CONTEMPORARY SOCIOLOGICAL THEORY
Professor: Joe R.
Purpose of Course: This seminar will focus on contemporary social science theorizing, with an emphasis on how social scientists theorize about such subjects as subjectivity, experience, social actors, social structure, racial relations, and gender issues. Foundation assumptions (from Plato to the present) and ethical issues will be examined. All class sessions will be discussion oriented.
1. Regular, on-time attendance and participation in seminar discussions.
2. Twelve critique/comment papers (about 4-5 pages) analyzing the readings taken from the books listed below. No outside reading is required. Your final grade will be an average of these paper grades, plus a small allowance for class participation. The course will not have a term paper or final exam.
The Analytical Comment-Critique Papers:
Students will prepare twelve comment-and-critique papers on the reading assignments and bring the papers to class for discussion. These comment-critique papers should analyze critically one or two important issues in the reading assignment that you found thought provoking or problematical. Analyze in some detail an issue of interest. You can use one of these approaches; 1) develop a logical critique of the arguments you analyze (for example, does the scholar's evidence support the arguments?); 2) compare and contrast material in the readings with material presented in class sessions; 3) compare and contrast material in one reading assignment with that in books you've read outside the course or in an earlier assignment (for example, how does a later scholar make use of earlier theory or theorists?); 4) use ideas from the readings to explore research data with which you are familiar. The basic point of the analytical comment-critique papers is for you to demonstrate that you have thought over and analyzed critically important issues in the reading assignment -- that you have made the material your own.