brian-frankOn Tuesday, April 22, we will have  guest speaker Brian Frank, a founding member of Lambda Family Circle. He will join us to discuss gay parenting issues, as well as his own personal story of his family. He and his partner Steven met some twenty years ago and both of them had very different coming out processes. While Steve came out early in life; Brian came out in his late twenties, and his family never accepted his sexuality or partner. When they were first together, few avenues existed for the creation of GLBT families. However, in the past two decades, many different pathways to parenthood have developed: adoption, surrogacy, alternative insemination, transparenting, and polyamory. Brian and Steve became foster parents to several children before adopting Darius.

Please write a summary response (and post here on this blog posting) to Brian’s talk of 150 words and include a link to an online source related to his class. This is due before the next class period and will count towards your participation points.

On Tuesday, April 15th, we will have guest speaker and filmmaker Bhawin Suchak (director of YouthFX) joining our class to show his documentary The Throwaways. Please take notes during this video and relate it to our sociology lens: power, institutions, and demographics. Post your response to the movie before the next class period: a minimum of 100 words, and relate it to topics we’ve covered in our class. Cite at least two academic references.

presenter5768x1024 Conference Preparation (10)

On April 12, 2014, we will be attending the Sociology Student Symposium. Please attend the conference, as much as you can, between 10-5pm. You will write a 300 word minimum summary/response to what you saw, be sure to include details such as presenters’ names, titles, content, and so on. Also try to include photos/videos that you took at the event. You can upload these to a website such as and post a link to the set. Post these responses and photo links to the response page on the symposium website here AND create a blog post on your website. If you cannot attend the event, you can review a minimum of five student online research websites and that can be the basis of your review. You can find online student presentations here. These posts are due before the next following class period.

Be sure to attend the keynote lunch in the norm at 1pm!

I still need volunteers for the breakfast and lunch shift, please email me to volunteer.

The format for the posting: Have an introductory “story,” image or concept that provides a unifying theme for your post. Second, provide an overview for your post, including an outline of the topics/presentations you will be covering. (“In this post, I will be focusing on the issue of…”). For example, you might want to focus on panels with a similar theme. (“I will be showing, a, b and then c…”). Have your voice lead the discussion, rather than a summary of presentations, include your perspective and critique. Have a conclusion, (“in this post, I have demonstrated x, y and z… Therefore, my summary point is…”). Here is a link to the images that I took on my iphone at the conference,… You can also see a posting of this summary on my website… Include your name in your posting. In your discussion, include full academic citations (both in text and a bibliography) of at least three academic sources (these sources can be based on your own research, our class readings, or the sources that the presenter cites).

300-500 words minimum
3 academic sources minimum
link to photos/videos you took at conference
post your symposium response on BOTH your website and on the symposium blog (not our class blog).


Thursday due GoAnimate:

Find your videos exported to YouTube here:

For homework: please check out you fellow student’s videos and comment on at least two of them. Click here for videos.

For educational documentaries, see: Media Education Foundation

Our webpages on “Socio-Economic Status and Inequality” are due. Please post a link to yours, along with your name and a one sentence description in the comments section below. We will also have an article to read for class on Blackboard, “Social Stratification, Inequality, and Poverty.” In class, already watched the documentary Inequality for All, by Robert Reich. Be ready to have an in-depth conversation about the chapter and relate your research website to the topic as well. Some of you will be called upon to talk about your webpage on inequality. See Prezi on this discussion here.

We will have a group exercise project:

Group 1: Class and Inequality

Defining the working-class, middle-class and upper-income class by income, wealth, social status, and so on. Please list as many defining traits as you can so as to demarcate where the division is between these three classes. Please use the computer to do any necessary research. Lead the class in an activity to define three economic classes, focuses especially on cultural capital (aka Bourdieu) status markers.

Group 2: The Poverty Line

How was the poverty line developed? Outline this history. What was the argument for this? How has it kept up with the times and inflation? What measures do other developed nations utilized? How are these different? Research on the web, post links on class blog.

Group 3: Living in Poverty

The poverty line for a family of 4 is X. How does a family live on this income? Please figure out how much income this is, and then all the expenses a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 children) would need in order to live on a monthly basis, after taxes. Look up expenses and be as accurate as possible. Craigslist for an apartment, etc.

In class on March 4th, we will watch the documentary When Strangers Click, about on-line dating (pre-2005). We will also read the article on Blackboard by authors Casper & Bianchi, called “Cohabitation.” Come to class having read the article and ready to write or talk about it. Finally, I would like to meet with each of you individually during class to talk about your research website. Please see your grades on Blackboard beforehand and be ready to discuss. You can also go ahead and update your pages as recommended (tho this will not raise your grade).

social-media-researchDuring this next section of our course, you will be completing the first two “pages” of your research website, entitled, “Sociological Questions,” and “Research Methods.” These pages should explore the following topics:

  • Sociological questions

What are your main sociological questions on this topic? How do demographics, power and institutions relate to your topic? What are your hypotheses? Why is this question sociologically significant?

  • Research methods

What research methods have sociologists used to study this topic in the past? What methods would you use if you were doing a more in-depth research project on this topic? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the various methods in relation to this topic?

Since this is a website, and not a written research paper, each website page should have embedded links, pictures, video clips, and links to the sources used. Each page must cite at a minimum of 5 academic sources, so please link to these sources, use proper in-text citation, and include a full reference list at the bottom of the page, in either MLA or Chicago Manual formats. Please post links to both pages in the comments section below. They are due by the beginning of class.

Please read the article entitled, “Studying the Social World,” and be ready to discuss it in class, as well as your two websites. Here is a Prezi covering the main ideas of this article.
Further resources include:
American Sociological Association’s code of ethics
Institutional Review Board at Siena College

storify-screenshot3x2Please post your storify projects on this post, with a short description of your topic, name, and link.

hooking upThe article “Avenue to Adulthood,” is chock full of information and statistics. Please review this carefully. What does the article say is the most important social issue promoting teen pregnancy? What is the US teen pregnancy rate? How does it compare internationally? How do the intersections of race and class impact teen pregnancy?

We will also ready the article from our textbook, “Hooking Up and Dating: A Comparison.” What did the author have to say on the topics of: sex, the rules, love, the group, alcohol, status, adulthood, and continuing gender inequality? Please watch the following videos before class. If possible, watch the entire documentary “Understanding Hookup Culture” by Paula England. Be ready to discuss. We will get into pairs to discuss the ten different sections of the articles. You can find a link or video that represent the issue covered in your particular section. Please also come up with three different discussion questions that cover the following topics as they relate to your issue: 1) Institutions, 2) Demographics, and 3) Power (never ask questions that begin with “what do you think about?…”).

Statistics on teen pregnancy by state

International comparison

Statistics on sex education by state

Article: Let’s Not Panic Over Women With More Education Having Fewer Kids

Class Prezi on teen pregnancy and hook up culture.

In our next class, on Tuesday February 11, we will be reviewing the movie Consuming Kids and the two articles assigned.
Each group should create a page illustrating their segment of the documentary,  including quotes from the assigned reading:
Group 1: The Floodgates Open (starts 6:31) / By Any Means Necessary (starts: 13:33)
Group 2: Under the Microscope (starts: 24:20)
Group 3: Brand New World (starts 31:34)
Group 4: Cradle to Grave (starts 37:40) Rewiring Childhood (starts 46:48)
Group 5: Our Future (starts: )

Finally, students should also write more about their research topic by adding to their blog posting where they defined their topic. Besides the topic, include the following: (Do not use this example for your own topic!)
Specific sociological research question(s), for example: “How does poverty contribute to teen pregnancy?”
List three hypothesis for your topic: 1) Poverty provides a lack of material and social resources during the beginning of life that would contribute towards pursuing higher education and professional career development. 2) Poverty limits individuals geographically into areas of concentrated poverty, which exasperate opportunities, 3) Poverty contributes to a lack of professional opportunities and resources that would lift parents and children out of poverty, thus promoting a cycle.
Three initial academic references: 1) Morgan, S. Philip, “Thinking about demographic family difference: Fertility differentials in an unequal society,” in Marcia J. Carlson and Paula England (eds.), Social Class and Changing Families in an Unequal America (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2011).
2) Raley, Gabrielle, “Avenue to adulthood: Teenage Pregnancy and the meaning of motherhood in poor communities,” In Stephanie Coontz (ed.) American Families: A Multicultural Reader (New York: Routledge, 2008).
3) Furstenberg, Frank F., Destinies of the Disadvantaged: The Politics of Teen Childbearing (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2007.
Include a picture: find an image that is representative (but not stereotypical) of your topic and include it.


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