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Introduction to Sociology:

Understanding Society
Time and Location: Tuesday/Thursday, 5:20-6:55PM,
Kresge 321
Instructor: Christie McCullen, Ph.D.
Contact: cmcculle@ucsc.edu
Office Hours: Tuesday 3-5PM (or by appointment), 227
Rachel Carson College
Teaching Assistant for Monday Sections: Mario
Avalos, mavalos1@ucsc.edu
Teaching Assistant for Thursday Sections: Marcelo Mendez, mmende16@ucsc.edu

“[People] make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but
under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a
nightmare on the brains of the living.” – Karl Marx, 1852

“I am not angry with people who think pessimistically. But I am sad because for me they have lost their place in history…History exists
only where time is problematized and not simply a given. A future that is inexorable is a denial of history.” – Paulo Freire, 1998

“Beyond the penchant for easy definitions, false exactitudes, we share a hunger for enduring value, relationships beyond hierarchy and
outside reproach, a hunger for life’s measures, complex, direct and flexible.” – Audre Lorde, 1994

“To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity
of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate
what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to
forget.” – Arundati Roy, 1999

Course Description

This course will introduce students to the field of sociology and the analytic frameworks that it uses to
understand and investigate the social world. Rather than understanding “the way things are” as inevitable,
natural, or stable, sociology investigates how identities, social groups, relationships, institutions, structures, and
categories get established and transformed through time and space. Put another way, sociology is the study of
constantly changing and intersecting social processes rather than universal social truths. We will tie these social
processes to individuals’ experiences, learning how social processes always shape and condition the lives of
individuals. While our present experiences are conditioned, our future experiences are not determined.
Therefore, we will also look at how people collectively change the social processes that condition our lives.

To illustrate social processes and develop our abilities to think sociologically, we will give special attention to
two book-length case studies. We will begin with an ethnographic study of “The Great Paradox”—poor white
conservatives who despise welfare programs and environmental regulation, even as they need (or use) public
assistance and fall victim to petrochemical toxicity. We will follow Arlie Hochschild’s lead to understand how
something that seems paradoxical to some feels natural and right to others. In the second half of the course,
we will turn to an interview study of deportees, people who immigrated to the US to find more opportunity but
got caught up in the dragnet of Immigration & Customs Enforcement. Tanya Maria Golash-Boza weaves their
stories together to illustrate the common social forces that condition the lives of all of us, not just those of us
without documentation.

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Learning Outcomes

 Students will develop a “sociological imagination” or an ability to think like a sociologist, demonstrating that
thought process through reading notes and sociobiography papers.
 Students will develop fluency with basic sociological concepts, demonstrating and applying their
understanding in sociobiography papers.
 Students will analyze the experiences of individuals described in course readings and use the guidelines for
strong sociological to demonstrate their understandings of social conditioning of those individual’s lives by
writing a series of sociobiographies.
 Students will strengthen their abilities to critically analyze written arguments and evaluate their utility
through reading notes, sociobiographies, and online and in-class discussions.

Required Readings

 Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right. By Arlie Russell Hochschild. 2016. New York:
New Press. Available for free online reading through our library’s website or for purchase at Literary Guillotine in
downtown Santa Cruz. Please note that you have to be logged in to off-campus access in order to read the book online.
 Deported: Immigrant Policing, Disposable Labor, and Global Capitalism. By Tanya Maria Golash-Boza. 2015. New York:
NYU Press. Available for free online reading through our library’s website or for purchase at Literary Guillotine in
downtown Santa Cruz. Please note that you have to be logged in to off-campus access in order to read the book online.
 Other readings are linked to the Course Schedule below or on Canvas (in Files, “Readings” folder).

Learning Accommodations

If you qualify for accommodations, please get an Accommodation Authorization from the Disability Resource Center (DRC)
and bring it to me in office hours within the first two weeks of the quarter. For more information on how to file for these
accommodations happen, please contact the DRC at 459-2089 or http://drc.ucsc.edu. Please notify Christie and your TA
of any accommodations within the first 2 weeks of class.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity means that you always turn in your own work and reference who informs your own ideas and the
arguments you make in essays. This can be difficult to fully comprehend because we live in a historical moment marked
by remixes and mash-ups, where one artist borrows from another to make something new and different. When you write
academic papers, you too are creating a mash-up of ideas, and many of those ideas and arguments come from people
other than yourself. Academic integrity means always referencing who informs your own ideas and the arguments you
make in papers. Plagiarism is when you use someone else’s words or thoughts as your own (i.e., without citations) and it
can result in a failing grade or expulsion. Whenever you use someone else’s ideas, you must cite them properly, whether
you are paraphrasing them or using exact quotes from their texts. Whenever you use more than three consecutive words
from someone else’s work, you must directly quote those words and cite them properly. To cite, put the author’s last
name, year of the publication, and page number of the words you used in parenthesis at the end of your sentence. For
example: (Anzaldúa 1990:45). When in doubt, cite! For information on how to cite properly, see the Library Guide on
Citing Sources and Plagiarism. See the campus policies on academic integrity here.

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Email Communication

I will use Canvas Email and Announcements to send you messages. You are responsible for checking that once
every 24 hours, and definitely the morning before class starts. When sending emails about this class, please put
“SOCY 1” in the subject line of the email. Please also address me and sign with your name. During the weekdays,
I will answer emails within 24 hours. In observance of the weekend, a benefit won by labor union struggles, I
will not check email on Saturday or Sunday. If you write to me after Friday afternoon, I will write back on
Monday. Ask your TA what their specific email policy is. Please also make sure that your question is not
answerable by looking at the syllabus or asking a classmate. Please write down the email and phone numbers
of two classmates who you can contact.

Requirements & Assignments

In-Class Attendance & Participation (5%)


Pedagogy: Much of our learning will come from interactive lectures and discussions in class, so attendance and
participation are both keys to success! Participation is as much about being prepared, actively listening, note-
taking, and asking questions as it is about verbally sharing insight or opinions. Please show up to class in mind,
body, and spirit—with an open mind and open heart. We will be working in small groups for large portions of
the “lecture.” If you are able to bring a laptop or tablet to class, please do so as we will use Google Docs to
interact during some exercises. I will post the link to Google Docs on Canvas, in Announcements.

Grading and Logistics: Attendance will be taken every class and graded on a credit/no-credit basis. You can miss
1 lecture and 1 section and still receive an A for this part of the grade. After that, you will lose one letter grade
per lecture or section missed. If you miss class, please do not email me and ask something to the effect of,
“What did I miss?” Instead, do the following to stay current: 1) review the slides and lecture notes available on
Canvas (in Files), 2) follow along with the lecture and activities through the webcast linked here (the username
is socy-1-1 and the password is SOCY1!), 3) search for announcements in the slides and lecture notes, 4) ask a
friend for important take-aways, and 5) visit me in office hours if you’d like to follow up with any questions,
confusion, or clarification.

Collaborative Reading Notes (18%)


Pedagogy: Carefully reading and taking notes before class begins will be vital to learning because our lecture
time will revolve around and build off of those readings and the shared knowledge they provide us. For each
assigned reading, you will contribute to collaborative reading notes through a discussion tab on Canvas (specific
to your section). Every person will be given a particular note-taking role for each reading, and those roles will
rotate (please see the appendix at the end of the syllabus for a description of and expectation for the four note-
taking roles). The idea behind this assignment is 1) to help you learn how to read critically and argumentatively,
2) to make reading into a dialogic exercise between you and your peers, 3) to stimulate section discussion, and
4) to strengthen your understanding of the readings before you have to use them more in lecture and your other
essays.

Logistics: Your TA will create 1) a Google Sheet to show you which role you should fulfill for each reading and 2)
a specific discussion on Canvas for each reading. By Friday April 5th, you should receive an email from your TA
with links to the Google Sheet. We will start these collaborative reading notes for the readings due Tuesday,
April 9th. For Thursday, April 4th’s readings, just take notes as you normally would.

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Grading: Your TAs will check the discussion for your entry at the beginning of class time and then close them for
additional comments. Late submissions will not be accepted for credit. The collective reading notes will be
graded on a credit/partial-credit/no-credit basis. If you fulfill the expectations for your note-taking role (as
described in the Google Doc), you will earn full credit for that reading (1 point). If you fulfill some of the
expectations but not all, you will earn partial credit (a half point). If you do not complete the notes, you will
earn no credit (0 points). Over the course of the quarter, you can miss 2 reading notes without a grade deduction
(because life happens). To calculate your overall grade for this assignment, we will add up your total points out
of the possible number of points. So, if you complete reading notes for 31-33 of those readings, you will receive
100% for this assignment. If you do 30/33, you’ll receive 91%.

Online Discussion Creation (4%)


Pedagogy: During weeks 2-9, several people will take on the role of posing discussion
questions online (through the Canvas “Discussions” tab). You will do this in groups of 3
or 4. Please sign up during the first week of class (find partners, choose a week to focus
on, and then write all of your names in a sign-up sheet here). When it is your group’s turn
to pose a question, start a new discussion thread on Canvas, pose a question, and post a
picture of a found object, a descriptive story, or a media clip of a current event or popular
cultural form (max 5 minutes in length) to contextualize your question. To develop a question that will stimulate
a lot of conversation and connect to the course content, reference the Questioning Circles diagram above to
help you think of “enriched” or “dense” discussion questions (i.e., questions that get at the intersection of real
life experience, societal conditions, and an argument made in one of the readings). See an appendix below for
good examples of “dense” questions. In order to keep the discussion focused, please refrain from asking more
than 2 questions in your post.

Logistics: Because this is an assignment meant to stimulate follow-up discussions to material covered in lecture,
you should post your questions any time after Tuesday lecture and before Thursday night (with the latest
possible posting of Thursday at 11:59PM). These deadlines give your peers time to reflect and respond to your
questions in a timely manner. Your TAs and I will use these discussion threads to stimulate follow-up discussions
in class. As such, no late work will be accepted. To clarify the different discussion threads for each week, please
label your discussion thread with all of your names and the week of the quarter (e.g., “Donte, Shayla, & Devin’s
Question, Week 6”).

Grading: “Dense” questions will earn an A grade. “Enriched” questions will earn a B grade. Questions that only
ask your peers to think in terms of text, reader, or world will earn a C grade. Asking more than 2 questions will
result in a deduction of one letter grade. Please see the appendices at the end of the syllabus for examples of
dense questions.

Online Participation (3%)


Pedagogy: In addition to attending and participating in class, you should also participate in one of the discussion
threads on Canvas. Each week, there will be approximately 3-5 different discussion threads led by your peers.
You should participate in at least 1 of those discussions each week (including the week you post a question) by
offering your thoughts on the question asked by your peers.

Logistics: You have until Monday at 11:59PM to post your responses.

Grading: We will grade this on credit-no credit basis. As long as you offer 3-4 sentences that show that you have
thought about both the question asked and the responses already given by your peers, you will receive full credit

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for participating. You can miss 1 week of discussions without a grade deduction. After that freebie, each missed
discussion will result in a loss of one letter grade for this portion of your overall grade.

3 Sociobiographies (70% total—20% for Unit #1, 25% for Unit #2, and 25% for Unit #3)
Pedagogy: A “sociobiography” is a type of essay that is based on the concept of the “sociological imagination,”
or the ability to see how individual biographies are tied to histories, and how personal troubles are entangled
with public issues. In other words, a sociobiography is an essay that describes and explains how an individual’s
thoughts, feelings, actions, behavior, and/or words are shaped by the social conditions under which they live.
To demonstrate your developing sociological imagination, you will write three separate sociobiography essays.
The prompt and rubric for each essay is the same (see the appendices below for both).

Logistics: You will write 3 separate sociobiographies, each one specific to the unit of study we’re focused on.
 The Unit #1 Sociobiography should be based on a person profiled in the April 4-18th readings. It is due
between April 25th- April 30th.
 The Unit #2 Sociobiography should be based on a person profiled in the April 23-May 14th readings. It is
due between May 16th-May 21st.
 The Unit #3 Sociobiography should be based on a person profiled in the May 16th-June 6th readings.
You will turn this in, in lieu of an in-person final exam, on Monday, June 10th by 8PM.

Grading: The TAs and I will use a rubric based on the prompt to grade these (in appendices below).

Grid Schedule for Readings and Assignments

 Note #1: The bulleted list in each box refers to assigned readings. You should read those pieces and contribute
to the collective reading notes before class begins on that day (i.e., “Freire—Pedagogy of the Oppressed in the
Thursday, April 4th box means that you should read that piece and complete your notes on it before class starts
on the 4th). This is vital to learning because our class time will revolve around and build off of those readings and
assignments.
 Note #2: If a URL does not follow the title of a reading, it can be found in the Files tab of our Canvas page or in
our course books.
 Note #3: This schedule is subject to change. When I change it, I will use Canvas email to alert you of changes.
The syllabus on Canvas will always be the most updated one.

Week Tuesday Thursday

1 April 2 - Introductions April 4 – Sociological Imagination


 UCSC Sociology Students—A Working List of Group
Agreements
 Freire – Excerpt from Pedagogy of the Oppressed
 Cole—“They” and the Emotional Weight of Words
 Paul—Are College Lectures Unfair?
https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/13/opinion/sunday/are-
college-lectures-unfair.html?smid=pl-share

2 April 9 – Socialization, Social Self, & Identification April 11 – Socialization, Social Self, & Identification
 Unit #1 Example of a Sociobiography Essay  Hochschild—The Candidates
 Hochschild—Traveling to the Heart  Hochschild—The “Least Resistant Personality”
 Hochschild—"One Thing Good”  Optional: Take any Implicit Bias Test
 Hochschild—The Remembers https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html

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3 April 16 – Ideology, Beliefs, Religion, & Meaning-Making April 18 – Ideology, Beliefs, Religion, & Meaning-Making
 Hochschild—The Pulpit and the Press  Hochschild—The Worshipper
 Hochschild—The Deep Story  Hochschild—The Cowboy
 Hochschild—The Team Player  Hochschild—The Rebel
 California Newsreel—Race-The Power of Illusion. Episode 2:  Dias – ‘God Is Going to Have to Forgive Me’: Young Evangelicals
The Story We Tell. https://ucsc.kanopy.com/video/race- Speak Out https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/01/us/young-
power-illusion-0 (Sign in to off-campus access through the evangelicals-politics-
library to be able to watch) midterms.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=
Homepage

4 April 23 – Performing, Performativity, & Normativity April 25 – Normativity, Stigma, & Deviance
 Lei—(Un)Necessary Toughness  Rios—The Hyper-Criminalization of Black and Latino Male
 Optional: Strings & Bui—She Is Not Acting, She Is Youth in the Era of Mass Incarceration

Unit #1 Sociobiography Due

5 April 30 – Belonging, Including, & Excluding May 2 – Power & Privilege


 Winddance Twine—Brown Skinned White Girls  Lukes—Keyword: Power
 Alfrey & Winddance Twine—Gender-Fluid Geek Girls  Joffe-Walt—5 Women (1-hour podcast)
Unit #1 Sociobiography Due https://www.thisamericanlife.org/640/five-women and
https://www.thisamericanlife.org/640/transcript (optional
transcript to read as you listen)

6 May 7 – Power & Privilege May 9 – Family


 Perry—I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Me  Smith—Gender Strategies, Settlement, and Transnational Life
 Anderson—When Schools Feel Like Prison in the First Generation
https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/09/whe  Frameline – El Canto del Colibri
n-school-feels-like-prison/499556/ https://ucsc.kanopy.com/video/el-canto-del-colibri

7 May 14 – Sociology Helps Us Understand Climate Change May 16 – Political Economy & Labor Processes
(A Guest Lecture from Dr. Andrew Szasz)  Golash-Boza—Preface
 TBD  Golash-Boza—Introduction
 Miller—On the Front Lines of Climate and Borders
Unit #2 Sociobiography Due (in lecture)

8 May 21 – Political Economy & Labor Processes May 23 – Racial Formation & Social Control
 Golash-Boza—Growing Up  Coates—The Case for Reparations
 Golash-Boza—Crossing Over https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/06/the-
case-for-reparations/361631/
Unit #2 Sociobiography Due (in lecture)  California Newsreel—Race-The Power of Illusion. Episode 3:
The House We Live In. https://ucsc.kanopy.com/video/race-
power-illusion-0 (Sign in to off-campus access through the
library to be able to watch)

9 May 28 – Racial Formation & Social Control May 30 – Racial Formation & Social Control
 Golash-Boza—The War on Drugs  Golash-Boza—Behind Bars
 Golash-Boza—Getting Caught  Golash-Boza—Disposable Labor & the Impacts of Deportation

10 June 4 – Resistance, Change, & Movements June 6 – Resistance, Change, & Movements
 California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance—Abolish ICE: A  Moyer—Roles for Social Change
Manifesto for Immigrant Liberation  Hubbard—United in Anger (1½-hour documentary)
 Students for a Democratic Society—Excerpts from The Port https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrAzU79PBVM
Huron Statement
https://history.hanover.edu/courses/excerpts/111hur.html
 Catch up on Golash-Boza

Finals **Monday** June 10, 8PM


Week Unit #3 Sociobiography Due (instead of an in-person final
exam)

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Appendix A — Guidance for Collaborative Reading Notes

A Note on Arguments and Critical Analysis


Arguments can be represented as a simple equation. Argument = Assertion + Evidence + Logic. An assertion is
the main thesis that the author wants you to consider as true. Evidence is some sort of verifiable information
that the author uses to support their assertion. Logic refers to the words that the author uses to speak for the
evidence, or to explain how they think the evidence supports the assertion. When we ask you to “critically
analyze” a text, we’re asking you to break down the argument into these parts and then evaluate the merit of
the argument based on those parts. Does the evidence and logic convince you? Below are 4 Roles for Note-
Taking. You will be assigned a different role for each reading.

Roles
 Assertion—Use 3-5 sentences to paraphrase what you think the author’s main assertion is and why you find
it convincing or not. Paraphrasing means using you own words rather than directly quoting the author. When
you write about why you find it convincing or not, beware of simply stating “it had good evidence” or “the
author was passionate.” Instead, explain why you think the evidence was good or not, or how the passion
persuaded rather than dissuaded you.
 Evidence and Logic–Use 4-6 sentences to describe one good piece of evidence that the author uses and then
explain how the author claims that the evidence supports their main assertion. For example, “The author
gives results from a survey that found that 46% of workers…This statistic supports the assertion because…”
 Confusion and “Avocado Pit”—Use 3-5 sentences to explain your confusion with any part of the argument.
Rather than simply statement “I don’t get X,” explain why you don’t understand it. To do so, first explain
what you do understand and then explain what part doesn’t make sense to you. For example, “I understand
what the author means by X, but does that mean that we’re supposed to conclude X? Or, Z?”
 So What/Now What?—Use 4-6 sentences to articulate how this argument can help us think about “the real
world” or the social world we live in rather than the case study used by the author. If you think that it can
help us think about “the real world,” give an example or specific context that you have in mind. For example,
“The author concludes that people often act differently in their peer group than they do with their families
because of the different norms of each context. I see this in my own family when…” If you don’t think that
the argument is useful, explain what its shortcomings are.

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Appendix B – Examples of Dense Discussion Questions

Example 1: On Tuesday, May 29th, 2018, Starbucks closed a large amount of its stores in order to give its
employees an anti-racial bias training (see here: https://www.seattletimes.com/business/schultz-calls-anti-
bias-training-effort-a-historic-step/). This event was inspired by the arrest of two men: a manager working at a
Starbucks in Philadelphia wrongly called the police on two black men who had been waiting in the coffee shop
for a while but had not ordered anything. This anti-racial bias training from Starbucks is a good example of the
“racial projects” that we have been discussing during lecture and that were discussed in the Coates reading. It
is a racial project that is attempting to fight against discrimination and racism. Do you think this training will be
effective for the employees at Starbucks? Why or why not?

Example 2:
https://www.ted.com/talks/lee_mokobe_a_powerful_poem_about_what_it_feels_like_to_be_transgender
This link is a 4 minute TED TALK of a powerful poet, Lee Mokobe. Although Lee Mokobe has an intersectional
perspective that can relate to many aspects of our class, I want to focus on the social gender norms. How do
the social norms of being a man and having a 'true sex' (as explained by the Connell reading) impact Lee
Mokobe in their actions and body? Do you see these social norms in your life or in your social circles?

Example 3: https://www.estherhonig.com/commercial (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. The


link above will take you to the website of the journalist Esther Honig and her study titled "Before & After"
regarding beauty standards around the world. You can locate a video of the study through the link above (the
YouTube video near the bottom of the page), and here is an article about
it: https://www.buzzfeed.com/ashleyperez/global-beauty-
standards?utm_term=.oqjZZYng3n#.yh3mmwDjnD (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. How do
these photoshopped images of Honig portray the social construction of body image around the world, and
how could this be influenced by the notion of icons that uphold the status quo (as discussed in Thompson's
"The Beauty and the Freak")?

What not to do when posting questions: Do not pose more than two questions in an attempt to make dense
or enriched questions by way of asking a lot of questions. Posting more than two questions at once makes for
a disjointed discussion where people are responding to different questions at once.

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Appendix C – Prompt for Sociobiography Essays
Your sociobiography essays should do all of the following:

1. Pick one person who is profiled in a reading from the unit we’re working on. Make sure to cite the specific
reading (article or book chapter) from which you learned about this person.
2. Briefly describe the person in terms of meaningful social categories and distinctions (i.e., race, class,
gender, sexuality, ability, documentation status, employment status, political affiliations, etc.). Note: this
only requires 1-2 sentences.
3. Organize your paper around a central question or paradox that your person illustrates (e.g., Why would
someone not support environmental regulation when they personally suffer from the consequences of
lack of regulation? Or, Why do women often get paid less for the same work as men? Or, How could
someone who didn’t sell drugs get deported for that crime?
4. To help illustrate that central question or paradox, briefly describe 1-2 particular aspects of your chosen
person’s worldview (e.g., the person thinks that all ethics should be decided by the church or the person
despises people on welfare) or 1-2 meaningful moments from the author’s characterization of your person
(e.g., the person passionately debates the need for government regulation of industry or a person showed
up to a meeting with a sign that says “I’M THE ONE WHO DUMPED IT IN THE BAYOU”). Your description of
these should include particular words they used, thoughts they had, feelings they expressed, experiences
they had, or actions and behaviors they engaged in. Imagine that your reader did not read the piece that
you did, so you have to provide enough detail so that the reader has a mental image of the moment you
will analyze next. This description should be short (2-5 sentences) so that you can focus on more of your
paper length on analysis of those moments (see next guidelines on analysis).
5. To help address your central question or paradox, analyze and explain how those aspects or moments
from that person were “socially constructed” experiences rather than idiosyncrasies or exercises of free
will. To do so, zoom out from the individual person and search for the broader social conditions that
shaped that individual person’s life (i.e., the political, economic, and sociocultural factors). Then, explain
how those social conditions and factors shaped the choices the person had, the reactions they had, or the
conclusions they came to. You may also find it helpful to compare the person’s experience to those of a
different person from another reading. By comparing, you may be able to illuminate the social
conditioning that shaped people in different ways.
6. To aid you in analyzing and explaining those social conditions, you should refer to at least 2 distinct
readings specific to the unit (articles or separate book chapters), as well as 2 different sociological
concepts from lecture during that unit (see the dates of units on page 5 above). In addition to those unit-
specific readings and concepts, you may engage with material from previous units too, but only to
compliment the material from the focused unit. These references can be paraphrased or directly quoted,
but either way, both readings and lecture material should be cited parenthetically in the text. An example
of a proper parenthetical citation for paraphrased material is (Hochschild 2016) and quoted text from page
46 is (Hochschild 2016:46) or Hochschild, 2016, p. 46). For citing concepts from lectures, cite as such:
(McCullen, lecture, and the date of the lecture). Please refer to the following guidelines for help with in-
text citations.
7. Use 900-1000 words to accomplish all of this. Please write your name, word count, section number, and
unit number at the top of the essay. Please refer to your TA’s guidelines for other submission specifics
(e.g., paper vs. electronic submission, spacing, siding, stapling, numbering pages, etc.).
8. Follow the guidelines for strong sociological explanation and analysis at the sentence level. We will go
over this in lecture, and you can also read more about this in the appendix below and find exemplary
essays from students in a folder on Canvas. At the paragraph level, make sure each paragraph serves a
distinct and clear purpose that is summarized in its topic sentence. Give your written work a professional

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appearance: ask a friend to review it for argumentation, read it aloud yourself—slowly—to check for typos
and clear sentence structure, and use spell check before turning it in.
9. Even though the teaching team will grade your papers, pretend that your audience for this paper is a peer
at UCSC or at home who has not studied sociology formally. Therefore, assume that they have not done
the readings nor been to lecture. With that in mind, explain yourself carefully.

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Appendix D – Rubric for Sociobiography Essays

Always Complete Somewhat Incomplete or


and Effective Complete and Ineffective
Effective
Describe the person in terms of meaningful social categories and distinctions (i.e., race,
class, gender, sexuality, ability, documentation status, employment status, political
affiliations, etc.).

Describe and explain how that person’s life experiences (i.e., thoughts, feelings, actions,
stories, etc.) are “socially constructed” experiences, or experiences shaped by broader
social conditions (i.e., the political, economic, and sociocultural factors).

Sociological explanation at the paragraph level—Each paragraph has an explicit purpose


named in the topic sentence, “evidence sentences” that describe evidence that can
support the topic sentences, and “analytical sentences” that speak for the evidence to
explain how the evidence supports the topic sentence and why the evidence matters
sociologically.

Sociological explanation at the sentences level—Analytical sentences have explicit causal


statements that explain the processes of social construction (i.e., what agents do to
construct “reality”).

A majority of the paper engages in explanation and analysis of experiences rather than
description of those experiences.

Uses at least 2 course readings and 2 concepts from lecture to analyze the person’s
experiences.

In-text citations of course texts in APA or ASA Format

Professionalization: Final paper copy is 1.5-2-spaced, given page numbers, and proofread
for sentence-level issues (punctuation, spelling, etc.).

Total Mostly this Mostly this Mostly this


column = column = column =
A/B range* B/C range* Low C to F range*

* Here’s how to distinguish As from Bs from Cs *


o An A paper is essentially perfect. The explanation and analysis is super tight and clear. With an A
paper, you never have to re-read any sentences to understand what the author means and you never
need to fill in any blanks for the author (e.g., thinking to yourself, “I think the author means X.”). If a
first-year student who wasn't in this class read an A paper, they would be able to understand the
evidence and analysis because it is completely clear and carefully organized. There are no
professionalization issues (e.g., typos, spelling, etc.)
o B papers have fairly strong evidence and analysis, but the connection between the evidence and
analysis isn't always completely straightforward in the writing. The reader may need to reread a few
sentences to figure out what the author is trying to say or fill in some blanks or assumptions that the
author made. What allows the reader to fill in those blanks is that they have read the same material
and gone to the same lectures that the author has gone to. If a first-year who wasn't in SOC 1 read
their paper, they would be a little confused at times and not understand parts of it. There may be a few
or several professionalization issues (e.g., typos, spelling, etc.)
o A C paper is a more extreme version of a B paper, meaning that there are frequent holes in the
evidence or analysis. A first-year student who read their paper would be mostly confused. There are
several or frequent professionalization issues (e.g., typos, spelling, etc.).

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