Sociology 370

SOCY 370

Catalog Entry

Sociology 370: Environmental Sociology
Three hours lecture.

Prerequisite: SOCY 110 or SOCY/ANTH 121

This course examines sociological issues relating to individuals, society and the natural environment. It focuses on a range of environmental problems utilizing an historical and comparative approach in assessing societal changes and their impact on nature as well as attitudinal differences toward the environment from multi-cultural perspectives.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

From a sociological perspective, this course examines population growth and dynamics, air and water pollution, waste management and recycling processes, deforestation, global warming, lifestyles and consumerism, economic concerns and “a sustainable growth,” environmentalism as a social movement (the Green Revolution), differences in political-economy, the effects of multinational corporations, world views of nature, animal rights, eco-feminism, environmental racism, green advertising and eco-tourism, and environmental terrorism.

  • The global environment: an emerging world view
    • Environmental problems and ecosystems
    • Human systems, environment, and social sciences
  • The world’s population: people and hunger
  • Pollution: the hazards of growth
    • Alternative futures: sustainability and social change
    • Trade, international regimes, and the Third Revolution
  • Energy: present and future problems for society
  • Resources: land, water and air
    • Resources of the earth: sources and sinks
    • Global climate change: uncertainty, risk, and policy
  • Biosphere: endangered species
  • Environmentalism: ideology, action and movements


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

The course will be taught in a traditional format with lectures, readings, and discussions. In addition, service learning, field trips and/or team projects will be included to provide some hands on experience with examining various environmental problems.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

  • Provide students with a broader understanding and respect for nature
  • Provide an historical and social context for analyzing environmental problems
  • Provide multitude of perspective on worldviews and the environment
  • Provide, where possible, an interdisciplinary orientation to environmental issues


Assessment Measures

Assessment of student learning will be done through exams, short papers on assigned readings, and a term paper.


Other course information

Numerous videos and other supplemental materials and instructional sites (e.g., Selu) are available for this course.


Approval and Subsequent Reviews

January, 2004 Reviewed Peggy A. Shifflett

March, 2009