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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: Psychology and Sociology
Course Prefix and Number: SOCI 470
Course Title: Contemporary Social Theory
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

Survey of contemporary social theory, beginning in post-World War II era through the current era of post-structuralism, feminist sociology, critical race theory and queer theory. Includes the study of C. Wright Mills, Jurgen Habermas, Pierre Bourdieu, Immanual Wallerstein, Anthony Giddens, Michel Foucault, Theda Skocpol, Dorothy Smith, Adrienne Rich and Patricia Hill Collins. Prerequisite: Junior standing.

Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s): Junior standing.
Course Rotation for Day Program: Offered even Spring.
Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

Contemporary Sociological Theory
By Adams, Bert N. and R.A. Sydie (Pine Forge Press)
Contemporary Sociological Theory: Visualizing Social Worlds
By Allan, Kenneth (Pine Forge Press)
Sociological Theory in the Contemporary Era: Text and Readings
By Appelrouth, Scott and Laura Desfor Edles (Sage)
Contemporary Sociological Theory and Its Classical Roots: The Basics
By Ritzer, George (McGraw Hill)
Contested Knowledge: Social Theory in the Postmodern Era
By Seidman, Steven (Blackwell)
The New School Theory Reader
By Seidman, Steven and Jeffrey Alexander (Routledge)
Course Learning Outcomes
  1. Describe and explain the major contemporary theoretical traditions in sociology and the emergence of each of their particular socio-historical contexts.
  2. Identify and describe the theoretical perspectives of major contemporary social theorists
  3. Describe and explain the major developments in contemporary sociological theory: critical theory, post-structuralism, feminist sociology, and queer theory.
  4. Describe and explain the theoretical application and the current relevance of sociological theory.
  5. Describe and explain the move from objective, universalistic theories to an embrace of subjectivity and localized explanations for human behavior.
Major Topics/Skills to be Covered:
  • Post-WWII sociology
  • Post and Neo-Marxism
  • Post-modernism
  • Feminist Sociology
  • Critical Race Theory
  • Symbolic Interaction
  • Ethnomethodology
  • Intersectionality
  • Foucault and Queer Theory
Culminating Experience Statement:

Material from this course may be tested on the Major Field Test (MFT) administered during the Culminating Experience course for the degree. 
During this course the ETS Proficiency Profile may be administered.  This 40-minute standardized test measures learning in general education courses.  The results of the tests are used by faculty to improve the general education curriculum at the College.


Recommended maximum class size for this course: 15

Library Resources:

Online databases are available at You may access them from off-campus using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

Prepared by: Ahoo Tabatabai Date: March 20, 2015
NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course learning outcomes and cover the subjects listed in the Major Topics/Skills to be Covered section. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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