Sociology | Social Problems & Policies
S101 | 4093 | Van Wey

Topic:  Population & the Environment

This course serves three purposes.  First, as an introductory level
sociology class, it will introduce you to some of the ways that
sociologists view the world.  In particular, we will consider the
importance of social structure in understanding the relationship
between population change and environmental change.  Second, this
course will serve as a partial introduction to the field of
population studies (or demography).  Population studies is an
interdisciplinary field, including sociologists, anthropologists,
economists, geographers, public health researchers, and others.
Demographers also have a particular way of viewing the world, and
this view will inform this course.  Third, this course will introduce
you to the specific field of population and environment.  We will
cover basic theories and findings from this field.  In addition, we
will read about and discuss the public policy discussions that have
come out of the population and environment field.

	This course will teach you both facts and skills, and will
also help you process the politically charged arguments often made in
debates about population policy and environmental policy.  At the end
of the course, you will have a basic familiarity with the theories
developed for understanding how people affect the environment, and
with the current state of research in this area.  Most importantly,
you will be able to think critically about the claims that are made
about population effects on the environment.  There are no clear
answers in the political debates that surround these issues.  I will
help you learn to be an informed consumer of the arguments put forth
by politicians and other advocates, and to formulate your own
opinions based on research and your own political views.