Introduction to Sociology
Instructor: Dmitri Shalin
Office hours: Tuesday 2:15-4:00, 6:30-7:00 p.m., or by appointment
EMPHASIS OF COURSE: The course is an introduction to the science of society. It familiarizes students with the major domains of sociological analysis and basic principles of sociological research. Special effort is made to link sociological concepts to everyday experience and to offer sociological insight into the personal problems we encounter in everyday life. Crosscultural perspective is emphasized throughout the course.
READINGS: All reading assignments are from a book edited by James Henslin, Down to Earth Sociology, published by Free Press. Special handouts will be given in class. Students are encouraged to purchase the textbook.
LECTURES: Class lectures follow the sequence of the chapters in the textbook. Some of the materials discussed in class are not covered in your textbook assignments. Students are advised to do readings for each session in advance of its coverage in class. Special video sessions are planned in connection with various sections of the course. Questions from students are welcome, both during regular class sessions and office hours.
REQUIREMENTS: The course is divided into four sections. Section I covers the readings from Parts 1-2 of the textbook; Section II – Parts 3-4; Section III – Parts 5-6; and Section IV – Parts 7-9. Students take a multiple choice exam covering the first section of class. A special project assignment is handed out at the end the second section, and it will be due back a month later. The final take-home assignment covering the materials from Parts 3 and 4 is given at the end of the term. Examination questions will reflect your textbook readings as well as the materials brought up in lectures and special video sessions. Participation in class discussions is strongly encouraged. Individual contributions to class discussion will be reflected in the final grade.
SPECIAL PROJECT: All students take a special project assignment student during the first half of the semester. The guidelines, explanations, and deadlines for this project will be provided in class.
OUTLINE OF TOPICS:
Sec. I. The sociological perspective & social research (Parts I & II)
Sec. 2 Culture, socialization and gender (Parts III & IV)
Sec. 3. Social structure, deviance and social control (Parts V $ VI)
Sec. 4. Social inequality, stratification and change (Parts VII, VIII & IX)
APPENDIX: UNLV POLICIES
Disability Resource Center (DRC) – The Disability Resource Center (DRC) determines accommodations that are “reasonable” in promoting the equal access of a student reporting a disability to the general UNLV learning experience. In so doing, the DRC also balances instructor and departmental interests in maintaining curricular standards so as to best achieve a fair evaluation standard amongst students being assisted. In order for the DRC to be effective it must be considered in the dialog between the faculty and the student who is requesting accommodations. For this reason faculty should only provide students course adjustment after having received an “Academic Accommodation Plan.” UNLV complies with the provisions set forth in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The DRC is located in the Student Services Complex (SSC-A), Room 143, phone (702) 895-0866, fax (702) 895-0651. For additional information, please visit: http://drc.unlv.edu/.
Academic Misconduct – Academic integrity is a legitimate concern for every member of the campus community; all share in upholding the fundamental values of honesty, trust, respect, fairness, responsibility and professionalism. By choosing to join the UNLV community, students accept the expectations of the Academic Misconduct Policy and are encouraged when faced with choices to always take the ethical path. Students enrolling in UNLV assume the obligation to conduct themselves in a manner compatible with UNLV’s function as an educational institution. An example of academic misconduct is plagiarism. Plagiarism is using the words or ideas of another, from the Internet or any source, without proper citation of the sources. See the Student Academic Misconduct Policy (approved December 9, 2005) located at: http://studentconduct.unlv.edu/misconduct/policy.html.
Incomplete Grades - The grade of I – Incomplete – can be granted when a student has satisfactorily completed all course work up to the withdrawal date of that semester/session but for reason(s) beyond the student’s control, and acceptable to the instructor, cannot complete the last part of the course, and the instructor believes that the student can finish the course without repeating it. A student who receives an I is responsible for making up whatever work was lacking at the end of the semester. If course requirements are not completed within the time indicated, a grade of F will be recorded and the GPA will be adjusted accordingly. Students who are fulfilling an Incomplete do not register for the course but make individual arrangements with the instructor who assigned the I grade.
Copyright – The University requires all members of the University Community to familiarize themselves and to follow copyright and fair use requirements. You are individually and solely responsible for violations of copyright and fair use laws. The university will neither protect nor defend you nor assume any responsibility for employee or student violations of fair use laws. Violations of copyright laws could subject you to federal and state civil penalties and criminal liability, as well as disciplinary action under University policies. Additional information can be found at: http://provost.unlv.edu/copyright/statements.html.
Religious Holidays Policy – Any student missing class quizzes, examinations, or any other class or lab work because of observance of religious holidays shall be given an opportunity during that semester to make up missed work. The make-up will apply to the religious holiday absence only. It shall be the responsibility of the student to notify the instructor of his or her intention to participate in religious holidays which do not fall on state holidays or periods of class recess. For additional information, please visit: http://catalog.unlv.edu/content.php?catoid=4&navoid=164.
Tutoring – The Academic Success Center (ASC) provides tutoring and academic assistance for all UNLV students taking UNLV courses. Students are encouraged to stop by the ASC to learn more about subjects offered, tutoring times and other academic resources. The ASC is located across from the Student Services Complex (SSC). Students may learn more about tutoring services by calling (702) 895-3177 or visiting the tutoring web site at: http://academicsuccess.unlv.edu/tutoring/.
UNLV Writing Center – One-on-one or small group assistance with writing is available free of charge to UNLV students at the Writing Center, located in CDC-3-301. Although walk-in consultations are sometimes available, students with appointments will receive priority assistance. Appointments may be made in person or by calling 895-3908. The student’s Rebel ID Card, a copy of the assignment (if possible), and two copies of any writing to be reviewed are requested for the consultation. More information can be found at: http://writingcenter.unlv.edu/
Rebelmail – By policy, faculty and staff should e-mail students’ Rebelmail accounts only. Rebelmail is UNLV’s official e-mail system for students. It is one of the primary ways students receive official university communication such as information about deadlines, major campus events, and announcements. All UNLV students receive a Rebelmail account after they have been admitted to the university. Students’ e-mail prefixes are listed on class rosters. The suffix is always @unlv.nevada.edu.
Immigrating, making a home in another country, finding one’s way in a new culture is usually a traumatic experience. It takes a lot of time before the individual learns the new norms and values and breaks the habits of one’s native land. This project offers you an opportunity to explore at length the impact that the transition to a new culture has on the individual.
You are expected to do the following:
(1) Find an individual who has had the first-hand experience of immigrating to or living for a long time in another country.
(2) Interview this individual about the problems he or she has experienced in connection with this transition.
(3) Write a paper on the order of 7-10 double-spaced, type-written pages, summarizing your interviews, analyzing the problems that your respondents encountered, and relating your discussion to relevant sociological concepts.
(4) Turn in your paper indicating your name, ID number, and class during the review session for the Section III of the class.
It is up to you to find a person for your interview. One way to do so is to approach a student from another country, explain the nature of your assignment, and ask for a 30-60 minute interview. You can also call on your friends who had studied in foreign countries. Make sure to take notes or tape interviews. Describe the typical problems that the respondent has encountered in a new country. Pay special attention to the differences and similarities between the native and new cultures. Use course materials to analyze the nature of these problems, the expectations that the individual had before moving to the new land, the coping strategies adopted by the individual, the degree of success in adopting to the new customs, etc.
Additional information about this assignment and the ethics of conducting interviews will be provided in class.
Sociologists, politicians, and community activists know that it is hard to deal effectively with social problems without collecting reliable data and obtaining a clear picture of what is going on in a given area. With that goal in mind, communities across the United States are tracking the leading social indicators that help identify most urgent problems, such as high school dropouts, teen pregnancy, infant mortality, suicide rates, environmental hazards, unemployment patterns, affordable housing shortage, etc. This assignment gives you chance to familiarize yourself with the leading indicators and quality of life in Nevada, as well as compile your own report on the quality of life in a region or a community of your choice.
You are expected to do the following:
(1) Go to the web site of the UNLV Center for Democratic Culture, http://www.unlv.edu/centers/cdclv, enter the home page, click on the “Leading Indicators” button, and find the report titled “The Social Health of Nevada: Leading Indicators and the Quality of Life in the Silver State.”
(2) Look trough various chapters of the report, as well as through the introduction describing the project and the conclusion summarizing the findings, familiarize yourself with the situation in Nevada, and see how Nevada compares to other states.
(3) Look through the leading indicators web sites for other states and the country as a whole (you will find them listed at the end of the introductory essay). Pay special attention to the data sources and web sites with up-to-date data on a particular problem area.
(4) Choose any one indicator, collect the most recent data, and write a report showing how a community of your choice compares to other communities. You can choose to write about any borough, county, town, city, state, region, or country.
(5) Write a paper on the order of 7-10 double-spaced typewritten pages summarizing your findings and suggesting what needs to be done to improve the situation.
(6) Turn in your paper during the review session for the Section III of the class.
When you write your report, describe the problems you encountered in collecting information, identify the strength and weakness of the available data, and indicate which information needs to be gathered to improve our understanding of the situation. Share your thoughts on how the indicator you describe affects the quality of life for people residing in this area or community. Additional information about this assignment will be provided in class.