By Margaret Pepe
A new minor, Gender and Society, is being offered by the sociology department, and is available this semester.
The new minor consists of 11 sociology classes, two of which double as anthropology classes. Each has a focus on men, women, feminism, culture, or youth. Each of these classes are available to take individually, or as part of the new minor. At least five of these classes, 15 credits, are required for the minor.
“This department has a wonderful collection of gender scholars, and the students will really benefit if they have any interest at all,” said Sociology professor Robert Caputi. Caputi teaches “Images of Race and Gender in Film and TV” during the summer and “Introduction to Sociology” during the fall and spring semesters. According to Caputi, Dr. Brian Sweeney, Dr. Jennifer Rogers-Brown, and the sociology department head, Dr. Eric Lichten, teach many of these classes in the minor.
“Studying these structured forms of social inequalities prepares students with knowledge about our society so that this knowledge can be usefully applied in public and private sector careers, and in their graduate studies,” said Dr. Eric Lichten, who is the sociology department head. “Understanding the structural causes and processes of these forms of social inequality gives the student the information needed to work as informed participants in resolving the social issues of our time.”
Nicholas Ramer, Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences at LIU Post, said, “Gender identity and the spectrum have made their way into our cultural mindset,” regarding the importance of the minor. Ramer be lieves that our generation is more involved with the change of gender in society, and believes that any students who carry interest will gravitate towards the minor.
LIU’s Vice President of Academic Affairs, Jeffrey Kane said to add a new minor is simple; it requires faculty commitment and their belief in the program. A new minor does not have to get approval from the state because it’s not creating new classes and a new program, but rather taking a collection of already available classes that all have something in common and making a program out of it.
Kane hopes that students will take advantage of the new minor and realize all it has to offer them. “I would hope that it gets students to think about gender and what it means and the complexity of it. That would be for their betterment,” he said.
“Gender is a very complex issue and it’s one that is often treated at a distance because either it’s too controversial, or it’s too personal, or it’s too frightening to consider, and they don’t quite understand it,” Kane said on the importance of the minor. “Anything that we can do to demystify it and open it up to scholarly discussion or informed discussion, I think that serves our students.”
The minor is available for any student with an interest or a passion in sociology. “Hopefully it’ll attract people of all majors; it’s very enjoyable and very useful,” Caputi said. Kane hopes that students will express their opinion on the new academic option: “it’s always important to hear from the students,” he said.