Sociology | Introduction to Sociology
S100 | 3649 | Rob Clark


"The primary task of a useful teacher is to teach his students to
recognize 'inconvenient' facts…I believe the teacher accomplishes more
than a mere intellectual task if he compels his audience to accustom
itself to the existence of such facts"-Max Weber

In this course, the accomplishment of such a difficult task requires
that I introduce you to what C. Wright Mills has called "the
sociological imagination."  While our society is accustomed to
attributing an individual's behavior to personal defects or virtues,
our goal will be to challenge this tendency by understanding
individuals through the particular social environment from which they
emerge.  By adopting this "sociological imagination" throughout the
course, we will be better equipped to understand inequality as it
persists along the lines of age, class, race, gender, and sexual
orientation, in the United States, as well as at the global level.
Furthermore, we will explore the social institutions that construct,
organize, and distribute societal resources, in the form of: goods and
services, norms and sanctions, values and beliefs, as well as the
knowledge and ideas that all play a part in shaping individuals.
Finally, we will also examine the many ways in which society has
changed in accomplishing this mission, from our premodern roots,
through the days of rational modernity, up to today's unsettling
postmodern world.

Overall, I hope to get you to view the world from a different
perspective than the one with which you are probably familiar.  By the
end of the course, you should be able to:

(1)  use your sociological imagination to reinterpret individual
problems as social
issues
(2)  realize that sometimes your own personal experiences and
observations may vary with general social patterns found throughout
the rest of society, and finally,
(3)  view your world not as fixed and natural, but as a social
construction, a product of human beings that is capable of being
altered.