Great Issues in Social Science: Social Science Theory: A Critical Look

HSP 154    CRN 2368
Tuesday & Thursday
1:10 – 2:30
Vulgamore 302
Dr. Paul Hagner

Course Description:

This course introduces students to the ways in which social science theory explains, predicts, and, in some instances, progresses. The process starts with an overview of social science theory building moving from conceptual understandings to theories and. perhaps, paradigms. The majority of the course will then be devoted to the critical analysis of social scientific theories moving from macro-theories (such as systems theory) to micro-theories such as socio-genetics.  Along the way the student will, hopefully, be surprised, and a bit frightened, by the explanatory and predictive power of modern social science theories.

The proposed course offers students critical insights into meta-theory: theorizing about theory.  The goal is to improve the students' abilities to describe, evaluate, and predict using established social science paradigms.  The ability of students to make comparisons between explanatory and predictive models when applied to commonly identified social problems will be a highlight of this course's goals.

Great Issues in Social Science: Food, Justice & Sustainability

How we and the rest of the world come to eat what we do

HSP 155
CRN 2637
Tuesday & Thursdays  10:10 – Noon
Robsinson 300a
Dr. Trisha Franzen

Food is no longer viewed first and foremost as a sustainer of life. Rather, to those who seek to command our food supply it has become instead a major source of corporate cash flow, economic leverage, a form of currency, a tool of international politics, an instrument of power – a weapon. A.V. Krebs,  The Corporate Reapers: The Book of Agribusiness, 1992

Chocolate and corn, sugar and rice, our foods have histories and politics that they bring with them to our tables.  From famines to farm bills, the slow food movement to Community Supported Agriculture, "food fights" are increasingly center stage in our private and public lives.  This course will introduce students to global and local aspects of some of these debates.  We will examine theories from Sen's thesis on famines and democracies to Pollum's critiques of the new corporate organic food industry, analyze U.S. and global food policies and practices, and study efforts for fair food.  Among the assignments will be personal food ethnographies, studies of food stories, local food resources and global food movements.  We will have some food field trips, and we will cook and eat.

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