SOCY 2031 SOCIAL PROBLEMS SPRING 2022 Professor Don Grant Office: 314 Ketchum E-mail: [email protected] Office Hours: M+W, 12:00-1:00 Teaching Assistant: Matthew Bravo [email protected] COURSE OBJECTIVES The primary objective of this course is to develop students' capacity to reflect critically on various contemporary social issues that bear directly on their lives and futures. Underlying this objective are two interrelated assumptions: First, I assume that a vibrant democracy requires a citizenry that is not only informed about the major social issues of the day, but that can critically assess the various debates about those issues. Hence, this course should be relevant to all students, regardless of their current or future academic major. Second, I assume that if higher education is to be of some utility to students in their personal and professional lives, then considerable effort must be devoted to both understanding and solving social problems. To begin to bridge the gap between what students are taught about social ills in the classroom and fixing them outside it, students are required to do a reflection paper that addresses the existing gaps in solving a particular social problem. This course is organized into four modules. The first module addresses the major analytical concerns and issues that provide the basis for thinking carefully and critically about any particular social issue. The remaining three modules analyze selected social issues in terms of the theoretical perspectives, methodologies, and concerns discussed in the first module. COURSE REQUIREMENTS 1. Class sessions and class preparation: Class sessions will consist of lectures, group exercises and discussion. The vitality of the course depends in large part on student questions, comments, and ideas. You are expected to raise relevant questions or comments in class that come to mind. You can also raise issues with the instructor during office hours or via e-mail. Class participation and interaction with the instructor will help you understand the material and can make a difference in your final grade if you are on the borderline between grades. If you do not participate and do not consistently keep up with the reading, you do so at your own peril. It is therefore imperative that you attend every class, listen carefully, participate in discussion, and take detailed notes. Class attendance will be taken periodically. Students who regularly miss class will have their grade adjusted accordingly. 2. Class readings: Lectures and discussions are designed to complement and supplement the readings. You should complete reading assignments prior to the class session for which they are assigned. Materials that are labeled “class reading” are required. GRADES Attendance: You will not be penalized for missing up to 5 classes. These 5 “free skips” need to cover both your excused and unexcused absences except in unusual cases of extended and documented illnesses, lengthy jury duty, or similar situations (contact the TA at the time of the issue in these cases). Any absences beyond the “free” 5 will lower your overall attendance grade. In-class Essays: In each of the last three modules, we will discuss several controversial issues (see below). You will be asked you to write an in-class essay on one of these issues or a total of 3 essays (I choose the issues for you to write on and the dates for the essays are provided below). Your answers should be based on assigned readings, lecture materials, and class discussion. You can use your notes while writing your essays, which should be roughly 1 to 2 pages long. The dates for in-class essays are indicated below in GREEN. Exams: There will be four exams. The first exam will consist of three essay questions. The other three exams will consist of five essay questions. You will be permitted to consult your notes, articles, etc. - everything but your fellow students -- when taking an exam. Importantly, two exam questions will be given to students in advance and are indicated below in BLUE. Each of these take-home questions requires a 2-3 page, double-spaced typed answer. The remaining questions require an answer that is approximately equivalent in length. The dates for the four exams are indicated below in PURPLE. Reflection Paper: Students will write double-spaced, typed page answers to the following three sets of questions and create a visual map, which are due on the date of final exam. Also, be sure

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