SOCI 375 Requirements

SOCI 375 (Sociological Theory) Requirements


  1. The department requires that students read original sources by Marx, Durkheim, and Weber, an article or more from the symbolic interactionist tradition, and contemporary theorists or perspectives that link the classical tradition to contemporary sociological thought
  2. In general, instructors should limit their selection of contemporary theorists or theoretical perspectives to three or four key sources, as the department aims to maintain the depth of the course over its breadth
  3. A general guideline of 50 to 60 percent of the course’s scheduled meetings should be spent on the classical tradition while devoting 40 to 50 percent on contemporary perspectives
  4. The list below, although not exhaustive, is representative of the perspectives and theorists the department expects instructors to choose from regarding contemporary perspectives:
    1. Symbolic interactionism and ethnomethodology theorists, such as George Herbert Mead, Herbert Blumer, Erving Goffman, and Harold Garfinkel
    2. Exchange theorists, such as George Homans, Peter Blau, and Randall Collins, and Ralf Dahrendorf
    3. Grand and middle range theorists, such as Talcott Parsons, Robert Merton, Peter Berger, Thomas Luckmann, Alfred Schutz, C. Wright Mills, and Robert Bellah
    4. Feminist and gender theorists, such as Simone de Beauvoir, Nancy Chodorow, Dorothy Smith, Patricia Hill Collins, Judith Butler, and RW Connell
    5. Critical theorists, such as Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse, Walter Benjamin, Erich Fromm, Jurgen Habermas, and Axel Honneth
    6. Structural and poststructural theorists, such as Anthony Giddens, Antonio Gramsci, Claude Levi-Strauss, Roland Barthes, Ferdinand de Sassure, Michel Foucault, Pierre Bourdieu, and Jean Baudrillard
    7. Postmodern theorists, such as Jean-Francois Lyotard, Jacques Derrida, Jacque Lacan, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Frederic Jameson, Louis Althusser, and Zygmunt Bauman
    8. Globalization theorists, such as Immanuel Wallerstein, Manuel Castells, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Giorgio Agamben, Saskia Sassen, Bruno Latour, and Ulrich Beck
    9. Postcolonial theorists, such as Frantz Fanon, Edward Said, and CLR James
    10. Race theorists such as Molefi Kete Asante, Michael Omi and Howard Winant, Patricia Hill Collins, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Cornel West, Gloria Anzaluda, and Laura Martin Alcott
    11. Sexualities and queer theorists, such as Adrienne Rich, Jeffrey Weeks, Eve Sedgwick, Judith Butler, and Steven Seidman
    12. Civil society and cultural studies theorists, such as Jeffrey Alexander, Jean Cohen and Andrew Arato, Stuart Hall, and Clifford Gertz
  5. Instructors may use any selected textbooks as auxiliary, not as the focus of the course.
  6. Instructors may choose readings that demonstrate contemporary research applications of each theoretical approach.

Course Emphases

  1. Students read original sources in classical sociological theory.
  2. Students read original sources in contemporary sociological theory.
  3. The course material is cumulative throughout the semester.
  4. All graded written assignments should be individual projects.
  5. Instructors must structure written assignments so that students cannot use purchased papers from the web.

Written Assignments

Instructors should draw from the following list; however, the instructor does not need to use all four types but rather a selection of them.

  1. In-class essay exams
  2. Instructor structured take-home exams
  3. Instructor structured position or response papers
  4. Each course has an oral component (to fulfill GE requirements) such as debate, discussion groups, student presentations.

Course Objectives

  1. To master the main ideas of each theory.
  2. To critique each theory.
  3. To apply each theory to contemporary issues and research and evaluate its relative usefulness.
  4. To compare and contrast theoretical approaches.
  5. To provide students with a theoretical foundation for other courses in the major.
  6. To learn the role of theory construction and the use of theory in original research.
  7. To prepare students for the theoretical component of Senior Seminar (Sociology 498).

The course is best taught with enrollment limits of 30 students or under.

Revised & Approved 4/18/13