May 27, 2020  
2018-2019 Undergraduate Catalog 
2018-2019 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

SOC 1500 - Success and the American Dream

Credits: 4
For most people in the U.S., the answer to the question “What causes success?” is simple. They look within the individual for personal qualities and characteristics that give rise to achievement and success: genetic make-up, intelligence, ability, character, drive, etc. Sociologists, in sharp contrast, ask the following questions: What cultural beliefs shape how individuals pursue and measure success? What stereotypes, social processes, and social structures fuel different levels of accomplishment in individuals and between groups? What is the link between success, social identity, social inequality, and social justice? This interdisciplinary course will analyze ongoing debates about the nature of and misunderstood connections between success, happiness, intelligence, and ability.  We will study and apply theoretical insights and practical strategies from sociology, psychology, education, and neuroscience that strengthen achievement by maximizing effective learning and enhancing happiness. This course is based on the assumption that learning, at its best, opens minds, changes lives, and is fun.  Instead of analyzing abstract topics that are often hard to relate to, we will connect the ideas that we explore to our questions, beliefs, and dreams.