Home » Sections » Features » Why we do what we do

Why we do what we do

By Ally Gelber

Section: Features

October 28, 2016

If sociology and the science behind human interaction intrigue you, look no further than a class taught by Prof. Gordie Fellman (SOC), a scholar of “the structural level of analysis, such as social class, race, gender, sexuality, religion, nationality and the social psychological level.” His class The Sociology of Empowerment is one you must take before graduating.

Why should you take a sociology class if you aren’t planning on majoring in anything related to it? The study of the functioning of human society affects every person with every type of interest. It simply explains why we do what we do when we are around other people. Fellman defines sociology as the discipline that allows humans to locate sources and dynamics of unnecessary human suffering and ways to reduce it.

In The Sociology of Empowerment, students are able to study sociology in a lens that appeals to the current turbulence of social and political activism. According to the course description, the class “combines reading, exercises, journal keeping and retreats (including a weekend one) to address activism and how sociological constructs affect feelings of helplessness, futility, hope, vision, efficacy, hurt, fear and anger.”

If a weekend by the beach with classmates doesn’t sound like a good enough incentive, how about being able to understand why the current political state of our country is so drastically dividing a previously united people?

The class, usually offered every year, was a personal favorite of Rachel Silton ’17. She took the class her sophomore year, and since taking it, her entire perception of the way people interact has shifted.

“I really understand now why people become guarded or more hostile in certain situations based on the circumstances of our society that pressures everyone to be an activist of something or someone,” said Silton. It’s true—everywhere we look, there are encouragements and subtle hints to join this movement or advocate for that organization or social justice cause.

Take a break from calculus or Roman history, and get to know the basis of human interaction!

Menu Title