What you'll learn

  • View real-world situations—such as inequality, mass incarceration, collective movements, and climate change—through a sociological lens
  • Assess the ways visual materials offer a sociological viewpoint of real-world situations

Course description

What is the sociological eye? How does it provide a clearer view of the world we live in? This course introduces students to key themes, methods, and concepts in social and cultural analysis.

Merging scholarly readings of seminal figures—Bourdieu, Goffman, Foucault, and Weber—with a selection of classic and contemporary films, documentaries, and television series (The Elephant Man, The Lord of the Rings, Slumdog Millionaire, The Wire, Avatar), the course encourages students to view real-world situations—such as inequality, mass incarceration, collective movements, and climate change—through a sociological lens, bridging a strong connection between what the scholarly texts tell us about social and cultural phenomena, and what film, television, and visual media reveal.

The goal is to assess the ways visual materials offer a sociological viewpoint of real-world situations, and the ways that viewpoint illustrates, complements, or departs from the readings. Rather than write a final paper, students produce a short film: their own practical application of the sociological eye.

Instructor

  • Assistant Professor of Sociology, Whitman College

Associated Schools

  • Harvard Division of Continuing Education

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