Social Sciences and Humanities Course Suggestions (BS)
BS General Education Requirement: 12 total hours; at least 6 hours chosen from among the social sciences, which consists of anthropology, economics, political science, psychology, and sociology
Any AAS course will fulfill this requirement. Below are the two introductory courses.
AAS 201. African American Experience I. This course is a multidisciplinary study of the African American experience, with emphasis on historical, sociological, cultural, economic, and social-psychological issues in the study of African Americans. The objective is to present a general picture of the African American experience and to reflect the principles, concepts, and ideas of this experience through the voices of African Americans.
AAS 202. African American Experience II. This course is a survey of the African American experience using the study of culture and the arts as a major focus. Students will survey the events and social forces that have come to define contemporary African American life. We will use a social scientific perspective to study major themes that have shaped black culture and characterized the black experience. We will study a diverse mix of academic and popular texts, from classic works to contemporary additions, autobiographies to ethnographies, essays to documentary film. Far-reaching topics such as the impact of employment and black family structures, what black hair styles reveal about the complex relationship between African Americans and whites; and how rap music represents both freedom of expression and police repression will all be explored. Finally, we want to discover truths about the African-American experience that are best revealed through triangulation.
Any CLC course will fulfill this requirement. Below are the introductory (100-level) courses.
CLC 101. Introduction to Greek Civilization. This is an introductory survey course on the history, literature, art, architecture, government, and thought of ancient Greece. The course generally covers Greek civilization from its rise in the Bronze Age through the Hellenistic Age and the death of Alexander the Great. However, much of the course naturally is grounded in providing a better understanding of the Classical Age and the cultural, political, and artistic achievements of the Athenians.
CLC 102. Introduction to Roman Civilization. In addition to learning about the beginnings of the Roman empire and the Romans’ empire-building process through art, history, and literature, students will also learn about pre-Roman Italy and the world of the Etruscans. The everyday life of Romans in Italy and throughout the empire, as well as the lives of the elite, will be investigated.
CLC 103. Women in Antiquity (cross-listed with G ST 103). Over the last 25 years, archaeologists and classicists have realized that women’s lives and experiences in ancient Greece and Rome can be recovered to some extent through a careful reading of ancient literature in translation, and by studying the art, architecture, and culture of ancient Mediterranean. Considering issues of gender identity in the context of ancient Greece and Rome enables the beginning class not only to appreciate the cultural construction of male and female identity, but also to learn more broadly about the ancient world.
CLC 104. Sports in the Ancient World (cross-listed with ES 104). What are the origins of modern competitive sports? When and why did ancient Greek men begin to compete in individual competitions? What did their athletic prowess mean, and how was it rewarded? Students will explore the world of ancient athletics and discover that the Olympic Games and other Panhellenic competitions were not secular activities but dedicated to Zeus and other gods. Through the study of ancient Greek and Roman literature in translation and the architecture and art of athletics, they glimpse the complex world of the ancient athlete and his culture context.
CLC 105. From Myth to Film. This course is not currently offered.
CLC 106. Classical Mythology. This course provides a general introduction to the myths of the Greeks and Romans through ancient literature in translation and art. From the origins of the cosmos, to the Olympian gods, and the numerous myths of Greek and Roman heroes, the course provides a better understanding of the myths themselves as well as ways these myths have been subsequently used and viewed through the ages.
Any economics course will fulfill this requirement. Detailed below are the freshman and sophomore-level courses.
ECON 101. Introduction to Economics. This course is a primer for students who wish to have basic economic literacy, understand different economic concepts and policies, and develop critical thinking skills. Economics is not primarily a set of answers, but rather a method of reasoning. By the end of the semester, students should be able to use the analysis practiced in the course to form their own judgments about major economic problems faced by the United States and other countries. General goals of the course include: to help students understand various ways of thinking about economic phenomena; to make students more careful, critical, and thoughtful readers; to assist students in developing a personal philosophy of life. Examples of course topics include trade protectionism, NAFTA, business profits, minimum wage, medical malpractice litigation, environmental pollution, and social security privatization.
ECON 202. Principles of Microeconomics. This sophomore-level course uses analytical and historical analysis to model the behavior of the two basic elements of a market economy: consumers, who are the underlying origin of market demand, and producers, who are the underlying origin of market supply. The individual consumer is modeled as an agent with preferences (likes and dislikes) who makes herself as well off as possible given her income, prices and the available choices of economic goods. The individual firm is modeled as an entity with production capacity that turns inputs into output, and output into profit. Firms operate in a variety of environments, ranging from competitive to monopolistic. As consumers try to attain their most preferred outcomes and firms try to maximize profits, their interaction within the economic institutions of the price system determine market outcomes, the production of goods and services and the distribution of income. This course analyzes the predictions of the analytical models and their relevance to society. The course also addresses the role of government policy both as an economic agent and the custodian of society’s goals and priorities.
ECON 203. Principles of Macroeconomics. This sophomore-level course requires Econ 202 as a prerequisite. The course focuses on the nature of economic activity at the national and international level as opposed to individual consumers and producers. Topics include the resources and the goals of the economy, and the role of government in achieving those goals. Students are introduced to national income accounting (how Gross Domestic Product is calculated) and economic issues like unemployment and economic growth. The course also discusses the basics of the monetary system in a market-based economy, which includes banking and financial institutions and the role of a central bank like the U.S. Federal Reserve system in determining monetary policy. Monetary policy includes control of the money supply and interest rates. The government’s taxation and spending policy, or fiscal policy, and its effects on the economy are also analyzed.
Although any history course will fulfill this requirement, the Department of History recommends HIS 101 and 102. Freshmen are not allowed to register for the upper-division history courses (300-level or above courses). Students must have the permission of the Department of History in order for a history research seminar at the 400-level to fulfill this requirement.
Hst 120. Intro to European History to 1648. The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the main political, social, and cultural developments in Europe from the Classical Era to 1648. Students are encouraged to acquire a clear understanding of the important people, places, and events that influenced the course of historical change, and to develop their ability to interpret and analyze sources that shed light on the diversity of experiences of those who lived in the past.
Hst 121. Intro to European History since 1648. The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the main political, social, and cultural developments in Europe since 1648. Students are encouraged to acquire a clear understanding of the important people, places, and events that influenced the course of historical change, and to develop their ability to interpret and analyze sources that shed light on the diversity of experiences of those who lived in the past.
Hst 130. Intro to US History to 1877. This course introduces the major themes and events in the history of the United States from the initial confrontations of native peoples with Europeans on the North American continent through the conclusion of Reconstruction following the American Civil War. Throughout the semester, students will focus attention on the evolution of American nationalism – that sense of being American, of constituting a new nation populated by a new people. In addition to exploring how such a diverse people created that sense of commonality necessary to American nationalism, students will also question how those Americans responded when challenged by various groups to improve or expand their sense of national identity, of what it meant to be an American.
Hst 131. Intro to US History since 1877. This course introduces the major themes and events in the history of the United States from the nation’s emergence from Reconstruction to the present. Throughout the semester, students will follow two essential themes that characterized American development during this period: first, students will study the successes and failures of capitalism as a defining characteristic of American business and society, beginning with the industrial and incorporation revolutions of the late nineteenth century to the challenges posed by the global economy; and secondly, students will explore how the nation has responded to repeated social and political confrontations, which are labeled “the challenge of the minority,” however that minority might be defined. These challenges are particularly important in our history for they mark periods of social activism wherein the very concept of what it means to be an American has been called into question. This activism was usually sparked for the purposes of reforming and improving the nation, although it was never easy for those being criticized to recognize it at the time.
Hst 150. Intro to Middle Eastern History. This course aims to provide a basic frame of reference to the Middle East region and to Islam through a survey of a number of key themes and their historical background. Students will be expected to develop the ability to apply this newly acquired knowledge to a critical reading of popular representations of the Middle East. Themes surveyed will include the basic tenets of Islam as a religion, Sunni/Shi’I split, gender, Islamic law and many others.
Hst 160. Intro to Latin American History. This course introduces students to the major issues in the history of Latin America (Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries) from its indigenous roots to the present day. Lectures and readings proceed chronologically and are subdivided into three major periods: colonial Latin America, 19th century, and 20th century. Specific topics may include indigenous roots; encounter, conquest, and colonization; colonial economy and society; imperial crisis and independence; state formation in the 19th century; the end of slavery and immigration; social conflicts and nationalism; industrialization, development, democracy, and populism; the Cold War in Latin America; drugs and violence, poverty and crime.
Hst 170. Intro to African History. In this course students will examine the history of Africa since about 1600. The course begins with a review of slavery in Africa and the Atlantic slave trade and the subsequent shift to ‘legitimate trade’ – the shift to an export economy not tied to slaves. From there students will discuss the origins of imperialism and the European conquest of Africa, with particular attention to Africa’s economic and social changes. In the final weeks of the course students will examine the process of decolonization and the challenges faced by Africans in the years since independence.
Hst 180. Intro to East Asian History. This course deals only with East Asia: China, Japan, and tangentially Korea. It is a region, which despite its different forms of government and society today, has a common cultural heritage that distinguishes it from Southeast or South Asia. The course begins in the 17th century, the last flowering of the traditional world, and follows the very different histories of China and Japan through the 20th century. The course will be concerned with such issues as the breakdown of traditional Chinese civilization, Japanese modernization, Western imperialism in Asia, Japanese militarism, the rise and development of Chinese Communism, US-East Asia relations. Each student will gain at least a fundamental understanding of some of the characteristics of East Asian history and civilization.
Any philosophy or religion course will fulfill this requirement…below are the introductory (100-level) courses.
PHIL 101. Introduction to Philosophy. Philosophy 101 is a general introduction to philosophy. Instructors choose their own texts and their own approach. Typically the course is a survey of major philosophical questions, a history of philosophy, and/or the major divisions of the discipline (e.g., ethics, political philosophy). Here is an example of one approach: “Is belief in God rational? Are rationality and religious faith consistent? What is knowledge, and are we capable of it? What is the relationship of mind to body? What is free will, and do we have it?”
PHIL 102. Introduction to Professional Ethics. Philosophy 102 is a general introduction to major ethical theories and a consideration of how those are best applied to the real world. Instructors choose their own texts and their own approach. Typically the course begins with a broad overview of traditional moral theories, followed by an exploration of how well these theories can help address typical challenges faced by professionals. But the course also looks carefully at the unique kinds of moral dilemmas faced by those in professions such as law, business, medical research, advertising, journalism, and the military.
PHIL 103. Logic: Critical Thinking. Philosophy 103 is a general introduction to logic as an art of critical thinking. Like the other surveys, instructors choose their own approach and texts. Students are introduced to the concepts and practice of formal and informal reasoning, deduction and induction. Typical of the approaches to logic: a study of “various techniques for representing and evaluating arguments and reasoning… learn to recognize common mistakes in reasoning, and try to understand why poor reasoning can seem so convincing.” This course puts much more emphasis on problem-solving, since it is a skills course. Usually there is required daily homework as well as periodic tests.
REL 101. Introduction to Religion. Religion 101 is a general introduction to religion and religions across the world. Similar to PHIL 101, instructors choose their own texts and their own approach. Typically the course includes a survey of major world religions as well as so-called primal religions such as African indigenous religions and Native American spirituality. Students may explore the basic beliefs, deities, personalities, life rituals, and holy days of the different religions. They may assess the commonalities of all religions as well as their differences.
REL 102. Introduction to Asian Religions. This course introduces you to the religious and philosophical traditions that arose in ancient India, China, and Japan. We will study Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism, and Shinto in their historical and cultural contexts to look at the essential beliefs, philosophical ideas, religious practices, and artistic expressions. Themes to be covered are myths and creation, life and death, the self and the divine, humankind and nature, rituals, yoga and meditation practices, self-cultivation, enlightenment and liberation. Without requirements for previous study or personal knowledge of the languages, cultures, and histories of Asia, this course provides a convenient starting point for those who want to explore Asian cultures.
REL 103. Introduction to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Approximately half of the world’s population identifies as a monotheist. This course provides a thematic survey of three prominent monotheistic religions that originated in the Middle East, known collectively as the Abrahamic religions (or traditions)—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. We will examine their historical origins and development as well as their monotheistic worldview, primarily through the lens of their sacred texts (and later interpretations of these sacred texts). We will also take a look at the rituals, ethics, and sacred space/objects that characterize each of them. We will also examine the leadership and other loci of authority in each religion as well as the impact of these religions on political discourse, including the use of violence to achieve political ends.
Any political science course will fulfill this requirement. Below are the three introductory courses to the sub-fields of the discipline.
POL 101. Introduction to American Politics. The primary purpose of this course is to introduce the dynamics of American national government and policies. Students will better understand our political system in several different and important ways: as a set of primary and underlying values; as a series of governing principles; as processes in which forces compete; as separate institutions with powers and limitations; and, as a framework for human behavior and interactions. In addition, this course helps students refine their analytical and expressive skills. Simply put, the need to enhance citizens’ abilities to think critically, speak intelligently, and write clearly is a top priority in today’s world. If we as citizens are to participate in and contribute to our political society, we must be able to do three things well with new information and ideas: test their assumptions, assess their value, and then voice our educated opinions.
POL 102. Introduction to Comparative Politics. This course allows students to understand the political system of different countries around the world. Students will investigate the politics of certain countries from across the globe, including long-established democracies, transitional or new democracies, and authoritarian countries. Students will investigate topics that may include presidential and parliamentary systems, different kinds of electoral systems, political parties, interest group representation, communism, transitions to democracy, rule of law, political culture, and economic development. The comparative aspect of this field is the search for similarities and differences between cases in order to formulate theories and hypotheses about politics. By the end of the semester, students will be more informed about the political world outside of the United States of America and will have increased knowledge and understanding of important concepts and theories in comparative politics. Finally, the course will sharpen students’ reasoning skills by encouraging them to be more rigorous about how they think about politics and communicate their ideas.
POL 103. Introduction to International Relations. This course is designed as a broad introduction to the theories and ideas contained within the field of international relations, such as the three major paradigms: realism, idealism, and international political economy. Topics include military conflict, concepts of power, cooperation, international organizations, economic sanctions, international trade and financial activities, population growth, and the environment. The goals of this course are to get students to think systematically about the processes of international relations, and ultimately to help students formulate their own informed opinions about world politics.
Any course in the department will fulfill this requirement. Below is the introductory course.
PSY 201. General Psychology. This course is a survey of the major areas in the field of psychology, the scientific study of behavior. The following areas are emphasized: major models of psychology, research methods used in psychology, social psychology, the organization of the human brain and the biological bases of behavior, principles of learning, major theories of personality development, the concept of intelligence, psychological development during the lifespan, and classification of abnormal behavior and mental illness. The terminology, principles, processes, and methods in the above areas will be discussed.
Any anthropology or sociology course will meet this requirement. Below are the introductory courses, which do not have a prerequisite and are appropriate courses for non-majors to fulfill the social science requirement.
ANTH 101. Introduction to Anthropology. Anthropology is the study of all things human, from our biological beginnings to the modern world. This course offers a four-field introduction to anthropology, covering cultural anthropology, biological anthropology, archaeology, and anthropological linguistics. Students will be introduced to key subjects in anthropology such as culture, society, human evolution, and biological and social cross-cultural variations as well as the effects of colonialism and globalization on indigenous people. The course will introduce students to some of the basic research methods and theoretical approaches that anthropologists use to understand human life throughout time and across the world. Students will leave the course with a deeper social scientific understanding and appreciation of human variability.
SOC 101. Introduction to Sociology. Sociology is the scientific study of human social behavior. SOC 101 provides an introduction to the basic sociological concepts and research methods sociologists use to examine the social world. A major objective of the course is to teach students to utilize theory and empirical research so that they can analyze society from new viewpoints and better understand how individuals are shaped by powerful social forces. The course explores how groups create meaning through everyday interaction, how power functions in important social institutions such as the economy, politics, education, and the family, how systems of inequality are maintained and resisted, and how social change occurs.