IMAGE VIA  CREATIVE CONVEX

IMAGE VIA CREATIVE CONVEX

 

Course description

The sociological perspective requires layered contexts — historical, political, social, economic, geographic, racial, sexual, etc. — in order to frame, investigate, understand, and even solve social problems. Fundamental to the sociological imagination is the idea that all these contexts are overlapping, and that these identities are intersecting. With that foundation, we can better understand relationships between individuals and the societies in which they live; as well as change or lack thereof; through the analysis of the social forces, both obvious and hidden, acting on individuals, groups, and social structures.

This course aims to introduce you to the way sociologists think, research, and write; how they approach and make sense of the world; and how you might apply their theories and frameworks in your own life with regard to your daily interactions, conflicts, and the way you understand what is going on in your town, your country, and in the world. This introductory survey course will explore sociological thinking, theory, and research through the lens of different concepts, especially intersectionality, race, and ethnicity.

course goals

This course aims to demystify and familiarize students with

  • how social scientists think (i.e., “the sociological imagination”; social construction);

  • social scientists’ values (e.g., “neutrality”/“objectivity”/positionality, intersectionality, interdisciplinarity, ethics in research with human subjects, citation as a political act, rigor);

  • as well as the basics of writing in the social sciences (e.g., basic academic writing, social scientific norms, citation practices, giving and receiving feedback, editing and revising, presentations).

course format

Class will meet twice a week for one hour and twenty minutes each session. The first class of the week will be devoted, in its entirety or in large part, to a “socratic lecture,” or a lecture with participatory elements. The second class of the week will be devoted to different kinds of class discussions and workshops.

Everything you need for this course is online — here, on Moodle, and on Box.

course requirements

SELF-SELECTED GRADING PROPORTIONS

This course will be graded on a 0.0 - 4.0 scale.

By the end of the month, you will each submit, via Moodle, a grade contract indicating how much you want each of the following three parts of your grade to be worth. Each must vary within the bounds indicated below, and the total must add up to 100%.

If you would like to change this ratio halfway through the semester, you must submit a revised form to me, also via Moodle, at that time.

[10-30]% Participation

There are a number of different ways to participate. First, you need to be in class (i.e., attendance). You can then participate by (1) asking questions in lecture, (2) participating in a small group discussion, or (3) a whole class discussion. You can (4) elect to lead class discussions on a topic of interest to you (please email me at least one full week in advance before you’d like to do this).

[20-50]% Class journalS

Starting in Week 2, you are required to write one class journal entry per week (excluding spring break) for a total of 12 journals. Each entry (typed in the template I provide) should be a 300 - 500 words personal engagement with the class material for that week. You must demonstrate that you and your brain have interacted with class materials and, ideally, classmates that week. Conciseness is better. Write well — spelling, grammar, punctuation, and style all count.

example | journal entry to process connections among class readings

example | journal entry to debrief from class discussion

example | journal entry to tie class materials to current events or

[30-70]% Final project

Write two brief (no longer than one total page), concise, and persuasive letters to an elected official (only those who represent you) or an appointed official (they represent everyone in a more general sense) about a timely sociological issue that’s also relevant to class material (more detailed assignment, template, and rubric to follow). Hint: The most powerful stories are the personal ones, so remember that sociology is the intersection of biography and history.

You may begin this project at any time in the semester. This final is a take-home, open-book, open-note assignment that requires you to do research outside class materials. Because of the open-ended nature of the final, there are almost no conceivable reasons (only very serious ones) that you would need an extension, so I will only accept official requests for extensions from deans.


I reserve the righto to amend this syllabus.


IMAGE VIA  CREATIVE CONVEX

IMAGE VIA CREATIVE CONVEX

READING AND ASSIGNMENT LIST

Week 1 | course review

W 23 January | attendance required for admission to class


Week 2 | welcome to sociology

M 28 January | socratic lecture

Pick at least one article to read for class today (PDFs of which are on Box):

  • “Gender” is made up | West, Candace and Don Zimmerman. 1987. “Doing Gender.” Gender & Society 1(2):125–51.

  • “Sex” is made up | Preves, Sharon. 2002. “Sexing the Intersexed: An Analysis of Sociocultural Responses to Intersexuality.” Signs 27(2):523–56.

  • “Panethnicity” is made up | Taylor, Paul, Mark Hugo Lopez, Jessica Hamar Martinez, and Gabriel Velasco. 2012. When Labels Don’t Fit: Hispanics and Their Views of Identity. Washington, DC: The Pew Hispanic Center.

  • “Hispanic” is made up | Mora, G. Cristina. 2014. “Cross-Field Effects and Ethnic Classification The Institutionalization of Hispanic Panethnicity, 1965 to 1990.” American Sociological Review 79(2):183–210.

W 30 January | discussions

Turn in first class journal (1/12) on Moodle by midnight tonight


Week 3 | everything is socially constructed

M 4 February | socratic lecture

Read at least half of this book (PDF of which is on Box) by today. (You’ll read the rest for next Monday.)

López, Ian Haney. 2006. White by Law: The Legal Construction of Race. New York, NY: New York University Press.

W 6 February | discussions

Turn in class journal (2/12) on Moodle by midnight tonight


Week 4 | social construction

M 11 February | socratic lecture

Read the rest of this book for today:

López, Ian Haney. 2006. White by Law: The Legal Construction of Race. New York, NY: New York University Press.

W 13 February | discussions

Turn in class journal (3/12) on Moodle by midnight tonight


Week 5 | intersectionality

M 18 February | socratic lecture

Read this article for class today:

Collins, Patricia Hill. 2015. “Intersectionality’s Definitional Dilemmas.” Annual Review of Sociology 41:1–20.

And choose at least one more of these to read as well:

  • masculinities | TW quotes of old racial terms, pictured racist propaganda | ch. 1 in Bederman, Gail. Manliness and Civilization.

  • recovering from anti-queer hate crimes | TW anti-queer violence | Meyer, Doug. 2012. “An Intersectional Analysis of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) People’s Evaluations of Anti-Queer Violence.” Gender & Society 26(6):849-873.

  • serving survivors of domestic violence | TW anti-WOC violence | Crenshaw, Kimberle Williams. 1991. “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color.” Stanford Law Review 43:1241–99.

  • theory | King, Deborah K. 1988. “Multiple Jeopardy, Multiple Consciousness: The Context of a Black Feminist Ideology.” Signs 14(1):42–72.

W 20 February | discussions

Turn in class journal (4/12) on Moodle by midnight tonight


Week 6 | epistemology

M 25 February | socratic lecture

Read one of the following articles for class today:

  • problematizing quantitative research | chapter 1 of Zuberi, Tukufu and Eduardo Bonilla Silva. 2001. White Logic, White Methods.

  • feminist qualitative research | DeVault, Marjorie. 1990. “Talking and Listening from Women’s Standpoint: Feminist Strategies for Interviewing and Analysis.” Social Problems 37(1):96-116.

  • publishing bias + p-hacking | Aschwanden, Christine. 2016. “Science Isn’t Broken.” FiveThirtyEight. [https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/science-isnt-broken/#part1]

  • science’s replication crisis | Aschwanden, Christine. 2016. “How Failure Is Moving Science Forward.” FiveThirtyEight. [https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/failure-is-moving-science-forward/]

  • social science methods + political polling | Silver, Nate. 2017. “Conventional Wisdom May Be Contaminating Polls.” FiveThirtyEight. [https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/conventional-wisdom-may-be-contaminating-polls/]

W 27 February | discussions

Turn in class journal (5/12) on Moodle by midnight tonight


Week 7 | fairness vs equality

M 4 March | socratic lecture

Read at least half of this book for class today (we will read the rest for the week after spring break):

Katznelson, Ira. 2005. When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth Century America. New York, NY: W.W. Norton and Company.

W 6 March | discussions

Turn in class journal (6/12) on Moodle by midnight tonight

F 8 March | submit grade proportion choices on moodle


Week 8 | Spring Break


Week 9 | equality vs fairness

M 18 March | socratic lecture

Read the rest of this book for class today:

Katznelson, Ira. 2005. When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth Century America. New York, NY: W.W. Norton and Company.

W 20 March | discussions

Turn in class journal (7/12) on Moodle by midnight tonight


Week 10 | racial wealth inequality

M 25 March | socratic lecture

Read at least half of this book for class today (you’ll read the rest next week):

Oliver, Melvin and Thomas Shapiro. 2006. Black Wealth, White Wealth: A New Perspective on Racial Inequality. New York, NY: Routledge.

W 27 March | discussions

Turn in class journal (8/12) on Moodle by midnight tonight


Week 11 | policy and programmatic solutions

M 1 April | socratic lecture

Read the rest of this book for class today:

Oliver, Melvin and Thomas Shapiro. 2006. Black Wealth, White Wealth: A New Perspective on Racial Inequality. New York, NY: Routledge.

Read at least one of the following:

  • Alba, Richard D., Ruben G. Rumbaut, and Karen Marotz. 2005. “A Distorted Nation: Perceptions of Racial/Ethnic Group Sizes and Attitudes Toward Immigrants and Other Minorities.” Social Forces 84(2):901–19.

  • theory | Blumer, Herbert. 1958. “Race Prejudice as a Sense of Group Position.” The Pacific Sociological Review 1(1):3–7.

W 3 April | discussions

Turn in class journal (9/12) on Moodle by midnight tonight


Week 12 | racial residential segregation

M 8 April | socratic lecture

Read at least half of this book for today (you’ll read the rest next week):

Alexander, Michelle. 2012. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. New York, NY: The New Press.

And read at least one of the following articles:

  • neighborhood demographic preferences by race | Lewis, Valerie A., Michael O. Emerson, and Stephen L. Klineberg. 2011. “Who We’ll Live With: Neighborhood Racial Composition Preferences of Whites, Blacks and Latinos.” Social Forces 89(4):1385–1407.

  • the foreclosure crisis was raced | Rugh, J. S. and D. S. Massey. 2010. “Racial Segregation and the American Foreclosure Crisis.” American Sociological Review 75(5):629–51.

  • what is racial residential segregation | Charles, Camille Zubrinsky. 2003. “The Dynamics of Racial Residential Segregation.” Annual Review of Sociology 29(1):167–207.

W 10 April | discussions

Turn in class journal (10/12) on Moodle by midnight tonight

F 12 April | submit revised grade proportion preferences on moodle (if you want to revise them)


Week 13 | from slavery to mass incarceration

M 15 April | socratic lecture

Read the rest of this book for class today:

Alexander, Michelle. 2012. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. New York, NY: The New Press.

Optional:

  • watch Ava DuVernay’s 13th on Netflix

W 17 April | discussions

Turn in class journal (11/12) on Moodle by midnight tonight


Week 14 | immigration law enforcement

M 22 April | socratic lecture

Read the following for class today:

the otherization of Latinxs | ch. 1 + epilogue in Chavez, Leo. 2008. The Latino Threat: Constructing Immigrants, Citizens, and the Nation. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

W 24 April | discussions

Turn in class journal (12/12) on Moodle by midnight tonight


Week 15 | review

M 29 April | writing workshop [in the classroom]

W 1 May | open office hours [in my office]


Week 16 | finals week

F 10 May 12:00 pm | Turn in your final assignments via Moodle

IMAGE BY  CREATIVE CONVEX