Sociology 101 Essay

Tuesday and Thursday, 9:25 – 10:40 am
Meeting Place:
203 Bailey Hall


Dr. Alan Barton
Office: 201A Kethley Hall
Telephone: 846-4097

Office Hours:

The professor holds regular office hours at the following times:

    Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:45–11:45 am

If you cannot make one of these times, contact the professor to set up an appointment.

Course Web Site:

Check this web site periodically for information on the course, changes on the syllabus, weekly study questions, and other information pertaining to the course.

Course Overview:

This course is designed to introduce you to concepts in the discipline of sociology.  We will primarily study how and why humans organize themselves into large and small groups, focusing on how sociologists study group behavior.  We will use many practical examples from a variety of settings to understand inequality in social organizations.  You will have many opportunities to read, write, discuss and lead discussions about these topics over the course of the semester.


Course Text:  Lisa J. McIntyre. 2002. The Practical Skeptic: Core Concepts in Sociology. 2nd Edition. Boston: McGraw Hill.

Course Reader:  Leonard Cargan and Jeanne H. Ballantine. 2003. Sociological Footprints: Introductory Readings in Sociology. 9th Edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.

Additional Reading:  Clifton L. Taulbert. 1997. Eight Habits of the Heart: Embracing the Values the Build Strong Families and Communities. New York: Penguin Books

Books are available at the campus bookstore. Students should purchase them, or otherwise make arrangements to access the course readings.

Study Questions:

Each week, a set of study questions pertaining to that week's topic will be posted on this website. These questions are designed to assist you with the week's reading assignments. It is recommended that you prepare short answers to these questions to prepare for lectures and discussions. Questions for the quizzes, the final exam, and writing assignments will be drawn from these study questions.

Click on hyperlink for study questions:


Assignments and Grading:

All students must complete all of the following assignments:

(1) Reading, attendance and participation (20 points)

(2) Discussion Leader (10 points)

(3) Quizzes (20 points)

(4) Writing Assignments (20 points)

• Three in-class or take-home writing assignments will be assigned during the semester (10 points each).
• The lowest grade from the three writing assignments will be dropped at the end of the semester.
• You should complete each assignment and submit it at the specified time.
• You should prepare papers using standard college prose, and should check for spelling and grammar errors prior to submitting the paper.
• For out-of-class assignments, the papers should be typed, 10 or 12 point font, 1 inch margins, double spaced.
• For out-of-class assignments, you are expected to do your own work – see the policy on plagiarism and cheating; this policy will be enforced with no exceptions.  For more information on plagiarism, see the Delta State Library's guide to plagiarism prevention.
• Click here for tips on writing papers for this course.
• Click here for the writing assignments.

(5) Final Exam (20 points)

• Each student must take the final exam.
• The exam includes short-answer and essay questions.
• The exam tests your ability to absorb and synthesize course material presented in the readings and lectures.
• The final exam is comprehensive.
• Click here for tips on taking essay tests.

(6) Discretionary (10 points)

• The instructor will evaluate each student’s performance based on factors such as the motivation, interest, and improvement the student demonstrates
• Click here for tips on developing good study habits.

Your final grade in the course will be calculated as follows:

• There are a total of 100 points available for the semester.  Your final score is simply the sum of all points earned over the semester.
• If you accumulate 90 or more points over the course of the semester, you will get an “A” in the course.  If you accumulate 80 to 89 points, you will get a “B,” for 70 to 79 points you will get a “C,” and for 60 to 69 points will get a “D.”  If you get less than 60 points, your final grade will be an “F.”
• Note that you start with zero and earn points; you do not start with 100 and lose points.

If you comply with all course requirements and submit all of the assignments satisfactorily and on time, you can expect a “C” in this course.  To receive a higher grade, you must demonstrate a superior grasp of course material and an ability to apply the material in productive ways.  It is also helpful to show an interest in the course material and in learning, and an achievement-based orientation.

Note that you simply cannot pass this class unless you attend the lectures and discussions regularly, as a substantial portion of your grade depends on attendance and active participation in class activities.

Additional Course Policies:

(1)  YOU are responsible for learning the course material and for your progress in the course

• You are expected to attend class regularly and complete all of the assignments.
• You are expected to know all material presented during class sessions, whether you attended the class or not.  If you miss a class session, you should check with another student to see what you missed.
• “I didn’t know” is NEVER a valid excuse.  If you don’t know something, it is your job to find out.

(2)  Missed assignments CANNOT be made up

• It is assumed that if you miss class or an assignment, you are making a choice that prioritizes other activities above the class.  For this reason, none of the assignments or coursework can be made up.
• Assignments are due at the time specified; no late assignments will be accepted.
• If you miss a quiz or writing assignment, you will receive a grade of zero for that assignment.  In the first instance, this will count as your lowest grade and will be dropped.  Subsequent instances will be scored as zero.
• If you must miss a presentation or other in-class activity, it is up to you to arrange to trade with another student before the event.  Please notify the instructor of such changes.

(3)  Illnesses and emergencies MUST be documented

• If you must miss class due to illness or another personal emergency, notify the instructor BEFORE the missed class period either by e-mail or telephone.
• If you cannot notify the instructor in advance, bring a note from a doctor or other professional to the next class meeting.
• Illnesses and emergencies pertain only to the student, not to the student’s family, friends or others.
• If you must miss class for an official university activity, you should make arrangements with the instructor BEFORE the missed class.  Appropriate documentation is required.
• Notified absences (i.e. you notify the instructor before the event) count as one-half absence.  Excused absences (i.e. you bring a note from a doctor or other professional) will not count against you for the first two; after that, each excused absence counts as one-half absence.
• You are responsible for all material presented in the class, even during an excused absence.  you should get class notes from another student for all class sessions you miss.
• It is in your interest to provide the instructor with written notification (e.g. note or e-mail) or documentation for any missed classes.  It is risky to simply tell the instructor and expect him to remember.

(4)  Appropriate accommodations will be made for students with medical problems or diagnosed disabilities.  Have Dr. Richard Houston at the Reily Health Center (846-4690) contact the course instructor to make arrangements.

(5)  Class discussion is an important element in this course

• The purpose of the discussion is to provide you with an opportunity to practice thinking skills in a safe environment.
• In discussions, you are encouraged to explore ideas presented in the readings and lectures, to think about and apply concepts, and to develop arguments and evaluate evidence.
• You must demonstrate appropriate respect the opinions and ideas of other students.  If you repeatedly show disrespect for other students will be asked to leave the classroom.
• Class discussions are NOT a time to chat with other students about topics not related to the course.  Talking privately with other students while the rest of the class is trying to carry on a discussion is disruptive, bothersome, and disrespectful to other students and to the professor.  If you repeatedly talk out of turn, you will be asked to leave the classroom.
• It is acceptable (and encouraged) to disagree with the perspectives of other students, but you should phrase this to show disagreement with the idea or opinion, not with the person presenting the idea or opinion.
• Please make sure that all pagers, cell phones, etc. are turned off during class time.  If your phone or pager repeatedly interrupts class, you will be asked to leave the classroom.
• Any work missed by a student that was asked to leave the classroom cannot be made up under any circumstances.

(6)  You are expected to comply with all academic standards and ethics as defined in the DSU Bulletin and Handbook

• You are expected to do their own work in this course.  Plagiarism and other forms of cheating will NOT be tolerated.
• Click here if you are unsure what constitutes plagiarism.  The DSU Library's "Plagiarism Prevention: A Guide for Students" is also a good resource.  If it is still unclear, see the instructor.  IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO UNDERSTAND THESE GUIDELINES.  If at some point in the semester you are suspected of committing plagiarism, pleas of “I didn’t know what plagiarism was” will not be accepted.
• The policy on plagiarism includes the sanctions

Sociology 101: Introduction to Sociology Professor: Dr. Tracy Scott Department: Sociology SOC 101: Breaking Norms Writing Assignment (5-7 Pages) Breaking Social Norms: Personal Space In American society, personal space is valued and is seen as a right that is expected to be given to everyone. The physical closeness allowed between individuals is determined by the degree of their relationship. In a public environment such as restaurants and other eating establishments, people sitting together in a table often are familiar and comfortable enough with each other to allow themselves to be near in proximity to other people. Those people sitting together may be family members, friends, or acquaintances willing to get to know one another. Because of this norm that we carry in the United States, rarely do we in real life see someone voluntarily sitting with a total stranger in randomness without the other finding the person to be strange or irregular. This was always intriguing to me, so I chose to do an experiment on the significance of personal space in public. As part of my research, I decided to break this social norm of personal space in a public eating area at Emory. I experimented with this three times when I was at the Dobbs University Commons, more commonly known as the DUC cafeteria where many Emory students would eat throughout the day. The social norm in this environment was much like any other eating establishment: people sat with others that they knew close enough to open their personal space to them. If they did not see anyone that they recognized, then they tended to sit by themselves. I broke this social norm by sitting with three different types of people that I did not know, two of those strangers that I voluntarily sat with as part of my experiment and the third as an accidental occurrence where I was the victim that had

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