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Soc 1013 syllabus fall 2013


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  • 1. SOC 1013.001 (Q) Introduction to Sociology Fall, 2013 MWF 9:00-9:50 MH 2.01.30 Instructor: E-mail: Michael Miller Office Address: Office Hours: MS 4.02.26 MWF 12:00-1:00 Text Barkan, S. (2011) Sociology: Understanding and Changing the Social World. Comprehensive Edition. The Course Description. SOC 1013.001 (Q) is an introduction to the study of behavior within the context of various collectivities, including relationships, small groups, formal organizations, communities, and societies. Course attention will therefore be devoted to understanding the structure and dynamics of social life by reference to social explanations. It examines a core set of concepts and principles related to theory, methods, culture, and social structure, as well as, assorted subfields, including class stratification, race and ethnic relations, work and occupations, demography, marriage and family, and religion. This section of SOC 1013 is also a Q-course, which means we will pay special attention to quantitative data as these topics are addressed over the semester. Additionally, this section of SOC 1013 is a hybrid course in that it combines conventional in-class teaching with supplemental instruction derived through online content. You will be required to devote out-of-class time to examining media programs and clips linked to the course via this syllabus (see my approach to teaching with media at A System for Integrating Online Multimedia Into College Curriculum). Course Objectives. The course provides an opportunity to learn to see human behavior with greater clarity and objectivity through the major concepts, theories, and findings of the discipline. As a Q-course, it will also encourage you to develop quantitative skills by describing, analyzing, and interpreting data. Course objectives will be sought through class lectures and discussions, text readings, and online assignments. Degree-Program Requirement. Successful completion of the course meets the UTSA’s Quantitative Scholarship requirement (see requirement #3). In addition, SOC 1013 satisfies 3 hours of the 18-hour Core Curriculum requirement for Social and Behavioral Sciences. Course Management System. Blackboard Learn, available by virtue of enrollment in this class, is an important resource which allows you to access the course syllabus, assigned materials, and course grades. (Let me know immediately if you have any difficulties with this site.) Student Contributions. The course requires your active involvement. At the minimum, you are expected to attend class, read text assignments and cover assigned Internet materials prior to class, complete Qrelated assignments on time, and take examinations as specified. You are responsible for adhering to all rules concerning conduct, including those relevant to scholastic dishonesty (see The Student Code of
  • 2. Conduct). You are also expected to reflect the Roadrunner Creed in your behavior. To additionally facilitate your success, consider the following suggestions: 1. Do not be a “spectator.” Your success in the class will be proportional to engagement. This is your class—actively participate. Ask questions, discuss experiences, offer opinions... Get to know other students (exchange phone numbers/email addresses). Talk about the course, share lecture notes, hold study sessions before exams... 2. Read / watch / listen to assigned text and Internet materials before the presentation date. In reading the text, make sure you also study tables, charts, and graphs. It will be helpful to take notes as you watch videos and listen to audios. 3. Should you have any concern or problem that is affecting, or might affect, your academic status or class involvement, feel free to talk to me about it. Note: all e-mail communication should be directed to me at Support services, including registration assistance and adaptive equipment, are available to those with documented disabilities through the Office of Disability Services. Course Policies and Practices. 1. Student Survey. During the first week, please complete an online survey about yourself so that I might better meet your learning needs. 2. Class Beginning. A few minutes before starting each class, a selection of popular music may be played that in some way relates to the topic to be discussed that morning. Please listen in silence and try to determine how the lyrics of the song are relevant to topic concepts. At the conclusion of the song, volunteers will be called on for brief discussion. Note: My knowledge of current popular music is quite limited—therefore, any song contribution from you would be appreciated (please e-mail suggestions to me with brief description of how the music applies to concepts). 3. Attendance. Regular attendance is crucial to success in the course. 4. Coming Late. Please enter and take a seat without disrupting others. 5. Notetaking. Presentation slides are regularly used in class to overview key ideas. Such slides will include images, graphics, animations, and video. Understand that your notetaking effort should also be directed to what I am saying, rather than solely the slides. Slides are not posted to Blackboard. 6. Class Ending. Please refrain from packing-up until the class is over. Class ends at 9:50—please let me know if I run past that time. 7. Technology Use. Avoid embarrassment: turn your cell phone off before class starts. Under no circumstances can a cell phone be out during an exam. The use of laptop and tablet computers is permitted during class for course purposes only. 8. Grade Reporting. All scantrons and Q assignments (except the final exam) will be returned to you in class (no one else may pick these up for you). Grades will also be made available to you on Blackboard (grades cannot be reported by telephone, fax, or e-mail). 9. Drop Procedure. Should you decide to no longer attend, be sure to follow UTSA administrative requiements for course withdrawal. Evaluation Exams. Three exams, including a non-cumulative final, will be given over the semester. Each exam will consist of 50 multiple-choice questions, and will account collectively for 75 percent of your final grade. You will need to provide a Scantron grading sheet (882) for each exam. Should you miss an exam for a valid reason, you must submit a written request (paper copy) for a make-up exam, including third-party documentation for your absence, at the time of your return to class. All make-up exams will consist of essay-length questions, and will be administered immediately after your completion of the final exam.
  • 3. Q-Course Assignments. Given that SOC 1013 is a Q-course, you will be required to work with data. Assignment submissions should reflect only your own efforts, and will collectively account for 25 percent of your final grade. Due Dates: Q Assignment 1 – September 23 Q Assignment 2 – October 18 Q Assignment 3 – November 25 Grading Scale. Exams, assignments, and final average should be interpreted on the following basis: A = > 89 B = 80 - 89 C = 70 - 79 D = 60 - 69 F = < 60 Course Schedule Week 1 August 28 Topic: Course Orientation August 30 Topic: Text Assignment: What Is Sociology? Barkan - 1 Online Reading Assignment: What Is It About 20-Somethings? In the opinion of the writer, identify the main reasons why young adults, including most college students today, are taking so long to assume adulthood. Which parts of this argument are consistent with your observations and experiences? Which are not? Video Assignments: Know Thine Enemy In what important ways does this brief video suggest a sociological approach to understanding human behavior? A Radical Experiment in Empathy Sam Richards suggests that empathy is perhaps the most important point to sociology. How does he propose we develop empathy? If we do this, what does Richards assert will likely happen? Identify how what he has to say directly relates to the Know Thine Enemy clip. For Your Information: Majoring in Sociology Week 2 September 2 No Class / Labor Day September 4 Topic: Text Assignment: Culture Barkan - 3
  • 4. For Your Enjoyment: George Carlin: Modern Man September 6 Topic: Culture: Key Components Video Assignment: Becoming Human Watch all three parts of this fascinating NOVA series to understand the basic course of human evolution. Be sure to identify the ways we are alike and the ways we are different from our nearest primate relatives. For Your Information: Secrets of Body Language History Channel documentary examining interpersonal communication from the silent, often unintended, language of gestures, postures, facial expressions. Provides research findings and numerous real-life examples. Week 3 September 9 Topic: Subcultures, Countercultures, and Perspectives on Culture The Millennials Are Coming! To what extent do you believe that this description is accurate about others you know of this generation? If you are of this age group, how well does it describe you? Cyborg America: Inside the Strange New World of Basement Body Hackers September 11 Topic: Text Assignment: Sociological Knowledge & Research Barkan - 2 September 13 Topic: Sociological Knowledge & Research (continued) Video Assignment: The Joy of Stats Why is Hans Rosling excited by statistics? What are statistics, according to him? When did their collection begin, by whom, and for what purposes? What utility do statistics have today for us? Identify examples that Rosling gives about their tremendous current public value. Week 4 September 16 Topic: Data Visualization Online Assignments: Word Cloud: How Toy Ad Vocabulary Reinforces Gender Stereotypes Compare and contrast the content of boy versus girl toy ads. To what extent do such ads play on traditional gender stereotypes?
  • 5. Baby Name Wizard Check out your first name on the wizard. Provide a description of its changing popularity over time. Describe possible state or regional differences in terms of its current popularity. For Your Information: Many Eyes Flesh Map September 18 Topic: Text Assignment: Structure/Interaction: Status & Role Barkan - 5 September 20 Topic: Structure/Interaction: Status & Role (continued) Video Assignments: Interrogator Interview Conversation with Dr. Zimbardo Why do decent people sometimes do bad things? Compare and contrast Zimbardo's prison experiment with the case of Abu Ghraib. Consider the extent to which we "become" our roles. How likely are we to identify with the roles we play, no matter how disagreeable they might personally seem to us at first glance? While watching these videos, consider the following questions: 1. How did those (soldiers and students) who served as guards generally come to behave? 2. For what purposes were prisoners subjected to abuses by guards? 3. Why did the guards engage in such behavior? 4. Do you think that you could have personally resisted "becoming" fully absorbed in either role? 5. What lessons about human behavior can we learn from these two video clips? Cab Driver to Donate Kidney In your opinion, what is the most remarkable thing about this cab driver (other than volunteering to donate a kidney to a customer)? Week 5 September 23 Topic: Text Assignment: Due: Socialization: Self and Society Barkan - 4 Q Assignment 1 September 25 Topic: Developmental Socialization Video Assignments: Growing Up Online digital_nation Growing Up Online and its sequel, digital_nation, address many aspects of life in a plugged-in, hyper-connected, digital society. Identify the major ways technology and the Internet have altered life over the past 20 years or so. To what extent are your observations and experiences consistent with those made in the two documentaries? For Your Information:
  • 6. The Moral Roots of Liberals and Conservatives Left vs. Right September 27 Topic: Resocialization Video Assignment: Lord's Children Who are “child soldiers”—i.e., where are they from, how do they come to be, what are they forced to do, what impact does becoming one have on them? How are they commonly treated by family members when they escape? Describe efforts to resocialize them. Generally, how effective are such efforts? Note: the video, KONY 2012, went viral on the Internet earlier this year and has sparked a large-scale movement to publicize the atrocities of the LRA and capture Kony (see, as well as a torrent of subsequent controversy (see, e.g., Week 6 September 30 First Exam October 2 Exam Review October 4 Topic: Text Assignment: Social Organization and Group Dynamics Barkan - 6 Week 7 October 7 Topic: Social Organization and Group Dynamics (continued) Video Assignment: Constructing Social Reality Scroll down to Program 20 – “Constructing Social Reality” and then click on the “VoD” icon on right side of selection. You may then need to register at the site to gain free access to streamed videos. After retrieving video, enlarge viewing area by placing cursor on video image, right clicking, then > “zoom” > “full screen.” What is social reality? How is it constructed? Do people have different “realities”? How is it possible that subjective realities may become actual realities? Also be able to describe the following: Elliott’s “brown-eyed/blue-eyed” experiment, Rosenthal’s “Pygmalion effect,” Aronson’s “jigsaw classroom,” and Cialdini’s strategies of influence. October 9-11 Topic: Interpersonal Influence: Compliance Techniques Video Assignments: Hassan Cult Interviews (view all 3 parts) Identify the manipulative procedures commonly used to recruit people into some organizations and groups. (For additional information, see Before You Enlist
  • 7. Identify the compliance tactics recruiters employ to manuever teens and young adults into volunteering for the U.S. military. What does the video allege that recruiters never mention before they get them to sign on the dotted line? For Your Information: Changing Minds Bookmark and then take time to go through this compilation of principles, techniques, and tips devoted to helping one more effectively interact with others. For example, learn to better detect lying by visiting Week 8 October 14 Topic: Text Assignment: Population and Urbanization Barkan - 19 October 16 Topic: Population and Urbanization (continued) Video Assignments: Basic Population Concepts / Issues Click on each topic in the "Population Animations" box, and then for each, click "launch movie." This site provides flash video tutorials for concepts and issues that are critical to demography. Review each tutorial to be sure you understand relevant concepts and issues. World’s Toilet Crisis Identify the scope of the problem. Describe the public health implications of this problem. Are the proposed solutions to the problem workable, in your opinion? For Your Information: Seven Billion This National Geographic website examines a variety of important demographic and ecological issues on a global basis. Beyond Seven Billion Great rich-media site provided by the Los Angeles Times, examining various population issues around the world. October 18 Topic: Text Assignment: Due: Social Stratification and Inequality Barkan – 8 Q Assignment 2 Week 9 October 21 Topic: Social Class in the U.S. Video Assignments: People Like Us Provides an excellent introduction by offering insightful vignettes on various aspects of class and status in America. Includes numerous interviews with academics, journalists, and regular people. Determine which video segments you particularly identify with, and those which you found most interesting. Be ready to discuss these in class. For Your Information:
  • 8. New York Times: Class Matters This excellent website examines a host of class-relevant considerations, including how social class can be conceptualized, Americans’ perceptions of the class structure and their place in it, and relationships between class and education, family, and religion. October 23 Topic: Text Assignment: Race / Ethnicity Barkan - 10 October 25 Topic: Race / Ethnicity (continued) Video Assignment: Freedom Riders Who were the Freedom Riders? What was the purpose of their activities? What kinds of public reactions did they encounter? Why were such reactions common? How successful were they in accomplishing their goals? Had you been alive during this era, how likely would you have been to volunteer to be a Freedom Rider? For Your Information: Prom Night in Mississippi Shopping While Black Satchel: Confronting Racism One Fastball at a Time Massacre at Murambi A Class Divided Week 10 October 28 Topic: A Model of Inter-Group Relations Video Assignment: The Essential Blue-Eyed Examine the dynamics of minority-group construction, exclusion, and hostility through a training session directed by Jane Elliott. Determine how a category of people are stigmatized and marginalized by dominant group members, and how such dominance is maintained. After watching this video, ask if you are in everyday life an oppressor or one of the oppressed? Explain your response. Be sure to view the "debriefing" which immediately follows the main part of the video. October 30 Topic: Text Assignment: Marriage and Family Barkan - 15 November 1 Topic: Marriage and Family (continued) Video Assignment: Child Brides: Stolen Lives
  • 9. Identify the major ways early marriage negatively affects the lives of such youth, particularly girls. For Your Information: That Thing Called Love Multiple Husbands American Marriage Friends with Benefits Arranged Marriage Surrogacy Factory Banished: The Lost Boys of Polygamy How to Breakup with Your Girlfriend in 64 Easy Steps Week 11 November 4 Exam 2 November 6 Exam Review November 8 Topic: Text Assignment: Sex and Gender Barkan - 11 Week 12 November 11 Topic: Sex and Gender (continued) Video Assignments: The Third Sex Examine the variable links between sex and gender across various cultures. Identify the multiple definitions of sexuality evident in other societies around the world. November 13 Topic: Text Assignment: Religion Barkan - 17 November 15 Topic: Religion (continued) Video Assignment: God in America This six-part series examines the role of religion in American life over the last 400 years. View the final segment, Episode 6: Of God and Caesar, which centers on religious developments since World War II, particularly focusing on the evangelical movement and its effects on politics. Week 13 November 18 Topic: Economy
  • 10. Text Assignment: Barkan - 13 November 20 Topic: Economy (continued) Is Wal-Mart Good for America? An in-depth look at how Walmart has become the dominant force in global retail marketing. Identify the strategies and tactics of Walmart that have catapulted it to the top. Learn the particulars of its success and how it has affected other businesses and workers. November 22 Topic: Text Assignment: Deviance & Crime Barkan - 7 Week 14 November 25 Topic: Deviance & Crime (continued) Video Assignments: Stigma Examines the practice and effects of aggressive stop and frisk on the streets of New York. Identify the major dimensions and implications of such police behavior. Norm-Breaching Andrew Hales violates common norms of civility to note the reactions of others. Due: Q Assignment 3 November 27 Topic: Drugs and Society The Meth Epidemic Examines the nature and consequences of meth use for addicted indiviiduals, their families, and the broader community. November 29 No Class: Thanksgiving Break Week 15 December 2 Topic: Text Assignment: Collective Behavior Barkan - 21 For Your Information: Triangle Fire
  • 11. December 4 Topic: Text Assignment: Social Change Barkan – 20 For Your Information: The Story of Change December 6 Topic: Course Conclusion _____________________________________________________________________________________ December 17 Final Exam (Tuesday, 7:00-9:30)