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Instructor Class Description

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Paul Burstein
SOC 201
Seattle Campus

Introductory Topics in Sociology

Selected introductory topics of contemporary interest.

Class description

Sociology 201: Introductory Topics in Sociology Stability and Change in American Life. Two views of American life compete for the public’s attention. One is of American exceptionalism–the U.S. is the best country in the world, devoted to freedom, democracy, traditional moral values, economic progress, and equal opportunity for all its citizens. The other is of the U.S. in decline–with freedom diminished by big government, traditional moral values under attack, the economy stagnant, and opportunities declining dramatically for the average American. Perhaps improbably, many Americans hold both views, and have since the nation’s founding. What is the U.S. really like? Are there core values and ways of life that define the American experience? Or has the U.S. changed so much that a time traveler from the 19th century would find it unrecognizable? This course focuses on what Americans have done to ensure their safety and security, their thoughts about economic success and what they do to achieve it, how they have organized themselves to achieve personal and civil goals, their participation in public life, and their views of themselves and American life. Text: Made in America, by Claude S. Fischer, supplemented by some additional readings.

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General method of instruction

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Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Paul Burstein
Date: 03/07/2012