Department of Sociology

Scott Swearingen


Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin

Lecturer

Contact

Courses


SOC 304 • Creating Sustnble Societies

45277 • Fall 2016
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM CPE 2.214
(also listed as GRG 302P)

Description

The course will offer students an overview of sustainability as something human beings must strive to create in an era of global warming and ever greater social inequalities; both between countries and within countries.   The focus of the course will revolve around the core issues of sustainability:  what does sustainability mean?  Why do we need to remake human societies in more sustainable ways?  And what does social equity have to do with sustainability?  One of the problems we have in teaching about sustainability today is our focus on two of the "E's" without much attention to the third.  We talk mostly about Environment, secondly about Economy, and then tend to pay short shrift to Equity.  This course will address all three, but put a greater focus on Equity than is usual.  The course will be taught from a social sciences perspective, which approaches human relationships with the natural world (Environment) in the context of their relationships with each other (Environment and Equity).  Global warming (environment) is main reason we are talking about Sustainability today, but global warming is both cause and effect of our economies and inequalities.

Required Texts

Carolan, Micheal,  Society and the Environment; Pragmatic Solutions to Ecological Issues. Westview Press, 2013.

Grading Policy

There will be three essay assignments and one group project.  Each will count 25% of the grade

SOC 321K • Building The Sustainable City

44520 • Spring 2016
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM ETC 2.102
(also listed as URB 352)

Description

Building the Sustainable City is an interdisciplinary course that examines why we have to create  more sustainable living environments, what we are presently doing to rebuild American cities in more sustainable ways, and where we need to go in the future.  The course adopts the strong definition of sustainability to include the connections between economy, equity, and environment.   80% of the population lives in urban areas today, the vast majority of economic activity occurs in them, and most environmental problems are related to urbanization and industrialization.  Understanding how to build a sustainable city, then, is the key to building a sustainable society.  This course will focus on energy use, transportation policy, housing, and food production/distribution in the city.  Social equity issues will be integrated into all four themes, as all four are both cause and effect of social inequalities. 

The course links our academic understanding of sustainability with “real world”, on-the-ground people doing sustainability today.  It will feature several people working in city government, the non-profit sector, and academic positions as guest speakers.  These speakers will discuss their organizations as examples of how to build a sustainable city, and show students how they are building a more sustainable future here in Austin.  

Required Texts

Girardet, Herbert; "Cities, People, Planet."  Wiley and Sons, 2008.

Grading Policy

There will be 3 essays of 4-5 pages, typed, double spaced, and one group design project where student team design and "build" a sustainable city (this is a poster project which can be displayed on the wall, but those with technical expertise are welcome to mount it on a web platform).  Each essay will be 25% of the course grade, and the design project will be the final 25% of grade.

 

SOC 321K • Building The Sustainable City

44990 • Spring 2015
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM CLA 0.118

Description

Building the Sustainable City is an interdisciplinary course that examines why we have to create  more sustainable living environments, what we are presently doing to rebuild American cities in more sustainable ways, and where we need to go in the future.  The course adopts the strong definition of sustainability to include the connections between economy, equity, and environment.   80% of the population lives in urban areas today, the vast majority of economic activity occurs in them, and most environmental problems are related to urbanization and industrialization.  Understanding how to build a sustainable city, then, is the key to building a sustainable society.  This course will focus on energy use, transportation policy, housing, and food production/distribution in the city.  Social equity issues will be integrated into all four themes, as all four are both cause and effect of social inequalities. 

The course links our academic understanding of sustainability with “real world”, on-the-ground people doing sustainability today.  It will feature several people working in city government, the non-profit sector, and academic positions as guest speakers.  These speakers will discuss their organizations as examples of how to build a sustainable city, and show students how they are building a more sustainable future here in Austin.  

Required Texts

Girardet, Herbert; "Cities, People, Planet."  Wiley and Sons, 2008.

Grading Policy

There will be 3 essays of 4-5 pages, typed, double spaced, and one group design project where student team design and "build" a sustainable city (this is a poster project which can be displayed on the wall, but those with technical expertise are welcome to mount it on a web platform).  Each essay will be 25% of the course grade, and the design project will be the final 25% of grade.

 

SOC 321K • Building The Sustainable City

46151 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM CLA 0.112
(also listed as URB 352)

Description

Building the Sustainable City is an interdisciplinary course that examines why we have to create  more sustainable living environments, what we are presently doing to rebuild American cities in more sustainable ways, and where we need to go in the future.  The course adopts the strong definition of sustainability to include the connections between economy, equity, and environment.   80% of the population lives in urban areas today, the vast majority of economic activity occurs in them, and most environmental problems are related to urbanization and industrialization.  Understanding how to build a sustainable city, then, is the key to building a sustainable society.  This course will focus on energy use, transportation policy, housing, and food production/distribution in the city.  Social equity issues will be integrated into all four themes, as all four are both cause and effect of social inequalities. 

The course links our academic understanding of sustainability with “real world”, on-the-ground people doing sustainability today.  It will feature several people working in city government, the non-profit sector, and academic positions as guest speakers.  These speakers will discuss their organizations as examples of how to build a sustainable city, and show students how they are building a more sustainable future here in Austin.  

Required Texts

Girardet, Herbert; "Cities, People, Planet."  Wiley and Sons, 2008.

Grading Policy

There will be 3 essays of 4-5 pages, typed, double spaced, and one group design project where student team design and "build" a sustainable city (this is a poster project which can be displayed on the wall, but those with technical expertise are welcome to mount it on a web platform).  Each essay will be 25% of the course grade, and the design project will be the final 25% of grade.

 

SOC 321K • Environmental Sociology

45735 • Spring 2013
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM CAL 22

Description

This course investigates the ways humans and the natural environment interact.   Human social patterns and ideologies shape how we do things that affect the environment, and the environment shapes our human lives.  The relationship between people and their environment includes the natural (unbuilt, or unchanged by humans) environment, and the built environments - our urban and city space.  The city of Austin is used as a case study of these relationships, as we look to see how humans and environment shape each other here in town. The process of global warming and its effects on human society are discussed throughout the course as an outcomse of these relationships; human society is changing the environment we live in, and that change will have profound effects on human society  

Required Texts

Bell, M., An Invitation to Environmental Sociology.  Sage, 4 ed. Swearingen, W.  Environmental City: People, Place, Politics, and the Meaning of Modern Austin.  UTPress, Austin.  

Grading Policy

Your grade is based on weekly responses to the course material.  These responses are "mini-essays" of 2 or so pages. A detailed description and rubric for the responses will be provided in class.  

SOC 321K • Environmental Sociology

45511 • Spring 2012
Meets MW 3:00PM-4:30PM BUR 134

Description

The course provides an overview of the ways humans and the natural environment interrelate.   The course investigates the ways human social patterns and ideologies  shape the environment, and how the environment shapes our human lives.  The relationship includes the natural and built environments (city space).  The city of Austin is used as a case study of these relationships.  The process of global warming and its effects on human society is discussed throughout the course as effect of these relationships.

Required Texts 

Bell, M., An Invitation to Environmental Sociology.  Sage, 4 ed.

Swearingen, W.  Environmental City: People, Place, Politics, and the Meaning of Modern Austin.  UTPress, Austin.

Grading Policy

Your grade is based on four unit tests and one paper on global warming.  The paper will be 3-4 pages in length and use material from all four  units to explain the connection between humans, global warming, and sustainable futures.  A detailed description and rubric for the paper will be provided in class. 

Four tests 20% each

Global warming paper  20%

 

 

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  • Department of Sociology

    The University of Texas at Austin
    305 E 23rd St, A1700
    CLA 3.306
    Austin, TX 78712-1086
    512-232-6300