Help me instill the sociological imagination
August 24, 2010 12:34 PM Subscribe
I need to find interesting things for incoming freshmen to read in a social sciences seminar.
posted by Crotalus to Education (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
At the last possible second, I have been enjoined to teach a large section of Sociology 101. We have also discovered that the scheduled instructor didn't order a textbook or leave behind any course materials. My plan is to scan course materials to PDF and scour the web for interesting readings. I have a few things in mind for them, but I'd like to tap your collective brilliance to find cool things that 18 year olds should be reading about their society, and about other societies. I'm looking for book chapters, articles in smart magazines, accessible articles in journals and periodicals, even well crafted blog posts would be a consideration. Obviously I want credible readings that back their claims with sources. What have you read recently that is relevant to sociology that you think 18 year olds should read? Some topics I'd like to hit:
* The problems associated with the drug war, particularly how the drug war fuels violence in Mexico and links between drug profits and terrorism in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
* A clear eyed examination of American immigration policy, and a nice actuarial analysis of what undocumented immigrants contribute to society, as well as their costs.
* Articles that discuss the difference between scientific inquiry and common sense, or other articles that talk about how conventional wisdom (particularly about things relevant to sociology) is often wrong.
* Anything about how and why evolution has gifted (cursed?) us with our big brains, and other interesting articles on the traits that set us apart from other animals. Things that touch on how our biology still orders our social arrangements (i.e. with respect to mate selection, etc.) would be awesome.
* Discussions of how we transformed from hunting and gathering bands into state level societies.
* Any discussion of how quantum technological shifts (i.e. the invention of agriculture, microprocessors, or the internet) have impacted human societies. (Including glimpses of how future technology might affect us.)
* Essays about how political agendas and interest groups have hijacked or compromised the social sciences. (I'm not saying I believe this [necessarily], but students believe it, so I'd like to examine it.)
Your help would be greatly appreciated.