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Robert Crosnoe, Chair CLA 3.306, Mailcode A1700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-6300

Adrian Popan

M.A., Texas Tech University, 2009


SOC F321K • Sex & Violence In Pop Culture

87834 • Summer 2014
Meets MTWTHF 1130am-100pm CLA 0.104
(also listed as WGS F345 )
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Course description

Why is violence pervasive in Hollywood movies and video games? What make representations of human sexuality scandalous? How important is popular music for how we define who we are? Is the new media technology empowering or oppressive?

This course offers a fresh view on a very familiar topic, popular culture. Using representations of sex and violence as starting point, we will investigate the underlying messages – overt and covert – sent through popular media: who sends them, how do some messages and mediums gain prominence, while others simply pass unobserved, and, most important, how does popular media shape our perception of ourselves and of our society.  Our helpers for understanding the complex processes outlined above will be the relevant theories of cultural sociology, gender studies, and media sociology.

Course objectives

  1. To enhance our understanding of the main concepts and theoretical perspectives proposed by cultural sociology, gender studies, and media sociology
  2. To develop a critical understanding of our own culture, in particular of its representations in popular media
  3. To acquire a broader perspective of the popular media products, by understanding the social, historical and political forces which affect the production process
  4. To develop academic skills involved in research, analysis, and presenting. 

SOC 308 • Intro Sociology Of Development

46085 • Fall 2013
Meets MWF 100pm-200pm CLA 1.106
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In 2012 the average GDP per capita of the twenty wealthiest countries in the world was just under $50,000, while that of the poorest twenty countries was only $900. In such poor countries, literacy rates remain between 25% and 50%, and 1 in 10 children born are expected to die before reaching 5 years of age. Why have some nations been able to successfully grow economically; building strong health, education, and legal systems while others seem to stagnate? How have structural and historical forces shaped an interest in promoting economic and social development around the globe and what results have these efforts produced?

Development is an inherently contested concept, but remains central to the idea of improving the human condition. This course is designed to introduce students to major concepts and theories in the study of development and globalization with a focus on problems of inequality in wealth and well-being from a sociological perspective. The first part of the course will introduce the major concepts used in the study of development, as well as the commonly used indicators of development. The second part of the course will focus on the major perspectives on development & globalization including the causes and consequences of inequalities among countries. The last third will be devoted to specific issues central to development and globalization such as social change, NGOs and international aid, migration, the impact of development on minorities, in the context of a case study, broadly defined as development in the post-socialist Eastern Europe.

The course is aimed not only at students interested in the particular issue of socioeconomic development, but will also be of interest to those interested in the institutional conditions shaping economic action and human well-being in general.


Course Objectives:

1. To enhance our understanding of the substantive issues and theoretical frameworks related to the study of social change in developing countries.

2. To gain a critical understanding of the concepts, issues, and indicators used in development studies.

3. To develop academic skills involved in research, analysis, and writing.

Required Texts:

McMichael, Philipp. 2012. Development and Social Change: A Global Perspective. London: Sage. 5th ed. Other required readings will be posted on Blackboard Assessment:

Final grades will be based on the following:

Attendance & Participation: 10%

Examinations (best two scores out of three exams): 60% (30% each)

Written Assignment: 30%


SOC S308 • Culture And Society In The Us

88278 • Summer 2013
Meets MTWTHF 100pm-230pm CLA 0.102
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 Course description


There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, "Morning, boys, how's the water?" And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, "What the hell is water?"

This parable, borrowed from the American writer David Foster Wallace, illustrates our relation to (most of) our culture: although we are not fully aware of it, we are immersed in it. Beginning with “What the hell is culture?”, this course will address a series of questions relevant not only to our society, but ultimately to our individual lives, and to the relations between history, society, and us. “What is the culture’s role in society?”, “How do social structures shape our culture”, and “How does my society’s culture affect myself?”. This course aims to answer these questions through an interactive environment, where students’ opinions are valued.

In the first part of the course, we will investigate some of the major social theories of culture, from Karl Marx to Ann Swidler and Jeffrey C. Alexander, via Clifford Geertz and Pierre Bourdieu. Such equipped, in the second part, our (instructor and students) inquiry involves the discovery of other cultures, and a return to our own, but with a fresh, critical, perspective.

Course Objectives:

  1. To enhance our understanding of the main concepts and theoretical perspectives related to culture, and its relation with society
  2. To develop a critical understanding of our own culture
  3. To develop academic skills involved in research, analysis, and presenting.


Final grades will be based on the following:

  1. Attendance & Participation:                                                         10%
  2. Examinations (best two scores out of three exams):                      60% (30% each)
  3. Individual presentations:                                                            30%



SOC 308 • Intro Sociology Of Development

45467 • Fall 2012
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm NOA 1.102
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Course Description:

This course is designed to introduce students to the various ways that sociologists identify and explain the significance of gender in our lives.  Our understandings of gender are often invisible to us, taken for granted as “normal” in such a way that we do not see the ways that gender is defined, created, and reproduced through both macro-level institutions and micro-level interactions. In this course students will be asked to engage with and critically examine topics relevant to the study of gender both within and outside of the United States.  Throughout the course we will also focus on how race, class, sexuality, and nationality intersect with gender and explore how these intersections are tied to privilege and inequality.

Course Objectives:

The primary objective of this course is for students to enhance their understanding of the substantive and theoretical approaches to the study of gender.  Through this course students should also become more critically aware of the way gender is defined and reproduced in daily life.   

Required Texts:

  • Kimmel, Michael, 2009. The Gendered Society, 4th edition.  Oxford University Press
  • Ehrenreich, Barbara, 2002.  Global Woman.  Henry Holt and Company, New York

Additional readings will be assigned via Blackboard.  Students should expect to have an average of 30 pages of reading assigned prior to each class.


Final grades will be based on the following:

 Attendance                10%

Assignments              15%

Exams (2)                  50%

Individual Project     25%


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