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Society and Science:

Human Boundaries & Human Hierarchies

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FALL Semester -

Human Boundaries explores what it really means to say that we are human beings and how humans can be distinguished from (other) animals. Inevitably, when we seek to better understand a label like HUMAN, we look around for competing models of self-identity and see that our identity is rooted as much in cultural tradition as in biology. 

SPRING Semester -

Human Hierarchies focuses on important ways modern society has been constructed around inclusion and exclusion. This dividing line may involve race, gender, class, ethnicity, religion, and other markers of difference. We will be especially interested in how social hierarchies (rankings, pecking orders) develop and are perpetuated across time. More optimistically, as a class you will consider alternative models of social organization and inclusivity.


 In our discussions we will consider the following questions:

  • What is a society or community?
  • How can individuals shape society through choices in inclusion and exclusion?
  • How do individuals’ beliefs, opinions, assumptions, and habits conflict with societal change or progress?
  • How can individuals determine what is ethical while making decisions within different communities (as citizens, parents, consumers, leaders, employees, etc.)?
  • How do social scientists study human behavior and gather data on social rankings or pecking orders?
  • How can individuals influence change in construction of inclusivity?

Texts for the course will include works of:

  • Fiction
  • Non-fiction
  • Scientific and philosophical works
  • Popular and documentary films

Mike White, PhD


Society and Science: Human Boundaries

Fall 2024

 Class #   Subject   Catalog #   Section #  Day/Time
13869 LEAP 1230 001     TuTh / 9:10AM-10:30AM    


Last Updated: 3/25/24