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Jacqueline Jones, Chair 128 Inner Campus Dr., Stop B7000, GAR 1.104 Austin, TX 78712-1739 • 512-471-3261

Spring 2009

HIS 350L • Amer Socl Sci & Socl Thought - W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor


Course Description

This course is a critical and historical exploration of the evolution of social inquiry in the United States from the late-19th century to the first decade of the 21st. In it, we will examine how sociologists and anthropologists in particular, but also other professional social scientists and non-academic observers such as journalists, social reformers, feminist activists, and members of the clergy, have interpreted the salient issues of modernity, including the following: the culture and conditions of the modern workplace; the ascendance of modern consumerism; sexuality, gender, and family roles; racial and ethnic relations and identity; profound changes in modern business organization and the culture of management; and the social consequences of rapid technological change. Our readings on these issues will provide us with a foundation for analyzing social science and social thought themselves, as we examine, compare, and contrast the roles these pursuits have played historically in American public discourse, their impact on American thought and culture at large, and their relevance for the contemporary understanding of social life and social processes.

Grading Policy

This is a writing-component course, so a substantial amount of writing will be required. Grading criteria will include the consideration of the structure and organization of student papers, their effectiveness in combining independent research with themes and specific content from the core assigned readings, and their strength of analysis. The assignments will include short, in-class writing assignments each week (25%); class participation (25%); two 5-6-page book reviews (10% each) and a 10-12-page research paper (30%).


Ruth Benedict, Patterns of Culture Robert S. and Helen M. Lynd, Middletown: A Study in Modern American Culture David Riesman, The Lonely Crowd C. Wright Mills, The Power Elite Herbert Marcuse, One-Dimensional Man Erving Goffman, Asylums William Julius Wilson, The Truly Disadvantaged Arlie Hochschild, The Time Bind Dan Ariely, Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions Various packet readings.


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