1 Dickinson College Department of Sociology Inequalities in the United States Sociology 236 Spring 2018 Denny Hall, Room 304 Tuesday/Thursday 1:30-2:45 Professor Amy C. Steinbugler Office: Denny Hall, Room 106 Office Hours: Mondays 3-4:30 pm, Thursdays 3-4:30 pm, and by appointmentEmail: [email protected]Phone: 717.254.8140 Course Description: This course explores historical and contemporary dimensions of stratification in the United States. We will investigate the mechanisms that create and perpetuate inequality in order to denaturalize systems of social hierarchy. Students will examine why intersecting hierarchies of race, class, gender, and citizenship are a pervasive aspect of American society and how they impact our life chances. We will address the sorted history of these “social fictions,” and examine how they produce very real material conditions in everyday life. We will consider how social meanings are created through interaction and investigate the cultural practices whereby social categories are enacted or performed. With this framework in place, we will investigate stratification in multiple social institutions. Course Objectives: •Students will develop an understanding of how social inequalities result not only from the intentions of individual actors, but from the interests of social groups •Students will demonstrate a comprehension of the dynamic connections between ideologies and social structures •Students will understand the linkages between social hierarchies of gender, race, class and sexuality •Students will practice articulating a sociological analysis during class discussions. •Students will develop an ability to critically evaluate ideas and arguments Texts: Gonzales, Roberto G. 2016. Lives in Limbo: Undocumented and Coming of Age in America. University of California Press. ISBN: 978-0-520-28726-6
2 Hinton, Elizabeth. 2016. From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America. Harvard University Press. ISBN:978-0-674-73723-5. Rivera, Lauren A. 2016. Pedigree: How Elite Students Get Elite Jobs. Princeton University Press. ISBN: 978-0691169279 Williams, Joan. 2017. White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America. Harvard Business Review Press. ISBN: 978-1633693784 [OPTIONAL] Course Requirements: Exams There are two exams in this class—a midterm and a final exam. Exams will include both short answer and essay questions and draw from both readings and lecture material. Each exam is worth 20% of your final grade. Papers Over the semester, you will write two papers (6-8 pages each). These papers give you an opportunity to use theories from class readings to analyze contemporary sociological issues and events. I will grade you on the quality of your analysis and your ability to make strong connections with class texts.