Fall 2019
Sociology 130
Tuesday/Friday: 12:30pm – 2:20pm

Office: O’Connor 336
Office Hours: Mon/Wed 10:30 – 12:30 or by appointment
Phone: (508) 626-4864
E-mail: isilver@framingham.edu

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

Discussions of social problems are everywhere. They’re mentioned in Instagram and Twitter posts, news reports, and political speeches. We see them dramatized in movies, TV shows, and YouTube videos. Therefore, you come into this course already familiar with many of the issues we will discuss, and they may personally affect you. The course offers fascinating new ways to understand these important topics, exposing you to the hidden stories behind social problems.

READINGS:

Assigned readings are chapters from a book I have written for this course titled Seeing Social Problems: The Hidden Stories Behind Contemporary Issues that will be published in January 2020. All chapters are posted below. There is NOTHING you need to buy!

*Please bring assigned readings to class. Either print them or access them electronically in class via your laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

HOMEWORK:

There are 12 written homework assignments throughout the semester that are due on the dates indicated below. You are to answer any three questions of your choosing from those listed in the section titled “What Do You Know Now?” at the end of each chapter.

To be eligible for full credit (3 points per write-up), you must post your work before class starts and follow these guidelines:

  • Number your responses.
  • Write one paragraph per response – more is okay.
  • Include details from the chapter. BSing counts for nothing.

GRADING AND EVALUATION:

Your final grade will be based on the following:

35%          Homework assignments
20%          Midterm Paper
30%          Final paper
15%          Attendance and participation

ATTENDANCE:

I understand sometimes there are justifiable reasons for missing a class, but if you miss more than two it will start to affect your grade. If you have to be absent, there is no need to give me a doctor’s note. It is your responsibility to catch up on material you missed.

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY:

Students should be aware of the University’s policies concerning academic honesty, which are stated in the undergraduate catalog: “Integrity is essential to academic life. Consequently, students who enroll at Framingham State University agree to maintain high standards of academic honesty and scholarly practice. They shall be responsible for familiarizing themselves with the published policies and procedures regarding academic honesty.” Infractions include plagiarism, cheating on exams and quizzes, unauthorized collaboration with other students, and submitting work in more than one course for academic credit without prior approval of the instructor. The FSU Catalog defines plagiarism as “claiming as one’s own work the published or unpublished literal or paraphrased work of another.” Penalties for academic dishonesty may include receiving a failing grade for the course, academic suspension, and dismissal from the University.

NOTICE OF NON-DISCRIMINATION AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY:

By taking this class, you agree to abide by Framingham State University’s policy of non-discrimination and equal opportunity. The University is dedicated to providing educational, working, and living environments that value the diverse backgrounds of all people. The Massachusetts Civil Rights Act (“MCRA,” M.G.L. c. 12, §§ 11H11I11J) protects the rights of all residents of and visitors to Massachusetts to be free from bias-motivated threats, intimidation, and coercion that interfere with their civil rights. The MCRA protects the right to attend school, live peacefully, and enjoy other basic rights.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 6TH

*Course Overview

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 10TH

*Read: Opportunity for Few: The Withering of the American Dream

*Homework assignment #1 due on Blackboard

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 13TH

No homework!

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 17TH

*Read: “I Can’t Breathe:” Policing, Race, and Violence

*Homework assignment #2 due on Blackboard

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 20TH

No homework!

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24TH

*Read: The Color of Drug Abuse: Handcuffs for Some Addicts, Help for Others

*Homework assignment #3 due on Blackboard

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 27TH

No homework!

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 1st

*Read: Fat Chances: Weight Anxiety in a Society that Prizes Thinness

*Homework assignment #4 due on Blackboard

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 4TH

No homework!

*Students from SHOWA Boston will be joining us.

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 8TH

*Read: What’s Sex Got to Do with it? Uncovering the Roots of Teenage Pregnancy

*Homework assignment #5 due on Blackboard

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 11TH

No homework!

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 15TH

*Read: Everybody’s Doing It: Getting Ahead by Cheating

*Homework assignment #6 due on Blackboard

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 18TH

No homework!

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 22ND

*Read: Living in Infamy: Mass Shootings as Enduring Expressions of Masculinity

*Homework assignment #7 due on Blackboard

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 25TH

No class – I will be away.

MONDAY, OCTOBER 28TH

*Midterm paper due via email

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 29TH

No homework!

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 1ST

*Read: #MeToo: Why Gender Violence is Everyone’s Problem

*Homework assignment #8 due on Blackboard

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 5TH

No homework!

*Read in class: “The Hearts of Boys”

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 8TH

*Read: Bearing Witness to Inhumanity: Making Sense of Cruelty to Animals

*Homework assignment #9 due on Blackboard

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 12TH

No reading!

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 15TH

*Read: “Better Safe Than Sorry:” Protecting Children from Dangerous Strangers

*Homework assignment #10 due on Blackboard

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 19TH

No reading!

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 22ND

*Read: Have Kids Gotten Meaner? An Up-close Look at Cyberbullying and Suicide

*Homework assignment #11 due on Blackboard

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 26TH

No reading!

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 29TH

No class – Thanksgiving break

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 3RD

*Read: “You’re Such a Downer:” Why Mental Illness is Much More Than a Personal Experience of Suffering

*Homework assignment #12 due on Blackboard

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 6TH

No reading!

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 10TH

No reading…we will discuss the final paper.

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13TH

Course wrap-up

MONDAY, DECEMBER 16TH

*Final paper due via email