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Introduction to Sociology Sociology 101 • Spring 2012

Professor Wendy Christensen Office: 402 Adams Hall Contact: wchriste@bowdoin.edu or 725-3268 Office hours: Mondays 2-4pm, Wednesdays 9-11am, and by appointment

Neither the life of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both. – C. Wright Mills

That is what learning is. You suddenly understand something you've understood all your life, but in a new way. – Doris Lessing

Our individualism is made possible by our interdependence. Sociology is a scientific discipline devoted to systematically investigating and understanding this interdependence. The goal of sociologists is to understand the relationship between the individual and society, and the consequences of difference and inequality in society. Sociologists develop theories that provide insight into our lives, allowing us to better understand social order, inequality, and interaction. Our primary goal for this semester is to learn to think like sociologists by employing essential concepts, research methods and theories. To do this, we will focus on a selection of topics in sociology (it would take too long to cover every possible topic in the discipline) and use these topics to study the patterns, trends, and experiences of the social world. Part of our work for the semester is to question our common sense ideas about how the social world works, and to instead use sociological tools to develop reliable conclusions about society.

Specifically, our goals are:

To develop a sociological imagination and learn the essential terminology and assumptions central to sociology.

To understand how culture, socialization and structure impact human behavior.

To understand how sociologists examine primary institutions such as the family, the economy, and the State.

To apply the sociological perspective to the study of inequality—social class, race, and gender— and the intersections of inequality.

To apply the sociological perspective to shed new light onto your own lives, areas of study, and careers.


The following books are available for purchase at the Bowdoin Textbook Center:

Anderson, E. 2011. The Cosmopolitan Canopy: Race and Civility in Everyday Life. W. W. Norton & Co.

Kang, M. 2010. The Managed Hand: Race, Gender, and the Body in Beauty Service Work. University of California Press.

Kimmel, M. 2008. Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men. Harper Collins.

Massey, G. (Ed.) 2011. Readings for Sociology, Seventh Edition. W. W. Norton & Co.

Additional required readings are available on the library reserves website (journal articles and book selections) and on the Coursekit calendar (news and blog posts).

Readings must be completed before class on the day that they are due. If a reading is listed under Tuesday, April 5 then it must be completed before class on April 5. You will need to complete the readings the day before class in order to prepare for class discussion. You may need to read them earlier in order to contribute to the online discussion.

I reserve the right to add (and to omit) readings during the course of the semester. I will always let you know the week before if I am making any changes to the readings.

How to get in touch with me: Email is a great way to reach me with any questions. I will respond to your email within 24 hours. You are strongly encouraged to come to office hours at least once during the semester, or make an appointment to see me at another time. If my office door is open at any other time, you’re welcome to stop by.



(1) Weekly Online Discussion Participation: Beginning Week 2 of the semester, each student is expected to participate in the discussion on Coursekit (www.coursekit.com) at least once before the end of the day on Friday.

What counts as a post?

! A question, informed by the class material (readings, lectures), that you would like to pose to the class.

! An answer, informed by the class material, to the professor’s question, or to another student’s question.

! A link to a news article, blog post, image, video etc. that is related to that week’s material, and a brief description of why it is related.

What does not count as a post?

! Anything that is too brief (“I agree” or “good question” etc.), or anything that is not explicitly tied to course material.

Coursekit signup: To join Coursekit, enter the code Q6YRP8 at www.coursekit.com. You will be asked to sign up for an account and create a password. Please make sure to create a profile and upload a picture.

(2) Analysis Papers:

Gender Analysis of Toys: Due 2/24

Poverty and Inequality in Brunswick: Due 3/30

Applying the Sociological Imagination: Due 5/4

(3) Exams: There are three in-class exams during the semester. The exams will consist of short answers and short essay questions. 45 minutes of class time will be devoted for the first two exams.

Exam 1: 2/28

Exam 2: 4/17

Exam 3: 5/19 at 2pm

Electronic Paper Submission: Analysis papers must be submitted through the Coursekit website. To submit a paper online, go to the course Calendar, and scroll to the appropriate assignment. Click “Submit” to upload the paper. Make sure the paper is in one of the following formats: .doc .docx .pdf .txt or .rtf.

Late and missed assignments: Work must be submitted online when it is due. If you have trouble accessing the Coursekit website, you may email me the assignment by the due date. Late assignments will only be accepted with prior consent (given on a case-by-case basis), and will lose a letter grade for each day they are late.

Grading: After grading the papers for a particular assignment, I will email you your grade along with a paragraph or two of comments. Your grade will also be posted to the Coursekit website (only you and the professor can see your grades on Coursekit).

Grading Criteria:


Shows mastery of the course material and demonstrates exceptional critical skills and originality.


Demonstrates a thorough and above average understanding of the material.


Demonstrates a thorough and satisfactory understanding of the material.


Demonstrates a marginally satisfactory understanding of the basic material.


Does not demonstrate a satisfactory understanding of the basic material.

Final Grades:


Online Discussion Participation


Attendance and Participation (including in-class assignments)


Analysis Papers (10% each)


Exams (10% each)


Attendance: Attendance is required. You may miss two classes without penalty. Each absence beyond the second will result in your grade being lowered. If you must miss a class, it is your responsibility to get the notes and assignments from another student.

If You Need Help: Do not hesitate to contact me if you need assistance. The key to success is to head off problems before they turn into emergencies. The sooner you get in touch with me about an issue, the sooner we can work to solve it together.

Special accommodations: If you require special accommodations to participate in, or to complete the work in this course, please let me know within the first two weeks of class so that we can make the necessary arrangements.

Academic honesty: I fully expect you to follow the Bowdoin College Academic Honor Code. Anytime you are required to turn in individual work I expect that what you turn in will be written solely by you and will be unique from that of your classmates. Students who attempt to pass off the work of others as their own or assist others in doing so will receive zero points for the work and will be subjected to disciplinary action as determined by the college. Please ask if you have any questions about what is and is not

acceptable. CBB has put together a guide about avoiding academic misconduct at http://abacus.bates.edu/cbb/. Additionally, the Bowdoin Library has an online guide for citing sources properly at http://library.bowdoin.edu/1st/sources.shtml.

" Week 1: What is Sociology?

Tuesday 1/24

Welcome & Introductions

Thursday 1/26



Berger, P. L. “Sociology as an Individual Pastime” Readings 1

Mills, C. W. “Personal Experiences and Public Issues” Readings 2

Sternheimer, K. “How to Think Like a Sociologist” The Everyday Sociology Blog



" Week 2: Asking and Answering Sociological Questions

Tuesday 1/31


Durkheim, É. “What Makes Sociology Different?” Readings 3

Simmel, G. “The Stranger” Readings 4

Assignment: Sign up for Coursekit and set up a profile.

Thursday 2/2


“Sociological Writing” by The University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill [link on Coursekit]

Assignment: First Coursekit post due by the end of the day on Friday 2/3

" Week 3: Gender Inequality

Tuesday 2/7


Chapters 1-3 of Kimmel’s Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men

Connell, R. W. (2009) “Gender Relations” in The Matrix Reader by Ferber, Jimenez, Herrera, and Samuals (Eds.) Chapter 2 (pages 21-35) McGraw-Hill Higher Education

Thursday 2/9

Chapters 4 & 5 of Kimmel’s Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men

Orenstein, P. “Should the World of Toys Be Gender-Free” New York Times. Dec. 29, 2011. [link on Coursekit]

Sohn, E. “Raising a Genderless Child: Possible?” Discovery News. May 31, 2011. [link on Coursekit]

" Week 4: Culture and Media

Tuesday 2/14


Martin, K. A., & Kazyak, E. (2009). “Hetero-Romantic Love and Heterosexiness in Children ʼ s G-Rated Films.” Gender & Society, 23(3), 315-336.

Gillam, K. and Wooden, S. R. (2011). “Post-Princess Models of Gender: The New Man in Disney/Pixar” in Kimmel, M. and Aronson, A. (Eds.) The Gendered Society Reader. Oxford University Press.


Bring a media picture of a couple to class.

Thursday 2/16


Chapters 7, 9, 10 and 12 of Kimmel’s Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men

Required Attendance:

7pm: “Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men” with Michael Kimmel. Pickard Theatre.

" Week 5: The Individual & Society

Tuesday 2/21


Goffman, E. “On Face-Work” Readings 18

Wright, B. “Grocery Shopping, Ordering Whoppers, and Borat.” Everyday Sociology Blog. Nov. 8, 2007. [link on Coursekit]

Thursday 2/23


Bettie, J. “Women Without Class: Chicas, Cholas, Trash, and the Presence/Absence of Class Identity” Readings 20

Read, J. G. and Bartowski, J. P. “To Veil or Not to Veil? A Case Study of Identity Negotiation Among Muslim Women in Austin, Texas” Readings 9

Due Friday 2/24 on Coursekit: Gender Analysis of Toys

" Week 6: Social Institutions: The Family

Tuesday 2/28

In class:

Exam #1


Coontz, S. “The Radical Idea of Marrying for Love” Readings 38

“Area Man Feeds Own Self” The Onion Sept 4, 1996 [link on Coursekit]

Thursday 3/1


Lareau, A. “Concerted Cultivation and the Accomplishment of Natural Growth” Readings 15

Hochschild, A. “Emotional Geography of Work and Family Life” Readings 41

Konigsberg, R. D. “Chore Wars” Time Magazine. Aug. 8, 2011 [link on Coursekit]

" Week 7: Institutions: The State & Authority

Tuesday 3/6


Shearing, C. D. and Stenning, P. C. “From the Panopticon to Disney World” Readings 32

Feagin, J. R. and Parker, R. “The Rise and Fall of Mass Rail Transit” Readings 34

Wednesday 3/7 at 7pm

Film: Quiet Rage: The Stanford Prison Experiment (~50 minutes)

Thursday 3/8


Lukes, S. (2008) “Keyword: Power” (Chapter 54) In J. Goodwin & J. M. Jasper (Eds.), The Contexts Reader. New York: W.W. Norton.

Kelman, H. and Hamilton, V. “The My Lai Massacre: A Crime of Obedience?” Readings 5

Spring Break

" Week 8: Class Inequality

Monday 3/26 at 7pm

Film: People Like Us: Social Class in America (~2 hours)

Tuesday 3/27


Ehrenreich, B. “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America” Readings 23

“Census: 1 in 2 Americans is Poor or Low Income” National Public Radio and The Associate Press [pdf on Coursekit]

Kaste, M. “Raising The Minimum Wage: Whom Does It Help?” National Public Radio. Jan. 3, 2012 [link on Coursekit]

Thursday 3/29


Fessler, P. “Making It In The US: More Than Just Hard Work” Part 1 National Public Radio Sept. 15, 2011 [link on Coursekit]

Fessler, P. “Making It In The US: New Programs Aim to Close The Wealth Gap” Part 2 National Public Radio Sept. 16, 2011 [link on Coursekit]

“Uses of the Underclasses in America” by Herbert J. Gans: Readings 31

Stiglitz, J. “Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%” Vanity Fair. May 2011 [link on Coursekit]

Due Friday 3/30 on Coursekit: Poverty and Inequality in Brunswick

" Week 9: Urban Spaces

Tuesday 4/3


Chapters 1 & 3 of Anderson’s Cosmopolitan Canopy: Race and Civility in Everyday Life

Thursday 4/5


Chapter 4 & 5 of Anderson’s Cosmopolitan Canopy: Race and Civility in Everyday Life

Farley, J. E. and Squires, G. D. 2008 “Fences and Neighbors: Segregation in twenty-first- century America.” In J. Goodwin & J. M. Jasper (Eds.), The Contexts Reader. New York:

W.W. Norton.

" Week 10: Race and Ethnicity

Tuesday 4/10


Ferber, A. “I Am Racist!” Huffington Post. Oct. 30, 2008 [link on Coursekit]

Chapters 7 & 8 of Anderson’s Cosmopolitan Canopy: Race and Civility in Everyday Life

Waters, M. C. “Optional Ethnicities: For Whites Only?” Readings 22

Thursday 4/12


Introduction, Chapter 2 pages 57-69 and pages 80 (“Jinny Kin”) to 95, Chapter 3 pages 96- 122 of Kang’s The Managed Hand: Race, Gender and the Body in Beauty Service Work

" Week 11: Intersectionality

Tuesday 4/17

In Class:

Exam #2


Chapter 4 of Kang’s The Managed Hand: Race, Gender and the Body in Beauty Service Work

Thursday 4/19


Chapter 5 of Kang’s The Managed Hand: Race, Gender and the Body in Beauty Service Work

Collins, P. H. (2003). “Toward a New Vision: Race, Class, and Gender as Categories of Analysis and Connection.” In Kimmel, M. S., & Ferber, A. L. (Eds.). Privilege: A reader. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press. pp. 233-250

" Week 12: Global inequality and migration

Tuesday 4/24


Chapter 6 & Conclusion of Kang’s The Managed Hand: Race, Gender and the Body in Beauty Service Work

Wednesday 4/25 at 7pm

Film: Maid In America (~ 1 hour)

Thursday 4/26


Adler, W. M. “Job on the Line” Readings 46

Levitt, P. 2004. “Salsa and Ketchup: Transnational Migrants Straddle Two Worlds.” Contexts. Volume 3, Number 2, 1 pp. 20-26(7) ISSN: 1536-5042

" Week 13: Social Movements and Social Change

Tuesday 5/1


Pardo, M. “Grassroots Activism: Mothers of East Los Angeles” Readings 47

Walker, E. “Industry-Driven Activism” Readings 48

Thursday 5/3


Burawoy, M. “Public Sociologies: Contradictions, Dilemmas, and Possibilities” Readings 7

Ferber, A. (2003). “Dismantling Privilege and Becoming an Activist” In Kimmel, M. S., & Ferber, A. L. (Eds.). Privilege: A reader. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press. pp. 251-256.

Due Friday 5/4 on Coursekit: Applying the Sociological Imagination

" Week 14: Exam Review

Tuesday 5/8

Finals Week: Exam 3