Interdisciplinary Honors Seminars

Inequality and Opportunity in America

01:090:296:03 Index# 10533
Professor Patricia Roos, SAS - Sociology
T 9:15A-12:15P
Hickman Hall Rm 132
Douglass Campus


Will Count Towards SAS - Sociology Major and Minor


This seminar will examine how inequality gets produced and reproduced, and how ascriptive inequalities shape our access to a wide range of opportunities.  We begin by examining why inequality is important, and exploring its historical context. We’ll assess what theories researchers have proposed to examine inequality, and how important class remains in defining opportunities over the life cycle.  We’ll focus on categorical (i.e., group) inequalities, especially the "big three" (race, class, and gender), but we’ll address other forms of inequality and their consequences as well. In addition to the more overt forms of discrimination still existing in today’s America, researchers also examine the more subtle ways in which inequality is reproduced. Taking a sociological approach, we'll talk about more subtle mechanisms of inequity, and discuss the ways they are often embedded in interactions among people and in the policies and procedures of our social institutions. As with many social issues, there are differences of opinion about how best to remedy inequalities or even if they should be remedied.  These differences have been visible in our currently polarized country, as politicians take starkly different public policy approaches to inequality.  We will investigate these different approaches, and integrate them into the course. 

PATRICIA ROOS is a Professor of Sociology.  She received her BA in sociology from the University of California, Davis, and her Ph.D. in sociology from UCLA.  She currently teaches courses on inequalities and research methods.  One of her teaching goals is to convince students that social research methods can be both fun and exciting.  In search of the sociological imagination, one links theory and method as critical tools to learn about social behavior and attitudes.  Prof. Roos has published widely in gender and work, the feminization of traditionally male occupations, and work and family.  Her current project is about the feminization and masculinization of occupations in the post-2000 period.