WGS 345 • 26-American Dilemmas
10:00 AM-11:00 AM
This course examines critical American social problems that threaten the very fabric of our collective life as a nation. These include problems in the economy and political system, social class and income inequality, racial/ethnic inequality, gender inequality and heterosexism, problems in education, and problems of illness and health care. Special emphasis will be placed on showing how these problems have a disproportionately negative impact on men of color and women. The course has three main objectives. One involves providing students with the theoretical and methodological tools needed to critically analyze these problems from a sociological perspective. A second involves providing students with current data and other information documenting the seriousness of these problems, especially for men of color and women. The final objective focuses on evaluating social policies addressing these problems (e.g., affirmative action, welfare-to-work programs, pay equity legislation), with special reference to questions of social justice, the common good, as well as public and individual responsibility. Class format will be a mixture of lecture and discussion, with an emphasis upon the latter. Guest speakers from the community will be invited where applicable.
a) Class Participation: Class participation will count for 20% of your semester grade. Students who miss more than three classes, regardless of the reason for the absences, will have their semester grades reduced by one full percentage point for each absence beyond the three allowed. b) Exams: Students will prepare "take home" exams on five of the seven substantive topics covered in the course. The average of your five exams will count for 60% of your semester grade. c) Pop Quizzes: There will be an unspecified number of pop quizzes given during the semester. They will cover the previous day's discussion and/or the current reading assignment, typically both. The average of your pop quizzes will count for 20% of your final grade. Note: I do not curve exam, quiz, or semester grades.
A packet of prepared readings to be purchased from Paradigm at 407 W. 24th.