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Spring 2014 Courses

Check out the exciting courses offered in the SOAN department for Spring 2014!


SOAN 1000-01 – Introduction to Sociology:  Adopting a cross-cultural and comparative approach, this course provides a comprehensive overview of sociological principles. Using the sociological imagination, students will explore the relationship between individuals and their social environment, as well as the origin, structure, and function of various social institutions. Specific issues include the self and society, marriage and the family, education, religion, popular culture and mass media, class, gender, and race/ethnicity.

SOAN 1100-01 – Introduction to Anthropology:  This course, which counts for Core 6, introduces students to the field of cultural anthropology.  It examines the concept of culture, how we can study and understand culture, and the different components of culture, including gender, religion, language, economics, and politics.  Course materials include ethnographic readings about gender in Indonesia, refugees in Tanzania, homeless heroin addicts in San Francisco, and residents of the virtual world of Second Life.

SOAN 2750-01 – The Many Dimensions of Poverty is being offered for only the second time at Millsaps! Poverty is an issue that can use as much attention as it can get. In order to alleviate the growing population of impoverishment in the United States and around the world, one must be knowledgeable of the needs of our communities and the various factors that contribute to the prevalence of poverty in our society today. The course is a prerequisite if you want to apply to the Shepherd Internship Program in which participants participate in an 8 week summer internship through the Shepherd Consortium.

SOAN 2750-02 – Crime and Prisons: This course will offer a look into the various aspects of the criminal justice system from a sociological and analytical perspective. Topics will likely include sociology of crime, criminals, law enforcement, and prison life. The course will also explore how factors like race, gender, and socioeconomic status come into play within the criminal justice system.

SOAN 2850-01 – Cross-Cultural Human Sexuality:  This course is based in the cross-cultural comparison of human sexuality.  Looking at other cultures’ sexual practices and their understandings of sexuality allows us to ask interesting questions about the categories and assumptions that we often take for granted when it comes to sexuality.  For instance, in the course of this class, we will ask whether the categories of homosexuality and heterosexuality are analytically useful categories in light of cross-cultural data.  Readings will include studies of indigenous sexual culture in the Amazon river basin, the sexual culture of Mexico, the global culture of sexuality, and women’s experiences of sexuality in the Caribbean.

SOAN 2850-02 – Popular Archaeology: Were the Great Pyramids and other archaeological sites built by an advanced race of aliens from outer space? Ever wonder what’s behind such claims of alien involvement in the construction of archaeological sites? This semester the SOAN department will offer a new course called Popular Archaeology in order to explore some popular ancient mysteries. This class examines the fantastic claims of pseudoscience that try to explain these mysteries.  Popular Archaeology will focus on how aliens and the existence of “more advanced” civilizations are often held responsible for the construction of the pyramids of Egypt, Stonehenge, or the large mounds of North America, to name a few; as well as the flawed evidence some site to support such claims.

SOAN 3110 – Maya Archaeology:  This course examines archaeological evidence about Maya culture.  The course will examine what archaeology reveals about Maya practices and beliefs and seek to answer questions about the development and disintegration of Mayan polities over the course of time.

SOAN 3300-01 – Health and Illness:  This course examines how experiences of health/illness and the way that healthcare is provided vary according to cultural and social context.  We will ask questions about how social factors like economic inequality, gender and race/ethnicity influence people’s experiences of health and illness.  We will also consider the ways that cultural understandings of bodies, supernatural forces, and other things influence the ways that people manage their own health and respond to illness.  Readings will cover the HIV/AIDS pandemic, refugee populations’ experiences with healthcare systems, and humoral systems in the Caribbean.

SOAN 4200-01 – Social and Cultural Theory: This class examines the different theories of anthropology and sociology – past and current – that were proposed to explain human culture and practices.  We will survey the most important theories and adopt a critical and comparative perspective.

SOAN 4750-01 - Archaeology of Conquest and Colonialism: A (con)question for you: Ever thought about what is behind the formation of expansionist states and empires throughout the world? These complex political entities that incorporate new territories through conquest and the threat of force or through alliance and negotiation with local elites can be studied and understood in fascinating ways. This new and exciting course, Archaeology of Conquest and Colonialism, explores evidence of colonialism and conquest found in the archaeological record both from the perspective of those conquering and those being conquered.