Sociology Courses

Click here to see outlines for Sociology Courses

Note: 400-level courses require at least 12 credits in sociology below the 400 level as a prerequisite, or the permission of the instructor. SOCI 101, 102 counts as six of these credits.  SOCI 101 and 102 are prerequisites for all 200-400 level courses. 

100 Level

101 Foundations of Sociology
This course introduces students to the origins and development of sociological thinking and research, beginning with the foundations of the discipline in the 19th century. Students are then introduced to the concepts and methods within sociology. The objective is to explore the extent and limits of our capacity to change the social world by reference to sociological research in both a Canadian and global context. Credit will be granted for only one of SOCI 101 and SOCI 100. Three credits.

102 Key Issues in Contemporary Sociology
This course builds on the foundations of sociological theory, methods and historic considerations established in SOCI 101. Students will explore a range of topics dealing with various aspects of social inequality, culture, integration, and ideological conflict in both a Canadian and global context. Together with SOCI 101, this course provides the prerequisite for all other sociology courses. Credit will be granted for only one of SOCI 102 and SOCI 100. Prerequisite: SOCI 101.Three credits.

200 Level

202 Research Principles and Practices
This course addresses how various philosophic assumptions shape the aims and practices of research in sociology. It provides students with empirical research design principles and an introduction to methods of collecting and recording data, assessing reliability and validity, and conducting data analysis. Different research strategies are introduced. The ethical implications of research will be discussed. Three credits. Note: SOCI 202 is a prerequisite for entry into higher-level methods courses.

212 Social Dissent
Social dissent has been a persistent, perhaps necessary, feature of modern (capitalist, bureaucratic, technocratic, patriarchal) societies. Students will explore ways in which dissent has been voiced and alternatives have been envisioned in the 20th century, including new organizational forms and tactics of dissent, and new technologies and international networks. Students may use the course as a basis for advanced social scientific research. Three credits.

216 Canadian Society
This course presents an analysis of Canadian Society and its development from a sociological perspective. Particular attention is given to political/economic institutions, ideology, class structure, regionalism, cultural forms and national identities. Three credits.

217 Race, Class, Gender, and Sex
This course discusses the interconnected realities of race, class, gender and sex from various sociological perspectives. Substantive topics will include the socially constructed nature of these concepts in places like media, and the experiences of classism, sexism and racism in the workplace, schools, and everyday life. Three credits. will be granted for only one of SOCI 217 or SOCI 215. Cross-listed as WMGS 217. Three credits.

221 Sociology of Marriage and Family Life
This course analyzes the marriage and family life from a sociological perspective. It provides an overview of social changes over the past century, such as the falling birth rate, the rise in cohabitation and the legalization of same-sex marriage. Topics include marriage and fertility trends, the rise of intensive parenting and the dual earner family, the normalization of separation and divorce, the social cost of family violence, and how technology is influencing parenting. Credit will be granted for only one of SOCI 221, SOCI 210, or WMGS 210. Cross-listed as WMGS 221. Three credits.

227 Sociology of Religion
Cross-listed as RELS 215; see RELS 215. Three credits.

230 Sociology of Education
Provides the student with a social interpretation of education in Canada. Particular emphasis will be given to contemporary structures. The relationship between educational opportunity and conditions of inequality resulting from the major societal institutions such as socio-economic status, the economy, family, and religion will be investigated. Six credits.

234 Social Class as Lived Experience
This course explores social class as a lived experience - one in which everyday life both reveals and denies the structural advantages and disadvantages that perpetuate class differences. By way of ethnographic and theoretical literatures, students will study how stages of life and encounters with institutions (school, state, family, etc) shape social class experiences. Three credits. Subject to Senate

242 Technology and Society
This course is designed to introduce students to core sociological issues and debates pertaining to technology. Topics covered include the nature of technological artifacts and systems, technology and social change, the relationship between technological innovation and scientific knowledge, technology and inequality, the social shaping of technology, and the role of digital media in relation to new
forms of cultural identity and social control. Credit will be granted for only one of SOCI 242 or SOCI 496 completed between 2012-2014. Three credits.

243 Consumer Society
This course explores classical to contemporary theories of consumer society beginning with Marx’s conception of the commodity as fetish. Themes discussed include conspicuous consumption, gender and consumption, social class, environment, identity, advertising and marketing. Three credits.

247 Environmental Social Science I:  Problems and Paradigms
This course introduces students to the major environmental challenges of the 21st century from a social science perspective. Modern societies that have sought to conquer natural limits have now conjured up unanticipated “environmental” consequences. Students will explore how human understandings of environmental “problems” as well as action towards environmental solutions are shaped by ways of thinking, social contexts and institutional power relations. Cross-listed as PSCI 247. Three credits.

248 Environmental Social Science II: Power and Change
A continuation of SOCI 247, this course addresses the same conceptual problems but focuses more on understanding the societal and political response to environmental issues. Students will critically examine both proposed ecological futures, as well as means of environmental problem solving and societal change: state policy, intergovernmental treaties, environmental movements, and market solutions. Cross-listed as PSCI 248. Prerequisite: SOCI 247 or PSCI 247. Three credits.

250 Deviance and Social Control
This course introduces students to the processes of deviance and social control by critically examining the social category of deviance and its use in social institutions and daily social practices. Topics include mental illness, drug and alcohol use, alternative sexualities, social violence, business crime, the normalization of disability; and forms of social control such as the judicial system, law, medicine, education, and social interaction. Six credits.

254 Social Class as Lived Experience
This course explores social class as a lived experience - one in which everyday life both reveals and denies the structural advantages and
disadvantages that perpetuate class differences. By way of ethnographic and theoretical literatures, students will study how stages of life and encounters with institutions (school, state, family, etc) shape social class experiences. Prerequisite: SOCI 100 or SOCI 101/102. Three credits.

298 Selected Topics
Three credits.

300 Level

301 Classical Social Theory
Explores the development and diversity of sociology’s foundational perspectives through the study of selected original works by such authors as Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim and Max Weber. Restricted to major, advanced major and honours students. Three credits.

302 Topics in Contemporary Theory
This seminar course on contemporary theory varies from year to year. While a survey approach to contemporary theory may be part of the course, it is probable that the professor will choose specific interests for in-depth analysis. Potential perspectives include feminist theory, anti-racist theory, postmodernism, and neo-Marxist theory. Restricted to major, advanced major and honours students. Three credits.

303 Early Modern Social Thought
This course examines early modern ways of thinking about the social world. These include theories of social contract, liberalism, political economy, positivistic science, evolution and progressive history. Students will discuss these intellectual influences in terms of how they either provided assumptions and authority for the emergence of the discipline of sociology in the 19th century or were questioned and challenged by sociologists. Three credits.

307 Qualitative Research Methods
The course introduces students to the qualitative research methods used by sociologists. The course introduces the philosophical, theoretical, and ethical aspects of qualitative research as well as qualitative approaches to data collection, data analysis, presentation of results, and methods of evaluating qualitative research. The various aspects of qualitative research are illustrated with classical and contemporary studies. Prerequisite: SOCI 202. 70 average recommended. Three credits.

310 Gender
The course will examine the origin and persistence of gender-based inequalities in our society and their impact on personal lives. Biological, psychological, economic, and cultural analyses of male-female social relations will be considered. Cross-listed
as WMGS 310. Six credits.

312 Social Movements
This course provides students with the tools for analyzing popular movements for social change. Students will survey the best examples of social movement analysis in the neo-Marxist, new social movement, social constructionist, and resource mobilization traditions. Movements covered may include: labour, environmental, student, peace, anti-racist, women’s. Prerequisite: SOCI 212. Three credits.

322 The Antigonish Movement as Change and Development
Explores both social change and economic development through the history, philosophy, and practice of the Antigonish Movement as experienced at home and abroad. This movement will be used to examine political systems, labour relations, class conflict, education, co-operative strategies, religion, and ethnicity in the context of social transformation. Cross-listed as DEVS 322. Three credits.

331 Media Effects
This course considers a broad array of issues and controversies pertaining to the study of media effects. Topics covered include the development of propaganda theory, the social significance of advertising, and debates concerning the influence of media content on behavior and popular understandings of social reality. Attention is given to both traditional and holistic approaches to media effects in terms of the strengths and limitations of each. Credit will be granted for only one of SOCI 331or SOCI 325. Three credits.

332 Media Forms
“The medium is the message.” – Marshall McLuhan. This course introduces students to various media technologies as shaping societies across time, with a focus on media forms rather than content. The course will discuss oral aboriginal culture (and western literate contact), the phonetic alphabet, monuments, papyrus, print, photography, film, TV, and digital media. Credit will be granted for only one of SOCI 332 or SOCI 325. Three credits.

334 Sociology of Anne of Green Gables
Using the iconic Canadian classic Anne of Green Gables this course sets out to explore the variety of theoretical perspectives used by those in the cultural Sociology. Through the use of the books in the Anne series, films, television, and the author’s journals, students will learn how to think about and apply theorists such as Bourdieu, the Frankfurt School, and Barthes. Prerequisites: SOCI 100 or SOCI 101/102 and 6 additional credits. Three credits.

360 Social Policy
The aim of this course is to explain social service systems in Canada and other industrial nations. The course will address historical and contemporary trends in federal and provincial social policies, and the effects of these programs (e.g., unemployment insurance, welfare) on the state, social institutions, and groups. Six credits.

364 Food and Society
This course emphasizes linkages between food production and consumption in the changing global political economy. The social organisation of food production and consumption will be assessed from the standpoint of comparative research on global food chains and recent insights surrounding the social construction of food risks and benefits. Case studies will change on an annual basis but will always involve some consideration of the interrelations between countries from the ‘North’ and the ‘South’. Three credits.

366 Coastal Communities
This course introduces students to social research on coastal communities. Emphasis is given to the social transformation of common property fisheries, the rise of industrial aquaculture, demographic transitions in coastal communities and recent moves towards integrated coastal resource management. Comparative case materials from North Atlantic coastal communities in Atlantic Canada, Britain, Ireland, and the Nordic Countries will be used in this course. Three credits.

373 Irish Society
This course emphasizes the major factors that contributed to the making of modern Ireland. The topics to be covered include: the role of the Great Famine in altering both the social structure of Ireland and claims to Irish identity, the Irish diaspora and Irish emigrants to Atlantic Canada, social and political changes in the Republic of Ireland from independence to the ‘Celtic Tiger’ phenomenon and continuity and change in the conflict in Northern Ireland. Three credits.

374 Islam in Canada
Cross-listed as RELS 375; see RELS 374. Three credits.

380 Urban Sociology
This course covers the major themes and empirical research issues in urban sociology in the 20th- and 21st-century. This includes the rise of the ‘urban’ as a social science phenomenon, the Canadian city in comparative and historical perspective, major theoretical debates in urban social science, the intersection of class, gender and racial forms of inequality in cities, the shifting nature of social and spatial relations, and urban planning, sustainability and globalization. Credit will be granted for only one of SOCI 380 or SOCI 398 completed from 2014-2016. Three credits.

391 Junior Seminar
This seminar will assist honours students in their third-year and their thesis planning and provide an environment in which to learn with senior students working on their thesis. Students will choose an advisor with whom they will develop a proposal, collect materials, and consider methodological and ethical issues relevant to their research. Students are expected to attend colloquia, guest lectures and public
talks relevant to the discipline. Highly recommended for and restricted to honours students. Three credits.

394 Selected Topics
The topic for 2016-2017 is Love, Intimacy and Power. Major transformations have occurred in the realm of intimacy and in the way people connect and disconnect in their personal lives. But what is intimacy and what forms can it take today? Are intimate relations only personal and private, or do they have broader social significance? In developing a sociological perspective on intimate relations, this course takes as its starting point that intimacy has no single relational form or institutional home in our society. In other words, intimacy can develop not only between romantic partners, family members, and friends, but also in less personal bonds between strangers and acquaintances. Likewise, just as intimacy exceeds any single type of relational form, so it also manifests in and through various social
institutions and contexts. Three credits.

395 Selected Topics
The topic for 2016-2017 is The Black/African Diaspora. Cross-listed as RELS 398;
see RELS 398. Three credits.

397 Selected Topics
The topic for 2016-2017 is Sociology of First Peoples. This course examines how the contemporary situation of Canadian First Peoples, Inuit, and Métis is related to historical interactions among Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal societies and indigenous cultural traditions. Attention will be paid to the intersection of race, class, and gender and the relevance of existing theoretical perspectives including Marxism, post-colonialism and post-modern theories. Credit will be granted for only one of SOCI 397 or SOCI 330. Three credits.

398 Selected Topics
The topic for 2016-2017 is Sociology of Agriculture. This course begins with an interdisciplinary survey of the scientific, philosophical, political, social and cultural aspects of global agriculture and food production. Topics examined include the green revolution, the relationship between agricultural and social sustainability, local food versus export economies, food security, food sovereignty and justice, as well as biotechnology, soil science and climate farming. We will also explore the nature and composition of food, techniques and concepts of food science, practices used in food processing, and issues related to food safety. Farm visits are included. Three credits.

400 Level

400 Honours Thesis Research
A required course for all senior honours students. Six credits. 417 Social Difference: Race, Ethnicity, Gender, Class, Sex, and Disability Explores current theories of social difference and the personal, social, economic, and political effects of these differences in Canadian, western, and international contexts. Topics include oppression, resistance, identity politics, and discourse theory. Starting with the question, “What differences do some differences make?” Students will examine how issues of difference become relations of dominance. Prerequisite: SOCI 215. Cross-listed as WMGS 417. Three credits.

421 Ancestry, Society, and Personal Identity
This course attempts to locate personal biography in the context of social history. Students’ genealogies provide the starting point for explorations of family, social history, and personal identity. Students will apply sociological ideas to the historical periods that helped shape their personal and family histories. Three credits.

424 Women and Work
This course will focus on feminist analyses of women’s paid and unpaid work in 20th-century Canada, though historical and cross-cultural perspectives will be considered. Topics include race, class, and ability; pay equity, affirmative action, sexual harassment; women in family enterprises; domestic labour, the division of labour in the home, and mother work. Cross-listed as WMGS 424. Prerequisite: SOCI 310 recommended. Three credits.

427 Friendship and Personal Life
Is friendship only personal and private, or does it have broader public, social, and political significance? This seminar addresses contemporary scholarship on the sociology of friendship as well as classic accounts of friendship by philosophers and social theorists. Through studying beliefs and practices of friendship we will address themes such as the self and personhood, gifts and exchange, trust and intimacy, sexuality and gender, social capital and networks, and the relation of friends to strangers and enemies. Three credits.

433 Advanced Problems in Environment and Society
The course allows students to pursue issues raised in SOCI 247 and 248 in greater depth. It also exposes them to new developments in social theory. Each year will have a different thematic focus which could include: the ways in which social conceptions of “natural” and “unnatural” have changed over time; the social implications of new biotechnologies; the global environmental movement; or ideals of an ecological future. Prerequisites: SOCI 247, 248 or PSCI 247, 248. Three credits.

435 Sociology of Surveillance and Social Control
This course explores the significance of contemporary surveillance practices in information-based societies such as Canada. It begins with a focus on relevant historic developments concerning state formation, governance and social control. Students will then consider surveillance in relation to such issues as public attitudes to privacy, the ‘security state’, popular culture, the workplace, and consumerism. Three credits.

436 Sociology of Fear, Identity and Politics
This course will examine the significance of fear in shaping and organising everyday life. More than simply a psychological situation, it will develop an understanding of the complexity of fear and its relationship to social order and meaning. In particular, it will pay attention to the relationship between fear and identity formation as well as how we define and interact with others. It will also examine how fear is employed as a socio-political instrument. Three credits.

451 Selected Topics in Social and Criminal Justice
This course examines current theoretical and research issues in crime and social justice. Using qualitative, quantitative, and historical methodologies, students will explore topics such as gender, class, minorities, and criminal justice; police community relations; carceral and non-carceral forms of punishment; criminal and regulatory legal procedures. Prerequisite: SOCI 350 or 352. Three credits.

491 Senior Seminar
A forum in which students gain scholarly experience by presenting and discussing their research; and taking part in colloquia, guest lectures, and public talks relevant to sociology. Required for honours students in their senior year. No credit.

499 Directed Study
Under the direction of a professor, students will work in an area of sociology not available in other course offerings. Students must consult with the faculty member by March 31 of the academic year in which they wish to take the course. See section
3.5. Three or six credits.