SOC 1100-06

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Introduction to Sociology

Spring Semester 2013

SOC 1100-06

Inver Hills Community College

Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota 55076

Credits: 4  Semester credits: Goals 5 and 9 of the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (see course catalog).

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday:10:30am to 11:40am, Fine Arts Building Room 280 (1/14/2013 to 05/15/2013)

Instructor: David A. Berger              E mail:

Office: 214 Activities Building, Inver Hills Community College

Phone: (651) 450-3545  (Voice mail available )

Office Hours: Monday and Wednesday 1 to 3pm, Friday 1pm to 2pm, and by appointment (If I am not in my office, check the copy room in the College Center Annex or the classroom).

TEXTS:  Society: The Basics by Macionis, 12th Edition (Other editions might work…see me)

               Down  to Earth Sociology by James M. Henslin, 14th Edition, Free Press, NY .

             The Freedom Writers Diary  by with Erin Gruwell 1999 (Best Seller)               


      There are TWO basic objectives of this class.  First, this course will introduce class members to the broad discipline of Sociology.  We will learn about sociological theories, research methods,  basic concepts, and terminology.    Second, in order to understand how personalities interact to create social groups and societies, we must also promote empowerment of the students by encouraging the development of democratic behaviors and values. To this end, we will share some of the powers that are traditionally reserved for the instructor.  We shall create a quai-representative democracy complete with executive (the teacher) and legislative (the students) components.  The four standing committees are Topics, Writing, Testing, and Participation. This syllabus was created jointly by the students and the instructor the first day of class.  Note that there was a partial veto on the writing committee. The instructor needed to reduce the number of papers from 3 to 2 due to the requirements of the LCOM (see below).

Nine sub goals that support the two class objectives:

This course, in concert with the rest of your college education, should help you to develop the ability to…

Think critically                                       Have respect for others                       Be dependable

Solve complex problems                        Act in a principled manner                  Be able to adapt to change

Read, write, and speak effectively          Engage in life-long learning                Live in a community           

LEARNING COMMUNITY:  About half of the students in this course are also in the EAP Learning community.  These students are taking a combination of EAP 99-01, READ 93-01, and SOC 1100-06. Included in this learning community is a Structured Learning Assistance (SLA).  Woubejig Shiferaw is the facilitator for the SLA section.  Learning Community students are required to attend SLA.  However, all

Students are welcome at these sessions.  These study sessions really help improve student retention and performance.  I highly recommend Woubejig Shiferaw as an invaluable facilitator.  Her class meets MWF from 9 to 9:50am in FA292.  Laura Funke and Kim Elvecrog are also superior instructors and the LCOM students are very fortunate to have them. 


1) While the syllabus forms the foundation of our course, changes in ANYTHING are possible during the semester (except NO EXTRA CREDIT).  Any class member may initiate a change during the semester.  To get an issue on the ballot, a member must go to the appropriate committee with a written proposal (the petition form is attached to this syllabus).  If the majority of the committee approves that the change can be looked at by the entire class, the class as a whole will discuss it and then vote on it.  If a majority of class members then vote in favor of the change, it will take effect.  Proposals can involve class location, breaks, test formats, etc.  This is your chance to have input into your education.  The instructor has the same rights as a class member.  This means that he must go through the same committee process if he wishes to change something in this syllabus.  An issue that dies in committee can only be revived by a 2/3rds majority class vote.  A petition form is be attached to this syllabus.

2) If a class decision CLEARLY violates school policy or the integrity of the learning environment, the instructor may have to modify or veto the change.  In such an event, a full explanation will be given to the membership.

3) Votes involving the entire class membership will occur only after a period of discussion (speakers pro/con).  Class members SHOULD, at any time, challenge or contribute to class discussions and/or lectures.  To give everyone a fair chance to present their opinions, we need to give polite consideration to each speaker.

Democracy must be learned in our everyday life if we are expected to participate fully in a democratic republic.

While freedom of speech will be our foundation, speech that violates another’s rights will not be tolerated (no harassment, hate speech, or racism is acceptable).

4) The four committees will meet whenever there is a petition that they must entertain or when a majority of committee members call for a meeting or when Dave asks them to meet to consider a proposal.  Some committees may never meet again, while some committees may meet more than a few times.


Week of                                         TOPICS                                              READING ASSIGNMENT

January 14, 2013              Touchie-feely:  First Day Rituals                 Read Prefaces to all books

                                                What is Sociology?                                 Chapter 1 Macionis;

                                                                                                                Articles #1, #2, & #3 Henslin

                CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION TO CREATE THIS SYLLABUS                                          

January 21, 2013               The Sociological Imagination                      Articles  #4, #5 Henslin

                                                 -Biography and History                           

January 28, 2013                Sociological Theories                                 Theory section in Henslin

                                             -Functionalism    -Conflict Theory                (Intro to Section II) pp29-34

                                             -Symbolic Interaction   -Social Exchange Theory    Review Macionis Ch. 1

                                          Theory Groups on Wal-Mart                     Chapter 2 Macionis

                                               - Video Clip                                             #6 Henslin

                                                -Push Vs. Pull Market                         

                                        Begin Sociological Research Methods           

February 1, 2013             Research Methodology   (Continued)             Chapter 5 Macionis

February 4, 2013                   -Garbology (Sociology of Garbage)            Article  #7 Henslin

February 6, 2013           Education: Social Structure                                    Chapter 14 Macionis

                                              -Traditional Vs. Interactive Education               Article #39  Henslin 

February 11, 2013          Quiz #1:  Maximum 30 mins at the end of the hour (30 points)

                                        First Finish Education and Introduce Culture        

February 13, 2013              CULTURE                                                  Articles #8, #9, #10 Henslin

February 15, 2013               -Materialism & Super Consumerism     Chapter 2   Macionis (review)



February 18, 2013              President’s Day Holiday          NO CLASS    

 Wednesday, February 20, 2013         EXAM #1    Covers all the material above 

NO CLASS on Friday, February 22, 2013 due to Teacher Training Day

February 25, 2013                     SOCIALIZATION  &                             Chapters 3 & 4  Macionis

                                                SOCIAL INTERACTION                      Articles  #11, #12, #13, & #41 Henslin

March 4, 2013                    Gender Role Socialization (SEX AND GENDER)  Chapter 10  Macionis

                                             Women & Men                                               Articles  #14, #16, #17, #19 

                                              WOMEN’s RIGHTS                                  Freedom Writers  Foreward

                                                                                                                      And pages 1 thru 46

March 6, 2013              Written Assignment #1 Due:   on Front page Headline Project

                                 See attached assignment sheet

March 9-17                     SPRING BREAK                               NO SCHOOL

March 18, 2013                   DEVIANCE                                                      Chapter 7 Macionis                        

                                            -Gangs: Violence and the Community        Articles #23, #24, #25, #26, #27

                                            -Con Artist Subcultures                                  Freedom Writers  47-100

March 25, 2013                Social Control /War/Terrorism                      Henslin articles #20,  #22,  #42

                                                 THE SCHOOL OF THE AMERICAS                Macionis pp. 292-293

                                                  -W.H.I.S.C.                                                Freedom Writers  pp. 101-150

March 29, 2013          Quiz #2:  Maximum 30 mins at the end of the hour (30 points)

                                                      First finish Social Control Topic 

April 1, 2013                   Religion: The Sacred Vs. The Profane       Macionis Chapter 13

                                            -RELIGIOUS TENSION                                   Henslin article  #43

                                                                                                                      Freedom Writers pp. 151-200

Friday, April 5, 2013           EXAM #2 (100 Points) Covers the material from February 25-April 3, 2013

April 8, 2013                   Inequality: Race and Ethnicity Relations        Chapter 11 Macionis                                               

                                                          -RACISM                                          Henslin #30 & #31

April 15, 2013                SOCIAL CHANGE:   SOCIAL MOVEMENTS  Henslin #45 #15 #28, #29 

                                                 & COLLECTIVE BEHAVIORS                      Macionis Ch. 16 

                                                   -Rumor Transmission and Riots               Freedom Writers pp. 200-251

                                                   -THE MEDIA; Sociology of Film:  Horror Films

NO CLASS on Friday,  April 19, 2013 due to Teacher Training Day

April 22, 2013                    THE ECONOMY : MEDIA          Articles  #33,  #34, #35, #36, #39, #44

                                          -    Work and Work Organization                      Macionis Chapter  12   

                                          -     Entertainment, Reality TV, Vs. News: Local Vs. Global

                                          -     SPORTS  and the Business of SPORTS                                                                              

April 29, 2013              Inequality: Social Classes & Castes        Chapters 8 and 9 Macionis

                                             -Stratification and Inequality                      Articles #18, 21, 32  Henslin   

                                           Cultural differences: Poverty

May 1, 2013               Quiz #3:  Maximum 30 mins at the end of the hour (40 points)

                                                      First finish Social Control Topic 

May 6, 2013                 FAMILY:  Adoption, Foster Homes, etc           Macionis Chapter 6 and 15

                                             -Relationships                                                Articles  #37, #40 Henslin

May 6, 2013              Written Assignment #2 Due:   on FREEDOM WRITER’s Diary   

                                 See attached assignment sheet

Wednesday, May 8, 2013      EXAM #3 (100 Points) Covers the material from April 3, 2013- May 8, 2013

+Schedule subject to change by topics committee action and class vote. 


     There will be two papers (see attached assignment sheet for assignments #1 and #2) each worth 150 points (300 points total this section or 30 percent of your course grade).  

Paper #                                   Due Date                                       Topic                                    Points

1                                         March 6, 2013                          Frontpage/Headline Paper         150 points

2                                         May 6, 2013                             Freedom Writers Diary              150 points

Policy on Plagiarism/Cheating:  For cheating and plagiarism 0 points on that paper.

Policy on Late Papers: “The paper drops 10 percent (15 points) each day it is late up to one week.”                 DO NOT skip class to type your paper!!!!

Please type assignments.  Please start reading the Freedom Writer’s book now and take notes on Erin Gruwell and her relationship with her students. Attached is the assignment sheet for assignments #1 and  #2.

These assignments will be graded on completeness, clarity, and understanding.  Make sure you fully and clearly answer the questions from the assignment sheets and the requested writing format.


There will be THREE EXAMS (100 points each) and THREE QUIZZES (30, 30, and 40 points each) for a total of 400 points for testing.   All exams and quizzes are a combination of multile choice and short essay.  Most of the short essay will come from articles in the Thio reader.  For every quiz and exam each student will be allowed to individually create a cheat sheet for use during the testing (8 & ½ by 11, both sides, no photocopies).  These cheat sheets must be unique and individually created with no photocopying (including the books). Finally, students can file challenge forms after the exam to attempt to  show that their answer was equally valid.  Exams will not be on the same day that papers are due.

   Policy on Plagiarism: You will receive a zero for cheating on the exam. The second time you cheat you are out of the class. Policy on missed exams: You have one week to make up the test unless there is an emergency (no penalty if an emergency occurs).  Please discuss the make up with the instructor before test day. If you do not notify the instructor you will lose 10 percent per day up to the week.

     #                 DATE                          Percentage Points        Type of Exam                                       

Quiz #1           February 11, 2013                 30 points             In-class with cheat sheet

Exam #1         February 20, 2013               100 points             In-class with cheat sheet

Quiz #2          March 29, 2013                       30 points            In-class with cheat sheet

Exam #2         April 5, 2013                        100 points            In-class with cheat sheet

Quiz #3           May 1, 2013                           40 points            In-class with cheat sheet

Exam #3         May 8, 2013                        100 points              In-class with cheat sheet


     This is not a lecture course!!!!!  Discussion, role plays, small group activities, music and video clips are included in this class to get you to practically apply the concepts that you learn.  This is a "hands on" course.   Do Not take this course if you wish a pure lecture course.  You will get very involved with speaking, listening, and doing.  There will be note taking at times (since a minimal amount of lecturing is necessary).   The Participation Committee has broken down the points for participation in the following manner:

150 points for attendance and 150 points for direct participation including small groups; speaking in class; listening; sharing notes; being polite; awareness in class, and being supportive of others. 300 points total for participation or 30 percent of your course grade.   Points will be deducted if lateness or attendance becomes a pattern. Please leave the room if you need to text message.  No lap top computers are allowed unless you get permission from the instructor and vow only to take notes.

 School policy: if a student misses two consecutive weeks without an acceptable excuse, they can be dropped from the course (See student hand book).  Emergencies happen and we will make allowances for them.


     Grades are based on what you earn from your 3 tests and 3 quizzes (400 points), 2 papers (300 points),  and participation (300 points).  A maximum of 1,000 points/percent is possible.  I will not be using a curve to assign grades;  they will be determined in this way:


                      Grade                   %

                          A                     900

                          B                     800

                          C                     700

                          D                     600

                          F                     599 or Below


If you want changes to this syllabus, fill out the attached petition and give it to a member of the committee that the change would come under.  The appropriate committee will decide if the entire class should vote on your proposed change.

Introduction to Sociology   SOC 1100-06                                                                                                                   Assignment #1

“Front Page Headline Assignment"                                                                                        

   Rough Draft Due: Monday, February 25, 2013

FINAL DRAFT DUE: Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Sociology 1100-06 and EAP 99-01


Major American (and some international) news stories over the last 50 years are displayed in your sociology classroom.  These news stories provide an opportunity for you to do some sociological research by choosing one of the events and analyzing it using your sociological imagination.  For this assignment, you will work with a partner to choose an event, analyze the event and how the event was portrayed in the newspaper, and interview others who lived through it about their memories and interpretations of the event.    


Writing Objectives—

 Sociology Objectives—


You need to include the following information in your essay:

4) How has your understanding of the event changed between the moment you heard about it and the current time?  What, in your life experience or your understanding of the event, changed your perspective?

Apply your sociological imaginations again to describe the patterns you discover in the responses of the interviewees.  Overall, how did these people as a whole feel about this news event and how did it affect their world views? 

Steps in the Process and Due Dates

  1. Work with your partner (determined by your sociology instructor) to identify the event that you would like to analyze.  Choose an event that is of interest to both of you.  All groups must choose different events, and Dave will choose the order for picking events. 
  2. Locate three additional sources of information about the event that were written at the time of the event (no more than two weeks beyond the date of the event).  These sources can include newspaper articles, magazine articles, or tv/radio coverage of the event.  This will provide some background information about the event that will help you to complete the required summary section of your paper. 
  3. Determine whom you would like to interview for the assignment.  You and your partner must complete three interviews total.  Each partner must interview at least one person. Take notes during the interview or with the person’s permission record the interview with a digital device. If you record the interview you must listen to the recording later and take notes from it.  Original notes from the interviews will be turned in with this assignment.  Interviews must be completed by 2/18.
  4. Complete the first draft of your essay.  The first draft will be reviewed by your sociology instructor or, if you are taking the Learning Community, your English instructor.  First drafts are due 2/25.
  5. Submit your final draft.  The final draft is due on 3/6. 


Written Assignment #2

Analysis of Freedom Writers Diary: Essay Paper

Introduction to Sociology 1100-01

150 Points

Due: Monday, May 6, 2013


In this assignment you will be applying the concept of the Sociological Imagination to the situation described by Erin Gruwell and her students in the Freedom Writers Diary. This book provides many examples of students who are facing a wide variety of “private troubles.”  At the same time, these students develop an ability to see how their personal problems are related to “public issues.  Both the concept of “private troubles” and “public issues” are described in article #3 in the Henslin book, “The Promise” by C. Wright Mills.  Erin Gruwell uses some thoughtful and creative strategies to help her students develop an understanding of the Sociological Imagination.   In your essay, then, please address the following questions:

How does Ms. Gruwell help her students to see that their private troubles are also public issues?  How does she help them avoid “getting trapped” so that they are able to overcome those barriers?  Provide four examples of how Ms. Gruwell used teaching techniques, events, books, or speakers to get her students to develop their sociological imaginations.  Be very specific and reference which pages/journal entries you are using.

Organization and formatting

-         You should structure this essay using a traditional format, including an introduction with a thesis statement (main idea sentence), focused body paragraphs, and a conclusion. 

-         In the body of the essay, you should provide specific examples from the book to support your ideas. 

-         If you use any quotations from the book, you must include quotation marks around those sentences as well as a citation (page number in parentheses).

Evaluation/Assessment:  Your essay will be evaluated based upon your fulfillment of the requirements listed above.  I will give special weight to the strength of the examples you use to show how Erin Gruwell instilled a sense of the Sociological Imagination in her students.  I will also be looking for your level of understanding of the Sociological Imagination and how it applies to these students.  Make sure you provide four different examples with specifics from the journal entries in this book.

Articles in Henslin Book:

Introduction to Sociology

Reading Guide

As you read each article in the Henslin reader (Down to Earth Sociology) take notes that answer the three questions listed below.  At least 1/3rd of all exam questions will come from these study guide questions.

1) What are the Main points or research conclusions for this article?  (Make sure you have evidence from the article).

2) What research design did they use to collect the data?  (Again, make sure you have evidence from the article).  Note that we will first discuss these research methods towards the beginning of this course.  In addition, we will apply these designs throughout the semester and on every exam.  The Macionis text (Society: The Basics)  gives a brief introduction to these research designs in chapter one.  Below is a list of research designs/methodologies.

      -Survey Research (questionnaires, random scientific sample, inferential)

      -In-depth Interviews (notes, transcripts, recordings)

      -Experiments (Establish Causal Link)



      -Content Analysis (Artifacts/ “text”)

      -Secondary analysis/existing sources

      -Participant Observation/ Ethnographic study

      -Archival/Library Research

      -Clinical Research

      -Evaluation Research

3) Which theoretical perspective does the author use the most?  (Evidence must be given from the article showing the theory or theories applied by the author). Note that we will first discuss these theoretical perspectives towards the beginning of this course.  In addition, we will apply these theories throughout the semester and on every exam. The Macionis text (Society: The Basics) gives a brief introduction to these theories in chapter one.  These theories are also described in the Henslin book in the section labeled “Part II” between article #3 “The Promise” and article #4 “How Sociologists do Research.”

       -Functional Theory  (a.k.a. Structural-Functional Theory)

       -Conflict Theory   (a.k.a. Social-Conflict Approach)

       -Symbolic Interaction (a.k.a. “Chicago School” Theory)

       -Social Exchange Theory (a.k.a. “Rational-Choice Theory)     


I petition that the following proposal be placed on a ballot before our entire class membership:


























Turn this form into the appropriate committee as soon as possible.  Given time limitations, votes may have to be postponed until the next class period. 

Committee Action:   Forward to class____   Defeat_____

HELPFUL HINT:  Make your proposal as specific as possible and include some sort of rationale.  More of your class members will vote for something if they understand why it is needed.  Feel free to lobby your position before and after class and during breaks.