Special Topics Courses Spring 2017

SYA4930 section 1802
Dr. Alin Ceobanu
Email: aceobanu@ufl.edu
T3-4 MAT 0007, R4 MAT 0010

From a multidisciplinary perspective, this course examines the diverse interactive identities and cultures of the people living in Europe. Organized around the topics of supranational unification, diaspora groups, and construction of a European self, this course provides an understanding about how geographic location, history, and socio-economic forces impact culture and identity in the setting of Europe.


SYA4930 section 02DH
Ryan Thomson
Email: ryanwthomson@ufl.edu
T7 TUR 2346, R7-8 TUR 2333

In many places around the world and in the U.S., people share their neighborhoods with hazardous waste, toxic incinerators, and health-threatening chemical contamination. Moreover, some people are much more likely to be affected by these environmental hazards than others—namely, people of color, working class people, immigrants, and indigenous communities.

This uneven exposure to environmental risks and hazards, often coupled with the systematic exclusion of people from environmental decision-making processes, is called environmental racism or environmental inequality. It wasn’t until researchers, activists, and government officials began documenting patterns of social inequality and environmental harm in the 1970s and early 1980s that the concept of environmental inequality emerged.

Don’t be fooled by the terms—the causes of environmental inequality are social and political. In other words, environmental inequality is not, at its core, an environmental issue. Rather, it is rooted in our discourses, structures, and political and economic institutions, and it is intertwined with the other inequalities that permeate our daily lives. It is within this context that this course seeks to understand environmental justice, which according to sociologist Robert Bullard is the notion that all people and communities are entitled to equal protection by environmental health laws and regulations.


SYA4930 section 1E09
Cristina Ramos
Email: cristinaramos@ufl.edu
MW5, PSY 0151

This course is designed to introduce students to current issues in studies of international migration, ranging from why people migrate to how migrants incorporate into receiving societies and maintain ties to their home countries. Thus, the course is divided into three parts: 1) Why and how migration occurs; 2) The impacts of migration on societies and 3) Border controls. Although the main focus will be on North America and Europe, we will also explore the importance of migration in other regions of the world. The course combines face to face and online sessions: each week we will have two one-hour face to face sessions during which we will discuss the assigned readings, and this will be complemented by one online session in which students will be asked to watch specific videos or read migration related news and to participate in an online discussion.


SYA4930 section 1799
Dr. Tamir Sorek
Email: tsorek@ufl.edu
T7-8 R7, ROG 0110

The course discusses the Israeli-Palestinian interactions focusing on the way collective identities are shaped by the conflict. It combines historical outlining of the conflict’s development from the beginning of Zionist immigration to Palestine until the current day, with thematic analysis of its dynamics. The course juxtaposes different subjective points of view and motivations of the various actors involved and analyzes the socio-political process as products of these interrelated positions. Special emphasis is given to the significance of interdependency of culture and politics; national symbolism as both product of the conflict and an element that maintains it; and the significance of heroism, victimhood and martyrdom in shaping the conflict and the identities of the parties involved. Class meetings include lectures, movies, and discussions.


SYA4930 section 24H3
Dr. Yael Shankar
Email: yaelshankar@ufl.edu
W4-6, WAL 0201D

Among its many pivotal tasks the Zionist movement assumed also the creation of a “new Jew.” Unlike the “old Jew,” who was perceived as ‘feminine,” “weak” and “rootless,” the new Jew was to be “strong,” “rooted” and “physical.” Hebrew culture had a hefty share in the many attempts to create this “new Jewish” type.

This perception of “hegemonic Zionist masculinity” has been gradually subverted in the past few years, and the cultural discourse in Israel has taken on a critical position, with focus on the price the new type of Jew has exacted, on other possible masculinities, and on the various forms of oppression embedded in that monolithic view.

The course will address representations of hegemonic masculinity in Hebrew literature and Israeli cinema, and possibilities of forming “other masculinities.” As we delve into theoretical works on masculinity in general, and Jewish and Israeli masculinities in particular, we will examine texts from different periods that deal with various issues related to the formation of New Hebrew masculinity. We will examine the tension between the “old Jew”–the “feminine man”–and the “new Jew,” the masculine options this tension generated, and the attempts to undermine them.


SYA4930 section 2H62
Micah Johnson
Email: MicahJohnson3000@ufl.edu

For more information, please contact the instructor directly.


SYA4930 section 12AB
Antoinette McFarlane
Email: amcfarlane@ufl.edu
T5-6 R6, TUR 2318

For more information, please contact the instructor directly.


SYA4930 section 19H0
Sarah Boeshart
Email: sboeshart@ufl.edu
T4 R4-5, TUR 2318

Race, Class, Sexuality, and Gender are major categories of difference and identity in sociology; they are the basis for much of stratification and discrimination, for forming our identities, and our lived experiences. Too often these categories will be forgotten, overlooked, or under theorized, but in this class, we’ll address these influential and interlocking dimensions of our identities, institutions, social dynamics, and culture. Rooted in sociology, this
class will explicitly address the multiplicity and intersecting ways that these categories of difference shape our culture, individual life chances, our interpersonal relationships, and social institutions. Studying these concepts from a social constructionist theoretical frame, we’ll analyze how the media in conjunction with other cultural forces (re)create domination and subordination in our major social institutions, the ways that social actors attach values to them, and how inequality and discrimination continue to be rationalized and justified. This is an introductory examination into racism, sexism, homophobia, classism and other related forms of oppression and their intersecting and interlocking formations.


SYA4930 section 009G
Dr. Robert White
Email: rwhite@ufl.edu
T8-9 R9, FAC 0120

This course introduces students to the social patterning of illness that lies at the many intersections between race and health in the United States. The course will begin by considering the biological conceptions of race that guided the history of explanations of human variation and which have earned renewed interest in an era of decoded genomes and personalized medicine. We will then review accounts from epidemiology and sociology that emphasize the importance of economic factors for human health. These include inequalities in education and workplace conditions and their consequences for individual health behaviors and health services use. Relationships between social hierarchies and stress will also be considered. We will examine the lasting effects from experiencing stress during childhood and pay particular attention to the many ways in which experiences of racial discrimination shape lifetime health.


SYA4930 section 2A09
Dr. Nicholas Vargas
Email: nicholas.vargas@ufl.edu
W9-11, TUR B310

Race has been conceptualized as an idea, identity, ideology, a schema, performance, skin color, biological distinction, demographic characteristic, status-based characteristic, social construction, hierarchical classification system, structure, political project, myth, and others. In this course we will probe definitions of race and racism, and consider the multitude and divergent ways that Latina/os conceptualize, experience, and challenge some of these notions. We will consider theories of race and racialization and compare them with contemporary case studies of racialization in practice. We will consider where and how different subsets of Latina/os fit in the U.S. racial hierarchy (e.g., as a “race” or “ethnicity”? As White? As Black? As “Other?”), and explore overlapping identities, ideologies, and interests between Latina/os, Blacks, Asian Americans, and Whites. We will also consider how the shift in racialized immigration enforcement over recent decades shapes Latina/o youth and families.

*This course is listed as a hybrid undergraduate/graduate course, but is organized like a seminar. It requires a heavier reading load, a deeper level of engagement with the readings, and a substantially higher level of participation than is typical in most undergraduate lecture-style courses at UF.


SYA4930 section 021A
Kirsten Fitzgerald
Email: marykfitzgerald@ufl.edu
T8-9 R9, TUR 2346

The goal of this course is to equip students with the intellectual tools and ability to understand the myriad groups who come together to work for social change. The course begins with a broad overview of the ways we study social movements: the theories and issues at hand. From there, the course moves into studying select movements, where we will apply and interrogate the applications of each perspective.


SYA4930 section 22D7
Dr. Christine Overdevest
Email: coverdev@ufl.edu

For more information, please contact the instructor directly.