American Sociological Association

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  1. Call Your Representatives: Connecting Classroom Learning to Real-world Policy Action

    This article presents an in-class exercise that teaches students how to call elected officials about a course-related issue of their choice. The goals are to connect classroom learning with real-life action, to show that contacting elected officials need not be difficult or intimidating, and to help students develop a sense of efficacy that can contribute to ongoing engagement. I describe the exercise and present evidence that it led students to call their elected officials, most for the first time ever.
  2. Share, Show, and Tell: Group Discussion or Simulations Versus Lecture Teaching Strategies in a Research Methods Course

    Impacts of incorporating active learning pedagogies into a lecture-based course were examined among 266 students across nine research methods course sections taught by one instructor at a large public university. Pedagogies evaluated include lecture only, lecture with small group discussions, and lecture with simulations. Although lecture-simulations sections outperformed lecture-only sections on one outcome measure, few performance differences appeared between lecture-only and alternative groups.
  3. Navigating the Process of Curriculum Redesign in Sociology: Challenges and Lessons from One Program

    The American Sociological Association has produced a wide range of reports and materials addressing curricular best practices. Collectively, those materials are an invaluable resource for guiding revisions of the sociology major, but they do not address processes for implementing such revisions. In this conversation piece, we describe the steps by which our department implemented a thorough curricular redesign—a process nearing completion after five years of formal discussions, and with roots reaching back even farther.
  4. Using Racial and Class Differences in Infant Mortality to Teach about White Privilege: A Cooperative Group Activity

    A considerable amount of research across the past several decades has documented the emergence of a new racial ideology of “color-blindness” as well as evidence that white college students have difficulty recognizing the racial privileges that are obscured by this color-blindness. To address this, we developed a cooperative group White Privilege Activity that used racial and class differences in infant mortality to help students recognize the existence of white privilege.
  5. Do They Have to Like It to Learn from It? Students’ Experiences, Group Dynamics, and Learning Outcomes in Group Research Projects

    Small-group pedagogies, such as group research projects, are a common instructional method in undergraduate education. The literature suggests that small-group learning has positive effects on learning outcomes, but some students have negative attitudes toward group work, and student complaints about negative group dynamics, such as free-riding, are common.
  6. Teaching Note: Social Networks and Labor Market Inequality: A Role-playing Activity to Teach Difficult Concepts

    Role-playing activities, as a form of active learning, enable instructors to teach difficult concepts in ways that better facilitate student learning. This note tests the effectiveness of a role-playing activity that simulates the job market: Most students play job seekers seeking employment, and a few play the employers who make employment decisions. However, students are constrained in that they can only talk to students they already know or meet during the game.
  7. Pedagogy: Teaching and Learning about Settler-colonial Racism: A Case for “Unsettling” Minoritizing and Multicultural Perspectives

    This article contributes to emerging efforts to decolonize race-based approaches and antiracist pedagogies in sociology. Building on recent scholarship on settler colonialism and decolonization as well as her experiences of being unsettled, the author discusses the limitations of her critical sociological toolkit for understanding and teaching about the cultural violence associated with “Indian” sport mascots.
  8. The Advantaged Cause: Affect Control Theory and Social Movements

    The role of grievances in drawing public concern and activist support is a surprisingly understudied topic in modern social movement literature. This research is the first to parse issues into core components to understand whether some grievances are more successful than others in evoking reactions that can benefit social movements.

  9. Crossing Categorical Boundaries: A Study of Diversification by Social Movement Organizations

    When do protest organizations borrow issues or claims that are outside their traditional domains? Sociologists have examined the consequences of borrowing claims across movement boundaries, but not the antecedents of doing so. We argue that movement boundaries are strong when there is consensus about the core claims of a social movement, which we measure by cohesion and focus. Cohesion and focus enhance the legitimacy of a movement and impede member organizations from adopting claims associated with other movements.

  10. Royall Must Fall: Old and New Battles on the Memory of Slavery in New England

    There is much scholarly and public debate over how slavery should be remembered, especially in the southern United States. We have seen this recently with the case of Charlottesville, Virginia, where protest ensued over a statue of Robert E. Lee. However, attention should also be paid to the history of slavery in the northern United States, particularly in places such as New England, where attempts were made to silence this history.