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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Arts
April 16, 2014
 
 
Canadian Excellence

MA Course Descriptions



As far as possible, the program provides a full range of core courses and electives.  However, every course listed here is not available in every session or every year.

CORE COURSES

SY 600
Theory and Practice
0.5 Credit

This course is designed to review some of the major directions and debates in classical and contemporary social thought, while also aiming to develop an understanding of the ways in which theory and methods interact. The ways in which epistemological, ontological, political, ethical, and logical issues are imbricated with all research will be explored. Students will be given the opportunity to develop and defend a critical and self-reflexive theoretical position to inform their major research paper. The particular theoretical debates covered in this course will vary from year to year and will be informed by student research interests and by the particular elective topics covered in any given year.   

SY 601
Advanced Qualitative Research
0.5 Credit

The methodological issues and strategies associated with a wide variety of qualitative sociological methods such as institutional ethnography, autoethnography, ethnomethodology, interviewing, participatory action research, historical sociological research, and critical discourse analysis, are explored. Students will be given the opportunity to develop and defend the particular methodological positions and strategies that they will employ in their major research paper.

SY 602
Advanced Quantitative Research
0.5 Credit

An overview of advanced quantitative methods and techniques and the methodological issues associated with them. Topics covered include survey design, interview techniques, analysis of variance, cross-classification, multiple correlation and regression, and path analysis. Students will be given the opportunity to develop and defend the particular methodological strategies that they will employ in their major research paper

SY 603
Research and Professionalization Seminar
0.5 Credit

This course will provide students with the opportunity to work on a proposal for their Major Research Paper with a focus, in particular, on the development of a literature review for their research project.  Students will have an opportunity to present and discuss their work at several stages of development.  The seminar will also provide a forum for guest speakers and for presentation and discussion of matters students will encounter in future graduate studies or later work as professional sociologists.  Topics covered will include grant writing, scholarship application processes and proposals, graduate school application policies, publishing, teaching, and career development. Graded on a pass/fail basis.

SY 695
Major Research Paper

Under the supervision of a faculty member, students will complete a paper in which they engage in original research on an approved topic. Typically, papers will be between 50 and 60 pages in length, excluding bibliography.

ELECTIVE COURSES

Health, Families and Well-being

SY 620
Social Determinants of Health and Illness: National and International Perspectives
0.5 Credit

The intersections of social inequality and health are explored on both national and international levels. Particular attention will be paid to inter-relationships between health/health care and class, gender, race/ethnicity, sexualities, and age.

SY 621
Social Constructions of Health, Illness and Medicine
0.5 Credit

This course will examine the social construction of health, illness, medical science and practice emphasizing critical social constructionist and critical discourse analytic strategies for understanding related texts including media. Attention will be paid to the individual and social implications of particular constructions of health, illness and medicine.

SY 622
Children and Childhood in Canada
0.5 Credit

The social and historical constructions of childhood and children's needs are examined through the lens of twentieth century child psychology and child-rearing advice. The ways in which current conceptions of childhood interact with structural realities, neo-liberal political sensibilities, and social policies in Canada is explored with the goal of illuminating the treatment and social position of children in Canadian society today.

SY 624
Society and Psyche: Critical Perspectives in Mental Health
0.5 Credit

A detailed exploration of major theories and research in the sociology of mental health. Particular attention will be given to critical approaches including labelling theory, anti-psychiatry, social constructionism, post-structuralism and feminist theory. Specific seminar topics may include, but are not limited to: selfhood and psychopathology, space and the asylum, the causes and consequences of deinstitutionalization, the rise and impact of psycho-pharmaceuticals, mental health and consumerism, and collective identity and group trauma.

SY 625
Gender and Families
0.5 Credit

The focus in this course will be on the ways in which moral regulation, social constructions, and state policies set boundaries within which gender relations in families are played out. The implications of such social understandings and practices for family experience will be addressed as will the intersections of family gender relations with issues of race and class. Topics covered include parenting, care-giving, employment and family responsibilities, work/family balance, and family violence.

Internationalization, Migration and Human Rights

SY 610
Temporary Labour Migration and Globalization
0.5 Credit

Focusing on flows of temporary international labour migration, this course will examine the power relations in these temporary spaces and the impacts of these flows on communities of origin and destination. Through reference to particular forms of temporary international movements this course will provide an in-depth look at the power relations within these movements which are mediated by race, gender and class. Attention will be paid to the impact of globalization on these movements, and the effects of these movements in terms of development and social change.

SY 611
Religion, Social Movements and Social Justice
0.5 Credit

This course examines how religion has both strengthened and impeded movements for social justice globally through the examination of particular case studies.  A discussion of classic and contemporary sociological perspectives on religion and social change will be the focus of the first half of the course. The latter half of the course will consist of a discussion of key case studies that focus on institutional relationships (such as Church and State) and/or popular processes(such as religion and politics) in particular countries.

SY 612
Human Security and Citizenship
0.5 Credit

The focus of this course is on international and national policy analysis and social regulation as it relates to poverty, human security and citizenship. Making use of Foucauldian studies in governmentality, critical scholarship on social welfare, anti-poverty programs, citizenship, gender and feminism, and particular case studies, the link between the international poverty agenda and concerns of human security and citizenship are explored.

SY 613
Knowledge, Governance and Globalization
0.5 Credit

This course will pursue the relationship between knowledge and goverance in a global context. It will include an analysis of post-911 global relations and ideological constructions. Issues such as terrorism, food insecurity, global security and the complexity of managing new global tensions around religion, culture, and gender will be addressed. The role taken by global institutions such as NAFTA, EU, U.N. etc., in new forms of global governance will also be addressed.

SY 614
Social Inequality, Migration and Diversity
0.5 Credit

This course will explore issues relative to diversity, oppression and marginalization as it relates to understanding reasons for human mobility and migration patterns. Cultural differences and the importance of organizational change in the face of diversity in host countries will also be examined as well as race relations, systemic discrimination and oppression. Issues will be explored through the examination of particular case studies in Canada or abroad.

SY 615
The Political Economy of Human Rights
0.5 Credit

The relationships among the state, capital, ideological institutions and human rights are explored within a political economy framework. The theory and practice of human rights in liberal capitalist democracy are explored and critiqued within this framework.

SY 616
Global Environmental Problems and Global Change
0.5 Credit

In this course, students will sociologically consider a number of the debates concerning scientific assessments of such things as global warming, resource depletion, and possible technological solutions to severe global environmental problems. The relationships between environmental problems and social inequality on a global scale will be highlighted. The social and ideological conceptions of environmental problems will be explored as will the predictions of global change emerging from various ideological positions. Students will be asked to conceive of ways in which things might be different and to envision possible socio-economic, cultural, and political policy solutions to some of our most serious problems.

SY 617
Critical Race and Ethnic Studies: Global Perspectives
0.5 Credit

This seminar will focus on the understanding and application of critical race discourse and praxis. It will begin with a review of social science theories and perspectives on race, culture and ethnicity in pluralistic societies. The linkage between race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and social class in historical and contemporary social formations will be examined. In the analysis of dominant and racially marginalized groups, the emphasis is on how we can articulate existing theoretical perspectives to understand various forms of institutional racism in local and global contexts and the emerging responses from minoritized groups.

SY 618
Themes in International Political Economy
0.5 Credit

This seminar course examines the international division of labour since WW II (or the first Oil Crisis), the re-alignment of goods and service production, circulation and consumption, international trade flows and the structures of inequality in international terms of trade, the changing role of nation-states in an increasingly globalized, neo-liberal world, the role of supra-national economic and political institutions, and the attendant issues of social resistance.

SY 619
Education and Social Justice
0.5 Credit

This course examines the socially and politically transformative possibilities engendered through social justice education in local and global contexts. Transformative pedagogical frameworks such as critical pedagogy, anti-racism education, popular education, feminist pedagogy and global and peace education will be examined. The politics of educational theory and praxis from a social justice perspective will be examined by utilizing local and transnational case studies that make salient the ways that globalization, war and conflict, and the intersections of race, class, gender, religion, sexuality and ability impact various educational contexts, and highlight the possibilities for developing a critical cultural literacy to counter various forms of social injustice.

SY 623
Youth and Social Justice
0.5 Credit 

An advanced analysis of the social construction and social implications of youth crime and deviance in Canada. The course will explore connections between youth experience, social exclusion, and the policy and practices of the state, the education system, and the criminal justice system.

SY 630
Directed Study
0.5 Credit

The study of a special topic under the guidance of a member of the department. Directed study topics must be approved by the department.