Sociology | Introduction to Sociology
S100 | 20992 | Garnier
One of my goals this semester is to increase your understanding of
the social world in which you live. I will emphasize globalization,
i.e. the process that is increasing the connections between the
United States and other countries. Whether this course
contributes to your intellectual development ultimately depends on
you. I will point out the practical relevance of some of the issues
we will discuss in class, but I cannot determine what will be
relevant to you. You are the only person able to determine which
aspect of the course speaks to your concerns and interests, be they
practical or intellectual. I can facilitate the process, in class
and during informal conversations, but what you learn in this course
is determined mostly by you. I will stress analysis (breaking down a
situation into its component parts) and methods (how do we know). I
will have numerous occasions to indicate how sociology relates to
other disciplines, particularly history, psychology and economics.
On occasion, we will touch on issues of ethics, philosophy, and
literature. My intent is that, at the end of the semester, you will
possess an understanding of American society that will be far more
sophisticated than the one you currently possess.
The course will consist of lectures and discussions (it is entirely
possible to have discussions in a large class. There will be
frequent “practice opportunities” (in class, sometimes at the
beginning, sometimes at the end). The opportunities are designed to
determine whether you have learned the material and can use it.
We will meet once a week and use the time to explore the week’s topic
in greater depth. For example, we will examine the impact population
growth in the third world will have on natural resources, or the
implications of the wealth and income distribution in the US for a
democratic form of government. An essay will be due every other
week. These essays will provide the material for class discussion.
There will also be an opportunity to carry out some independent
research on a topic of your choice. The problem will have to be
fairly narrowly defined so as to be researchable, you will gather
evidence, present it, explain what it shows and come to a conclusion.
This relatively short paper (5 pages?) can rely on historical,
demographic, surveys carried out by a polling organization, your own
observations or any other type of evidence commonly used by
sociologists. Examinations for members of this section will be
There will be four short examinations, requiring about 15 minutes.
Short examinations follow a review of what has been covered since the
last test. In addition, there will be three regular examinations,
and a final. Each examination pertains to materials since the last
one. The final includes questions from the entire semester. There
are no make-ups for missed exams, except in the case of documented
Andersen, Margaret L. and Howard F. Taylor. 2000. Sociology.
Understanding a Diverse Society. Wadsworth. 3d edition.
Kozol, Johathan. 1991. Savage Inequalities: Children in America's
Schools. New York: Crown Publishers.