SOC1001: Introduction to Sociology
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Course syllabi / YU only
Overview What is sociology? The answer depends on who you ask. Even founders of the discipline did not typically agree: Emile Durkheim said that sociology is the objective, scientific study of social facts as things, much like biology is the study of living things. Georg Simmel said that sociology is the study of the forms of social interaction, much like geometry is the study of mathematical forms. Today, the American Sociological Association says “Sociology is the study of social life, social change, and the social causes and consequences of human behavior. Sociologists investigate the structure of groups, organizations, and societies, and how people interact within these contexts.” How do we reconcile these into a comprehensive definition? Rather than argue over what sociology is, this course will introduce you to what sociology does. We will discuss some of what is shared by sociologists: a focus on rigorous empirical and theoretical research; a set of topics relating to the social world; an emphasis on the institutional dimensions of social life; and the exercise of a unique perspective, often called “the sociological imagination.” Most important, you will practice doing sociology yourselves, both by engaging with key substantive topics and by honing your own sociological imaginations. Instruction will be conducted entirely online, but this course will be multi-modal, with a mix of synchronous meetings, real-world activities, and frequent written assignments and other assessments. The material will be ambitious and demanding, and will require a high level of engagement. It is best to stay on top – or even ahead – of the work.
Kimmel, Daniel M. (2020, Fall). SOC1001: Introduction to Sociology, Yeshiva College.