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UNDERSTANDING SOCIAL CHANGE

Individual and the  Collective: Understanding Social Change
Marygold Walsh-Dilley
marygoldwd@unm.edu
Core: Social and Behaviorial Science

 

COURSE DESCRIPTION

This course is an interdisciplinary introduction to the social and behavioral science, applying the theories of society and social change to the contemporary social issues taking place around us. With rapidly changing technologies and the increasing flow of people, goods, and cultural influences across regional and national boundaries, the world as we know it is changing at a rapid pace every single day. How can we make sense of this rapid social change? How does perpetual transformation impact how people live together and make collective meaning? How do these forces of change influence our everyday lives, identities, cultures, and opportunities? How do we as individuals fit into this context of social change, and how do we contribute to it? These questions echo similar ones asked during another period of rapid social and technological change. The industrial and political revolutions and the related social and economic transformation of the 19th and early 20th centuries prompted the emergence of a new “science of society”, in which scholars and laypeople tried to build new forms of knowledge to better understand the increasingly precarious world. We will study some of the principal and most enduring theories of modern society in order to build a toolbox of ideas and concepts with which we can better understand our own contemporary social world.

READINGS AND TEXTS

  • Course reader combining selections from the canon with readings that examine contemporary social issues
  • Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

FILMS AND OTHER COURSE MATERIALS

  • Podcasts: Social Science Bites and Philosophy Bites
  • News from reputable news organizations
  • Documentary films about contemporary issues

COURSE FEE (if applicable) & BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF HOW FEES WILL BE USED

None

 

STUDENT REQUIREMENTS

Students will:

  • Participate actively in classroom discussion having completed required readings and preparation
  • Stay abreast of current events and present news stories in class
  • Write three short essays about: the most pressing issue facing society today, the biggest concerns to social theorists, and the application of social theory to contemporary issues

 

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR

Marygold Walsh-Dilley is Assistant Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences in the Honors College. She holds a PhD In Development Sociology, an MS in Applied Economics, and a BA in International Studies. She conducts research on food and agriculture, rural development, resilience and climate change, and indigenous politics, primarily in the Andes. She loves social theory because it gives us tools and a language with which to think critically about the big issues that affect our everyday lives.