See UD's plans to return to teaching, learning and research on campus this fall with measures in place to promote safety and lessen the risk of COVID-19 spread.

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Academic Initiatives

Fall 2020 Themes

SSC 200 01: MWF 9:05-9:55 a.m.; SSC 200 04: MWF 10:10-11 a.m.

This course will introduce SSC200 students to critical social science frameworks for understanding the social contexts of climate change. We’ll explore the ways that social science research can provide answers to questions about the impacts of climate change and potential responses to this "wicked problem" through empirically-based research at the individual, organizational/community, national, and international levels. Students will develop a foundational understanding of theories and methodologies from sociology, psychology, and political science and will gain essential practice in communicating academic research findings to a public/non-academic audience.

SSC 200 02: MWF 11:15 a.m.-12:05 p.m.

Community and Music in Dayton will explore the understandings and issues in popular music creation by exploring local music in Dayton, Ohio and beyond. What does music mean to people? How do we experience it? How is music accessed today? Billions of dollars are spent in the effort to create sales of music, lasting music careers and the experience of music at concerts, in videos and through streaming services. How music is created is only the first step to understand the systems of meaning, forms of identity and various experiences of popular music. Using the city of Dayton music scene as context this class will investigate the nature of community and music from the combined perspectives of economics, psychology and sociology.

SSC 200 03: MWF 12:20-1:10 p.m.; SSC 200 06: MWF 1:25-2:15 p.m.

This course will introduce students to the social sciences through the theme of Activism in the 21st Century. Using examples from contemporary activism such as Occupy Movement, Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, Standing Rock, Women's March, and Sunrise Movement, students will examine questions such as: How does one become an activist? What are the potential rewards and consequences of being an activist? How are laws and criminal justice policies being used to limit activism? This course will address the theme primarily through the social science disciplines of Sociology, Psychology, and Communication.

SSC 200 05: TR 12:30-1:45 p.m.; SSC 200 H1: TR 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

This course introduces us to sociological, economic and human rights perspectives on health disparities in the U.S. We will explore the theoretical approaches and methods of inquiry used by social scientists to understand the causes, consequences, and solutions for health disparities. By the end of the course, students will demonstrate knowledge of the sociological and economic frameworks used to understand health disparities, an understanding of the historical, structural, and institutional factors that contribute to disparate health outcomes, and an ability to connect opportunities in addressing health disparities to health-related human rights doctrines.

SSC 200 07: TR 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m.; SSC 200 08: TR 2-3:15 p.m.

Sexual violence is one of the most pressing social problems of our times. The substantive purpose of this course is twofold. First, students will learn about different types of sexual violence (e.g., sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual trafficking, and child sexual abuse); empirical patterns of sexual violence; effects on survivors and motivations of perpetrators; and the social conditions that perpetuate this crime. Second, students will learn about the opportunities, pitfalls, and complexities of the public response to sexual violence. By examining specific cases of mobilization – like recent youth activism against campus sexual assault – students will develop a sophisticated analysis of sexuality, violence, and ethics.

SSC 200 11: TR 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m.; SSC 200 H2: TR 3:35-4:50 p.m.; SSC 200 H5: TR 5:05-6:20 p.m.

This course takes an interdisciplinary approach to exploring issues involved in criminal investigation and prosecution, with particular emphasis on the implications of these legal procedures for those who are actually innocent of the suspected crimes. Specific topics to be addressed include deception detection, interrogations and confessions, eyewitness identifications, confirmation bias in the forensic examination of evidence, plea bargaining, and jury decision-making.

SSC 200 14: MWF 1:25-2:15 p.m.; SSC 200 15: MWF 2:30-3:20 p.m.

This course considers questions relevant to Psychology like "How could you eat dessert after that huge meal?" and Anthropological questions like "Why would anyone eat that ever?" We will also consider how society impacts our eating choices. For example, “Why do those with easy access to grocery stores eat differently from those without? What variables underlie this relationship?”

SSC 200 21: TR 2-3:15 p.m.

International development is a field and a phenomenon; not only it bridges a range of disciplines studying its different dimensions but it also involves diverse actors – people (communities, practitioners and scholars) and institutions (governmental and nongovernmental) adopting a variety of approaches to create an impact in human development through research, advocacy and action, or critique and policy reform. This course is designed to unpack and rethink international development. How do political dynamics influence the development of states and communities? How to use economic tools to tackle poverty alleviation? How do we measure human development and quality of life, and fulfillment of peoples’ rights? Students will receive foundational understanding of international development, uncover and engage with development theories, and critically examine ongoing practices and development strategies through three disciplinary lenses: politics, economics and human rights.

SSC 200 22: MWF 11:15 a.m.-12:05 p.m.; SSC 200 23: MWF 2:30-3:20 p.m.

This course critically examines the historical process of globalization and highlights how global disparities in political and economic power have influenced that process.

SSC 200 24: MWF 10:10-11 a.m.; SSC 200 25: MWF 11:15 a.m.-12:05 p.m.; SSC 200 H3: MWF 9:05-9:55 a.m.

Since the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Japan in 1945, nuclear technology, whether for weapons or energy has remained highly controversial. Despite a number of international regimes to control the spread of nuclear weapons and stringent inspections by international bodies, nuclear crises continue to occur. While some countries are disavowing clean-burning nuclear power others are in the midst of building a nuclear arsenal. This course will explore social science research on the politics, economics, and psychology of nuclear technology. Asking questions like why do we continue to use nuclear energy after disasters like Chernobyl and Fukushima? And why do countries want nuclear weapons when nuclear war would most certainly wipe out human civilization?

SSC 200 26: TR 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

Hopes were high after NASA's successful moon landing nearly 50 years ago. But despite this dramatic dawning of the space age, the U.S. (and humanity as a whole) failed to return astronauts to the lunar surface for 45 years. We are just now developing a true space economy and, slowly, beginning to turn our dreams of Mars colonization into a reality. In addition to the scientific and technological hurdles, there are human developments—social, economic, and political—that must precede our species' move further toward the stars. This course approaches space exploration from a social science and public policy perspective. We will study topics including: public opinion on space issues, outer space law, the budding space industry (with players like SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic), future developments in space policy, religious views of space exploration, and social shifts associated with a spacefaring society (including the effect associated with our possible future discovery of extraterrestrial, even intelligent, life).

SSC 200 27: MWF 9:05-9:55 a.m.; SSC 200 28: MWF 11:15 a.m.-12:05 p.m.; SSC 200 29: MWF 12:20-1:10 p.m.

This course explores the development of the media in the United States and its influence in shaping the choices we make in our lives. Students will examine the media using perspectives from political science, sociology, and communication.

SSC 200 31: MWF 10:10-11 a.m.

“There are three things you’re not supposed to discuss in polite company; religion, politics and money,” is a phrase many of us might have heard, especially as it pertains to dinnertime conversations. Have you ever asked yourself the question why? This course examines how people define and navigate “challenging conversations,” in addition to describing their outcomes through the lenses of Psychology, Sociology, and Communication.

SSC 200 32: MWF 10:10-11 a.m.; SSC 200 37: MWF 2:30-3:20 p.m.

Media, Money and Politics will study the dynamics and issues involved in choosing candidates for elective office. Voter interaction with the news media and candidates, as well as the economic factors driving all of their messages, will be major ingredients of examination using perspectives from communication, economics and political science.

SSC 200 33: MWF 11:15 a.m.-12:05 p.m.; SSC 200 34: MWF 12:20-1:10 p.m.

In Politics and Media, students explore the development of news media and its influence, through “news framing,” in shaping audience choices and opinions. Students will examine the news media using perspectives from political science, communication, psychology and journalism.

SSC 200 35: MWF 12:20-1:10 p.m.

This course will utilize social science methods and theory to examine and understand various aspects of cross-cultural interactions. In the interest of time, we will be concentrating on the cultures of China, Japan, and the United Kingdom. We will be exploring these economic superpowers and comparing them to the United States. Students will gain an understanding on how cultural differences can aid American individuals and companies to better compete in the international business arena.

SSC 200 36: MWF 1:25-2:15 p.m.

In this course, we will explore “disability” in an interdisciplinary way, pulling from research in the fields of communication, psychology, and sociology. The term “disability” itself is defined in many different ways depending on the perspective of the group defining the construct. We will examine the social construction of disability as well as the lived experiences of individuals with disabilities. We will explore critical theories that examine health, educational, economic, social, and cultural factors that define disability. Further, students will become more aware of their interactions and responses to persons with disabilities and gain skills to enhance their communication with this population. Many people experience discomfort or uncertainty in interactions with persons with disabilities due to misunderstandings, stereotyping, and social stigma. As many professionals may run across individuals with disabilities in their careers (e.g., counselors, physical therapists, teachers, social workers, etc.), examining disability from an individual (psychology), relational (communication), and community/society (sociology) perspective will further student understanding of this population and disability as a construct. The class will consist of lecture, discussion, applied assignments, critical analysis, and personal research in order to provide students with an in-depth understanding of disability, disability experience, and the social construction of disability.

SSC 200 38: MWF 2:30-3:20 p.m.

Students may be familiar with terms such as “fake news” and “post-truth politics,” or “fact-checking” and “myth busting” from media outlets or your social networks. This course will allow students to learn more about scientific research that has explored such phenomena and related processes of influence across a range of contexts and social issues in everyday experience. This course will utilize readings to employ the scientific method to identify instances of misinformation, understand how misinformation is propagated and accepted, and how to create messaging to dispel misinformation and engage in civil dialogue about the issues.

SSC 200 39 TR 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m.; SSC 200 42: TR 12:30-1:45 p.m. 

Perhaps because of the way cybercriminals are portrayed in the mass media, we think hackers wear hoodies and write computer programs that allow them to circumvent network security. It turns out that in more than 90% of all breaches, hackers simply trick end users into providing them their username, password and other account information. In the realm of cybersecurity, tricking people into providing information is called social engineering. The purpose of this course is to examine how social engineering works, the principles of human behavior that make us susceptible to social engineering, and a discussion of how you can avoid becoming a victim of a social engineering exploit.

SSC 200 40: TR 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

The purpose of this course is to explore the ways in which culture and society influence our communication and language choices. Using the framework of Ethnography from the perspectives of Communication, Anthropology, and Sociology, students will be able to actively observe, discover, and report on their own and other people’s communicative actions, expressions, and expectations.

SSC 200 41: TR 12:30-1:45 p.m.

Mapping Cityscapes in Media uses the disciplines of communication, economics, and sociology to understand how the American cities have appeared in the media around us, particularly narrative film and television. Particular attention will be given to the practice of mapping these media texts, identifying their relationship to their real-life analogues, and what these relationships and representations reveal about the text’s relationship to power and reality. This focus will culminate in each student analyzing a film or TV text set in an American city and considering how that media’s production and representation of that city reinforces or challenges existing political ideologies.

SSC 200 43: TR 2-3:15 p.m.; SSC 200 44: TR 3:35-4:50 p.m.

With special missions to be accomplished, students will play board games to explore basic social science concepts from the disciplines such as Economics, Psychology, and Communication. What is the best strategy to win in a board game like Zombie in my Pocket? An iterative prisoner’s dilemma of a game theory may be the key! Students will enhance the knowledge of basic game terminologies and understand the gaming experience through various theories. This course also provides opportunities to design, develop, and thoroughly test games. The class will allow students to improve their social science research skills.

SSC 200 C1: TR 2-3:15 p.m.; SSC 200 C2: TR 3:35-4:50 p.m. 

Learn social science by exploring people’s beliefs in gods and the spirit world (or NOT, in the case of a-theism). We’ll emphasize how religious groups and spiritual persons work for the common good and social justice. Topics include: 1) how religions and spiritualities are socially constructed through human interaction and power relations, 2) how religions and spiritualities are defined and viewed somewhat differently by anthropologists, psychologists, and sociologists, 3) how religion and spirituality (and atheistic perspectives) influence daily life explicitly and implicitly, 4) how religious groups organize and work for the common good and social justice. The course includes a case study approach exemplifying different understandings and approaches.

SSC 200 H4: MWF 1:25-2:15 p.m.

For tens of thousands of years, humans have moved around. For the last few hundred years, a recent but powerful institution, States, have attempted to manage, direct, and ultimately control that movement. This course will examine both these phenomena, and their interaction with each other. What motivates migration? How do people decide to emigrate, and how do they decide where to immigrate to? What happens to them when they do? Why do states try to control immigration? How effective are they at doing so? What determines the effectiveness of immigration policies? What unintended consequences consequences does efforts to manage and control flows of immigration have? These are all central questions in the social sciences. We’ll examine political science research on immigration policy and economic research on the impacts of immigration on labor markets, economic growth, and overall wealth. We’ll also approach the topic from a human rights perspective, which prompts us to ask important ethical questions about the relationship between immigration and the human right to free movement.


College of Arts and Sciences

O'Reilly Hall
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 0800