20 Free Sociology Lectures Online

One of the most amazing sociological aspects of the internet is that it can take you wherever you want to go, with just the click of a mouse. It can even take you to college. One way students can use the internet to enhance a formal education is by attending these 20 free sociology lectures online, whenever it’s most convenient.

1. Accountability of Presence: Location Tracking Beyond Privacy, Scott Klemmer, Stanford University

Weighs the advantages of location-tracking technology on modern society against the invasion of privacy concerns it raises.

2. Aristotle, Ethics, The Leo Strauss Center, University of Chicago

Lecture series based on the ancient Greek philosopher’s work on the virtue of character and how we use virtue to establish habits when navigating life in a group.

3. Authoritarian Attitudes in Times of Threat, Jennifer L. Merolla, Claremont Colleges

Discusses social anxiety when a population is threatened by crime, economic collapse, and terrorism and how effectively public and personal attitude determines who earns leadership positions during times of duress.

4. Authority and the Individual: Six BBC Lectures, Bertrand Russell, Cambridge University

Discusses such topics as personal morality versus tribal custom, individual initiative, and the impulsive human nature.

5. Capitalism: Success, Crisis and Reform, Douglas W. Rae, Yale University

Interprets capitalism with ideas borrowed from evolutionary biology, including the struggle for survival as it’s found in nature and in corporate board rooms.

6. China: Traditions and Transformations, Peter K. Bol and William Kirby, Harvard University

Two faces of China contrasted – that of oldest and largest bureaucracy of all time and that of rapid societal transformation via social revolution and economic development.

7. Descent: What Does Descent Mean?, Alan Macfarlane, King’s College, Cambridge

Discusses the influences of society and biology on the definitions of marriage, family, and ancestral lineage.

8. Introduction to Sociology / The Sociological Imagination: Who We Are and How We Got Here, Harvey Moloch, New York University

Examines problems the contemporary sociologist faces and the methods used to unravel the mysteries of everyday living.

9. Labor and Workplace Studies / Afro-American Studies, Mark Q. Sawyer, University of California – Los Angeles

A discussion of how race affects the workplace, with emphasis on the experience of the Black American worker.

10. Liberal Education and Liberal Democracy, Thomas Pangle, Furman University

Raises the idea that the best education today comes from books written hundreds, even thousands, of years ago in societies vastly different from one’s own.

11. Marxian Class Analysis Theory and Practice, Richard D. Wolff, The New School

Explores the history, structure, and interpretations of Karl Marx’s theory of class and details how to gain a better understanding of society and social change by applying the theory to current events.

12. Medicine and Public Health in American History, Chris Hamlin, Notre Dame University

Fifteen-week series of lectures delving into the history of medicine throughout American history, including cultural meaning, social change, and conflict between medical science and medical practice.

13. Modern Jewish History, George Mosse, University of Wisconsin – Madison

Lecture series describing the Jewish experience in modern history, from cultural and social aspects to economics and globalization.

14. Moral Problems and the Good Life, Sally Haslanger, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Contrasts social justice concerns with contemporary issues, including racial profiling, global inequality, gay marriage, and euthanasia.

15. Reading Marx’s Capital, David Harvey, City University of New York

Study of Karl Marx’s Das Kapital, which proposes the question of capitalism being the precursor to socialism.

16. Research That Changes the World / The Study of Early Child Care Effects on Kids, Robert Crosnoe, University of Houston

Latest look at the findings of a study begun in 1991 to track development in children, now in their 20s, who grew up with early child care administered primarily by adults other than their parents.

17. School Shootings: Why Terrible Things Happen in “Perfect” Places, Katherine Newman, Princeton University

Examines the societal issues that are driving the wave of violence affecting schools in the US and elsewhere in recent years.

18. Self and Society, Thomas R. Klassen, Trent University

Discusses the role of the individual in a group environment.

19. Success and Failure: A Paradoxical Relationship, Henry Petroski, Rice University

Examines the glitches that led to catastrophic mechanical failures, such as the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, and how science and public perception work together to improve once-failed industrial projects.

20. Veterinary Public Health, Joann Lindenmayer, Tufts University

Examines the relationship of the health of a community’s pets to the health of its human populace.


Additional Lectures Presented in the Open Classroom Format, Free of Charge