Swiencicki’s Sociology Website

Mark Swiencicki, Ph.D
Berkeley City College Sociology Dept.                
2050 Center Street, Berkeley, CA 94704
E mail: mswiencicki @ peralta . edu
mswiencicki photo

Hello and welcome to my Sociology Website.  I’ve been teaching sociology since 1996, and my research interests are race, class, gender, ethnicity, social history, social movements, and consumerism.  I’ve also produced several political documentaries, was a political activist in New York City from 1987-1991, and worked as a social scientist doing focus groups and ethnography in the Bay Area in the early 2000s.  I did my Junior year of college at the University of Madrid, Spain, I’ve traveled extensively, and I enjoy learning how other cultures live and work.  I look forward to seeing you in one of my classes.

Sociology Courses I teach:

Intro Sociology (Soc 1):  This introduction to sociological reasoning critically and scientifically examines the social forces and processes that shape our personalities, institutions, culture, and society.  Using sociological theories, concepts, research, Powerpoint slides and numerous videos we investigate: 1) how U.S. society and culture are shaped by race, ethnicity, class, and gender, 2) how people become socialized; 3) how socialization and culture get people to follow society’s “norms”;  4) what causes young people to engage in extreme forms of “deviance” such as joining gangs or shooting everyone at their high school; 5) what social scientists know and can do about criminality; 6) what kind of social problems are associated with each type of family; 7) how and why social change and successful social movements and revolutions occur; and 8) how industrialization has led to global warming and what changes society can make to stop it.  Meets major requirements for BCC Sociology AA-T to CSU; SOCIOL 1 at UC-Berkeley; SOC 1000 at CSU-East Bay; & IGETC & CSU-GE breadth requirements for UCs & CSUs.

Social Problems (Soc 2):   This course analyzes various social problems from a sociological perspective (i.e., using social theory and social science research).  We examine the social, economic, and ideological causes and solutions of racism, sexism, homophobia, poverty, crime, drug abuse, environmental pollution and overpopulation. Emphasis is on U.S. society, but international comparisons are made when those countries offer solutions to the problem at hand.  Finally, at the end of each topic, students apply the theories and concepts they’ve learned to a video documentary on each social problem.  Lectures are delivered in PowerPoint, the class slides can be downloaded online, and course concepts are frequently illustrated with video clips.  Meets major requirements for BCC Sociology AA-T to CSU; *Satisfies IGETC & CSU-GE Breadth requirements for transfer to UCs & CSUs; satisfies requirements for SOCIOL 3 at UC-Davis & SOCY 10 at UCSC.

Minority Groups (Soc 5):  This course analyzes the social histories, conditions, and current challenges confronting various racial, religious, sexual, ethnic, gender, and other minority groups in the U.S. Various competing theoretical frameworks are utilized, and the general principles of dominant-minority group relations are examined.  The politics and social construction of “race” in the U.S. will also be studied, focusing on how the Jews and the Irish became “white” over time.  Video documentaries and controversial movie clips are often shown to demonstrate how the course material applies to actual minorities, and most lectures are delivered in graphic PowerPoint slides that can be downloaded online. Satisfies IGETC & CSU-GE breadth requirements for transfer to UCs/CSUs; applicable to BCC AA-T in Sociology; and receives American Cultures credit at UC-Berkeley (starting Fall 2016).

Comparative Social Movements Since the 1960s (Soc 6):  After spending a few weeks going over social movement theory, we’ll examine the history and practice of the following U.S. social movements: SDS & the Black Panther Party, the Women’s Movement; the Gay & Lesbian Movement; the Environmental Movement; and the New American Right (i.e., Neo-conservatives & the Christian Right). For each of the above we’ll first examine the historical conditions that gave rise to that movement, then discuss the individual strengths, weaknesses, tactics and strategies of that movement, then watch a documentary about the movement so we can apply the theory we learned in a group discussion. Lectures are delivered in PowerPoint, and the class slides can be downloaded online. (Offered each spring)   Satisfies IGETC & CSU-GE Breadth Requirements for Transfer to UC & CSU; now satisfies the List C requirement for the BCC Sociology AA-T;  Available for Letter Grade or Pass/No Pass.   See Course Flyer & Laney Tower Article on Soc 6 .

Sociology of Gender (Soc 7):  After examining gender and sexism at the theoretical level, this course examines how feminist and gender theory improve social science. Then we explore how gender shapes the media, violence, sexuality, intimacy, education, the economy, the family, religion, and government. We also examine how gender varies by race, class, ethnicity, and sexual orientation, and investigate how pro-feminist theory and social movements aim to improve the lives of women and men by combating sexism.  Emphasis is on U.S. history and society, but comparisons to other countries are made to put things into perspective, and when those countries offer solutions.  Finally, each week students apply the theories and concepts learned to videos that deal with the week’s topic.  Lectures are delivered in PowerPoint, and the class slides can be downloaded online.  (Offered each fall)   Satisfies IGETC & CSU-GE Breadth Requirements for Transfer to UC & CSU; satisfies an Area B requirement for the BCC AA-T Degree in Sociology.  See flyer here: Soc 7 Flyer