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Christine L. Williams, Chair CLA 3.306, Mailcode A1700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-6300

Fall 2007

SOC 336C • American Dilemmas

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
47695 MWF
9:00 AM-10:00 AM
BUR 136
Green

Course Description

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.

Grading Policy

Five Short Papers (2-3 pages) 60%
Class Participation 20%
Pop Quizzes 20%

Regular attendance and punctuality are expected. You're allowed three absences without penalty during the semester (excluding our introductory class meeting). The allowed absences are intended to cover such situations as illness, family emergencies, university sponsored trips, etc. Students who miss more than three classes, regardless of the reason, will have their semester grades reduced by one full percentage points for each absence beyond the three allowed. Conversely, I'll add two percentage points to the semester grades of students who miss no classes during the semester. One percentage point will be added to the grades of students who miss only one class. The one exception to this policy concerns absences for religious reasons, assuming that proper notification is given.

Texts

A prepared packet of readings to be purchased from Paradigm at 407 W. 24th St.
Additional readings will be made available on Blackboard

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