Sociology | Topics in Social Psychology
S431 | 21044 | Eder

Topic:   Race, Class & Gender


The focus of the first half of the course will be on adolescents in
schools and at work. We will begin the course by examining how
adolescence is shaped by experiences both in middle school and high
Here we will consider the formation of cliques, social stratification
within schools, the influence of extracurricular activities, and
school violence.  We will then turn to the topic of youth as
workers.  Here we will consider the types of work environments youth
are typically employed in and how they might be modified to produce
fairer working conditions.   We will also look at the role and nature
of volunteer work.

The focus of the second half of the course will be on youth
subcultures and social identities.  After a general introduction to
subcultures, we will examine how subcultures shape and are shaped by
gender, sexuality, and media.  We will then focus on ethnic
subcultures and identities, considering issues of resistance to
mainstream culture, bicultural identities, and interracial
subcultures.  We will finish this section of the course by looking at
the role of peers and youth leaders as agents of social change.

Course Requirements:

Students will be asked to write two 3-5 page reflection papers.  The
first one will be on the theme of school environments and how they
might be structured to promote better experiences for youth.  The
second one will consist of a reflection on a youth subculture that
influenced your life, exploring the role media, school, friends,
and/or adults on that subculture.  Students will do one major project
for the class which can be an empirical research paper, a library
research paper or a service-learning project.  In the first case,
group projects will be encouraged but not required.  Most students
will be asked to give a short presentation on their project at the
end of the course.

There will also be two in-class essay exams with review questions
provided prior to the exam.  Because this class will be primarily
discussion it is essential that you prepare for class by doing the
readings assigned that week as well as bringing your questions about
the readings to class on selected occasions.