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Introduction to Sociology
SOCI 101 - Morrisville State College
Professor Kurt Reymer

It is with some hesitation, but an abundance of concern, that I am going to withdraw the requirement of a resesarch assignment this spring. My initial impulse was to have you research news articles and report on the coronavirus, but I quickly learned that information was not of very good quality because of the ever-changing nature of the pandemic.

Then I thought I could have you write about the way in which the virus has altered our social institutions (the effects of the reorganization of society along the lines of "social distancing" on families, religious worship, education (what we're doing right now online), politics (and the political "spin" around the pandemic), and the economy, of course (17+ million unemployed -- this is like no other time in American history). However, in talking with students, I've come to understand that a lot of you are sick of hearing about it, talking about it, and otherwise recognizing it.

This poses a dilemma for me, as it is EXACTLY in times of crisis that sociology becomes recognizable abnd more easily understood. The important lesson of the sociological imagination has been that the personal -- your story, your life -- is deeply interconnected with society -- the events of history that change social conditions and institutions in which you live. I would like to see you write about that, to evidence that you can think using the sociological imagination (this is one of the course outcomes on the syllabus).

But I also don't want you to have to do more work this semester than is necessary. I fully recognize that the conditions of the current life experience -- in your homes, apartments, condos, garages, etc. where you are socially distancing -- may be less than ideal to do schoolwork. While we are all in a similar situation in trying to keep this virus from advancing, the "conditions on the ground" (as they say in the military) may vary dramatically (as opposed to a college campus where we are all relatively equals).

SO, long story short, I am waiving the research assignment for the semester and encouraging you to use the sociological imagination more liberally in your Discussion Board posts. Keep thinkoing about that connection between your lived experience -- the story of your self, your biography -- and the story of society. Thank you and stay healthy! - Dr. K