Sociology of Community SOC 315 01 T/TR, 11-12:20 Wheeler 109 Instructor: Angela Stroud, Ph.D. Office: Wheeler 311 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Office Hours: Wednesdays 10-noon phone: 715-682-1327 (and after class or by appointment) Course Description: In this course we will utilize a sociological perspective to explore the social forces that shape communities in the 21st Century. We will start by asking, “What is a community?” Though this may sound like a basic question, the ways in which we approach answering it will reveal much about what makes society function and what gives our lives meaning. In short, community is profoundly important both to individuals and to the health of a functioning society, and throughout this semester we will investigate how and why this is so. We will spend time analyzing the relationship between community and lived space as we focus on rural, urban, and suburban areas. We will focus on the socio-economic forces that have resulted in a “brain drain” in rural communities, and we will contrast that phenomenon with the economic blight characteristic of many urban and some suburban spaces in the U.S. We will analyze how this is tied to race, gender, and social class and will spend time exploring the implications of market policies on human lives. Though we will focus on understanding the factors that inhibit social ties in the U.S., we will regularly come back to two central questions: what can we do to improve our communities? And why is it so critical that we do so? If you commit to this course, by the end of the term you should be able to do the following: Learning Outcomes: ∙ Understand how sociologists explain the significance of community. ∙ Have developed an appreciation for the importance of community-building enterprises in our own lives. ∙ Have stronger analytic reasoning skills through deep engagement with course materials. ∙ Be a stronger reader, writer, and speaker. Required Texts: Carr, Patrick J. and Maria J. Kefalas. 2009. Hollowing Out the Middle: The Rural Brain Drain and What it Means for America. Boston: Beacon Press. Hamer, Jennifer. 2011. Abandoned in the Heartland: Work, Family, and Living in East St. Louis. Berkeley: UC Press. Evaluation: Grades will be assigned according to the following scale: 93-100 (A); 90-92 (A-); 87-89 (B+); 83-86 (B); 80-82 (B-); 77-79 (C+); 73-76 (C); 70-72 (C-); 67-69 (D+); 60-66 (D); 59 or lower (F). 1Community and Self Essay: 10% Mid-Term Exam: 20% Final Exam: 20% Community Engagement and Reflection: 15% Community Research Project: 20% Project Presentation: 5% Class Participation: 10% 100% Community and Self Essay (10%): One of the primary benefits of a sociological imagination is that it allows us to see the relationship between self and society. As we consider the impact of community in our lives, it is important that we have the space to reflect deeply on how we have been shaped by the people, meanings, and institutions around us. In this essay you will have that space as you reflect on the connection between who you are and the communities that have impacted you. This is a 3-4 page paper that must utilize a sociological perspective in identifying specific ways that you are a product, at least in part, of your communities. Depth is much more important than breadth, so please do not feel compelled to identify every institution and community that has shaped you (not that it would be possible to do so!). Instead, pick one or two and provide a deep analysis. This paper is due in class on September 29. Exams (40%): There will be two in-class exams in this course consisting of short essays that will ask that you deeply engage with the material and make strong connections between readings. Because essays require that you articulate a high level of understanding of the course materials, it is strongly suggested that you participate in class discussions. If the exam is the first time you’ve tried to explain answers to the types of questions asked in class discussions, you will likely struggle to do well. If you have completed all readings before class, and you come prepared to discuss the materials, and you listen attentively, and you rarely miss class, you should do well in this course. There are no make-up exams, so be sure to arrange any conflicts with me ahead of time. See the course schedule for exam dates. Community Participation and Reflection (15%): To enhance our awareness of the importance of community engagement, community participation / volunteerism of at least 15 hours over the course of the semester is required. This experience should be conducted through an established organization that relies on community volunteers; Faith in Action, The Brick, Hearts to End Hunger, The Humane Society, St. Andrews Community Sharing Center, or volunteering to help a local school are all good options. If you choose a site outside of the ones that I have recommended, it is best that you clear it with me to ensure that you get full credit. To reflect on your experience, you will write a 4-5 page paper describing the following: ∙ What did you do? Why did you do it? ∙ How did you feel about your participation prior to starting? ∙ Was there anything about your personal strengths / weaknesses that affected your participation? 2∙ Did your participation change your view of the activity? If so, how? ∙ Did your participation change your view of the community? ∙ What aspect of community (using course terminology) was enhanced by this experience? This is a wonderful opportunity to get course credit for something hands-on, so be thoughtful and intentional about the activity you choose. Your grade will be based on whether you completed 15 hours and whether the activity had a genuine impact on your learning (which you will convey— or not—in your reflection paper). Reflection papers are due in class on December 8 when we will also share our experiences in informal presentations. I must receive confirmation from a supervisor that you completed at least 15 hours of volunteer time by that day. Community Research Project (20%): There are two options for this assignment, a 1) standard research project and 2) a community solutions project. One asks you for a thorough description of a community, the other asks that you utilize course concepts to identify a social problem within a community and that you offer a community-based solution. Option 1: Community Research For this assignment, you will critically analyze the social forces that shape a community of your choice. Some examples of potential communities include: your hometown, Northland, a group at Northland, Ashland, or a community organization in Ashland, a religious group, a political organization, anything. Questions to consider: ∙ What constitutes membership in this community? What are its boundaries? How does this impact its makeup? ∙ Are members active or passive participants? How does this impact their experiences with the community? ∙ What external forces shape the community? How? ∙ What makes it a successful community? Are there any threats to the existence of this community? The purpose of this assignment is to better understand the social forces that shape our communities, and to do so by applying some of the course concepts that we have covered this semester to a case study. You must include an analysis of power, a clear definition of how you’re conceptualizing community, and the limits and possibilities of community engagement in your analysis. Product: A 6-8 page double-spaced paper. Option Two: Community Solutions: Like the standard project, this option is rooted in our local communities (either the Chequamegon Bay, Ashland, or Northland) and is intended to allow you to apply what we are learning to trying to figure out community-based ideas for positive social change (e.g. change that improves people’s lives). I want you to focus on actionable solutions to community-based problems. Your solution must be rooted in an understanding of the concepts that we have covered in our class. Examples could include: proposing a tutoring program with a local school; developing a community liaison relationship between Ashland and Northland; starting a local Big Brothers Big Sisters chapter; starting a Northland-specific effort like the bike shop and the gardens; etc. I don’t expect you to execute this program (though if you did, that would be amazing), instead, you are doing the legwork of finding 3out what the community’s needs are and proposing how to address those needs. You are free to work with one other person on this project, but each of you will be required to turn in your own paper describing what you did and why you did it. Product: You will turn in a 6-8 page paper in which you explain the problem and how your initiative will help to address the problem. It is important that you utilize course concepts in explaining why your program is important and that you show a sophisticated understanding of relevant issues that frame and affect the populations most impacted by your program. Presentations (5%): Presentations should be professional, well-organized, and should inform the audience of your central question and your most important findings. Be sure to tie what you found to course concepts. One important thing to keep in mind in your research, and particularly so for your presentation is that whenever we turn our analytical gaze on people “close to home,” we make them vulnerable. Be sure that your analysis is done with care and attention to the ties that bind communities, including your role therein. Presentations will be held the week of November 29. Participation (10%): Participation is a requirement for this course. Not only will this enhance our experiences, it will also contribute to the depth with which you understand the material. The reading course for this class is generally much lighter than for other 300-level courses, in part because you are expected to be fully engaged with your community activities. Nevertheless, you should come to class prepared to discuss the day’s assigned reading. The quality of our discussion will largely be determined by how well-prepared you are. If you do not attend class regularly, do not participate in discussion, do not bring in class examples when I have asked, and show no signs of having read the course materials, including the newspaper, your participation grade will reflect that. I realize that some of you are very shy and reluctant to participate in class. If you email me short (one paragraph) thoughtful discussion points and/or questions about the material, I will count this as participation. If appropriate, I will share your comments / questions with the rest of the class and will credit you with the contribution unless (for some reason) you’ve asked that I not. Attendance: Attendance is required and will be recorded daily. You can miss up to two class periods without a penalty, but each absence thereafter will negatively impact your participation grade. If you are absent, please ask one of your classmates for lecture notes as I do not provide notes for students. Technology: Though some of you may prefer to take notes on laptop computers, during our class time all computer use must be focused on this purpose alone. I reserve the right to ask you to put your computer away during class time if you are distracting me or other students. If I have to ask you to do this more than once, I reserve the right to ban laptops and other technologies from the classroom and to ask you to leave the class. It is also considered completely unacceptable to text during class time. Phones should be turned off and put away during our class. 4Late Papers: Late papers will receive a one-step deduction for each day they are late (i.e. A to A-). If, for some reason, you find yourself in need of an extension on an assignment, I am willing to discuss your reasoning and your options; however, it is critical that you inform me of your need at least one day ahead of the due date. Students Needing Accommodations: If you need accommodations, be sure that you have appropriate documentation on file with the Office of Accessibility Resources (OAR) and have given me due notice. Do not hesitate to talk to me about any questions or concerns you may have about accommodations. You are welcome to contact OAR located in 231 PCC, at 715-682- 1387, or Donna Jones-Ilsley, Coordinator of Student Accessibility Resources, at djones email@example.com. OAR offers resources and coordinates reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities and/or temporary health. Academic Integrity: Turning in work that is not your own will result in a failing grade and referral to the Dean. It is important that you cite all text and ideas that are not your original work. Please note that it is very easy to investigate suspicious work. I assure you that the costs of cheating will always far outweigh any gain that might come from academic dishonesty. 5
Week 1 9/6-9/8
Introductions ∙ Review syllabus ∙ Course expectations
Week 2 9/13- 9/15
What is community? Read: Bender ∙ Why is a definition of community important? ∙ How does our conceptualization shape our analysis? ∙ Community theories
Social Capital Read: Putnam, Ch. 1 ∙ Identify importance of social capital ∙ How are social ties connected to how we feel about place and each other? ∙ What is the significance of cultural shifts?
Week 3 9/20- 9/22
Why Has Social Capital Declined? Read: Putnam, Ch. 10-12 ∙ Has American culture lost an appreciation of civil society? ∙ What explains the loss in social capital?
How Are We Filling the Void? READ: Turkle ∙ What is the relationship between technology and isolation? ∙ Given how entrenched technology is, what can / should be done?
Week 4 9/27- 9/29
Can Social Capital be Revived? Read: Putnam, “Portland” ∙ How can socio-cultural forces be reversed so that community ties can flourish? ∙ What are the keys to building community?
Globalization and Communities Read: Longworth, p. 1-42 ∙ What is globalization? ∙ Connection between the global and the local? Community and Self Essay Due
Week 5 10/4- 10/6
The State of Community in Rural Places Read: Carr & Kefalas, vii-52 ∙ What constitutes rural? ∙ The ties that bind in small, rural towns ∙ How do small towns craft success? ∙ What are the consequences?
Identity is a Social Process Read: Taylor ∙ How do social dynamics shape our sense of self? ∙ What is the lesson for community institutions?
Week 6 10/11- 10/13
Communities with Limited Opportunities Read: Carr & Kefalas, 53-105 ∙ How employment shapes our lives ∙ Small towns and deep ties ∙ How does the military offer opportunity?
Why do People Return to Small Towns? Read: Carr & Kefalas, p. 107-136 ∙ What policies could encourage returns to small towns? ∙ Why are these potentially problematic?
We will start by asking, “What is a community?
If you want to learn more check out Explain the differences of Monism from Dualism.
Week 7 10/18- 10/20
Can Rural Areas be Saved? How? Read: Carr & Kefalas, p. 137-192 ∙ How do micro and macro forces shape rural towns? ∙ What solutions are possible?
What Economic Options are Offered to Small Towns? Read: TBD ∙ How might market “solutions” affect the community? ∙ What can be done to stop them?
Week 8 10/25- 10/27
Suburbia and Its Discontents Read: Hamer, 1-29 ∙ How are shaped by the places we live? ∙ Housing policy and inequality
Week 9 11/1- 11/3
Urban Renewal or Urban Abandonment? Read: Hamer, 30-75 ∙ Environmental racism ∙ Housing and choice
Work and Meaning Read: Hamer, 76-124 ∙ How are communities impacted by lack of access to employment? ∙ Differences / similarities from rural context?
Week 10 11/8- 11/10
The Market and Family Ties Read: Desmond ∙ How are social ties impacted by poverty? ∙ What is the importance of housing?
Gender and Community Ties Read: Hamer, 125-179 ∙ Who keeps communities together? ∙ How is this labor understood? ∙ What is the significance of gender in shaping community life?
Week 11 11/15- 11/17
Community Policing and Community Health Read: The Atlantic: “How to Fix a Broken Police Department” ∙ How are communities impacted by violence? ∙ What role should the police play?
How Have Criminal Justice Policies Impacted Poor Communities? Read: The Atlantic: “How Incarceration Affects a Community” ∙ What is the relationship between our criminal justice system and community depravation?
Week 12 11/22- 11/24
NO CLASS THANKSGIVING
Week 13 11/29- 12/1
What Can Be Done? Read: Hamer, 180-191, TBD ∙ How can communities in urban and suburban areas be rebuilt? ∙ Implications?
Presentations on Community Engagement ∙ Five minute presentations ∙ What did you do? Why? ∙ What did you learn?
Week 14 12/6- 12/8
Research PRESENTATIONS PAPER DUE
And why is it so critical that we do so?
, we will regularly come back to two central questions: what can we do to improve our communities?
If you want to learn more check out why don't platelets form plugs in undamaged vessels
We also discuss several other topics like What are examples of analog and digital signals?
We also discuss several other topics like In a testcross the individual with the unknown genotype is crossed with an individual with a known genotype What genotype is known?
If you want to learn more check out Describe what a scientific theory is.
Don't forget about the age old question of capillary specialized for reabsorption
Week 15 12/13- 12/15
NO CLASS GRADING DAY REFLECTION DUE