Sociology | Topics in Social Organization
S410 | 3905 | Althauser

S410:  Topics in Social Organization (3 CR)
Topic:  Y2K:  Will the Millenium Bug Byte
3905 2:30-3:45 MW   BH 205

>From the spread of cell phones to email and the Web, from
microprocessor-controlled carengines
to Global Positioning Satellites, we have grown accustomed to
technology advancing the quality of  our lives.  But what if
some major pieces of this taken-for-granted technology-driven
reality came unglued for a while?

In this course, teams of students will adopt one or more focus
areas and become responsible for
* compiling a variety of sources of information on this topic
* collecting and critically reviewing new information, from
local interviews, observations of public meetings, etc.
* preparing informative materials for presentations, over the
course Web site, in-class and potentially at public forums.

Materials compiled would be of the following sorts:
A:  those related to understanding how the society and economy
has worked while using components of Y2K sensitive technology
and therefore estimating how well they work if these components
are not updated.
B:  those related to individual and community preparation for
various degrees of possible disruption in normal life.
C:  those related to the political sociology of the organized
response to the Y2K problem, e.g., the various and perhaps
conflicting interests of government agencies, private sector
groups (Red Cross, Salvation Army), religious congregations,
businesses, and individuals self-recruited from preexisting
environmental and/or social actions groups.

1) some previously published readings to be selected
2) assigned news sources, to be monitored on an on-going basis,
e.g., Wall Street Journal, New York Times, other selected and
relevant publications.
3) Class attendance and participation.
4) Significant out-of-class research activity, resulting in
updates to the class and brief reports, presented in a range of
formats: oral presentations, written reports and Web posted
html files.

This course MAY be taken as a COAS intensive writing course, as
individual students elect.  Contrary to the forthcoming
Schedule of  Classes, it MAY also be taken for graduate credit
by students outside of the Sociology department.

A more complete course description and (over time) additional
information about the course can be found at the course