Courses Taught

This course is about developing your sociological imaginations in ways that help you provide context and understanding when considering how we come together as a society, develop relationships with one another and importantly, the ways we produce inequalities and difference.  Throughout this course you will be encouraged to critically examine your social world, providing context for the kinds of social issues you encounter in your day-to-day life. 

Beginning with a thorough examination of the discipline and examining the question, “What is sociology?”, this course is divided into two sections. In the first semester you will examine the foundations of the discipline, developing an understanding of what constitutes ‘the social’, learning about the context in which the discipline developed, its theoretical foundations and its approach to studying the social world.

In the second semester, you will build on the knowledge you developed in the first in order to examine key issues in contemporary sociology.  With a focus on inequality and difference, you will look at issues associated with gender, race, sexuality, and class.  You will also examine issues associated with the media, sport and globalization, and social activism.  Toward the end of the second semester, you will take what you’ve learned and perform your own sociological examination.   


In this course we will closely examine the work of sociology’s canonical thinkers and other early sociological thinkers who were marginalized by the canon. Although the sociological canon has changed over time, today most sociologists would agree that the works of Karl Marx, Max Weber, and Emile Durkheim are central to the discipline, its history, and contemporary sociological thought. We will begin the course with an examination of the historical context that lead to the discipline of sociology, paying particular attention to how power operates in the creation of the canon. Next, we will review C.W. Mill’s work on the sociological imagination, and, using this text as a guide, we will address the works of the aforementioned classical thinkers and many of their marginalized contemporaries. Throughout this course, we will ask, “How do the sociological imaginations of these thinkers inform the ways they understand society, the individual, social action, and social change?”


Sport is an important aspect of Western culture.  Our engagement with sport and other forms of physical activity often begins early in our life and helps provide us with an understanding of our social worlds.  Sport intersects many social institutions, such as the state, religious institutions, the family and our education system.  Further, when we participate in sport (as spectators, workers, athletes etc.), we learn about our identity and the identities of others.  Specifically, we gain a particular social understanding about issues associated age, ability, gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, and national identities.

Given the significance of sport in Canada, it is important that we examine sport and the practices associated with it critically. In this class, we will disrupt common sense understandings of sport in order to unpack the ways that sport produces particular power relations.  

We will first examine why it is important to study sport from a sociological perspective.  Once we have established this, we will begin to ask questions about the role of sport in social life.  We will address questions such as:

Are sports good for children?
What is the role of sport in family life?
Do sports bring people together?
How do sports inform our understanding of others and ourselves?
Who benefits from mega-sports and mega-sporting events?
Throughout the course students will be encouraged to critically analyze their own sport and fitness activities, in the hopes of providing insight that might be linked to social activism and social change.


In this course, students will examine the social production of masculinities as a gendered practice in North America and the impacts of these gender expressions on the life of boys and men, as well as girls and women. This course will introduce students to the various theoretical perspectives used to understand the life of men and boys.  Students will use these perspectives to unpack the ways men and women produce, support and challenge practices of masculinity in their daily life. Students will specifically examine topics such as the ways men’s bodies come to be understood (or misunderstood) as masculine bodies, the ways the media (re)produces notions of masculinity, sports masculinities, and racialized masculinities.  

The first section of this course will examine the various theoretical debates that centre on ways to examine the life of men and their multiple expressions of masculinity. Students will begin by analyzing critical debates on role theory and move to an examination of Connell’s (1995) groundbreaking work on hegemonic masculinity, and her re-examination of the concept (see Connell & Messerschmidt, 2005).  Students will then examine various challenges to hegemonic masculinity as a way to study the life of men – for example, work by Howson (2005), which pushes Connell’s work to be less singular in its analysis of hegemonic masculinity and Anderson’s (2009) work, which states that hegemonic masculinity is in decline.  Students will also examine other breaks with the concept, particularly those that draw from the work of Foucault, including work by Pringle (2005) and Bordo (1999).  

The second section of this course will begin with a critique of the idea that dominant expressions of masculinity are under threat in the West, harming the life of boys and men.  Students will critically examine this claim using various scholarly articles that contextualize this idea, including Whitehead (2001).  Students will then examine the ways that masculinities play-out by looking at men and their bodies, men and sport, fathering and family life, aging and sexualities, and marginalized masculinities. 

The final section of the course will be devoted to student presentations.  These presentations will center on the work the students have done throughout the course in preparation for their final papers.  Students will be required to examine a social problem related to issues associated with expressions of gender and analyze it using the themes and theoretical tools they have learned throughout the course.


This is a required course for honours sociology students. During this course, students will work on developing the skills of a professional sociologist, including practical research skills, and the skills necessary to complete their honours thesis. To aid in this, professionals from the university will work with you on issues associated with navigating the library, literature reviews, note-taking, annotation, organization of writing, time management, research ethics, and knowledge dissemination. Members of the university community will also offer advice on applying to graduate school and preparing a curriculum vitae/job resume. The instructor will bring in former graduate students to answer questions about the research process and help assuage concerns you might have about the process.

This course is designed as a tool to help demystify the academic research process and offer support and guidance (from both peers and faculty) to honours students. Each week students will be expected to attend class, bringing at least three drafted pages (in hard copy) for their fellow students to review and offer feedback. As this class is workshop-based, students will need to come to class prepared to discuss their research progress, challenges, and successes, with their classmates and the instructor. Students will need to be able to engage in respectful and thoughtful discussions with their peers about their research, keeping in mind that each student’s research unfolds in diverse ways and at different speeds.

By the end of the course, students should aim to have a completed and approved thesis proposal and ethics application (if required). Students should aim to have started data analysis by the end of the course.