Social Issues and Public Policy

Spring 2018
Allen Hyde
HTS 2016

This course focuses on social issues associated with contemporary American society. While the United States has many benefits and is a nation that many admire, there are several social problems that are misaligned with American values. More specifically, it takes a critical sociological perspective in analyzing U.S. capitalism and its impact on our social institutions, social inequalities, and the quality of our democracy. We particularly focus on comparisons of the U.S. with other affluent, market-based democratic countries in order to understand the uniqueness of American capitalism. This course will challenge some of the assumptions you may have about how U.S. society works and will ask you to step outside of your comfort zone in thinking about possible alternatives and solutions. The course is designed to equip students with the critical skills and evidence to challenge conventional wisdom, myths, and misconceptions about American society and will provide a solid foundation for exercising their rights and responsibilities as American citizens.Topics include issues related to the environment, consumption, transportation, health and medicine, finance, income inequality, racial inequality, gender inequality, and our democratic institutions. We will focus on solutions to create a prosperous capitalist economy that fosters more equitable and sustainable communities.

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