SOC 7598-8598



REQUIRED TEXTS (to be found at the University Book Store)

Discovery of Society, (6th edition) by Randall Collins and Michael Makowsky. Boston,

M.A.: McGraw Hill.

Push, by Sapphire

A Childís Life, by Phoebe Gloeckner

Trauma and Recovery, by Judith Herman

Women, Sex, and Addiction, by Charlotte Kasl

Too Scared to Cry: How Trauma Affects Children and Ultimately Us All, by Lenore Terr

Stigma, by Erving Goffman

ARTICLES (some to be found on-line, others in your course packet).

Loftus Articles and Responses {Click here}

1917 world war one article {Click here}

Rambo-Ronai Articles {Click here}

Trauma Pages {Click here}

Levine Articles {Click here}

Bessel A Van Der Kolk Articles {Click here}

Bruce Perry {Packet}

Selection from Rom Dass {Packet}

A Sociological Conceptualization of Trauma {Packet}

The Berserk Style in American Culture {Packet}

The National Dilemma: Can we Heal Ourselves {Packet}

Cultural Trauma: The Other Face of Social Change {Packet}


Trauma as a sensitizing concept will be explored through a minimum of three dimensions: an individualís identity, an individualís neurobiology, and at the collective, socio-cultural level. All three dimensions are dialectically interrelated as each one constitutes and is constituted by the others. The first objective of this course will be to foreground for participants each dimension of trauma through lecture, readings, movies, class exercises, writing, and most importantly, discussion. Because the socio-cultural dimension of many variations on trauma are under investigated, part of the task of this course will be to vision filling in some of those gaps. Fulfilling the second objective of this course is integrative. Participants will consider the interrelations between the three dimensions and view the relationship between the individual and society through the trauma lense. Here, participants will be asked to consider the question: "How much explanatory power does the concept of trauma contribute towards understanding the workings of self, society, social change and social problems." Ultimately, participants will be invited to reconsider the mission of Sociology as a vehicle for cultivating understanding and compassion and for reducing the impact of trauma on individuals and its costs to society.


  1. Attend class prepared to discuss the assigned readings.
  2. Participate in class exercises.
  3. Write an 8-15 page paper exploring one specific area of trauma. Think of this as the "Trauma Paper." Pick something you are interested in. Suggested topics are provided with this Syllabus, but you are not limited to these. Run your topic by me before proceeding. It is amazing the vast scope of topics that trauma encompasses. The papers, at minimum, should explore the following dimensions: