Sociology 333

SOCY 333

Catalog Entry

SOCY 333. Social and Cultural Diversity.
Three hours lecture (3).

Prerequisites: SOCY 110, or SOCY 121, or permission of instructor.

Provides, through lecture, discussion, and experiential exercises, an understanding of diverse cultures in the United States. Emphasis will be on developing the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary for full participation in a diverse workplace and a diverse society. This course may be used to meet requirements for the minor in Women’s Studies.


Detailed Description of Content of the Course

What is the role of social science in understanding cultural diversity and interpersonal relations?

  • concepts: culture, diversity, ethnocentrism, cultural relativism
  • knowledge:

                        the effects of culture

                        the effects of diversity

                        the effects of ethnocentrism and cultural relativism

  • method

                  ethnography to discover and analyze the emic (native) point of view and the etic (analytic) point of view

  • perspective:   

                       cross-cultural analysis

                        understanding “the other”

  • Exercises: discovering culture and discerning diversity in the world around you

How do attitudes toward culture affect interpersonal relations?

  • ethnocentrism, cultural relativism
  • exercises: recognizing ethnocentrism

How do attitudes toward groups affect interpersonal relations?

  • Stereotyping, prejudice, racism and discrimination
  • Exercises: recognizing prejudice/prejudice reduction

How do types of interethnic relations affect interpersonal relations?

  • Assimilation, amalgamation, cultural pluralism
  • Exercises: scenarios: what would cultures built on assimilation, amalgamation, pluralism look like. Describe interpersonal relations in each type.

What are variations in cultural patterns? What are ethnographic methods for discerning and analyzing them?

(Ethnographic examples drawn from Appalachian, African-American, Asian, European, Hispanic, Native American, and minority religious groups in the USA.

  • Dimensions of contrast in cultural patterns:

                                    Types of social characters/kinds of selves

                                    Types of interpersonal relationships

                                    Types of orientations toward time

                                    Types of orientations toward space

                                    Types of relationships with the environment

                                    Child-rearing practices that support different social characters

                                    Ways of seeing/ways of knowing: cross-cultural indigenous epistemologies

                                    Exercises: ethnographic methods for discerning cultural patterns in yourself and others

What are sources of identity?

  • Ethnicity
  • Images of Self and Others
  • Sense of Place
  • Exercises: Understanding your own and others’ identities

What is the role of social science—reprise?

  • Discovery, discernment, analysis in an “objective” mode
  • Confronting cultural deprivation models and the antithetical tendency to minimize cultural differences

“Engaged” social science committed to understanding multiculturalism; “committed to cultural pluralism and democratic participation”

Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

This course will include a variety of instructional strategies:

  • Lecture: course material will be presented in lecture-discussion format
  • Guest lectures: guests will be invited to present information and answer
  • Experiential exercises: significant emphasis will be on learning through participation in exercises in cultural awareness, prejudice awareness, prejudice reduction, and cross-cultural competence


Goals and Objectives of Course

Having successfully completed this course, the student will:

  • have an understanding of the theory, concepts and method of the social sciences in the analysis of cultural diversity
  • have knowledge and experience in recognizing the role of cultural diversity in cross-cultural social settings
  • understand how models of interethnic relations contribute to the issues surrounding cultural diversity
  • be able to understand from a social science perspective how to take the role of engaging cultural diversity as a teaching and learning tool


Assessment Measures

The level of student knowledge will be assessed by tests. Students will be required to keep a journal of analysis of course materials in which the level of comprehension and integration of reading material with interactive class activities will be measured. In addition, an integrative paper will be assigned after each interactive experience. Application assignments will assess students’ abilities to apply the material to their own lives and anticipated careers.

Other Course Information



Review and Approval

February 2009, Dr. Paula Brush, Chair, Department of Sociology