Academic Courses & Programs

Introductory Sociologies, Anthropology & Geography

Cultural Anthropology, Introductory
This course introduces students to the scientific discipline of anthropology, which is an academic discipline so rife with romantic rumors and glamorous locations that it is regularly featured in Hollywood movies. We start by exploring how the field and practice of anthropology is inextricably linked to premodern institutions of colonialism and slavery, as well as the European invention of the museum, circus, sideshow and World's Fair and how this discipline flourishes and peaks during the age of modernity, only to seriously stumble and, dangerously falter by the century's end. This is particularly true in the United States, where anthropologists must justify their trade in a country inhabited by Indians and immigrants. We thoroughly take a part the idea of what counts as exotic in the United States by simply wandering through a few of New York City's museums, national clothing chains, as well as a decades worth of the popular anthropological magazine National Geographic, then take the time to understand the culture of wealth in the United States, which includes both the arts and academia. We read selections from both popular and academic ethnographers, archaeological and linguistic studies, set both abroad and in the United States, including selections from George Plimpton's study of American football, Tobias Schneebaum's of South American cannibalism, Margaret Mead's of female sexuality and Sudhir Ventakesh's of urban gangs, as well as consider how the biographies of these scholars sparked their research and, sometimes, led them to sometimes embellish or even lie about data -- something not difficult to do when your subjects are disadvantaged and/or live in remote places. Finally we consider whether we think anthropology is a form of social invasion and theft, whether it makes a difference if the anthropological subject participates in the creation of an anthropologists representation of them and what European and American anthropologists, (i.e., us, a professor and classroom of students of cultural anthropology) might look like to them, if they put into practice the tools of anthropological research. This will include a screening and discussions of the film Stranger With A Camera (2012). • College of Mount Saint Vincent-Riverdale, NYC

Human Geography, Introductory
In this course we will examine how place can be used as a social index to understand people's everyday sense of social order and desire. We will start in the southern United States using both literary and critical sources to figure out what it means to be on the social insides and outsides of small town America, and then widen our scope to consider how these meanings have become idealized as a part of a broader national identity. We will then shift our analysis away from the United States to another part of the world, the island of Antigua, to document the social distances and differences between places around here and over there. Once our footing is established in places both familiar and exotic, we will study the history of map-making, slowly refocusing our analysis away from places outside the United States to inside, slowly refocusing our analysis away from places outside the United States to inside, re-entering the country through the southern city of Memphis, Tennessee. By re-entering the United States through Memphis, we will have brought our analysis around full circle, and will be able to re-ask and re-examine the question with which we started this course, namely, what does it mean to belong to a place and how do we map it. • University of Denver

People, Cultures + The World

This is a course about the cultural things people make and make-up. We will study common routes of travel and rest and the ways people settle in and come to name a place as their home, especially if they find themselves leaving this home behind. And we will also take a deep look at why people get emotionally and practically drawn to a particular place, contextualizing these reasons in the global demographic trends of 20th and 21st century migration, immigration, tourism and pilgrimaging. We will study the friendships, sexual romances, families, communities and whole towns, cities, and nations people create, taking care to consider how a person's first language, formal education, job, income level, age, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, physical body and mental state can affect their social worth and status. And finally, we will consider how people organize and officiate themselves through social mores and rules, structural institutions, laws and spiritual mythologies. Our analysis will be set inside the vast Minnesota prairies and all across Native America and Canada (i.e., "Indian Country"); the borderlands between South and Central America, Mexico and the United States; Wiesbadden, Germany and Queens and Manhattan, New York; Baltimore; Falls City, Nebraska and Baltimore, Maryland; Iraq, Afghanistan and India; Memphis Tennessee, the entire expanse of the Asian-American diaspora and, finally, Longview, Texas and Mercy Saskatchewan. It will be narrated by a series of people, some fictional and some real, who we will come to know by their names and personal histories and quirks and mannerisms, as well as the formal research and personal writings of anthropologists, both archaeologists and ethnographers, as well documentary makers, journalists, novelists, memoirists, sociologists and artists who employ anthropological methods. These formal anthropological analyses will also allow us a quick glimpses into several other 20th and 21st century settings in all five continents of the world. Juxtaposing people's little biographies alongside formal academic anthropological writing will allow us to see how culture is something people live as well as study. It will also allow us to take a critical look at the discipline of anthropology itself. In this course we will outline the history of this well established and globally respected science and academic field and consider How it has become a part of American and global popular culture and people's everyday lives through the corporately owned, mass produced magazine National Geographic, as well as in Hollywood movies: How it is inextricably linked to pre-modern institutions of colonialism and slavery, as well as the European invention of the museum, circus, sideshow and World's Fair; how it flourished and peaked during the age of twentieth century, only to seriously stumble and, dangerously falter by the century's end, especially in the United States, where anthropologists must justify their trade in a country inhabited by Indians and immigrants; and finally, how it has come to help define the meaning of the exotic in both American and global culture University of North FloridaAvailable as an On-Line Course

Sociology, Introductory 
Sociology is one of the very first academic disciplines in the world to include real live people in its research. First created during the turn of the century in Europe and the United States by theologians, philosophers, historians, missionaries, journalists, social workers, it distinguishes itself from police work and social/political activism, other forms of social scientific inquiry, (such as anthropology or political science), as well as tabloid, literary and popular representations of reality through the use of specific research methods, namely analytic reasoning, ethnography, survey research, experiments and ethnomethodology. In this introductory course, students learn about the rhetorical power of these theories and methods and how they can very effectively show us how to both look and listen for things like local and global cultures and communities, how children and adults are socialized and disciplined, how different social norms and niceties become institutionalized and, finally, different American global forms of systematic oppression, inequality and injustice. • Based on my book in progress It's Not Rocket Science, An Introduction to American Sociology • Edgewood College-Madison, WI • University of Wisconsin-Madison • University of Denver • College of Mount Saint Mary-Newburgh, NY • State University of New York-Orange, NY • College of Mount Saint Vincent-Riverdale, NYC • Purchase College-State University of New York • Available as an On-Line Course

Sociology, Introductory - Honors
See also Honors Programs Page • State University of New York-Orange, NY