Course Overview

The purpose of this course is to introduce key sociological concepts and theoretical perspectives in environmental sociology by exploring the dynamics between politics, power, and inequality. We will begin with a basic introduction to understanding theoretical perspectives such as ecological modernization and ecological degradation and how these concepts influence human society and nonhuman natures.

Then we will move into an examination of the relationship between economy and gender, racial inequalities, considering the consequences for socioecological inequalities. We will also explore economic inequalities among wealthy nations and peripheries, along with ecological effects that extend beyond national boundaries. We will conclude the course by examining the role of environmental movements, international organizations, global media, and environmental relations of indigenous people in understanding the relationship between people and nature.

All students who successfully complete the course will receive a Certificate of Completion and have the opportunity to request a Syracuse University credit transcript.

Learning Objectives

When this course is completed, the students will be able to:

  • Attain a basic understanding of the sociological concepts and theoretical perspectives in environmental sociology.
  • Explore the complex interactions between human society and nonhuman natures.
  • Comprehend the crucial role of power and social inequality in the interconnection of human society and the natural world.
  • Analyze the profound consequences of environmental degradation on issues related to inequality, environmental justice, and environmental impacts.
  • Recognize the relationship between social inequality and ecological dynamics.

Course Information

Course Prefix and Number: SOC 200

Format: On Campus

Eligibility: Students must be of rising high school junior, or senior status – or a 2024 high school graduate. 

Credit: 3 credits

Grading: A-F


  • Residential: $4,695
  • Commuter: $3,766

Program rates are subject to change and will be approved by the board of trustees. Discounts and scholarships are also available.

Program Information

Summer College – On Campus: Experience what college is really like: take a college-level course, live in a residence hall, have meals with friends in a dining hall, and participate in activities and events on campus.

Course Dates and Details

ProgramCourse DatesSynchronous Class Time (Eastern Time)Credit/NoncreditStatus
Summer College – On Campus2-Week Session I: Monday, July 8 – Friday, July 19, 2024MTWThF;
9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
3 CreditsOpen

Typical Day

Tentative Schedule

From Monday to Friday, from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, the typical class schedule includes a 30-40-minute break. The structure of the day involves:

  1. Mini lectures (10 minutes): I start the class with short 10-minute lectures to introduce key theoretical concepts and topics.
  2. Small Group Discussions: Students will engage in small group discussions to delve deeper into the presented material and exchange ideas and thoughts.
  3. In-class activities: To enhance learning, I incorporate various in-class activities, which will include group projects and problem solving.
  4. Writing assignments: to produce an effective written communication and enhance writing skills

Additionally, over the course of two weeks, students will have guest lectures from experts in the field. These guest lectures offer diverse perspectives and insights from practitioners and researchers. 

As a unique features of the course, the instructor arranges visits to two important locations on the SU campus:

Climate Change Garden: This outdoor excursion provides students with firsthand experience in tracking the potential replacement of “northern” species with “southern” or “western” trees and shrubs due to climate change.

Student Garden at Lafayette Road at SUNY ESF: This visit gives students the opportunity to explore the unique ecosystem on site, fostering a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

By incorporating these outside visits and interactive classroom activities, the instructor aims to provide a comprehensive and immersive learning experience.

A typical schedule will look like:

  • 9.00-9.10 am – mini lecture
  • 9:10-9:30 am – reflection and discussion
  • 9:30 – 9:40 am – mini lecture
  • 9:40 – 10:00 am – activity and discussion
  • 10:00 – 10:10 am – mini lecture
  • 10:10 am – 10:40 am – small group discussion
  • 5-minute break
  • 10:45 am – 11:00 am – mini lecture
  • 11:00 – 11:40 am – lunch break
  • 11:40 – 12:00 pm – lecture
  • 12:00 – 1:00 pm – activity and closing discussion

Faculty Bios

Darzhan Kazbekova

Darzhan Kazbekova is a Ph.D. candidate in the Social Science program at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and the instructor of MAX 123 “Critical Issues for the United States.” She received her PhD in international relations from the Academy of Public Administration under the President of Kazakhstan in 2015. After completing the PhD at the Academy, she was a research assistant and a director of the Research Institute at the Academy for three years before joining the Social Science program at Syracuse University.

Darzhan’s research focuses on policy learning among governmental administrators responsible for implementing the “Green Economy” policy. Through the interdisciplinary approach, she examines how the policy is formulated and implemented in the authoritarian context of a highly resource-dependent economy and who are the critical actors of environmental policy implementation in the country.