Fall 2004
M,T,Th 11-11:50, Maxey 310

Instructor: Dr. Michelle Janning
Office: 227 Maxey
Phone: 527-4952
E-mail: janninmy@whitman.edu
Office Hours: Tuesdays 9-10:30 a.m.; Wednesdays 9-10:30 a.m.; and by appointment

What is sociology?
Sociology is the study of human group behavior, to put it simply. But it is more complex than that. This semester, we will take a whirlwind tour of many facets of sociology, from examining how we as individuals fit into society and its institutions, to explaining how people or groups can be deviant or create problems in society. While it may seem as if we jump quickly from topic to topic, the whole picture that emerges by the end of the semester should give you a pretty good glimpse into sociology as a discipline -- its theories, concepts, and methods.

What do I get to read?
Understanding Society: An Introductory Reader, 2nd edition. Edited by Andersen, Logio, & Taylor. Make sure you purchase the 2nd edition, not the 1st edition.
Taking the Field: Women, Men, and Sports. By Michael Messner.
The Time Bind. By Arlie Russell Hochschild.
Code of the Street. By Elijah Anderson
All books are available in the bookstore.

What am I expected to learn in this class?
By the end of this course, I expect you to be able to:
1. Understand and describe sociology as a discipline; that is, to describe what sociologists do and explain why it is important.
2. Analyze the world sociologically, both broadly and in everyday life; that is, to utilize sociological theories and concepts to interpret the world, and to employ sociological methods in doing so.
3. Understand yourself better by examining your own life and experience using a sociological perspective and "the sociological imagination."

How do my professor and I talk to each other?
Always feel free to e-mail (janninmy) or call (x4952) me about anything concerning the course, and I will do the same. Please visit me during office hours or set up an appointment. I sometimes send messages about my classes via e-mail class ListServ, including reminders, assignment modifications, and syllabus changes (for which you are responsible)-- so read your e-mail!

How will I be evaluated in this class?
Evaluation of students will come from the course requirements listed below. Students will be notified by mid-semester or thereafter if they are receiving a D or F, but any student at any time can come and see me to discuss progress.

Should I give feedback to my professor?
Feel free to provide comments at any time to me on how you think the course is going: what needs improving, what needs more emphasis, how the course is set-up, any special needs you may have, etc. This will provide you a voice to determine what you get out of the class.

How do I get Reserve items from Penrose Library?
Sometimes in this class I will put required articles or optional books on reserve. This means that the library main desk will have several copies of a book, chapter, or article that you may check out for a limited amount of time (usually two hours) to read or photocopy. When you need one of these items, go to the main desk in the library, ask for it by title (Principles of Sociology), course number (Sociology 117), and/or by instructor's name (Janning). Note that you will need to do this in the first class unit. Keep in mind that there are over 40 students in this class, so read and photocopy early!

What happens if I turn in a paper late?
For every day a paper is late, beginning just after the time it is due, I take off 2% (out of 100%). Often, it is worth losing 2 percentage points if it means you will be turning in a more polished paper a day late. You decide what would work best for you. For those of you on the opposite end of the "turning-things-on-time" spectrum, I'll gladly accept and make comments on drafts of papers at least 72 hours (that's 3 full days) before the due date. I am unable to read drafts carefully enough unless they are given to me according to that timeframe, so please don't ask.

What are my course requirements?
1. Research Poster Project [done in sections] (300 points)
2. Sociological Autobiography (200 points)
3. Midterm exam (150 points) and Final exam (200 points)
4. In-Class (150 points)
Total points: 1,000

At the end of the semester, how can I tell what grade I will get?

930-1000 points= A
880-899 = B+
800-829 = B-
730-779 = C
600-699 = D
900-929 = A-
830-879 = B
780-799 = C+
700-729 = C-
599 and below = F

Can you tell me more about all of these exciting course requirements?*

Research Poster Project (300 points total)
This semester you will be doing a large project that is based on both individual and group efforts. After individually writing a literature review on a chosen topic, you will conduct original research with a group on that topic (in the form of surveys), analyze the data, and present a write-up (in poster form) to the class on one of the last class days. To begin, you will write an individual literature review and set of potential survey questions on a topic that will be arranged with Professor Janning. Then, all of the other students writing about the same topic will meet with you and you will begin your group work on data collection, analysis, and poster write-up. While working in groups has its drawbacks, the desired goal of completing empirical research in one semester requires collaborative efforts. Plus, there's plenty of the grade that is based on your individual work, so fear not! Here's how the total of 300 points breaks down:
Individual Literature Review and Survey Questions: 150 points
Group Poster: 100 points
Poster Presentation (individually graded, and includes attendance at all poster presentation dates): 50 points

Each group will consist of 4 students. The survey data will be collected as a class (each group will have a few items on a longer survey). The survey respondents will most likely be our class, and/or perhaps one or two other introductory classes. There will be ten general topics from which to choose. More details will follow as each step is introduced.

Sociological Autobiography (200 points): This 3-4 page assignment will present an opportunity to see how you see yourself within society, how, as C. Wright Mills put it, your biography fits in with history. You will complete 1 out of 3 possible assignments, with due dates noted below in the course schedule. A handout describing these assignments will be given to you. Decide early on which one you will do, and mark it in your calendars. It's always better to get done early. Re-writes will not be allowed.

Midterm exam (150 points) and Final exam (200 points): A midterm exam is scheduled for October 26th. A Final exam, scheduled for December 17th at 9 a.m., will cover material from classes after the midterm. Exam format will be a combination of objective components and essay questions. Exams may not be made up if missed, unless there is a college-approved excuse.

In-Class (150 points): Class participation -- do it. Your grade will be much better if you do... This includes attendance (tell me if you're going to be absent; if I notice you're absent often, I reserve the right to subtract points from your final participation grade -- most likely one letter grade for each absence after 3 unexcused). This also includes active listening and engagement in class discussions, participation within and/or outside of class (via e-mail or office visits -- for those of you who prefer to be less vocal in class), making productive comments that are not tangential, being prepared if called upon, and various in-class assignments and small group tasks. You will get an A in participation if: you don't have more than 3 unexcused absences, you actively speak in class (or meet with me outside of class or via e-mail to discuss things), you respect other students' opinions, you actively listen and do not dominate discussion, you show a genuine interest in the subject matter, you complete all in-class/small writing assignments and small group work effectively and well. Be exceptional in all of these areas, and you'll do fine in terms of participation. Be less than exceptional, and your grade will reflect that accordingly. Even if you are rarely absent and regularly listen attentively -- if you rarely or never make productive comments in our large-class discussions, rarely or never e-mail or meet with me to discuss concepts in place of large-class participation, and only participate when you are in a small group, do not expect higher than a B in participation. In class, please respect others' voices and present your views productively in order to make this class interesting, engaging, and intellectual. Part of the participation grade will be:

  • Reading Summaries/Presentations: We will be reading 3 books besides selections from Understanding Society, two of which are Anderson's Code of the Street and Hochschild's The Time Bind. With these books, one day will be devoted to discussing large portions of reading. These multiple chapters will be divided among you, so that you're not inundated with too much reading. For these lengthier reading assignments, students will work in small groups to present the material to classmates in both written and oral form. In these cases, you will not be responsible for reading the other chapters, although you may be tested on material that is discussed in class about those chapters. More details will follow.

*General grading criteria for all writing assignments include items such as: turned in on time, typed and formatted correctly, includes all necessary components of assignment, is written sociologically, has correct spelling and grammar, shows insight, creativity, and ability to make sociological connections.

Course Schedule

Readings found in the Understanding Society Reader are listed by author last name and article title in quotes; reserve items are noted as such; books are listed by author last name and book title. Assignments are italicized and bold.

Introduction to Sociological Concepts, Methods and Classical Theories

Tuesday 8/31

Thursday 9/2
Mills "The Sociological Imagination"; Lambert, Kahn & Apple "Pluralistic Ignorance and Hooking Up"

Monday 9/6
Reserve reading: Kanagy & Kraybill

T 9/7
Schuman "Sense and Nonsense about Surveys"; Orenstein "School Girls"

Th 9/9
Kaplan "Not our Kind of Girl"; Schulz "Navajo Women and the Politics of Identity"; Hays "Studying the Quagmire of Welfare Reform"; Hardey "Life Beyond the Screen: Embodiment and Identity Through the Internet"

M 9/13
Reserve reading: Lindsey & Beach

T 9/14
Durkheim "The Functions of Crime"; Marx & Engels "The Communist Manifesto"

Th 9/16
Weber "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism"; Goffman "The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life"

M 9/20
Information Literacy -- no readings

T 9/21
Information Literacy -- no readings

Gender, Sports, and Bodies

Th 9/23
Anderson "The Social Construction of Gender"; Messner "The Politics of Masculinities"; Kimmel "Masculinity as Homophobia"

M 9/27
Messner Taking the Field Introduction and ch. 1; Zones "Beauty Myths and Realities and Their Impact on Women's Health"
Topic Chosen for Poster Research Project

T 9/28
Messner Taking the Field ch. 2

Th 9/30
Messner Taking the Field chs. 3 & 4

M 10/4
Messner Taking the Field ch. 5; Reserve reading: Christopherson, Janning, and McConnell

Inequalities and Social Interaction

T 10/5
Shapiro "Great Divides"; Gallagher "Color-Blind Privilege: The Social and Political Functions of Erasing the Color Line in Post Race America"
Autobiography #1 due

Th 10/7
Massey & Denton "American Apartheid"; Anderson Code of the Street Introduction

M 10/11 & T 10/12 Fall Break

Th 10/14
Anderson Code of the Street chs. 1-3

M 10/18
Anderson Code of the Street One Chapter from chs. 4-7
Literature review and survey items done (individual assignment for the poster project)

T 10/19
Anderson Code of the Street Conclusion

Th 10/21
Assignment workshop: meet in topic groups and decide on focused topic and survey items

M 10/25
Assignment workshop, cont./review for midterm exam
Autobiography #2 due

T 10/26
Midterm exam

Intersections of Societal Institutions

Th 10/28
Garey "Weaving Work and Motherhood"; Clawson & Gerstel "Caring for our Young: Child Care in Europe and the United States"; Hochschild The Time Bind Introduction

M 11/1
Hochschild The Time Bind Introduction and chs. 1-4

T 11/2
Hochschild The Time Bind One Chapter from chs. 5-13 (maybe cut out chs. 9-13?)

Th 11/4
Hochschild The Time Bind chs. 14-16

Groups and Relationships

M 11/8
Adler & Adler "Clique Dynamics"; Erickson "Social Networks: The Value of Variety"

T 11/9
Vaughan "The Long Goodbye"; Arendell "Divorce and Remarriage"
Autobiography #3 due

Th 11/11
Coltrane "Family Rituals and the Construction of Reality"

Social Change

M 11/15
Alwin "Generations X, Y, and Z: Are they Changing America?"

T 11/16
Chaves & Hagaman "Abiding Faith"; Blauner "Death and Social Structure"

Th 11/18
Ritzer "September 11, 2001: Mass Murder and its Roots in the Symbolism of American Consumer Culture"; Barber "Jihad vs. McWorld"

M 11/29
No reading assignment

T 11/30
Workshop day

Th 12/2
Workshop day

M 12/6
Poster Presentations Due (1/2 the class)

T 12/7
Poster Presentations Due (1/2 the class)

Th 12/9
Review for Final Exam

Final Exam Friday, 12/17 9-11 a.m.