Fall 2005
Fully Enrolled

SOCS 630
Critical Issues in Sociology


09/12/2005 - 12/17/2005
Monday 06:30 PM - 09:00 PM

Public Affairs Center 107

Sociologists speak of looking at the world with a "sociological imagination"; what does this mean, and how might it change the way we look at our world, from the mundane details of our everyday lives to the great trends and processes of our times? We'll read some of the classic authors of the 19th century and some of the most important authors of the 20th century, and see how applying their insights does or does not make us see the world in a different way. Our questions will stress social explanations of our ideas and behavior, to understand how sociologists—at least some—minimize both individual credit and individual blame. To what extent are we simply filling roles already prepared for us by generations before us; to what extent do we interpret those roles in creative ways that allow us to decide for ourselves what our lives should be like?

We will read short sections from some classic and modern works in sociology to look at these issues, including: Mills, "The Promise of Sociology;" Mead, "The Self; "Goffman, "The Presentation of Self;" Durkheim, "The Functions of Crime;" Marx & Engels, The Communist Manifesto; Weber, "Authority and Legitimacy;" and others. We will listen to recordings by Billie Holiday, Tracy Chapman, Bright Morning Star, and others, and view a few films.

Students are required to write 3 short papers applying sociological ideas introduced in class to their daily lives.

Rob Rosenthal (B.A. Livingston College, Rutgers University; M.A., Ph.D. University of California, Santa Barbara) is professor of sociology and director of the Service-Learning Center. His many publications include Homeless in Paradise: A Map of the Terrain (Temple University Press, 1994); and forthcoming are two books: Playing for Change: Music in Social Movements (with Dick Flacks), and The Persistence of Homelessness.


Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Seminar

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 18

Texts to purchase for this course:
Kurt Finsterbusch, ANNUAL EDITIONS: SOCIOLOGY 04/05 (McGraw-Hill/Dushkin), Paperback

Macionis and Benokraitis, SEEING OURSELVES, SIXTH EDITION (Prentice Hall), Paperback


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