CONTEMPORARY SOCIOLOGICAL THEORY
Professor: Carol Rambo, Ph.D.
Office: Clement 225
Phone: 678-2610, 678-2611 for messages
Randall Collins and Michael Makowsky. 1998. The Discovery of Society, sixth edition. Published by McGraw Hill: Boston.
Donald McQuarie. 1995. Readings in Contemporary Sociological Theory. Published by Prentice-Hall: Englewood Cliffs, N.J.
The main objective of this course is to give the student an overview of the historical contexts and explanatory powers of various sociological theories and how these are applied to social life. We will conceptualize theory as science, philosophy, and politics with a focus on how these forms influence methodology. The ultimate aim of this course is to understand that there are a multitude of perspectives when considering "society" and that "society" is itself a cultural construct. This course will also serve as preparation for entrance into a graduate sociology program.
The readings will be our spring board for class lectures and discussion. You are required to keep up with the readings and will be responsible for these as well as class lectures.
A liberal arts education means literally to "liberate" your mind. Discussion is of the utmost importance. You have paid money to be sitting here. DO NOT ALLOW ME TO LECTURE WITHOUT ASKING QUESTIONS IF YOU ARE CONFUSED OR UNCLEAR ON THE MATERIALS. Unfortunately, this happens frequently in theory courses. Let me emphasize, only VICTIMS allow this to happen to them. If you are having problems, chances are someone else is too! It is through discussion that understanding is achieved.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING
Primary Evaluations for grades are based on three unit quizzes and a comprehensive final. Please take note of the grading scale:
A = 100 - 90% B = 89 - 80% C = 79 - 65%
D = 64 - 58% F = below 58%
Each of the three quizzes is multiple choice and essay in character, worth 33 points each, for a total of 99 points of your grade. These quizzes will be based upon the unit material most recently covered.
The comprehensive exam is multiple choice in characters and worth a total of 101 points. This exam will be based on all of the materials covered throughout the entire course. There will be no curving, but as you can see below, the grading system is very flexible with 3 opportunities for extra points.
EXTRA-CREDIT THEORY APPLICATIONS (optional)
You are allowed to submit up to five 2-3 page papers, each using a different theorist we have discussed in class. Each paper will be worth 2 points for a maximum value of 10 points for the whole assignment. I will not be neurotic picky on this, quality counts more than quantity. Using a one inch margin, type written double spaced page consists of about 250 words. You are invited to take things you encounter in your daily life and analyze them in terms of the theories you will pick up in class. I will elaborate more on this in class. You may use your experience, newspaper articles, books, CNN, movies, MTV, songs, a rad story your friend told you happened to her, ANY kind of experience. Have fun with this. Use the concepts correctly; do not just identify the idea, but demonstrate how it is functioning in the example.
Do not repeat specific class examples, you will get no credit. If, however, you notice one of the concepts we learn about at work in class, this is fair game. Neatness will count one point per entry. If you are a slob genius, you could still lose a total of 5 points on the assignment. If you want to run a sample journal entry by me before the date of your first exam, I will be willing to critique it (no hard and fast grade).
Upon handing in your last exam, I will look at your face. If it is a face that constantly adds to class discussion, I will add two points to your grade. If it is a face that occasionally contributes, I will add one point.
You are an adult. You pay your money, you decide if you want to attend. I will, however, take attendance for two purposes. If you have perfect attendance after the first week of class, three points will be assigned to your grade, equivalent to the weight of answering three exam questions correctly. If you only miss one or two periods during this time, I will assign two extra credit points. Miss three periods and I will assign one point of extra credit. Students who miss more than this number of classes (my second purpose) will have a great deal of trouble gaining sympathy if they are not doing well in the class. We can talk about your absences if you are in a dire situation. I must assume, however, if you choose not to attend and you do poorly, that you are choosing to do poorly and I need not put forth any effort on your behalf.
A THE HARD WAY
Students will be allowed to skip the comprehensive exam provided they have maintained an A average on their first three quizzes, and that they participate in class. Please see me if you believe you have earned an A the hard way. Do not assume you have earned it without checking with me.
VERY TENTATIVE CLASS OUTLINE
(can and often is changed at Professor's Discretion)
Days 1 & 2
Days 3 & 4
Days 5 & 6
Days 7 & 8
Days 17 & 18
Days 19 & 20
Days 21 & 22
Make up exams are permitted with proper documentation and are to be scheduled with the instructor. You must contact the instructor ONE WEEK after missing an exam of forfeit the opportunity to make it up.