Paul Kooistra is a professor and chair of the Sociology department. He has published in the areas of criminology, media studies, sociology of sports, race and ethnicity.

Name Title Description


Pop Culture, Crime, & Justice

Crime is considered a major social problem in our country, but our understandings of crime and justice are derived more from indirect mediated images than direct personal experience. Popular culture, distributed through mass media and composed of popular news and entertainment, is a major source for shaping our understandings of the world, especially when it comes to crime because crime is a staple of mass media. Through books, movies music and television crime enters our home. The course has three main goals. First it examines images of crime and justice in popular culture and compares them to scientific data regarding the nature and extent of crime. Second, it considers the sources of these popular culture accounts of crime and justice. Third, it evaluates the influence popular culture has on understandings of crime and criminal justice policy. A major theme of the course is that mass media and popular culture reflect and reinforce underlying issues and concerns about crime and justice, and that these images of crime and justice change over time. Consequently, it uses a socio-historical perspective to examine crime and justice in American popular culture and connects those images to broader social issues.


Introduction to Sociology

Introduction to the sociological perspective on human behavior, including an analysis of theory, research methods, culture, society, personality, the socialization process, social institutions and social change.


Introduction to Criminology

Introduction to the field of criminology. Topics include: the criminological enterprise, measuring criminal behavior; victims and criminals--profiles; theories of crime causation--biological, psychological, and sociological; crime typologies--violent and property. Briefly discussed: cops, courts and corrections.


Cultures of Control

State control in contemporary American society, showing how organizational cultures of control come to exist in their present form and what kinds of consequences follow. Exploration of law in action;" how powerful bureaucratic structures interpret criminal law and apply it to individuals. Fundamental problems encountered in the administration of the American criminal justice system. It analyzes how the system of law and social control works by examining various components--lawyers


Media, Culture and Society

Examination of the relationship between media and society. Covers various aspects of media, including television, radio, movies, popular music, the internet, advertising and public relations. Addresses the issue of how social forces shape media content, especially public and political interests. Also examines how needs of media organizations influence images and ideas presented. Finally considers the ways in which media influences society.


Sociology Seminar

Advanced reading, research and discussion course for covering a specific topic in Sociology. Topics vary by professor and could include such topics as Organized Deviance: Terrorists, the Mafia and Genocidal States or Environmental Sociology. This course requires an independent or collaborative research project. May be repeated for credit based on change of topic.

University of Virginia
University of Virginia
Furman University

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