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Academic Initiatives

Spring 2021 Themes

SSC 200 01: TR 9:30 a.m.-10:45 a.m.; SSC 200 02: TR 11 a.m.-12:15 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 03: TR 2 p.m.-3:15 p.m.; SSC 200 04: TR 3:35 p.m.-4:50 p.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 05: MWF 11:15 a.m.-12:05 p.m.; SSC 200 12: MWF 10:10 a.m.-11 a.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 06: TR 12:30 p.m.-1:45 p.m.; SSC 200 07: TR 2 p.m.-3:15 p.m.; SSC 200 13: TR 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m.; SSC 200 16: TR 3:35 p.m.-4:50 p.m.

This course invites students into a contemporary discussion of an issue affecting a significant portion of the world’s population. Drawing upon research in sociology, criminal justice, and communication, this course will define gender violence; explore the reasons it occurs; examine its impact on individual, community, societal, and global levels; and analyze current strategies being used to respond to and end gender violence in the United States.

SSC 200 08: MWF 10:10 a.m.-11 a.m.

This course will utilize research through the social science lenses of communication, sociology, and economics. Students will examine and explore various aspects of cross-cultural interactions and the reasons behind them. In the interest of time, we will primarily concentrate on the business and social 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 of how cultural differences can aid American individuals and companies to better compete in the international business arena.

SSC 200 09: MWF 10:10 a.m.-11 a.m.; SSC 200 11: MWF 9:05 a.m.-9:55 a.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 10: MWF 1:25 p.m.-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 14: TR 11 a.m.-12:15 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 15: TR 12:30 p.m.-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 21: MWF 10:10 a.m.-11 a.m.

This course explores the difference between laws as written and laws in practice to illustrate the role judicial decision making has on society. Using political science, sociology and behavioral economics we will discuss how behavior in society is shaped by law, how judicial behavior and judicial decision-making impacts legal outcomes, and how judicial outcomes differ based on race, gender and socioeconomic status. Specific topics may include drug policy, prostitution, gambling, white collar crime and the death penalty.


SSC 200 22: WEB; SSC 200 23: WEB

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 24: TR 9:30 a.m.-10:45 a.m.; SSC 200 25: TR 11 a.m.-12:15 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 26: TR 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

We live in a time of great transformation: the world feels small, information travels more quickly, capital flows more readily, and our politics are more intertwined. “Globalization” is a concept that captures these shifts and directs us to think about the forces and processes that impact the world around us. In this course, we address topics like free trade, inequality, borders, refugees, transnational advocacy, and climate change from multiple perspectives that include economics, political science, and human rights studies.

SSC 200 27: TR 2 p.m.-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 achieve human development and quality of life, and fulfillment of peoples’ rights? We will acquire foundational understanding of international development, uncover and engage with development theories, and critically examine ongoing practices and development strategies through three lenses: politics, economics and human rights.

SSC 200 41: TR 12:30 p.m.-1:45 p.m.; SSC 200 42: TR 2 p.m.-3:15 p.m.; SSC 200 43: 3:35 p.m. -4:50 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 61: MWF 9:05 a.m.-9:55 p.m.; SSC 200 62: MWF 10:10 a.m.-11 a.m.; SSC 200 63: MWF 11:15 a.m.-12:05 p.m.

Everybody has a right to their own opinion, but not to their own truth. That sounds reasonable enough. And surely many truths can be discerned through traditional means such as evidence, rational argument, fair weighing of interpretive possibilities, and careful accounting of methods. Indeed, we’ll review the importance of all these procedures in this class. However, we will also explore the many ways we are likely to believe things that aren’t true, and develop the critical thinking skills and the self-awareness to resist falling prey to BS. Through recent research in psychology, cultural anthropology, and sociology, we’ll examine ideology, confidence games, cultural myths, mental schemas and stereotypes, political propaganda, and other ways we come to see things as “truthy” when they run counter to evidence and reason. We’ll talk about the ways social media weaponizes disinformation and conspiracy theories, and discuss the implications for social and political life as well as for our own perceptions and life choices.

SSC 200 64: MWF 11:15 a.m.-12:05 p.m.; SSC 200 65: MWF 1:25 p.m.-2:15 p.m.

Music and Community investigates the understandings and issues in popular music and the music industry by exploring how popular music is created, distributed and experienced. What does music mean to the listener? How does music shape other activities? How is music accessed today? What are the trends in the production of music? In the effort to sell music, billions of dollars are spent in an effort to build lasting music careers and create the elusive ‘hit’. Today we experience music in many different forms through streaming, concerts, videos and as part of social media. Exploring how music is created is only the first step to understand the systems of meaning, forms of identity and various encounters with popular music in society. Using the city of Dayton music scene as an illustration, this class will investigate the nature of community and music from the combined perspectives of economics, psychology and sociology.


SSC 200 66: TR 12:30 p.m.-1:45 p.m.; SSC 200 67: TR 2 p.m.-3:15 p.m.; SSC 200 68: TR 3:35 p.m.-4:50 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 C1: TR 2 p.m.-3:15 p.m.; SSC 200 H1: TR 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m.; SSC 200 P1: TR 11 a.m.-12:15 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.  

SSC 200 H2: TR 12:30 p.m.-1:45 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 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