Drug Use and Abuse: Getting High in the United States

Explores trends in the use, abuse, and regulation of mind-altering substances in the United States. Topics include: patterns of drug use over time and across social groups; drug market creation and regulation; media promotion and condemnation of drug activities; drug policy legislation and enforcement; medicalization of deviance; rise and fall of drug panics; and critical analysis of the casualties of the current “war on drugs.” No prerequisites. One course.

Death and Dying

The biomedical, economic, social, and psychological issues surrounding death and dying in the twenty-first century in America. Religious and cultural perspectives both in the Judeo-Christian ethic and in other religious frameworks. Theories of dying from sociological and social psychological perspectives. Required participation in service learning. One course.

Aging and Health

Illness and health care utilization among the elderly, comparison to other populations, gender and race differences, medicare and medicaid, individual adjustment to aging and illness, social support for sick elderly, the decision to institutionalize, policy debate over euthanasia. Required participation in service learning. One course.

Medical Sociology

Interface between sociology and health-related issues. Analysis of macro, mezzo, and micro perspectives as they apply to health and illness. Examination of the social and cultural context in which health care in the United States is delivered, particularly in terms of racial and age disparities, as well as disparities in rural and urban healthcare settings.

The Challenges of Development

Diverse perspectives on economic development and theories concerning the role of transnational corporations and international financial institutions (for example, World Bank) in developing nations, assessed with the aid of sociological and economic data. Comparison of different countries and world regions in terms of their historical trajectories, development strategies and current challenges in economic and social development, broadly conceived in terms of material circumstances, political economies, and quality of life. One course.