Soc355 Syllabus


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STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK AT STONY BROOK Department of Sociology Soc. 355-01 (H) Professor Ivan Chase The Social World of Animals Office: SBS, N-435 and Humans Office Hrs.: Mon.4:00-5:00; Wed. 1:00-2:00 Spring 2010 Syllabus Aims of the Course To help you: (1) understand some basic features of social processes in human and animal groups; (2) appreciate the complexities of social behavior in animals, and (3) discover some similarities as well as differences between human and animal social systems. Brief Description The course will cover three areas: dominance hierarchies in small, face-to-face groups; the distribution of scarce resources; and cooperative and non-cooperative behavior in groups. In each area we will investigate the basic problems which must be solved by any group--whether animal or human--and we will see the variety of social processes used to solve the problems. In some cases we will discover that the processes in humans and animals are quite similar and in others quite different. Each of the three sections of the course will have a similar format. A section will begin with several readings giving a detailed empirical description of a particular social system in a human or animal group. Then, we will look at the problems that must be solved, and finally at the processes actually used in the solution. In each section we will also critically evaluate the current explanations of the processes in social science and animal behavior. For example, the first section will examine how sociologists and animal behaviorists treat dominance hierarchies. Requirements There will be three examinations; each of the examinations will count equally in your final grade. The exams will be multiple choice. If you take a make-up exam, it will be essay, not multiple choice. General Information This course looks at human and animal social behavior in a new and different way, and consequently, there are some things to think about. First, there are no standard texts that look at humans and animals in the way it will be done here. So, we will have to use a large variety of readings. Some of these readings will be tailor-made to get across the points I want to make, and others will be more general. I have picked the best 1
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This note was uploaded on 02/17/2010 for the course SOC 355 taught by Professor Chase,i during the Spring '08 term at SUNY Stony Brook.

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