PREREQUISITE: 3 COURSES IN SOCIOLOGY INCLUDING SOC-UA 1, SOC-UA 2 OR SOC-UA 3 OR PERMISSION OF INSTRUCTOR. SAME AS LWSOC-UA 936.
OPEN ONLY TO JUNIOR & SENIOR SOCIOLOGY MAJORS -- PERMISSION OF THE DEPARTMENT REQUIRED. ACCESS CODE MUST BE OBTAINED AT DEPARTMENT. This seminar will focus on a set of questions that arise from the recognition that there are diverse moral outlooks that involve incompatible moral judgments. How much diversity is there and how deep does it go? What makes an outlook and judgment moral? How recent is this recognition: does it arise from our increasingly multicultural societies and from the ever more prevalent discourse of human rights across the world? To what extent is that discourse ethnocentric—a kind of moral imperialism? Are there non-Western (e.g. East Asian) cultures, which offer a challenge and alternative to talk of human rights? Do different moralities correlate with cultural differences? Are we witnessing a ‘clash of civilizations’? How should we respond to the claims of cultural relativism? We will read some classical texts—such as Michel de Montaigne’s Essays on custom and on cannibalism and Ruth Benedict on patterns of culture, and also contemporary work by sociologists, moral philosophers and others that discusses multiculturalism, moral and cultural relativism and the theory and practice of human rights.
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