Course Description

Examines the major social theories that have engaged social theorists from the mid-twentieth century onward. The course also investigates the historical, sociological, intellectual, and biographical contexts within which contemporary social theories have developed and the extent to which they inform current sociological research and thinking.

Learning Outcomes

  • Identify and describe the intellectual foundations of social theory as it is practiced today.
  • Distinguish the theories of major contemporary social theorists.
  • Analyze the social issues, social problems, and social themes that inform contemporary social theorists, as well as the historical, sociological, and biographical influences that shape their ideas.
  • Evaluate the various theoretical approaches to the study of society, the individual, class, race, gender, and sexual orientation.
  • Investigate and describe how class, race, gender, and sexual orientation biases and identities influence social thought, social theory, sociological research, and public policy.
  • Evaluate the relevance of the central and defining themes of social theory for understanding everyday social experience (e.g., technology, media, politics, terrorism, crime, punishment, war, the body, fashion, consumption, social inequality, experience of race, class, gender, and sexual orientation, etc).
  • Research the relevant scholarship and integrate this research into original arguments that contribute to the ongoing scholarly discussion of a topic within the period.
  • Articulate how social theory shapes public, political, and moral debates.
  • Examine how they know what they know, i.e., introduce students to the post-modern approach to knowledge and reality as discourses and social products, and to the making of new knowledge.


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School of Arts, Letters, and Sciences
Jackson M., Class of 2021, Military Veteran