SOC636-Sociology of the Identity
This course addresses the sociological concept of identity, and the classic as well as the contemporary academic literature on it. The main themes that will be presented and discussed include identity construction, extremism, the roles of new technological media in identity construction, xenophobia, among others.
SOC629-Anthropology of religions
This course aims at introducing students to theoretical and critical readings on the sociology of religion (religious sociology) approach. The aim is to train students to think about the issues of religion and society, religion and state, religion and social classes, religion and symbolic power, using the tools of sociology. During this course, students will learn how sociological attitudes have been shaped to view religions in general, and Islam in particular, in different historical contexts, the topics it has addressed and the uses it has undergone. This will enable the students to discuss the vast amount of sociological knowledge produced in religious sociology and form scientific opinions that may be developed into future research projects.
SOC632-Transformations of Arab Rural Societies
The modern transformations of the Arab rural areas have been reflected in the contemporary realities of the Arab societies in general. These transformations occurred in different contexts, e.g. colonial and postcolonial, and in different socio-economic formations as well, e.g. agricultural, industrial, among others. In all these cases, major changes in the social, cultural, composition of the population, and the spatial relations, took place. These changes were reflected in changes in the material structure of the nomadic communities as well. The course will focus on these processes of transformations and will reposition them vis a vis the current processes of globalization. The course will also address how these deep changes were determinant factors in the events that lead to the Arab Spring in 2011.
SOC633-Contemporary theories in sociology and anthropology
This course aims to train the student to analyze and deeply engage with contemporary social issues from the perspective of the contemporary theories in sociology and anthropology. It will address issues such as economic precarity, identity politics, technological changes. These issues have deep implications on the public and the private social domains.
This course offers an introduction to sociolinguistics. It understands the field as an interdisciplinary one concerned with the study of language in all its linguistic, functional, social, cultural, and historical levels, its relationships, and dimensions. The course examines social phenomena that affect the development of language with an emphasis on “social meaning.” Among the issues addressed during the course is the concept of “context,” this includes understanding how a language develops amidst: linguistic diversity, multilingualism, language planning and policy (which includes terminological planning, lexicographical institutions and their role in building identity and society in the Arab world), gender constructs, bilingualism, and diglossia. The course also aims to enable students to use these ideas as research tools in studying the social reality in which we live.
This course provides students with a theoretical and critical grounding in politics, and leadership in particular. It also provides practical training in research, analysis, and explanation and/or interpretation of the subject of political leadership, which, in the current context of major political transformations, represents one of the most significant and serious theoretical and practical issues for the Arab world.
SOC622-Gender in Arab Societies
This course focuses on gendered social changes and transformations. In this course, we examine and explore various feminist interventions and debates surrounding gender politics in Arab societies. In addition to studying major political, social and historical changes and alterations taking place in the Arab world, this course enables students to develop an understanding of the workings of gender in every day life practices and experiences across a variety of individual, collective, communal, familial, and structural scales. This course aims to provide students with theoretical and analytical skills that help shed light on social, historical, and political changes unfolding in a number of communities and nation-states by facilitating broader and deeper understanding of social theories relating to Arab societies.
SOC623-Postcolonial and Feminist Sociological Thought
This course introduces students to the interrelationships between feminist and postcolonial studies. In it, we explore intersections, imbrications, and tensions between postcolonial and feminist thought. The course offers a careful examination of gender as a category of analysis that helps shed light on the notions, discourses, and conditions of colonialism, postcolonialism, and empire underpinning past and contemporary historical, social, and political realities. The course seeks to familiarize students with the debates, key concepts, and conflicts that inform postcolonial feminist theorizations of nation, citizenship, sexuality, race, and class in a number of interconnected historical, social, and cultural contexts.
SOC625-Migration and Citizenship
Mass migration into Western countries after the 2nd World War as well as into the Gulf countries during the 2nd half of the 20th century has posed a serious demographic, economic, social and political challenge to these countries. Some of these countries have turned into multi-ethnic, multi-racial and multi-religious societies as a result of this mass migration. In this course, we will deal with questions of citizenship, multiculturalism and identity. This includes the sociological history of migration to the European countries (and the Gulf countries), political representations, residential segregation and its possible social, economic and political consequences. Special attention will be given to ethnic and religious minorities, including Muslim communities, in western countries. We will also discuss different citizenship models and how these models have changed over the past 20 years as a result of both global events and developments and intra-European transformations including the enlargement of the EU.
SOC626-Sociology of the Arab Spring
This course aims to provide students with theoretical and critical grounding on the “Arab Spring phenomenon”, in order to give students practical training in thinking in social-anthropological terms about this phenomenon which shook the foundations of Arab societies. This will involve the description, categorization, and critical investigation of the research record, followed by its transformation into the subject for critical inquiry to meet the requirements of research tools in sociology. This will allow students to construct knowledge representations starting from the events to adopt theoretical and critical outlooks that combine the global and the local.
SOC627-Sociology of Violence
Violence is an everyday life phenomenon transmitted through mass media in the form of reports or films about violent behavior or acts of violence taking place here and there. Violence has become a conspicuous theme in mainstream culture, such as cinema, television and the Internet, among other spheres and media outlets of information and entertainment. Dealing with the personal experience of violence is a very complicated matter because violence is a general phenomenon that happens to others but which can also happen to any of us. One may even argue that violence has become a natural, normalized and acceptable phenomenon in society. However, our daily use of the term “violence” eludes a number of important questions such as: Is violence always physical? How does violence affect one's sense of human worth? When does violence become socially acceptable? Are witnesses to violence merely passive participants? Is there anything that can be called ethical violence? Is violence inherent in human nature?
Although violence is a fact of life and is anchored in everyday reality, public as well as private, it seems that we do not sufficiently reflect on the meaning of the term itself or the level of relations entailed by its existence.
The position of visual culture and its products in sociocultural systems varies according to conditions related to many variables and are directly linked to them, but also to others that are not directly related to the nature of this culture. One of the most relevant and direct variables lies in the fact that matter, technology and style play a key role in determining sensory taste and its semiotic systems, acting as an intermediary, with some kind of independence, between deep social structures and the production processes of general public cultural systems. On the other hand, one of the most important indirect variables is that the types of knowledge production and awareness of social reality interact symmetrically with the sight/vision position, thus determining the forms of production of visual knowledge, either as an alternative to the prevailing epistemological system or as an organic part of it. In the modern era, with the hegemony of print capitalism, the duality of text-image, followed by social and cultural practices, as a dominant system, has been reconstructed, which elevates the status of the text and reinforces the subsidiary position of the image in the general system which prevailed until the 1970s. The transformations of late capitalism and its digital materials and new technologies have reshaped the relationship between text and image and their position in the general production process. Against this background, research streams in the area of visual culture have emerged and subsequently established new scientific fields, focusing on visual studies from different disciplinary perspectives, including visual anthropology.
SOC635-Sociology of the Body
This course offers a sociological approach to the issue of the body, the human body and the individual body, within the dichotomy of being a social, historical, cultural, and political construct and as in independent actor. It also looks into the outcomes of this dichotomy which determines how the body is looked at and dealt with as a research topic. Through this course, we will see how the study of the body as a social construct has developed into an independent subfield of Sociology, and how it has moved from absentia to becoming semi-present, and now a focal point, in contemporary Sociology. We will also discuss new body-related issues that aim to help understand current social changes, such as embodiment, the body as the center of individualism, the materialism of the body in relation to gender identity, and the body as a means to protest and fulfill social needs.