Making the familiar strange and the strange familiar.
The Study of Collective Behavior
Music and Popular Culture
From the origins of punk and hip hop to queer nightlife, the study of music and popular culture is both a subfield within sociology and an interdivisional minor bridging Oberlin’s college and conservatory. In this minor, music serves as a lens through which students come to understand cultural practices both historically and globally.
Education and Social Justice
With a unique history beginning in 1833, Oberlin College works to acknowledge the distinctive cultural identities and histories of those who live, study, and work here while encouraging students to intentionally engage with those whose experiences and perspectives are different from their own.
Undergraduate Research at Oberlin
While a great deal has been written about the hypersexualization of Black women, not nearly enough is known about its negative psychological effects on them.
Sociologists study the social origins of sexuality: how shared beliefs shape what we desire, what is taboo or what shames us. Historical and cross-cultural research illuminates the way modern sexuality transformed systems of dating, marriage, homosexuality, government, economics and racial classification. Following Freud, Foucault, feminist and queer theorists, learn why sociologists are skeptical of essentialist explanations that rely on biology and favor theories that recognize sexuality as a diverse, ever-changing function of cultural institutions.
- Taught by
- Greggor Mattson
This course focuses on education as a social institution and the inequalities structured within it. Using theory and empirical evidence, education in the United States will be examined from pre-school through post-secondary levels. The intersections of education and other institutions (e.g., political, economic, and familial) are analyzed and include discussions of race/ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality. Further, the role of education in social reproduction and social control will be examined.
- Taught by
- Daphne John
In this course, students learn about the social construction of race in the U.S. and the fluidity of the boundaries that define racial groups. Students think critically about the biological fallacy of race and the social reality of racism as widespread and embedded in the fabric of American society. Classic and contemporary texts give students a broad understanding of subjects such as institutional racism, colorblind racism, colorism, critical race theory, intersectionality, racial socialization, white privilege, and multiracialism, among others.
- Taught by
This course introduces students to the growing intellectual and pragmatic focus on the relationship between people and the environment. Throughout the semester, we will investigate the ways in which people and the environment interact with one another, examine how those interactions are influenced by socio-cultural processes such as political power and social inequality, and explore various responses to environmental issues, including individual behaviors, social movements, and policies that legislate human interactions with the natural world.
- Taught by
- Christie Parris
A Fulbright Year in Berlin
During her senior year at Oberlin, Miriam Plane ’17, a sociology major and Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies Program (GSFS) minor, completed a sociology research project on the education system in Germany, examining the inequalities that exist within the system. After graduation she returned to the country with a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship.
From Oberlin to South Korea
During her junior year, Katherine Moncure ’16, a sociology major with minors in Hispanic studies and creative writing, studied abroad in Córdoba, Spain, through PRESHCO (Programa de Estudios Hispánicos en Cordóba). AT Oberlin, also worked as a teacher with Oberlin’s Spanish in the Elementary Schools program and began studying Korean language. After graduation she traveled to South Korea on a Fulbright.
Imagining a New School of Education
Xavier Tirado ’17, a biology and sociology double major, received a Woodrow Wilson Academy Design Fellowship. Through collaboration with academy faculty and staff, fellows create and test assessments to refine the new graduate program while also working towards an initial teaching license in middle or high school STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) subjects.