American Sociological Association

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  1. 2018 Hans O. Mauksch Address: Service Sociology for a Better World: A Critical and Imperative Strategy for Teaching and Learning in Sociology

    Service sociology is a critical strategy for teaching and learning in sociology. Even beyond that, service sociology is an imperative for communicating the value of our discipline to our students and other constituents. Using data collected from faculty members in Minnesota colleges and universities, I describe the salience of the sociology literacy framework for service sociology and as a means to avoid some of the weaknesses associated with service learning as a general pedagogy in our discipline.
  2. Testing for Discrimination: Teaching Audit Studies in Quantitative Methods Courses

    This article demonstrates a method for teaching students to conduct audit studies of discrimination. The assignment can be used in courses on quantitative methods, race, gender, or other topics. Audit studies test for unequal treatment by having otherwise identical pairs of people who vary on a single trait, such as race or gender, apply for the same sets of opportunities, such as apartment vacancies or job openings. Once intricate and expensive to conduct, the online shift of the past 15 years has streamlined the approach, enabling researchers to execute audits via email.

  3. Teaching Critical Perspectives on Body Weight: The Obesity “Epidemic” and Pro-Ana Movement in Classroom Discussions

    While most sociology students are well prepared to think critically about inequalities involving race, gender, social class, and sexuality, the topics of body weight and health present some challenges for classroom discussion. Primarily, this is due to the body’s status in contemporary society as simultaneously malleable (able to be changed) and intractable (an indicator of moral worth). Such associations lead to cases of size discrimination—what is often called “sizeism”—with impacts similar to what is experienced around race and gender discrimination.

  4. Stigma of a Label Educational Expectations for High School Students Labeled with Learning Disabilities

    Poorer outcomes for youth labeled with learning disabilities (LDs) are often attributed to the student’s own deficiencies or cumulative disadvantage; but the more troubling possibility is that special education placement limits rather than expands these students’ opportunities. Labeling theory partially attributes the poorer outcomes of labeled persons to stigma related to labels.

  5. Extra Credit in the Sociology Classroom

    The role of extra credit in the college classroom has been examined as a philosophical and pedagogical issue, but in this project, we argue that the matter of extra credit is also a sociological one. Using survey data, we examine how college instructors’ status and individual demographic characteristics are related to the use of extra credit. We found that women and instructors with less teaching experience are more likely to offer extra credit.
  6. The Economization of Diversity

    Through a case study of an ongoing diversity initiative at Diversity University (DU), a public, flagship university in the U.S. South, the author’s research advances understanding of the discursive relationship between neoliberalism and contemporary racial ideology. As part of a larger ethnographic project, the author draws on more than ten years worth of diversity discourse at DU to illuminate diversity’s economization: the process whereby specific formations of economic values, practices, and metrics are extended toward diversity as justification for DU’s efforts.
  7. Reconceptualizing Participation Grading as Skill Building

    Two common ways that instructors assess participation in sociology courses are recalling participation by memory or counting times spoken during class in real time. However, these common assessments rely on faulty assumptions that do not support their usage. This article reconceptualizes participation grading as an opportunity to motivate skill building across a variety of dimensions. The evidence from two classes of 45 and 47 students demonstrates that this conceptualization can be effectively implemented in undergraduate courses.
  8. Review Essays: Ivory Tower Fantasies about Affirmative Actions

    In a provocative 2002 essay, political scientist Jennifer Hochschild asks: why has affirmative action been so central to the American culture wars, more so than wage discrimination, underfunded public schools, and a litany of other social issues that have far greater impact on more black Americans?1 And why have social scientists paid affirmative action so little empirical attention, in contrast to the deep philosophical and legal thinking on the topic?
  9. Analyzing the Social Construction of Media Claims: Enhancing Media Literacy in Social Problems Classes

    Recent research has called on scholars to develop pedagogical interventions to address issues of media literacy. This teaching note answers that call by describing a media literacy project designed for use in social problems classes. The project acquaints students to the constructionist approach to social problems and the method of content analysis. Guided by the principles of scaffolding, the note discusses how students are guided through a series of readings, assignments, and activities that enables them to analyze how social problems are portrayed in news media.
  10. 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.