? Is the world's order and regularity a reason to think so? Is the amount and variety of evil in the world a reason to think not? What is religion? Can it be reconciled with science? Are faith and reason compatible?

John Beaudoin (3 credit hours)

  • NIU-Rockford, Tuesdays & Thursdays, 06/14 - 08/04, 6:30 - 9:15 pm.



American Government and Politics
POLS 100: YE1, Class #3015

The purpose of this class is to provide students with a broad introduction and understanding of American governing institutions, actors, and political processes. Though this is primarily a Political Science class, it is impossible to discuss American politics without consideration of historical events and developments.

The course objectives for students to learn are:
1) The background from which ideas about American government originated and what these ideas were;
2) How the formal and informal institutions of American government work; and
3) How those institutions, along with political actors affect both decision- and policy- making.

We will cover a number of different subjects in the course such as American political culture, the creation of the U.S. Constitution and a federal system of government, the main branches of government, the role of political parties and interest groups, political behavior, political participation, the media, and public opinion. At the end of the course, students will have a better understanding of how and why American government works the way it does, and also some of the current debates in American Politics.

Catalog Description: Principles, processes, and problems of American government and politics. Examines the impact of changes in contemporary American politics.

April Clark (3 credit hours)

  • Fully online course, 06/13 - 08/04.



Introduction to Comparative Politics
POLS 260: YE1, Class #3016

This course is designed to introduce students to the comparative study of government and politics. Comparativists focus on trying to account for the similarities and differences between whatever it is they are comparing, and whether those similarities and differences result in similar or differing outcomes. In this class we will focus on comparing a number of different countries around the world by identifying and analyzing the common problems the governments of these countries have faced, comparing the governing institutions that these countries have adopted, and evaluating the impact of various institutions, and differing economic approaches, on the development of those countries. By taking such an approach students will become familiar with the similarities and differences between the countries covered during the course, and moreover, be able to offer explanations for why these similarities and differences exist. Throughout the course, we will touch on a number of concepts comparativists focus upon in order to examine the similarities and differences between countries including: electoral systems, political culture, public opinion, and the role of the state. The countries examined will represent a variety of political systems at different stages of development. The main theme of the course will be to examine factors, which help account for varying levels of democratic development in the countries under study.

Catalog Description: Comparative analysis of values, structures, and processes of selected foreign political systems, noting similarities to and differences from those of the United States.

Michael Clark (3 credit hours)

  • Fully online course, 06/13 - 08/04.



The U.S. Congress
POLS 307: YE1, Class #3017
NOTE: This is an inter-session course.

This is a course on the United States Congress and is intended to familiarize students with the practical aspects of the functioning of Congress, but also acquaint students with some of the major academic debates surrounding the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the U.S. legislature. Students successfully completing the course will gain an appreciation for the myriad institutions that make up the U.S. Congress; pros and cons of specific institutional arrangements; improve their social science related vocabulary; and become more familiar with the way laws are made (or not made), today.

Catalog Description: Principles, organization, procedures, and activities of the U.S. Congress. Topics include elections, legislators and their districts, legislative committees, party leadership positions, and legislative-executive relations. Recommended: At least sophomore standing.

Scot Schraufnagel (3 credit hours)

  • Fully online course, 05/16 - 06/09.



Law & Film
POLS 312: YE1, Class #3018

This course explores whether there is a tension between actual legal practices in the “real world” and their portrayal in popular culture—specifically motion pictures. We will ask whether cinematic practices and imperatives give rise to a “reel-world” view of the law. We will focus on a number of related themes which may include: the concept of justice, the relationship between economic status and the law, official v. unofficial law enforcement including the quasi-law enforcement of private detectives, legal education, the practice of law, legal ethics, women in law and politics, discrimination and the law, the role of both civil and criminal courts in a political system, the role of the mass media in relation to law and politics, and law and social change. Students should expect to develop a more in-depth understanding of the issues covered as well as a better appreciation of the cultural and political significance of the way that law and legal actors are depicted in the movies. Students are required to view full-length, feature-films ranging from classics such as The Big Sleep (1946) and Adam’s Rib (1949) to more recent pictures like Thelma & Louise (1991) and Intolerable Cruelty (2003).

Catalog Description: Analysis of feature films to explore topics such as law school and the legal profession, criminal and civil law, civil rights and liberties, and justice as it relates to race, gender, and class. (NOTE: POLS 312 used to be taught as one of the topics under POLS 414.)

Artemus Ward (3 credit hours)

  • Fully online course, 06/13 - 08/04.



American Political Thought II
POLS 357: YE1, Class #3019

This course will explore one of the most important and longstanding controversies in American history: whether we are a “democracy” or a “republic.” We will first look closely at how these terms were used and defined at the time of the American founding, and then we will trace their respective developments as competing models for government throughout American history. We will see how our self-understanding as either a democracy or a republic—right down to our split into “Democratic” and “Republican” parties—has had and continues to have a profound impact on our vision for public policy and our interpretation of our American identity.

Catalog Description: Analysis of topics in American political thought which reflect major political controversies in American history, for example, liberty and equality, liberalism and conservatism, American political rhetoric. Topics vary. May be repeated to a maximum of 6 semester hours. Recommended: At least sophomore standing.

S. Adam Seagrave (3 credit hours)

  • Fully online course, 06/13 - 08/04.


PSYC 324

Developmental Child Psychology
PSYC 324: YE1, Class #3020
NOTE: This is an inter-session course.

Catalog Description: Introduction to questions, approaches, and empirical findings in the field of developmental psychology. Emphasis on the processes of psychological development during childhood, as illustrated within a broad range of psychological content domains. PRQ: At least sophomore standing and PSYC 102, or consent of department.

Phillip Krasula (3 credit hours)

  • Online with 2 mandatory face-to-face meetings at Waubonsee Community College, 05/16 and 06/09, 6:30 - 9:15 pm.


PSYC 332

PSYC 332: YE1, Class #3086

This course will examine various renowned theorists who have made major contributions to the field of psychology. The approach for this course will be to offer historical perspectives on personality and to enhance student critical thinking to build a solid framework for understanding “personality.” Class sessions will include lecture; films; discussions and activities.

Catalog Description: Consideration of basic factors in personality and the role of personality in the study of behavior. Discussion and critical examination of contemporary studies in personality, with emphasis on experimental evidence. PRQ: At least sophomore standing and PSYC 102, or consent of department.

Joanne Messina (3 credit hours)

  • Fully online course, 06/13 - 08/04.


PSYC 372

Social Psychology
PSYC 372: YE1, Class #3059

Alport (1985) writes that social psychology is a scientific study of the way in which people’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors are influenced by the real or imaged presence of other people. This course will examine how people are influenced by immediate surroundings, cultural norms, and family background through lecture, films, activities and small group discussions. Major learning components will offer students enhanced knowledge on critical societal problems such as attitudes, attitude change, conformity, group processes, interpersonal attraction, discrimination/stereotype, pro-social behavior, and health.

Catalog Description: Behavior in the context of social interaction, with emphasis on experimental findings. Includes such topics as interpersonal judgment and perception, social attraction, aggression, prejudice and social influence, including attitude formation and persuasion, conformity, and social modeling. PRQ: At least sophomore standing and PSYC 102, or consent of department.

Joanne Messina (3 credit hours)

  • Fully online course, 06/13 - 08/04.


SOCI 354

Families and Social Change
SOCI 354: YE1, Class #3022

This course will utilize research, current cultural analysis, and online discussions to explore the concept of family. Family is both intimate and personal, shaping our identities; as well as a public institution since families are shaped by and shape the social, economic, and political institutions in society. We will primarily focus on the family and kinship groups in the United States but comparisons will be made with other societies globally.

Catalog Description: Introduction to family sociological and historical research, focusing on the diversity and adaptability of families in changing contemporary American society. Emphasis on how large social trends and forces such as economic transitions, governmental policies, and societal values and beliefs affect families as units and family members as individuals. Attention given to understanding the dynamic social construction of gender within and outside of families. PRQ: SOCI 170 or SOCI 250 or SOCI 260 or SOCI 270, or consent of department.

Janet Reynolds (3 credit hours)

  • Fully online course, 06/13 - 08/04.


SOCI 361

Race and Ethnicity
SOCI 361: YE1, Class #3023

This course provides basic theoretical and empirical knowledge about racial and ethnic relations in the United States. The first part of the course explores theories that explain the introduction, maintenance, reproduction, and persistence of race and ethnicity as meaningful social groupings. With this theoretical backdrop, we examine racial and ethnic relations in the “real world.” The main themes of this course are: 1) to explain whether, how and why race and ethnicity matter; 2) to demonstrate how race and ethnicity interact with and relate to larger social and economic institutions in the U.S.; and 3) to help you to construct theoretically informed and cogent arguments that support your own perspectives on racial and ethnic group relations.

We will consider the following questions: 1. What accounts for biological emphasis of race? 3. What accounts for racial/ethnic groups’ position in the class hierarchy? 4. How does the fact of being a racial/ethnic minority affect other group experiences? How does this vary by class status, gender, nation of origin, or even skin color? 5. What are the relations with local racial/ethnic groups and coethnics? 6. How do local cultures, transnational cultures, and a pan-ethnic “cultures” develop? 7. How do class/class conflict, gender/gender conflict, race/race conflict, and national origin play a role in the establishment of the group in local or national contexts? 8. How does the immigration experience, settlement experience, or ethnic group culture of the group compare with others we have learned about? What accounts for similarities and differences? What political policies impact these experiences or outcomes?

Catalog Description: Analysis of the social and cultural patterns that structure the lives of ethnic and racial groupings in American society; impact of social change and conflict upon minority, majority relations; present trends in ethnic/racial identity and identity crises of selected ethnic and racial groups. PRQ: SOCI 170 or SOCI 250 or SOCI 260 or SOCI 270, or consent of department.

Carol Walther (3 credit hours)

  • Fully online course, 06/13 - 08/04.