Social Relations and Policy Major
The Social Relations and Policy major explores the domain of public issues that are especially affected by relations among groups. The field is explicitly historical and comparative, looking at social relations in the United States and internationally, over time. Courses focus on the sociology, history, and politics of intergroup relations, paying close attention to the interplay of such factors as class, race, ethnicity, sex/gender, religious belief and national identity. The program uses the study of social relations as a way to cultivate reasoning, methodological and analytical skills and the capacities for empathetic observation, normative judgment and effective problem solving.
The sophomore sequence provides the conceptual, methodological and substantive bases for upper division work by introducing students to classical and contemporary social theory and comparative social history, and to quantitative and qualitative methodologies. The junior level builds on these skills to assess, in depth, a set of social problems and policy solutions. A senior seminar provides an opportunity to synthesize course work and undertake original research. Students also select from a broad range of electives to develop their expertise and understanding including opportunities for more international and comparative work, greater political analysis, and deeper understanding of particular forms of social relations. A related area requirement is broadly constructed to shape the major in a way that is responsive to individual interests and academic purpose.
Substantively, courses in Social Relations and Policy take up issues such as social identity, inequality and mobility, wealth and poverty, assimilation and pluralism, prejudice and discrimination, intergroup conflict and cooperation, the problem of civil rights and the politics of equality. Students develop knowledge in such areas as immigration, race and ethnic relations, civil rights, family and children, housing and residential segregation, urban and metropolitan policy, schooling and educational policy, social security and social welfare policies. They can go into careers such as labor relations, human resources administration, law, teaching, educational administration, public lobbying, and much more.