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COURSE NAME: "Introduction to Sociology"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2019

INSTRUCTOR: Jenn Lindsay
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 4:30-5:45 PM

This course will introduce students to the basic concepts and practices of the study of society. Students will learn central ideas such as socialization, culture, stratification, institutions, work organization, gender, ethnicity, race and globalization. They will also learn about how sociologists practice their craft reading about studies of current social issues - inequality, changes in family life, social movements and others - and by carrying out small scale out-of-class research assignments.

The course covers the major scientific approaches to understanding society, culture and institutions, and the basic methods and perspectives of sociology. We examine the history, development and core concepts of sociology and we then take up important issues in the structure and dynamics of social life: education, culture, religion, class, race and gender, deviance, the family, globalization, migration, religion, media and social change. By the end of the course students will have some initial experience in putting these methods into practice as well. They will be in a position to express their ideas about society—based upon study rather than merely opinion—in writing and orally. They will also be familiar with some electronic databases available to researchers on social issues. Classes will provide a mixture of lectures and group discussion based on contemporary topics and materials. Students are expected to do the required readings in the textbook and additional handouts in preparation for discussion in the following class, and to participate actively in those discussions. 


Having taken this course, students will be able to: 

1.    Describe, interpret and evaluate various aspects of western societies 

2.    Show awareness of the most significant social transformations and societal processes that characterize contemporary societies; 

3.    Reflect in a theoretically informed way on society, engaging our own taken for granted beliefs and values; 

4.    Analyze and identify significant social issues using a broad sociological perspective 

5.    Conceptualize society via its main institutions 

6.    Explain and exemplify main sociological concepts such as social class, socialization, social and cultural stratification, deviance, social interaction, gender, race and power. 

Discuss sociology’s contribution to the study of modern society and global transformations 
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Sociology: introductory readingsGiddens, Anthony and Sutton, PhilipPolity press 13­978­0­7456­4883­5   
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Sociology Matters Richard Schaefer McGraw Hill 0073528250   

Mid­term ExamA combination of short and long answer questions which will demonstrate students’ ability to identify, understand and critically discuss the concepts learned in the course and to apply them to analyzing specific cases of social problems. 15
Final ExamA combination of short and long answer questions which will demonstrate students’ ability to identify, understand and critically discuss the concepts learned in the course and to apply them to analyzing specific cases of social problems. 25
Weekly Journal Responses Due to your instructor via Moodle at 10 pm on the night after the last weekly class session (due Thursday night for this course). Personal reflections should be at least 250 words in length and focus on AT LEAST one of the week’s assigned readings, and at least one of the films or discussion themes presented in class. The goal here is NOT to summarize the readings/films but to interact with and respond to them. I am looking for genuine personal engagement: show me you are listening and thinking critically. The journals will not be graded individually, but they will each be read carefully and will be graded as a whole. Grammar and writing quality count! Think of this as a weekly written check-in with me, your course instructor. Tell me what you're thinking about in class, tell me how the reading struck you. Did anything make you angry, or comfort you? What topic this week are you still curious about? 15
Research paperStudents will write a research paper on a topic which interests them and is relevant to the course, based on AT LEAST 3 published sociological studies. The term paper will be graded based upon students’ ability to develop a realistic research question, synthesize and critically analyze the materials used and to present their own original conclusions in a logical, coherent, well­argued and unbiased manner. Students should discuss their chosen topic with the professor as early as possible in the semester and must hand in an outline (providing the research question, hypothesis, main points around which the paper is to be structured and a bibliography).20
Fieldwork ObservationThe written and oral explanation of out of class research will be graded based upon having carried out the research observation assigned in an efficient manner to be able to answer the questions involved, and on students’ ability to explain what they did, what they found and what conclusions they come to in a logical and coherent fashion. 15
Attendance and Participation10Class participation grading is based upon attendance, regular participation in class discussion, generating good questions or interesting insights to fuel class conversation.10

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course.
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

Attendance is mandatory and makes up 10% of your final grade. I will accept a maximum of three absences, after which I will detract 2% of your final grade for each absence. You cannot make-up a major exam (midterm or final) without the permission of the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office will grant such permission only when the absence was caused by a serious impediment, such as a documented illness, hospitalization or death in the immediate family (in which you must attend the funeral) or other situations of similar gravity. Absences due to other meaningful conflicts, such as job interviews, family celebrations, travel difficulties, student misunderstandings or personal convenience, will not be excused. Students who will be absent from a major exam must notify the Dean’s Office prior to that exam. Absences from class due to the observance of a religious holiday will normally be excused. Individual students who will have to miss class to observe a religious holiday should notify the instructor by the end of the Add/Drop period to make prior arrangements for making up any work that will be missed. The final exam period runs until ____________
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.



Session Focus 

Reading Assignment 

Recommended Additional Reading and Additional Assignments 

WK 1A Sept 2

Intro: What is sociology? The Sociological Imagination 

Ch 2: The Scope of Sociology / Anthony Giddens ­­­ 

Ch 1: What is Sociology For? / Richard Jenkins 

Ch 3: Private Troubles, Public issues / C Wright­Mills

Schaefer p.1-7

WK 1B Sept 4

Origins and early development of Sociology 

Weekly journal response due at 10pm.

Ch4: Human History as Class Conflict / Karl Marx 

Ch 19: The Spirit of Capitalism / Max Weber 

Schaefer p. 8­13 

WK 2A Sept 9

Contemporary Perspectives Part 1 

Ch 5: From Mechanical to Organic Solidarity / Emile Durkheim 

Schaefer p. 14­20 

WK 2B Sept 11

Contemporary Perspectives Part 2 

Weekly journal response due at 10pm.

WK 3A Sept 16

Sociological research methods and ethics 

Ch 9: Quantitative versus Qualitative Methods? / Alan Bryman 

Ch 11: Researching Individual Lives /Barbara Merrill & Linden Wes 

Schaefer p. 20­35 

WK 3B Sept 18


Weekly journal response due at 10pm.

Schaefer p. 37­53

WK 4A Sept 23

Socialization Part 1

Schaefer p. 54­61

WK 4B Sept 25

Socialization Part 2

Weekly journal response due at 10pm.

Ch 34: Presenting the self in everyday life ­ Ervin Goffman

Schaefer p. 62­71

WK 5A Sept 30

Society, Social Structure and Social Interaction

Ch 24: What is Social Stratification? / Wendy Bottero

Schaefer p. 72­82

WK 5B Oct 2

Groups and Organizations 

Weekly journal response due at 10pm.

Schaefer p. 82­95 

WK 6A Oct 7

Deviance, Crime and Social Control Part 1

Ch 44: The Normality of Deviance / Emile Durkheim

Schaefer p. 96­112

WK 6B Oct 9

Deviance, Crime and Social Control Part 2

Weekly journal response due at 10pm.

Ch 46: The Birth of the Prison ­ M. Foucault

Schaefer p. 113­124

WK 7A Oct 14

Mid-term review

WK 7B Oct 16


No weekly journal response due this week.

WK 8A Oct 21

Class and Inequality Part 1

Ch 27: The Rise, Fall and Rise of Social Class/ Rosemary Crompton

Schaefer p. 125­146

WK 8B Oct 23

Class and Inequality Part 2

Weekly journal response due at 10pm.

Schaefer p. 147­161

WK 9A Oct 28


Weekly journal response due at 10pm.

Ch 29. Life Cycle or Life Course? / Stephen Hunt

Schaefer p. 210-216

WK 9B Oct 30


WK 10A Nov 4

Race and Ethnicity Part 1

Ch 36: Hollywood's Misrepresentation of Arabs / Jack G. Shaheen

Schaefer p. 162­176

WK 10B Nov 6

Race and Ethnicity Part 2 

Deadline for research paper outlines.

Weekly journal response due at 10pm.

Ch 26: P. Hill Collins ­ intersecting inequalities 

Schaefer p.176­186 

WK 11A Nov 11

Sex, Gender and Inequality Part 1 

Ch. 25: Woman­ The Second Sex? / Simone De Beauvoir 

Schaefer p.187­197 

WK 11B Nov 13

Sex, Gender and Inequality Part 2 

Weekly journal response due at 10pm.

Ch 35: Throwing lIke a Girl / Iris Marion Young 

Schaefer p. 198-204

WK 12 A Nov 18

Students submit/present fieldwork observations 

WK 12 B Nov 20


No weekly journal response due this week.

WK 13 A Nov 25


Ch 20: The Essence of Religion / Emile Durkheim 

Marx, Karl—from Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Law

Schaefer p. 220-230 

WK 13B Nov 27

Religion part 2 

Weekly journal response due at 10pm.

Ammerman, Nancy T.—Religious Identities and Religious Institutions 

Schaefer p. 274-279 

WK 14A Dec 2

Social Change 

Ch 38: Building Virtual Communities / Howard Rheingold 

Ch 37: The Internet Galaxy / James Slevin

RECOMMENDED: Meyer Tarrow / social movement society? 

Schaefer p. 296­317

WK 14B Dec 4

Conclusions and Review 

Final papers/projects due.

Weekly journal response due at 10pm.

Final Exams week