from the syllabus:
"Most weeks, an online media assignment will be posted on the course website and you must send your individual responses to questions regarding the assignment directly to the professor by email. Emailed answers should not be attachments and should have the proper subject heading of the week. Questions regarding online media will be based on the supplemental information from the website (they are “open book” questions). Online media are due Friday at 5pm (see the course schedule), unless otherwise indicated. They CANNOT be made up after the due date; there are no exceptions to this rule. They will be graded on a pass/fail (1/0) basis, and you are likely not to receive feedback to your email. Your lowest online media grade will be dropped at the end of the semester."
All assignments should be e-mailed each week by 5pm Friday to: email@example.com
VIDEO: Watch The Overpopulation Myth (YouTube, ~50min long), featuring Hans Rosling and answer the following questions:
1. When did human population reach 1 billion people? What is it now? (~3 min)
2. What is happening in Bangladesh with respect to the family institution? (~4 min)
3. What has happened with respect to average number of babies in the world in the past 50 years? (~9 min)
4. What has happened in terms of infant mortality (death of children) over the past 200 years? (~19 min)
5. What will the predicted world population be in 2100? (~21 min)
6. How have hospitals in Mozambique changed in the last 30 years? (~30 min)
7. What is the difference in income from the poorest to richest among the world population? (~36 min)
8. What percent of adults in the world today are literate? (~43 min)
9. In terms of the proportion of the world in extreme poverty, how has world income distribution changed in the last 50 years? (~ 46 min)
10. What is the energy-related problem with ending the world's extreme poverty? (~52 min)
OPTIONAL: E-mail your completed assignment to: firstname.lastname@example.org, with the SUBJECT line to read: SOCIB1
Due on or before Friday, Dec 3 at 5pm
This online media assignment will replace one missed assignment from earlier in the semester (or in the case that you have done them all, it will add one  additional point to the online media portion of your final grade).
Watch this 15-minute video and take some notes, then respond to the questions below for this week's online media.
Race is a hard topic to talk about in the U.S. because it has such a long and contentious history. The country was founded at the height of the period of global colonialism, where European powers were competing to "take over the world." It was a time prior to industrialization, so labor was done primarily on the backs of animals and humans (not machines, as we live now). And ideas of other cultures were hardly sensitive, often demonizing and dehumanizing those who did not look, act, or conform to European cultural standards. This led to immoral and highly questionable practices like slavery and indentured servitude. There were those who fought against these practices at the time -- the Abolition Movement -- and there has always been racial strife regarding the systematic way African Americans have been disenfranchised from representation in our American democracy. Every few decades this animosity boils up to the surface and reignites tensions. The last such period was the late 1960s when race riots broke out in many American cities. Fifty years later we saw it happen again in America 2020.
This week, we will focus on the current protests and riots. How can we best explain and understand the history-making events from last summer? There is typically a focus on the disorder and anarchy related to the protests, and riots often are seen as something remarkably deviant, abnormal, irrational, and just plain bad. (But remember what we said about deviance, that sometimes it is positive, despite being seen as bad by some). And, certainly, the innocents who are caught in the midst of it, who may lose life or property, are tragic victims who require restitution and justice as well..
But can we see all protest as "bad" behavior on the part of irrational and self-interested individuals? How can a riot be seen as a more complicated phenomenon than just a few "bad apples"? Watch this 15-minute video and take some notes, then respond to the questions below in your discussion this week.
After watching this video, discuss your take on "law and order" with respect to crowd behavior.
1. What is the difference between the conciliatory and the repressive response of police toward protesting crowds?
2. What is the role of trust and respect in relation to compliance with the law?
3. What is the role of fear in the same (how does "suppression beget aggression")?
4. What is looting really about?
5. How does "order" become a fluid concept?
6. Are there proper and improper uses of police action when it comes to dealing with a protest?
7. How does this relate to the political life of the country at the moment, after an insurrection at the Capitol building on January 6th?
E-mail your completed assignment to: email@example.com, with the SUBJECT line to read: SOCI10
Due on or before Friday, 11/19 at 5pm
Read the short article Somebodies and Nobodies then answer the following questions:
1. What is “rankism”? What sociological theories relevantly explain rankism?
2. Is it power differences only that are the cause of rankism? Why or why not?
3. Give several specific examples of rankism, from your own life, if possible.
4. Talk about two potential consequences of rankism.
DO NOT send as an attachment. E-mail your completed assignment to firstname.lastname@example.org, with the SUBJECT line to read: SOCI9
Due on or before Friday, Nov 12 at 5pm
Watch this video about the sociology of deviance and then answer the following questions:
1. What is a definition of deviance from the video?
2. What is the difference between informal and formal deviance? Give an example of each.
3. Summarize the functionalist perspective on deviance.
4. Summarize the conflict perspective on deviance.
5. Summarize the interactionist perspective on deviance.
6. What are the four primary reasons why we put criminals behind bars? Briefly define each reason.
7. How does having a criminal record affect someone, even after they have "paid their dues"?
8. What is plea bargaining and in what way does it disadvantage the poor?
E-mail your completed assignment to email@example.com, with the SUBJECT line to read: SOCI8
Due on or before Friday, 10/29 at 5pm
Watch this video (46 minutes) and answer the following questions:
1. What is the meaning of the term "six degrees of separation"?
2. Why were Cornell researchers Strogatz and Watts studying crickets?
3. What is the paradox of "small world problem" and how is it solved?
4. How was actor Kevin Bacon used to study the six degrees of separation?
5. What is a network hub?
6. What are some other examples of small world networks?
7. Who are society's "hubs"?
8. How can the reality of social networks lead to negative outcomes?
9. How can our undertstanding of networks help to ward off these problems?
10. How many of the forty packages made it back to Marc Vidal in Boston and how many connections did they take to get there?
E-mail your completed assignment to: firstname.lastname@example.org, with the SUBJECT line to read: SOCI7
Due on or before Friday, 10/22 at 5pm
Answer the following questions about Kingsley Davis's 1947 sociology article titled Extreme Isolation:
1. Compare and contrast the experiences of both Anna and Isabelle both during confinement and after confinement in terms of:
a. family situation
b. physical abilities and challenges
c. mental capabilities and challenges
d. social development
2. Why did Isabelle make more progress physically, mentally, and socially than Anna?
3. What conclusions can be drawn in terms of the importance of early socialization experiences? What do these experiences contribute to the 'nature-nurture' debate?
E-mail your completed assignment to: email@example.com, with the SUBJECT line to read: SOCI6
(Note: for regular correspondence, do not use the above link to email me; or if you do, be sure to remove the automatic subject line heading "SOCI#")
Due on or before Friday, Oct 8 at 5pm
Watch this Crash Course in Sociology video on Social Interaction and Performance (YouTube, 2017, 11:38) and answer the following questions below.
1. How are social interaction and social structure defined?
2. What is social status? Include the difference between ascribed and achieved status. Give three examples from your life.
3. What is a social role and how does it differ from a status?
4. What is the "Thomas Theorem?"
5. What is "impression management" and what are "sign vehicles"?
6. What's the difference between "front stage" and "back stage" performances?
Due on or before Friday, 10/1 at 5pm.
DO NOT send as an attachment. E-mail your completed answers to: firstname.lastname@example.org, with the SUBJECT line to read: SOCI5.
"Fear is the mind killer." - Frank Herbert, Dune
Read "The Culture of Fear" by Frank Furedi (Spiked, 2007) and Watch the Interview with the author of the book The Culture of Fear, Barry Glassner (YouTube, 9 min). Then send your answers by email to your professor (see below).
1. What is the authors argument about how sociologists have dealt with the cultural study of fear in the past and the present?
2. What does sociologist Ann Swidler mean by saying "in the very act of using culture, people ‘learn how to be, or become, particular kinds of persons’"?
3. What does the author mean by saying that "fear today has a free-floating and raw dynamic"?
4. How can this theory of a "culture of fear" apply to our current society? Find an example in current events that relates.
5. What are the social institutions and forces that promote a "culture of fear" in our society?
6. What are the problems related to promoting a culture of fear and mistrust in children?
7. Using the same logic as the video narrator (Barry Glassner), discuss how fear leads to a mistrust in social and political institutions in America today.
Due on or before Friday, 9/17 at 5pm.
DO NOT send as an attachment. E-mail your completed answers to: email@example.com, with the SUBJECT line to read: SOCI4.
1. What is the point of the fish parable?
2. What does David Foster Wallace mean when he says that the liberal arts education "teaches you how to think?"
3. What example does he give of the total wrongness of something he feels absolutely sure about (our "default setting")?
4. What are some examples of DIFFERENT ways of thinking that we could choose?
5. What is the only thing that is Capital-T "True", according to the speaker, Wallace?
6. What does Wallace mean by saying "In the trenches of day-to-day life, there is actually no such thing as atheism (not worshipping)"?
7. What will happen if you worship money, looks, power, or your intellect (the "default settings")?
8. What is the really important kind of freedom created by being educated and understanding how to think?
BONUS: How does this discussion relate to the S.O.C.I. mnemonic we discussed in class?
Due on or before
Friday, Sept 10 5pm
DO NOT send as attachment.
E-mail your completed answers to: firstname.lastname@example.org with SUBJECT LINE: SOCI3
Watch this video about "The Fine Art of Baloney Detection" (by Carl Sagan) and answer the following questions:
1. What is tool #1 in the baloney detection kit? Explain it's purpose in reasoning and give an example.
2. What is tool #2 in the baloney detection kit? Explain it's purpose and give an example.
3. What is tool #3 in the baloney detection kit? Explain it's purpose and give an example.
4. What is tool #4 in the baloney detection kit? Explain it's purpose and give an example.
5. What is tool #5 in the baloney detection kit? Explain it's purpose and give an example.
6. What is tool #6 in the baloney detection kit? Explain it's purpose and give an example.
7. What is tool #7 in the baloney detection kit? Explain it's purpose and give an example.
8. What is tool #8 in the baloney detection kit? Explain it's purpose and give an example.
9. What is tool #9 in the baloney detection kit? Explain it's purpose and give an example.
10. Write about an example in your own life that you can use to describe how you have applied one of the principles above to avoid "baloney".
Due on or before
Friday, Sept 3 5pm
DO NOT send as attachment.
E-mail your completed answers to: email@example.com with SUBJECT LINE: SOCI2
Watch this video about the "sociological imagination" and read these excerpts from C. Wright Mills' original article "The Promise of Sociology," then discuss the questions below in an email to your Professor.
1. What is another personal trouble (other than obesity, as described in the video) that has social factors that contribute?
2. How do social structures contribute to social problems?
3. How does using the sociological imagination help us examine human behavior?
Due on or before Friday, August 27 at 5pm. Late assignments will not be accepted.
DO NOT send your answers as an email attachment.
(I recommend copying and pasting the questions into a document (Word, Google, Notepad, etc.) and then answering the questions as you watch; then copy and paste your answers in an email to me).
E-mail your completed answers directly to: firstname.lastname@example.org with the SUBJECT line to read: SOCI1.
Administrative Note: I will give you 3 chances to get the subject heading correct in your online media emails to me. For example, when you sent the first online media assignment, you should have used a subject heading in the email of "SOCI1." If you wrote something else (like, for instance, "Online Media Questions 1" or "soci 1 hw" or "from Joe Student"), or if you have included your assignment as an attachment, you have not paid attention to the details of the assignment instructions (details which make it crucially easier for me to organize your responses and read what you have written). You can do this three times without penalty, but a fourth instance of not paying attention to the details will result in a 1-point reduction from your Online Media grade. For the vast majority who are doing it right, thank you for paying attention to the details! - Regards, Prof Reymers