SUPA Sociology (SOC 101)

Syracuse University Sociology 101 is designed as an analytic, skills-based introduction to sociology. It emphasizes analytic reading and conceptual analysis. The approach to sociology is to view it as an empirical social science. The readings are based on empirical research studies or are review articles of research in an area of sociological investigation. It is a writing-intensive course. This course introduces C. Wright Mills’ classic notion of “the sociological imagination” and the promise of sociology; it encourages students to see and think about the social world, themselves and the relations between themselves and the social world in new ways. As the course progresses, students should obtain increasing skill in analytic reading and writing, sociological reasoning, empirical investigation and the ability to make empirical and conceptual generalizations about self and society in an increasingly global world.

By the end of the course, students will be able to develop and refine specific academic skills, including but not limited to:

  • analytical reading and comprehension of scholarly materials;
  • written expression of concepts, ideas and critical analysis.
  • oral expression of ideas and critical analysis.
  • research using online databases and the academic component of the internet; and
  • the ability to identify, comprehend and analyze essential concepts and theories used in sociology, as well as reciprocal relationships among individuals and groups.

Required Text

  • “Mapping the Social Landscape: Readings in Sociology (7th Edition)”  by Susan J. Ferguson (ISBN: 978-0-007-8026799)
  • All other reading will be available at a private Google site shared to the class upon registration.

Required Supplies

  • Three-ring binder
  • Folder

Course Format and Procedures

The course consists of a series of lectures, discussions and interactive learning strategies. There is a skills focus on critical thinking: analytic reading and reasoning; basic understanding of the theory building and research process in sociology; and the ability to make generalizations and to apply these generalizations to other social areas. There are a variety of writing assessments, from brief unit synthesis papers to a term paper. Students will also be responsible for weekly pop quizzes on the assigned readings. Basic computer skills include word-processing, electronic search for source materials, electronic mail, course website and use of the Internet. The course includes both individual and group projects.

Grading Procedures

There are pop quizzes in this course. There are seven major writing assignments, consisting of unit synthesis papers and a term paper. There are several smaller projects, such as debates, quizzes and classroom participation. Student’s final grade will be a cumulative reflection of their written work, the process by which it was accomplished and the quality of their participation in the course.

  • Weekly quiz:  Students will respond to the week’s reading by taking brief quizzes to check their reading progress. Successful completion of the readings will lead to success on the quizzes.
  • Unit synthesis paper:  Students will write a synthesis paper comparing all of the readings in each of the first six units. They are allowed to leave out one of the readings for that unit if they choose. They are to form a thesis that incorporates at least one major topic that all of the articles share, then support the thesis with information from the articles. Students who are working toward an “A” on this paper must also retrieve their own “original” article to support the thesis. Paper length should be approximately 4-8 pages, double-spaced with works cited. Students must use “in text” citations when using the articles: simple identify the author and the year they were published (Jennings, 1994).
  • Applied sociology: A student’s final paper will consist of a research project: Details in April! Form a thesis about an approved sociological topic and write a 6-10 page term paper on it. Students must have at least four sources, and one of those sources must be students’ own primary source (i.e., student must conduct interviews or questionnaires on the topic they’re studying). Student will also give a 5-minute presentation of their research findings.

Student and Parent Resources

  • Instructor is available every day after school, unless school business dictates.
  • As this is a college course, instructor encourages students to contact him via email if face to face interaction is not possible.
  • Students may also utilize resources available on the BP SUPA Sociology website.

Course Outline

Unit I: Sociological Perspectives

Week 1:

  • “Promise” C. Wright Mills (pp. 1-7, Ferguson)
  • “Teenage Wasteland: Suburbia’s Dead End Kids,” Donna Gaines (pp. 7-19, Ferguson)

Week 2:

  • “Intersection of Biography and History: My Intellectual Journey” by Mary Romero (pp. 19-33, Ferguson)
  • “The Forest, the Trees, and the One Thing,” by Allan G. Johnson (Handout/Website)

Unit II: Doing Social Research

Week 3 (Winter Break):

  • “Finding Out How The Social World Works,” by Michael Schwalbe (pp. 59-69, Ferguson)
  • “Between a Hard Rock and Postmodernism” by Kurt Borchard (Handout/Website)

Week 4:

  • “Interpersonal Dynamics in a Simulated Prison” by Craig Haney, W. Curtis Banks and Philip G. Zimbardo (pp. 69-78, Ferguson)
  • “Working at Bazooms” by Meika Loe (pp. 79-93, Ferguson)

Unit III: Culture, Groups and Social Structure

Week 5:

  • “The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things” Barry Glassner (pp. 105-113, Ferguson)
  • “Fraternities and Collegiate Rape Culture: Why are some Fraternities More Dangerous places for Women?” by Boswell and Spade (pp. 216-228, Ferguson)

Week 6:

  • “Peer Pressure: Clique Dynamics among School Children” by Patricia A. Adler and Peter Adler (pp. 179-193, Ferguson)
  • “Descent into Madness: The New Mexico State Prison Riot” by Mark Colvin (pp. 229-242, Ferguson)

Unit IV: The Power and Influence of the Media

Week 7:

  • “Media Images and the Social Construction of Reality” by William Gamson, et al. (Handout/Website)
  • “Gender in Televised Sports” by Michael Messner and Cheryl Cooky (pp. 437-453, Ferguson)

Week 8:

  • “Convergence: News production in a Digital Age” by Eric Klinenberg (pp. 423-437, Ferguson)
  • “Controlling the Media in Iraq” by Andrew M. Lindner (pp. 453-463, Ferguson)

Week 9:

  • “Animating Youth: The Disneyfication of Children’s Culture” by Henry A. Giroux (Handout/Website)
  • “Media Magic: Making Class Invisible” by Gregory Mantsios (Handout/Website)

Unit V: Self and Identity

Week 10:

  • “No Way My Boys Are Going To Be Like That” by Emily W. Kane (pp. 121-133, Ferguson)
  • “Anybody’s Son Will Do” by Gwynne Dyer (pp. 158-168, Ferguson)

Week 11:

  • “Coming Out and Crossing Over: Identity Formation and Proclamation in a Transgender Community” by Patricia Gagne, et al. (Handout/Website)
  • “Making it by Faking It: Working-Class Students in an Elite Environment” by Robert Granfield (pp. 145-157, Ferguson)

Week 12:

  • “On Being Sane in Insane Places” by David L. Rosenhan (pp. 48-58, Ferguson)
  • “Dude, You’re a Fag? Adolescent Male Homophobia” by C.J. Pascoe (pp. 315-323, Ferguson)

Week 13: Spring Break- No Readings!

Unit VI: Social Inequalities: Race, Class and Gender

Week 14:

  • “Some Principles of Stratification” by Kingsley Davis, et al. (pp. 243-252, Ferguson)
  • “The Cosmopolitan Canopy” by Elijah Anderson (pp. 631-643, Ferguson)

Week 15:

  • “Bad Boys: Public Schools in the Making of Black Masculinity” by Ann Arnett Ferguson (pp. 578-586, Ferguson)
  • “The Rise of the New Global Elite” by Chrystia Freeland (pp. 413-422, Ferguson)

Week 16:

  • “Who Rules America? The Corporate Community and the Upper Class” by William Domhoff (pp. 253-266, Ferguson)
  • “Race, Homeownership, and Wealth” by Thomas M. Shapiro (pp. 266-277, Ferguson)

Week 17:

  • “Nickel and Dimed: On(Not) Getting By in America” by Barbara Ehrenreich (pp. 278-291, Ferguson)
  • “At the Slaughterhouse, Some Things Never Die” by Charlie LeDuff (pp. 354-363, Ferguson)

Unit VII: Thinking About Social Change

Week 18:

  • “The Atrophy of Social Life” by D. Stanley Eitzen (pp. 623-630, Ferguson)
  • “The Deinstitutionalization of American Marriage” by Andrew J. Cherlin (pp. 586-598, Ferguson)

Week 19:

  • “Generations X,Y, and Z: Are they changing America?” by Duane F. Alwin (pp 644-652, Ferguson)
  • “Social Progress and Social Problems: Toward a Sociology of Gloom” by Joel Best (Handout/Website)

Week 20: Project Presentations