The sociological imagination enables us to grasp history and biography and the relations between the two within society. This is its task and its promise.
– C. Wright Mills (1959) –
This course is designed to introduce you to the study of society and what Mills calls the "sociological imagination:" a way of viewing the events, relationships, and social phenomena that shape our individual lives and much of our collective experience. Through the course we will examine some of the central concepts and problems that have preoccupied both classical and contemporary sociologists, and gain a sense of how the sociological imagination can illuminate the social forces that have a concrete impact on our everyday lives. We will examine the ordinary as well as the extraordinary; making sense of the strange and putting the familiar under the microscope. Topics will include sports, sleep, housing, "natural" disasters, fashion, monsters, education, and success.