SS2700 Introduction to Sociology (rwinkler)

SS2700 Introduction to Sociology (rwinkler)
Last edited by Richelle Winkler 8 months ago


Instructor Information 

Instructor:                  Richelle Winkler

Office Location:         217 Academic Office Bldg

Telephone:                 906-487-1886


Office Hours:             Thursdays 1:30-4:00


Please read our 2700_Syllabus.pdf  and explore this website.

If you have any questions related to the syllabus, please ask them in the syllabus discussion.

Introduction to Sociology (SS 2700)



You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes. -Morpheus

In the movie The Matrix, Morpheus offers Neo a blue pill and a red pill. If he takes the blue pill, he will go on believing what he has been programmed to believe about reality.  If he takes the red pill, he will learn the truth—that what he has always believed to be reality is a façade or a dream world made to keep people under control. This class offers students a similar choice.  You’ll be presented with new ways of thinking about the world that will call into question some of the fundamental understandings about the world you may hold dear (including things like religion, capitalism, and marriage).  You’ll be challenged to think about what is “real” and what is socially constructed.  You may choose to “take the blue pill” and only superficially engage with this material.  Or, you might choose to “take the red pill” and think hard, truly questioning the world around you and in which you are an active part.  I will encourage you to do the latter, but ultimately it is your choice.

bikini_parade.jpgSociology is the scientific study of society (the social world).  Just as an ichthyologist studies fish and a physicist studies motion and behavior of objects and energy, a sociologist relies on scientific methods of discovery to build knowledge about the way society works.  This means we are studying ourselves.  And that is complicated.  People are complicated and the social world is always evolving, making it difficult to pin down lasting truths.  Knowledge is constantly evolving and theories are put forth, tested against data, and revised, and then things change.  The truth is elusive.  Sometimes, there are no clear answers.

The sociologist approaches the social world (our reality) with a critical, questioning eye.  Are things really as they seem?  Why and how do things work as they do?  What is really behind it? We question reality, rather than taking for granted that the world is as we have always presumed it to be (or as we have been socialized to understand it).  This questioning is referred to as the “sociological imagination”, and it is what I’ll encourage you to develop in this course. I ask you to keep an open mind and to think about issues raised in class from multiple perspectives. 

Because the social world is vast and everything is social in the sense that we only know about it because people interact with it, and name it, and think about it; sociologists study a wide array of subjects.  In fact, you can pretty much study the sociology of anything.  In this class, we'll focus on some of the most popular sociological topics like:  culture, race, community, gender, poverty, education, religion, population, environment, family, and crime. For this reason, its a good choice for a major if you really don't know what you want to do when you grow up, like me.

Great Piece on How Relationship Status (Open, Monogamous, white_births.pngprisons.png

About now, some of you are likely wondering “what the heck is this crazy lady talking about?” or “is this just some escape into the mind that will never prove useful?”  While the issues we address will get you thinking and challenging preconceived notions about reality, they are also very practical and important to your careers and even more important to your lives.  In fact, I would argue that this may be one of the most practical courses you’ll take in your college career. You live in society.  You are constantly shaped and affected by it.  You must learn how to work within it to increase your chances of success in life (in your work, family, relationships, and community).  And because you are not just a viewer of the world, but an actor within it, you also shape society and have the ability to change it for the good.

Sociology is not just for thinking…it is about raising awareness about what is going on behind the obvious and it is about working to make the social world a better place.


Some important things to know about this course and this course website:

Please read our syllabus and explore this website. If you have any questions related to the syllabus, please ask them in the syllabus discussion.

The Modules link is also very important.  The weekly modules contain the readings for each week, as well as some related resources and journal/activity assignments. You will not be able to open module material until you have opened the syllabus.

The Discussion link is where you will submit your Discussion assignments and view discussions that other students submit.  I encourage you to review what others have to say, in addition to submitting your own work here.  You will not be allowed to review others' submissions, however, until you submit your own discussion. I want to see your own independent thoughts, but I also want to you learn from your peers by reviewing what they have to say.

You will be asked to do a good deal of writing in this course.  You can find a very brief guide that covers important basic points in this Writing_Guide.pdf

Your textbook comes with resources for students to help you study and with supplemental material.  Check it out:

Most of the images on this page come from a cool sociological website called Sociological Images.  They are meant to start you thinking.  There is a lot of interesting, often funny or provocative, pop-culture type sociological stuff on the site. Check it out!

We'll be doing a major segment and project in this class on suicide.  This is a difficult topic that most of you have been touched by in some way.  It may bring up feelings that are important to share. Please talk to classmates, friends, parents, to me, and/or to a counselor.  MTU counseling services are confidential, on-campus and free to students. There are additional resources about this topic found on the Suicide Resources page.

Public_domain This course content is offered under a Public domain license. Content in this course can be considered under this license unless otherwise noted.