Learning Recommendations: Students should be willing to engage in seminar discussions and a collaborative and communicative learning environment.

General Description: This course is an examination of contemporary social issues, both domestic and foreign, that confront contemporary humanity. Using theoretical perspectives including symbolic interactionist, conflict, structural-functionalist, and constructionist, we will examine the roles of policymakers, social advocates, and the media in the process of defining social problems. Additionally, we will discuss the role of “social entrepreneurs” who seek to change the world. We will consider a variety of social issues, including world poverty, gender inequality, education, firearms, crime, environmental issues, and sustainable development.  Throughout the semester, we will explore ways in which these social issues are part of the organization of society and ways we can use our own agency to address them.

Content: Possibilities include regional studies (e.g., homelessness in the U.S. or the state of affairs in the Middle East), as well as issues of global concern such as human rights violations, environmental issues, world poverty, sustainable development, and global economic development.

Specific topics to explore will be developed in collaboration with the students according to their interests and needs.

Equipment to be provided by Student: None