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The ASA Task Force on Liberal Learning and the Sociology Major, Third Edition (LL3) has been working steadily on the charge put to it by ASA Council at their August 2014 meeting: to revise the ASA document Liberal Learning and the Sociology Major Updated: Meeting the Challenges of Teaching Sociology in the 21st Century (McKinney et al. 2004). Perhaps the most important as well as the most cited sociology curricular document in the United States, this revision comes at a critical time when several changes are occurring in higher education.
Compared to natural disasters—hurricanes, tornadoes, floods—pandemics are comparatively rare. British sociologist Phil Strong (1990) was one of the few to study pandemics. He developed a framework based on accounts of pandemics back to the Black Death in 14th century Europe. Pandemics represented moments of transparency in the social order. All sorts of institutions, relationships, and interactions suddenly became problematic. The taken-for-granted assumptions of everyday life were exposed and became uncertain and questionable.