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The Mass Media

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February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Where Has All The Culture Gone?

Jorge Capetillo, associate professor of sociology and instructor
of the new class Sociology of Culture.

Jorge Capetillo, associate professor of sociology and instructor of the new class “Sociology of Culture.”




Jorge Capetillo, associate professor of sociology and instructor of the new class “Sociology of Culture”, was shocked that there was no sociology class offered that was specifically focused on culture. “It’s one of those courses that any sociology department must have” said Capetillo.

“Sociology of Culture” is a 305 elective course, it counts towards the major in criminal justice, social psychology, and sociology. Sociology 101 is a prerequisite for taking the course but exceptions can be made. The course focuses on sociological theory, and application of theory to current events, such as Occupy Boston.

Capetillo and Lakshmi Srinivas, a professor of sociology, created the syllabus for the course. Srinivas described the value of such a course. “It has to do with developing a broader and more grounded understanding of issues, of understanding not only the world, but oneself as well” Srinivas said. “[These studies are] All the more urgent to have this kind of understanding given present-day global interconnections.”

Capetillo descried the course as important to a balanced sociology department. “The department allocates a majority of its resources to criminal justice studies” said Capetillo. “Criminal justice classes are focused on social issues as the pertain to crime, my course discusses sociological theory in more widely applicable terms.”

Nicole Young, an anthropology major and student in this pioneer class talked about her experience with the class. In an interview she said, “The class isn’t just about read and regurgitate. It is not about simply telling the Professor what you read, but more telling him what you feel about what you read’ and how that agrees, or conflicts, with what you already think about the world.”

In order for a class to become a class a professor must first develop a syllabus, the syllabus is then presented to the faculty senate to be approved. The members of the senate examine the proposed grading system and materials that will be used to determine the validity of the course.

Capetillo is the director of Latino Studies, an associate professor of sociology and the research assistant at the Mauricio Gaston Institute for Latino Community Development at UMass Boston. He earned his Ph. D. in sociology at The New School for Social Research in New York City. The New School for Social Research is known for its attention to the study of theory.

Before joining UMass Boston in 2002, Capetillo worked as the executive director of the Mexican Cultural Institute of New York City and as advisor to the Dean of the Graduate Faculty at The New School for Social Research and to Latino grassroots organizations in New York City.