A brand-new sociology course that is open to the public and free of charge has been created at UBC's Okanagan campus by sociology professor Chris Schneider.
"To my knowledge, this is the first of its kind in all of North America," says Schneider. "The goal of the Public Sociology course is to reach beyond the university to bring sociology into everyday conversations. People will get a once-in-a-lifetime chance to listen to lectures from esteemed sociologists from around the world -- as far away as Singapore."
The Public Sociology course was made possible by the Irving K. Barber Endowment Fund, through which Schneider received a Curricular Innovation Award of $10,000. Lectures will touch on topics such as sexuality, music, parenting, fear, popular culture, deviant identities, media and criminal justice.
Schneider notes that he designed the Public Sociology course to provide an opportunity for democratic exchange among a diverse group of people. He hopes participants will leave lectures energized and with a deeper individual understanding of the social and historical contexts that make society possible.
"Human beings are social creatures," says Schneider. "Publics are the most important feature of any social order -- it is what makes society possible. Most of us are aware of this and quite often speak of the desire to live in a place that welcomes open exchange and participation, yet most of our social institutions operate to the contrary by way of exclusion and restriction.
"Our own life chances are, in a very basic way, related directly to those around us. This course seeks to make us aware of this simple fact and perhaps, even more importantly, to restore these relationships."
Beginning January 18, the weekly class lectures will feature an invited esteemed sociologist followed by dialogue between professors, university students and members of the public.
The classes will take place Tuesdays from 4 to 7 p.m. in room ASC 130 in the Arts and Sciences II building. No registration or preparation is necessary; seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.
To see a detailed description of the weekly lecture topics and speaker biographies visit www.sundaysociologist.com.
-- 30 --