Signature Courses

The Department of Sociology participates in Rutgers innovative Signature Course Program (initiative) with the following courses.

Normality and Abnormality

01:920:240 (4 credits)
Professor Allan V. Horwitz, Sociology
Professor Deborah Carr, Sociology

Am I normal? Human conceptions of normality and abnormality pervade social life, shaping expectations about physical appearance, eating habits, sexuality, gender, mental illness, and happiness, among other things. Individuals use ideas about what is normal and abnormal to judge and modify their own behavior. And, so does society. But, what is normal? How do we know? And, is normal something worth being?  Do definitions of normality stem from people’s own experiences, from science, from social definitions, or from universal standards of morality or human nature? What does normal mean in different cultures and historical eras? To what extent is it possible to change deviations from normal and is it desirable to do so? Who decides?

This course is particularly recommended for students who intend to pursue majors or minors in anthropology, various area studies, business, criminal justice, history, life sciences or premedicine, philosophy, political science, psychology, sociology, women’s and gender studies, and studies of race and ethnicity. This course carries credit toward the major and minor in sociology. Normality and Abnormality can be used to meet the SAS Core Curriculum goals in 21st Century Challenges [21C], Social Analysis [SCL], and Writing and Communication [WCd]. For students entering before fall 2011, it can be used to fulfill the SAS interdisciplinary and diversity requirements.

War: Critical Perspectives

01:988:270  (3 credits)
Professor Ethel Brooks
Departments of Women’s and Gender Studies and Sociology

Has the “war on terror” affected your life?  In the absence of military conscription, do U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, or Guantanamo influence everyday life within the United States?  How are we to make sense of Humvees on the highway or camouflage gear as a fashion trend?  Are there connections between genocide and gang membership, or between war and particular modes of labor and production, or between military bases and sexual violence?  Does “homeland security” make you more or less secure?
This course contrasts dominant accounts of war developed by international relations scholars with analyses of the raced and gendered aspects and consequences of war for both domestic and foreign policies.  It considers the displacement, migration, refugee experiences, nation-building, changing labor regimes, production practices, and rights regimes.
This course is particularly recommended for students pursuing majors or minors in women's and gender studies, sociology, area studies and studies of race and ethnicity,  colonial and postcolonial studies, criminal justice,  geography, history, journalism and media studies, Middle Eastern studies, political science/international relations, psychology, and social justice.  This course carries credit toward the major and minor in Women’s and Gender Studies.

War: Critical Perspectives can be used to meet the SAS Core Curriculum goals in 21st Century Challenges [21C], Social Analysis [SCL]