SSC 200 Sections for Fall 2017


Trauma & Social Justice (SOC, PSY, HRS)

  • SSC 200 01: TTH 12:30-1:45 pm
  • SSC 200 02: TTH 2-3:15 pm

This course will examine violations of human rights throughout the world, including the U.S. What historical explanations are offered for human rights violations? Do acts of violence and trauma in the U.S. constitute human rights violations? Crucial to our discussion of human rights will be the issue of social justice.


Truthiness (PSY, ANT, POL)

  • SSC 200 04: TTH 9:30-10:45 am
  • SSC 200 05: TTH 11 am-12:15 pm

Everybody has a right to their own opinion, but not to their own truth.  However, truth is often difficult (some would say impossible) to determine in a final, objective, or absolute way.  Nonetheless, many social critics and media figures have recently noted the dangers of widespread myths and falsehoods that masquerade as “truth.” Stephen Colbert invented the term “truthiness” on the first episode of The Colbert Report in 2005 to refer to stories and opinions that feel right at a gut level, but have little or no evidence to back them up.  In this course, we will explore the many ways we are likely to believe things that aren’t true, and develop critical thinking skills to examine claims, evidence, and complex interpretations.  Through recent research in psychology, cultural anthropology, and sociology, we’ll examine ideology, cultural narratives, mental schemas and stereotypes, political propaganda, and other narratives that come to be seen as “truthy” but run counter to evidence and reason.  We’ll discuss the implications for social and political life as well as for our own perceptions and life choices.


Global Gods and the Common Good (ANT, PSY, SOC)

  • SSC 200 06: TTH 9:30-10:45 am
  • SSC 200 07: TTH 11 am-12:15 pm

Learn social science by exploring people’s beliefs in gods and the spirit world (or NOT, in the case of a-theism).   We’ll emphasize how religious groups and spiritual persons work for the common good and social justice.  Topics include: 1) how religions and spiritualties are socially constructed through human interaction and power relations, 2) how religions and spiritualties are defined and viewed somewhat differently by anthropologists, psychologists, and sociologists, 3) how religion and spirituality (and atheistic perspectives) influence daily life explicitly and implicitly, 4) how religious groups organize and work for the common good and social justice.  The course includes a case study approach exemplifying different understandings and approaches.


Sexual Violence (SOC, PSY, CJS)

  • SSC 200 08: TTH 2-3:15 pm
  • SSC 200 09: TTH 3:35-4:50 pm

Sexual violence is one of the most pressing social problems of our times. The substantive purpose of this course is twofold. First, students will learn about different types of sexual violence (e.g., sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual trafficking, and child sexual abuse); empirical patterns of sexual violence; effects on survivors and motivations of perpetrators; and the social conditions that perpetuate this crime. Second, students will learn about the opportunities, pitfalls, and complexities of the public response to sexual violence. By examining specific cases of mobilization – like recent youth activism against campus sexual assault – students will develop a sophisticated analysis of sexuality, violence, and ethics.


Understanding Concussions (PSY, SOC, CMM)

  • SSC 200 12: MWF 12:20-1:10 pm
  • SSC 200 13: MWF 2:30-3:20 pm
  • SSC 200 14: MWF 1:25-2:15 pm
  • SSC 200 19: MW 3:35-4:50 pm

Concussions have currently become a major topic of discussion throughout our culture. We will investigate the effects of this injury on a personal level, how it has shaped behaviors and policies throughout society, and the way this injury has been portrayed in the media. By looking at this injury through the perspectives of psychology, sociology, and communications, students will be able to better analyze evidence presented to them about a very complex societal issue.


Wrongful Conviction (PSY, SOC, CJS)

  • SSC 200 15: MWF 2:30-3:20 pm

We will examine evidentiary issues and error-prone tactics used in the investigation and prosecution of suspects from the perspectives of psychology, sociology, and criminal justice. Some topics we will cover include: deception detection, interrogations and confessions, eyewitness identifications, forensic analysis of physical evidence, plea bargaining, and jury decision-making.


Forensic Social Sciences: Understanding & Preventing Wrongful Convictions (PSY, SOC, CJS)

  • SSC 200 16: TTh 8 am-9:15am
  • SSC 200 17: TTh 2 pm-3:15pm

In this course we will explore issues involved in criminal investigation and prosecution, with particular emphasis on the implications of these legal procedures for those who are actually innocent of the suspected crimes. Specific topics to be addressed include deception detection, interrogations and confessions, eyewitness identifications, confirmation bias in the forensic examination of evidence, plea bargaining, and jury decision-making.


Deconstructing Dinner: How and Why we Eat as we do. (PSY, SOC, ANT)

  • SSC 200 18:  MWF 12:20-1:10 pm

In this course we will consider questions relevant to Psychology like "How could you eat dessert after that huge meal?" and Anthropological questions like "Why would anyone eat that ever?" We will also consider how society impacts our eating choices.  For example, do those with easy access to grocery stores eat differently from those without?


Globalization (POL, ECO, CMM)

  • SSC 200 20: TTh 2-3:15 pm
  • SSC 200 H2: TTh 11 am-12:15 pm

This course explores some of the profound changes taking place in the 21st century world and looks at how individuals fit into the "big picture." Mass transportation, telecommunications, mobile devices, the environment, international law, world trade, international crime and terrorism, and other forces and topics are examined from multiple perspectives, including: political science, economics, and communication.


Globalization (POL, SOC, HRS)

  • SSC 200 23: TTH 8-9:15 am
  • SSC 200 24: TTH 12:30-1:45 pm

This course explores some of the profound changes taking place in the 21st century world and looks at how individuals fit into the "big picture." Mass transportation, telecommunications, mobile devices, the environment, international law, world trade, international crime and terrorism, and other forces and topics are examined from multiple perspectives, including: political science, human rights studies, and sociology.


Space Exploration: Toward a Spacefaring Society (POL, SOC, ECO)

  • SSC 200 25: TTh 9:30-10:45 am
  • SSC 200 26: TTh 11:00 am-12:15 pm

Hopes were high after NASA's successful moon landing nearly 50 years ago.  But despite this dramatic dawning of the space age, the U.S. (and humanity as a whole) failed to return astronauts to the lunar surface for 45 years.  We are just now developing a true space economy and, slowly, beginning to turn our dreams of Mars colonization into a reality.  In addition to the scientific and technological hurdles, there are human developments—social, economic, and political—that must precede our species' move further toward the stars.  This course approaches space exploration from a social science and public policy perspective.  We will study topics including: public opinion on space issues, outer space law, the budding space industry (with players like SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic), future developments in space policy, religious views of space exploration, and social shifts associated with a spacefaring society (including the effect associated with our possible future discovery of extraterrestrial, even intelligent, life). 


Media, Money and Politics (COM, ECO, POL)

  • SSC 200 30: MWF 9:05-9:55 am
  • SSC 200 31: MWF 10:10-11 am

Media, Money and Politics will study the dynamics and issues involved in choosing candidates for elective office. Voter interaction with the news media and candidates as well as the economic factors driving all of their messages will be major ingredients of examination using perspectives from communication, economics and political science.


Challenging Conversations (CMM, PSY, SOC)

  • SSC 200 32: MWF 10:10-11 am

“There are three things you’re not supposed to discuss in polite company; religion, politics and money,” is a phrase many of us might have heard, especially as it pertains to dinnertime conversations.  Have you ever asked yourself the question why?   The purpose of this course is to examine how people define and navigate “challenging conversations,” in addition to describing their outcomes through the lenses of Psychology, Sociology, and Communication. 


Ending Gender Violence (SOC, CJS, COMM)

  • SSC 200 33: MW 5:05-6:20 pm
  • SSC 200 34: MW 3:35-4:50 pm

This course invites students into a contemporary discussion of an issue affecting a significant portion of the world’s population. Drawing upon research in sociology, criminal justice, and communication, this course will define gender violence; explore the reasons it occurs; examine its impact on individual, community, societal, and global levels; and analyze current systems and strategies are being used to respond to and end gender violence in the United States.


Body Image in the Media (CMM, PSY, SOC)

  • SSC 200 35: TTH 9:30-10:45 am

This course will take the theme of body image and will utilize social science methods and theory to examine various aspects of our obsession with our physical appearance from the perspectives of psychology, sociology and communication.


Play Smart: Games & Strategies (CMM, PSY, ECO)

  • SSC 200 36: TTh 11 am-12:15 pm

With special missions to be accomplished, students will play board games to explore basic social science concepts from the disciplines such as Economics, Psychology, and Communication. What is the best strategy to win in a board game like Zombie in my Pocket? An iterative prisoner’s dilemma of a game theory may be the key! Students will enhance the knowledge of basic game terminologies and understand the gaming experience through various theories. This course also provides opportunities to design, develop, and thoroughly test games.  The class will allow students to improve their social science research skills.


Media Effects (CMM, PSY, SOC)

  • SSC 200 37: TTh 12:30-1:45 pm

This course provides students an opportunity to become familiar with the media effects theories and concepts, an introduction to the media effects literature, and the methods used to conduct such research.


Animals and Society (SOC, POL, PSY)

  • SSC 200 38: MWF 1:25 pm-2:15 pm
  • SSC 200 39: MWF 2:30 pm-3:20 pm

This course will explore various types of human-animal interaction and the roles that animals play in our lives by focusing on research and theories from sociology, political science and economics (though during the semester we will also address perspectives from psychology, social work, criminal justice studies, and communications). The course will be divided up into four sections: Overview of Animal Studies, Dogs and Cats (including pets and human health, shelters and pet over-crowding, and service animals), Animals and Agriculture, and Exotic and Wild animals (including issues related to zoos, circuses, wildlife management, and the debate over exotic pets)


The Death Penalty (SOC, POL, PSY)

  • SSC 200 C1: MWF 10:10-11 am
  • SSC 200 C2: MWF 11:15 am-12:05 pm

This course will examine the death penalty in a global and historical context looking particularly at the wide variation in the legal status and use of the death penalty across space and time. We will examine research in the social sciences that helps us to understand the factors that shape a state’s decision to maintain, use, or abolish the death penalty. Particular attention will be given to the status of the death penalty in the US.


Globalization (POL, ECO, SOC)

  • SSC 200 H8: MWF 10:10-11 am

This course examines the multidimensional phenomenon of globalization. We will explore the political, economic, and social/cultural dimensions of globalization.  In addition, the origins and causes of globalization and its effects will be examined.


Parent-Child Relations (PSY, SOC, ECO)

  • SSC 200 H9: MWF 10:10-11 am
  • SSC 200 HA: MWF 11:15 am-12:05 pm

In this course we explore how social scientists have conceptualized and investigated the determinants and effects of parents’ child-rearing strategies and behaviors. We also explore how parenting interventions are used to prevent and treat behavioral and psychological disorders of childhood and adolescence.