Sociology emerged in the late nineteenth century as an attempt to understand and explain the unprecedented changes in social organization and human relations resulting from modernization. This course provides a general overview of the sociological concepts, theories, and empirical research that concern the problems of modernity and contemporary American society. The naive, popular view of individuals as “free-standing, autonomous subjects” is critically assessed and a more comprehensive understanding of individuals as “social” selves that are both products and producers of institutions and social relationships is examined. In addition to introducing students to the field of sociology, the course aims to cultivate self-understanding and critical insight into the conditions of contemporary existence, including social stratification by race, social class, and gender. Not open to seniors.