21st Century Bodies in a Social World

Monday, July 12th - Thursday, July 15th
Application Deadline: June 28th

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The Program: 
This course will introduce you to sociological thinking through the lens of living in a physical body within a social world.

  • How do we define “beauty” (and who are “we”)?
  • Are tattoos socially significant?
  • Who gets to decide whether a laboring woman will have a C-section?
  • How does body hair matter in social life?
  • What does it mean to “pass” as a certain race, gender, or sexuality? (…and what are the consequences of passing?)

Broadly, we will explore issues of race, gender, sexuality, reproduction, and health. This course combines lecture, discussion, and individual reflections. We will watch films and video clips, read news and other articles, listen to podcasts, and analyze photos, as we consider some current and complex issues related to social life in a human body!

Meredith Field is a medical sociologist who joins the Alfred University Division of Social Sciences after completing one year as the OPEN Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Sociology at University of Cincinnati. She earned her dual title PhD in Rural Sociology, and Women’s and Gender Studies at Pennsylvania State University. She holds a Graduate Certificate in International Education from School for International Training Graduate Institute, and both a MSEd (Instructional Specialist) and a BA in Environmental Studies from Bucknell University.

Before her doctoral studies, Meredith spent a formative nine years working in higher education – first managing a library service point, then as an instructional technologist for digital media, and finally as a study abroad advisor. During that time, she also served as a staff leader for service-learning programs in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic – programs that allowed her to pursue her primary passions of teaching and mentoring undergraduate students.

Meredith was inspired to attend graduate school by her volunteer work as a reproductive health community educator and organizer in rural Central Pennsylvania. Now trained as both a rural sociologist and a feminist sociologist, Meredith’s research program is rooted in issues of equity and access in healthcare. Her dissertation explored medicine’s hegemonic power in shaping access to maternal healthcare in rural areas of PA, and her work with OPEN analyzed obstetrician-gynecologists’ perceptions of how Ohio abortion regulations affect their ability to provide comprehensive reproductive healthcare to their patients.

You will attend classes and discussions via an online, virtual platform. Further information, including a detailed program schedule and online platform details, will be sent upon acceptance.

The cost is $100. A deposit of $50 is required.

How To Apply:
We are partnering with CampDoc (an online registration program) to better serve our campers and staff. CampDoc offers online registration and an electronic record system for campers. The CampDoc site is secure, encrypted and password protected. Only Alfred University Summer Health Staff will have access to camper information.

To gain access to our online application, please use the following link (we support the current and previous major releases of Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge and Safari):

Camp Registration Portal (CampDoc)
CampDoc Registration Instructions

Acceptance Next Steps:
The program director will evaluate all applications and determine who will be accepted. Acceptance and non-acceptance notifications will be sent via email. Once campers are accepted, they will be directed to pay the camp tuition and will be provided with the official schedule and online platform information. Any questions should be directed to Meredith Field.

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  • 9-9:30 am – Introductions and getting to know each other
  • 9:30-10 am – Course overview and goals, explanation of “sociologist of the day” award
  • 10-10:10 am – Break
  • 10:10-11:00 – Lecture and discussion (What is sociology, why does sociology matter, socialization, normal vs. deviant, bodily autonomy vs. agency vs. integrity)
  • 11:00-1 pm – Lunch Break and completing media reflection assignment (engage with media then reflect on, and synthesize, morning lecture and media content)
  • 1-1:15 pm – Welcome back and settling in
  • 1:15-1:45 pm – Discussion of lunchtime media reflection assignment
  • 1:45-2:30 pm - Lecture and small group discussions (social constructivism vs. biological determinism, bodies as cultural artifacts, objectification, double consciousness)
  • 2:30-3:30 pm – Break and individual media viewing
  • 3:30-4 pm – Day-in-review, evening field work assignment, preview of Day 2, announcement of sociologist of the day, and wrap-up with final questions/comments

Alfred University is located in the peaceful village of Alfred in western New York State, where summer days are warm and nights are cool and comfortable. Surrounded by rolling hills and beautiful meadows and valleys, Alfred University is the perfect place to spend an enjoyable week learning more about a favorite subject and meeting other students who share your interests.

Whether considering candidates for admission or financial aid, applicants for employment or the management of its policies and school-administered programs, Alfred University does not discriminate on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, age, race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion or disability. Alfred University is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer.