Stephanie Osbakken


Ph.D., University of Michigan

Lecturer
Stephanie Osbakken

Contact

Biography


While Stephanie Osbakken's research explores how social factors influence collaboration among interdisciplinary health researchers, her teaching interests are much broader. In a variety of classes, she encourages students to consider how social, cultural, and economic forces shape perceptions of health and illness, scientific knowledge, and health behaviors and outcomes for different groups in society. She loves teaching and mentoring undergraduates and feel privileged to work with them as they explore their interests and pursue their career goals.

Courses


H S 301 • Intro To Health & Society

39095 • Fall 2017
Meets MW 10:00AM-11:30AM CLA 0.126
(also listed as SOC 308S)

COURSE DESCRIPTION

The principle objective of H S 301/SOC 308S is to offer students a broad overview of health and society from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. We will examine how social forces influence health and disease in U.S. society, including cultural, economic, and demographic considerations. We will explore why rates of disease vary among different populations and how cultural and structural inequalities shape access to healthcare and affect morbidity and mortality. How do economic factors, politics, public perceptions of morality, and historical biases against specific populations shape our modern-day understandings and experiences of health and illness? We will also examine how social forces shape the very definitions of health, illness, and disease categories, and thereby medical diagnoses and treatments. We will consider the social consequences of the commodification of healthcare and how new technologies are transforming our current healthcare system and the nature of the patient/physicianrelationship. Our course readings and discussions will help us address current bioethical controversies that continue to influence our beliefs about health and illness and shape our very understandings about human rights and personhood. This course is built around lectures (including guest lectures), class discussion, and film screenings and discussion.

COURSE OBJECTIVES

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

• Analyze contemporary health issues from a variety of disciplinary and professional perspectives.

• Explain how social location, the media, and economic forces shape health behaviors and outcomes.

• Explain how social and cultural factors shape contemporary understandings and experiences of health and illness and death and dying in the U.S.

• Critically evaluate the assumptions, motives, and evidence that individuals and groups use to make specific claims about health and illness.

COURSE MATERIALS

Gawande, Atul. 2014. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End. New York:Metropolitan.

Marmot, Michael. 2005. The Status Syndrome: How Social Standing Affects Our Health and Longevity. New York: Holt.

Course readings also include scholarly articles, book chapters, and other required readings available on Canvas.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND EVALUATION

This course is organized in a lecture format, but it is greatly enhanced by your participation. For variety’s sake, I will often incorporate short video-clips, group activities, and/or writing exercises in our class session. We will also spend considerable time each week discussing the readings and our own experiences, interests, and knowledge in this area. Please remember that discussions will only be as rich as you all make them, so it is essential that everyone come prepared to speak about the readings thoughtfully and critically. Your final evaluation for the course will be broken down as follows:

Attendance and Preparedness (10%)

Students are expected to attend class, read assignments before each class, and actively participate in classroom discussions during the week. Eight times during the semester the instructor will have students sign in on a class roster or complete a group assignment in the first few minutes of class. Students will be granted one unexcused absence with no penalty. If you have a university-related conflict or medical or family emergency that prevents you from attending class, alert your TA (providing relevant documentation) and you will not be penalized for a particular absence, but you must contact your TA in advance of missing class. NOTE: Tardiness will adversely affect your grade; students who arrive late risk missing this activity or sign-in sheet and will not be allowed to receive credit for the day.

Reading responses (10%)

Students are expected to keep up with the reading for the class. Six times during the course of the semester, I will pose a reading question on the course Canvas page relevant to recent reading. The questions will be posted on Sunday evening and students are expected to write a reading response of one page, double-spaced (between 250 and 350 words) and upload a copy to the Canvas page by 5pm on the Thursday that they are due. Responses will be graded as meets/exceeds expectations (100), meets minimum expectations (70), no credit (0). See course schedule for Reading Responses (marked RR).

Exams (60%)

Two exams (worth 30% each) will be given to assess your level of mastery of the course material, including assigned readings, lectures (including guest lectures), and in-class films and other media presentations. . Both exams will be a combination of multiple choice, true-false, fill-in-theblank, short answer, or short essay items.

Essay (20%)

Students are required to write one of two essay assignments offered during the term. The paper will be approximately 5 pages in length (not to exceed 6 double-spaced pages), and will answer a specific prompt related to course topics. Specific assignments will be posted to Canvas on the dates indicated below. Papers are due in class; electronic submissions of papers will NOT be  accepted. Due dates are firm. Five points will be deducted each day the paper is late, but papers will not be accepted if they are more than five days late. Late papers cannot be emailed or posted to Canvas, so it a student’s responsibility to submit a hard copy of his/her paper to the appropriate TA.

 

H S 301 • Intro To Health & Society

39100 • Fall 2017
Meets MW 11:30AM-1:00PM CLA 0.102
(also listed as SOC 308S)

COURSE DESCRIPTION

The principle objective of H S 301/SOC 308S is to offer students a broad overview of health and society from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. We will examine how social forces influence health and disease in U.S. society, including cultural, economic, and demographic considerations. We will explore why rates of disease vary among different populations and how cultural and structural inequalities shape access to healthcare and affect morbidity and mortality. How do economic factors, politics, public perceptions of morality, and historical biases against specific populations shape our modern-day understandings and experiences of health and illness? We will also examine how social forces shape the very definitions of health, illness, and disease categories, and thereby medical diagnoses and treatments. We will consider the social consequences of the commodification of healthcare and how new technologies are transforming our current healthcare system and the nature of the patient/physicianrelationship. Our course readings and discussions will help us address current bioethical controversies that continue to influence our beliefs about health and illness and shape our very understandings about human rights and personhood. This course is built around lectures (including guest lectures), class discussion, and film screenings and discussion.

COURSE OBJECTIVES

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

• Analyze contemporary health issues from a variety of disciplinary and professional perspectives.

• Explain how social location, the media, and economic forces shape health behaviors and outcomes.

• Explain how social and cultural factors shape contemporary understandings and experiences of health and illness and death and dying in the U.S.

• Critically evaluate the assumptions, motives, and evidence that individuals and groups use to make specific claims about health and illness.

COURSE MATERIALS

Gawande, Atul. 2014. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End. New York:Metropolitan.

Marmot, Michael. 2005. The Status Syndrome: How Social Standing Affects Our Health and Longevity. New York: Holt.

Course readings also include scholarly articles, book chapters, and other required readings available on Canvas.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND EVALUATION

This course is organized in a lecture format, but it is greatly enhanced by your participation. For variety’s sake, I will often incorporate short video-clips, group activities, and/or writing exercises in our class session. We will also spend considerable time each week discussing the readings and our own experiences, interests, and knowledge in this area. Please remember that discussions will only be as rich as you all make them, so it is essential that everyone come prepared to speak about the readings thoughtfully and critically. Your final evaluation for the course will be broken down as follows:

Attendance and Preparedness (10%)

Students are expected to attend class, read assignments before each class, and actively participate in classroom discussions during the week. Eight times during the semester the instructor will have students sign in on a class roster or complete a group assignment in the first few minutes of class. Students will be granted one unexcused absence with no penalty. If you have a university-related conflict or medical or family emergency that prevents you from attending class, alert your TA (providing relevant documentation) and you will not be penalized for a particular absence, but you must contact your TA in advance of missing class. NOTE: Tardiness will adversely affect your grade; students who arrive late risk missing this activity or sign-in sheet and will not be allowed to receive credit for the day.

Reading responses (10%)

Students are expected to keep up with the reading for the class. Six times during the course of the semester, I will pose a reading question on the course Canvas page relevant to recent reading. The questions will be posted on Sunday evening and students are expected to write a reading response of one page, double-spaced (between 250 and 350 words) and upload a copy to the Canvas page by 5pm on the Thursday that they are due. Responses will be graded as meets/exceeds expectations (100), meets minimum expectations (70), no credit (0). See course schedule for Reading Responses (marked RR).

Exams (60%)

Two exams (worth 30% each) will be given to assess your level of mastery of the course material, including assigned readings, lectures (including guest lectures), and in-class films and other media presentations. . Both exams will be a combination of multiple choice, true-false, fill-in-theblank, short answer, or short essay items.

Essay (20%)

Students are required to write one of two essay assignments offered during the term. The paper will be approximately 5 pages in length (not to exceed 6 double-spaced pages), and will answer a specific prompt related to course topics. Specific assignments will be posted to Canvas on the dates indicated below. Papers are due in class; electronic submissions of papers will NOT be  accepted. Due dates are firm. Five points will be deducted each day the paper is late, but papers will not be accepted if they are more than five days late. Late papers cannot be emailed or posted to Canvas, so it a student’s responsibility to submit a hard copy of his/her paper to the appropriate TA.

 

H S 301 • Intro To Health & Society

38865 • Fall 2016
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM CLA 0.126
(also listed as SOC 308S)

COURSE DESCRIPTION

The principle objective of H S 301/SOC 308S is to offer students a broad overview of health and society from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. We will examine how social forces influence health and disease in U.S. society, including cultural, economic, and demographic considerations. We will explore why rates of disease vary among different populations and how cultural and structural inequalities shape access to healthcare and affect morbidity and mortality. How do economic factors, politics, public perceptions of morality, and historical biases against specific populations shape our modern-day understandings and experiences of health and illness? We will also examine how social forces shape the very definitions of health, illness, and disease categories, and thereby medical diagnoses and treatments. We will consider the social consequences of the commodification of healthcare and how new technologies are transforming our current healthcare system and the nature of the patient/physicianrelationship. Our course readings and discussions will help us address current bioethical controversies that continue to influence our beliefs about health and illness and shape our very understandings about human rights and personhood. This course is built around lectures (including guest lectures), class discussion, and film screenings and discussion.

COURSE OBJECTIVES

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

• Analyze contemporary health issues from a variety of disciplinary and professional perspectives.

• Explain how social location, the media, and economic forces shape health behaviors and outcomes.

• Explain how social and cultural factors shape contemporary understandings and experiences of health and illness and death and dying in the U.S.

• Critically evaluate the assumptions, motives, and evidence that individuals and groups use to make specific claims about health and illness.

COURSE MATERIALS

Gawande, Atul. 2014. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End. New York:Metropolitan.

Marmot, Michael. 2005. The Status Syndrome: How Social Standing Affects Our Health and Longevity. New York: Holt.

Course readings also include scholarly articles, book chapters, and other required readings available on Canvas.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND EVALUATION

This course is organized in a lecture format, but it is greatly enhanced by your participation. For variety’s sake, I will often incorporate short video-clips, group activities, and/or writing exercises in our class session. We will also spend considerable time each week discussing the readings and our own experiences, interests, and knowledge in this area. Please remember that discussions will only be as rich as you all make them, so it is essential that everyone come prepared to speak about the readings thoughtfully and critically. Your final evaluation for the course will be broken down as follows:

Attendance and Preparedness (10%)

Students are expected to attend class, read assignments before each class, and actively participate in classroom discussions during the week. Eight times during the semester the instructor will have students sign in on a class roster or complete a group assignment in the first few minutes of class. Students will be granted one unexcused absence with no penalty. If you have a university-related conflict or medical or family emergency that prevents you from attending class, alert your TA (providing relevant documentation) and you will not be penalized for a particular absence, but you must contact your TA in advance of missing class. NOTE: Tardiness will adversely affect your grade; students who arrive late risk missing this activity or sign-in sheet and will not be allowed to receive credit for the day.

Reading responses (10%)

Students are expected to keep up with the reading for the class. Six times during the course of the semester, I will pose a reading question on the course Canvas page relevant to recent reading. The questions will be posted on Sunday evening and students are expected to write a reading response of one page, double-spaced (between 250 and 350 words) and upload a copy to the Canvas page by 5pm on the Thursday that they are due. Responses will be graded as meets/exceeds expectations (100), meets minimum expectations (70), no credit (0). See course schedule for Reading Responses (marked RR).

Exams (60%)

Two exams (worth 30% each) will be given to assess your level of mastery of the course material, including assigned readings, lectures (including guest lectures), and in-class films and other media presentations. . Both exams will be a combination of multiple choice, true-false, fill-in-theblank, short answer, or short essay items.

Essay (20%)

Students are required to write one of two essay assignments offered during the term. The paper will be approximately 5 pages in length (not to exceed 6 double-spaced pages), and will answer a specific prompt related to course topics. Specific assignments will be posted to Canvas on the dates indicated below. Papers are due in class; electronic submissions of papers will NOT be  accepted. Due dates are firm. Five points will be deducted each day the paper is late, but papers will not be accepted if they are more than five days late. Late papers cannot be emailed or posted to Canvas, so it a student’s responsibility to submit a hard copy of his/her paper to the appropriate TA.

 

H S 301 • Intro To Health & Society

38870 • Fall 2016
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM CLA 0.130
(also listed as SOC 308S)

COURSE DESCRIPTION

The principle objective of H S 301/SOC 308S is to offer students a broad overview of health and society from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. We will examine how social forces influence health and disease in U.S. society, including cultural, economic, and demographic considerations. We will explore why rates of disease vary among different populations and how cultural and structural inequalities shape access to healthcare and affect morbidity and mortality. How do economic factors, politics, public perceptions of morality, and historical biases against specific populations shape our modern-day understandings and experiences of health and illness? We will also examine how social forces shape the very definitions of health, illness, and disease categories, and thereby medical diagnoses and treatments. We will consider the social consequences of the commodification of healthcare and how new technologies are transforming our current healthcare system and the nature of the patient/physicianrelationship. Our course readings and discussions will help us address current bioethical controversies that continue to influence our beliefs about health and illness and shape our very understandings about human rights and personhood. This course is built around lectures (including guest lectures), class discussion, and film screenings and discussion.

COURSE OBJECTIVES

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

• Analyze contemporary health issues from a variety of disciplinary and professional perspectives.

• Explain how social location, the media, and economic forces shape health behaviors and outcomes.

• Explain how social and cultural factors shape contemporary understandings and experiences of health and illness and death and dying in the U.S.

• Critically evaluate the assumptions, motives, and evidence that individuals and groups use to make specific claims about health and illness.

COURSE MATERIALS

Gawande, Atul. 2014. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End. New York:Metropolitan.

Marmot, Michael. 2005. The Status Syndrome: How Social Standing Affects Our Health and Longevity. New York: Holt.

Course readings also include scholarly articles, book chapters, and other required readings available on Canvas.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND EVALUATION

This course is organized in a lecture format, but it is greatly enhanced by your participation. For variety’s sake, I will often incorporate short video-clips, group activities, and/or writing exercises in our class session. We will also spend considerable time each week discussing the readings and our own experiences, interests, and knowledge in this area. Please remember that discussions will only be as rich as you all make them, so it is essential that everyone come prepared to speak about the readings thoughtfully and critically. Your final evaluation for the course will be broken down as follows:

Attendance and Preparedness (10%)

Students are expected to attend class, read assignments before each class, and actively participate in classroom discussions during the week. Eight times during the semester the instructor will have students sign in on a class roster or complete a group assignment in the first few minutes of class. Students will be granted one unexcused absence with no penalty. If you have a university-related conflict or medical or family emergency that prevents you from attending class, alert your TA (providing relevant documentation) and you will not be penalized for a particular absence, but you must contact your TA in advance of missing class. NOTE: Tardiness will adversely affect your grade; students who arrive late risk missing this activity or sign-in sheet and will not be allowed to receive credit for the day.

Reading responses (10%)

Students are expected to keep up with the reading for the class. Six times during the course of the semester, I will pose a reading question on the course Canvas page relevant to recent reading. The questions will be posted on Sunday evening and students are expected to write a reading response of one page, double-spaced (between 250 and 350 words) and upload a copy to the Canvas page by 5pm on the Thursday that they are due. Responses will be graded as meets/exceeds expectations (100), meets minimum expectations (70), no credit (0). See course schedule for Reading Responses (marked RR).

Exams (60%)

Two exams (worth 30% each) will be given to assess your level of mastery of the course material, including assigned readings, lectures (including guest lectures), and in-class films and other media presentations. . Both exams will be a combination of multiple choice, true-false, fill-in-theblank, short answer, or short essay items.

Essay (20%)

Students are required to write one of two essay assignments offered during the term. The paper will be approximately 5 pages in length (not to exceed 6 double-spaced pages), and will answer a specific prompt related to course topics. Specific assignments will be posted to Canvas on the dates indicated below. Papers are due in class; electronic submissions of papers will NOT be  accepted. Due dates are firm. Five points will be deducted each day the paper is late, but papers will not be accepted if they are more than five days late. Late papers cannot be emailed or posted to Canvas, so it a student’s responsibility to submit a hard copy of his/her paper to the appropriate TA.

 

H S 301 • Intro To Health & Society

38320 • Spring 2016
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM CAL 100
(also listed as SOC 308S)

COURSE DESCRIPTION

The principle objective of H S 301/SOC 308S is to offer students a broad overview of health and society from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. We will examine how social forces influence health and disease in U.S. society, including cultural, economic, and demographic considerations. We will explore why rates of disease vary among different populations and how cultural and structural inequalities shape access to healthcare and affect morbidity and mortality. How do economic factors, politics, public perceptions of morality, and historical biases against specific populations shape our modern-day understandings and experiences of health and illness? We will also examine how social forces shape the very definitions of health, illness, and disease categories, and thereby medical diagnoses and treatments. We will consider the social consequences of the commodification of healthcare and how new technologies are transforming our current healthcare system and the nature of the patient/physicianrelationship. Our course readings and discussions will help us address current bioethical controversies that continue to influence our beliefs about health and illness and shape our very understandings about human rights and personhood. This course is built around lectures (including guest lectures), class discussion, and film screenings and discussion.

COURSE OBJECTIVES

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

• Analyze contemporary health issues from a variety of disciplinary and professional perspectives.

• Explain how social location, the media, and economic forces shape health behaviors and outcomes.

• Explain how social and cultural factors shape contemporary understandings and experiences of health and illness and death and dying in the U.S.

• Critically evaluate the assumptions, motives, and evidence that individuals and groups use to make specific claims about health and illness.

COURSE MATERIALS

Gawande, Atul. 2014. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End. New York:Metropolitan.

Marmot, Michael. 2005. The Status Syndrome: How Social Standing Affects Our Health and Longevity. New York: Holt.

Course readings also include scholarly articles, book chapters, and other required readings available on Canvas.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND EVALUATION

This course is organized in a lecture format, but it is greatly enhanced by your participation. For variety’s sake, I will often incorporate short video-clips, group activities, and/or writing exercises in our class session. We will also spend considerable time each week discussing the readings and our own experiences, interests, and knowledge in this area. Please remember that discussions will only be as rich as you all make them, so it is essential that everyone come prepared to speak about the readings thoughtfully and critically. Your final evaluation for the course will be broken down as follows:

Attendance and Preparedness (10%)

Students are expected to attend class, read assignments before each class, and actively participate in classroom discussions during the week. Eight times during the semester the instructor will have students sign in on a class roster or complete a group assignment in the first few minutes of class. Students will be granted one unexcused absence with no penalty. If you have a university-related conflict or medical or family emergency that prevents you from attending class, alert your TA (providing relevant documentation) and you will not be penalized for a particular absence, but you must contact your TA in advance of missing class. NOTE: Tardiness will adversely affect your grade; students who arrive late risk missing this activity or sign-in sheet and will not be allowed to receive credit for the day.

Reading responses (10%)

Students are expected to keep up with the reading for the class. Six times during the course of the semester, I will pose a reading question on the course Canvas page relevant to recent reading. The questions will be posted on Sunday evening and students are expected to write a reading response of one page, double-spaced (between 250 and 350 words) and upload a copy to the Canvas page by 5pm on the Thursday that they are due. Responses will be graded as meets/exceeds expectations (100), meets minimum expectations (70), no credit (0). See course schedule for Reading Responses (marked RR).

Exams (60%)

Two exams (worth 30% each) will be given to assess your level of mastery of the course material, including assigned readings, lectures (including guest lectures), and in-class films and other media presentations. . Both exams will be a combination of multiple choice, true-false, fill-in-theblank, short answer, or short essay items.

Essay (20%)

Students are required to write one of two essay assignments offered during the term. The paper will be approximately 5 pages in length (not to exceed 6 double-spaced pages), and will answer a specific prompt related to course topics. Specific assignments will be posted to Canvas on the dates indicated below. Papers are due in class; electronic submissions of papers will NOT be  accepted. Due dates are firm. Five points will be deducted each day the paper is late, but papers will not be accepted if they are more than five days late. Late papers cannot be emailed or posted to Canvas, so it a student’s responsibility to submit a hard copy of his/her paper to the appropriate TA.

 

H S 378 • Seminar In Health & Society

38323 • Spring 2016
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM CBA 4.344

Focuses on a key topic or debate within the Health and Society area of study and develops students' abilities to use data and write a research or policy paper that informs that topic or debate.

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing and Health and Society 301.

Designed to accommodate 35 or fewer students.

SOC 317M • Intro To Social Research

44495 • Spring 2016
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:00PM CLA 0.118

Course Description:

How do social scientists know what they know? This course strives to address that question by introducing students to the research methods used by sociologists to understand the world around them. The following are among the topics covered in this course: 1) How to link social theory with empirical inquiry; 2) How to identify the relative strengths and weaknesses of qualitative and quantitative approaches to social research; 3) How to critically understand and evaluate the claims made by social scientists about their research findings; 4) How to analyze, interpret, and present survey data; and 5) How to conceptualize and design a research project. The course will also cover the ethics and politics of conducting social research. Additionally, there will be a lab component to this course, which will take a “hands on” approach to the material covered in class and provide students with the necessary skills to analyze survey data.

Required Readings:

 

In addition to articles and readings that will be provided on the course website, we will use the following textbook:

Babbie, Earl. 2013. The Practice of Social Research (13th Edition). Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Course Grading:

Grades for the course will be based on two exams (exam 1 = 20%, exam 2 = 20%), an analysis paper (15%), a research proposal (20%), a class presentation (5%), lab assignments (15%), and class participation (5%).

Attendance in class and at the lab is required and will be factored into the class participation component of the grade. Make-up exams will not be allowed, except in extreme circumstances. Late assignments will only be accepted if approved in advance by the professor.

 

SOC 317M • Intro To Social Research

44575 • Fall 2015
Meets MW 10:00AM-11:00AM CLA 0.118

Description:

How do sociologists understand and study the world around them?  This course introduces students to the ways in which social scientists pose and answer questions.   First, this course begins by considering how knowledge production is situated within a specific historical and cultural context and is shaped by power relations within society.   Some questions are simply easier—politically, logistically, legally—to ask and answer.  Other questions are difficult to broach or effectively investigate, and are sometimes fraught with ethical concerns.  We will also explore how theory is linked to empirical discovery, which in turn, tests, builds, and/or refines theoretical understandings of the social world.  Students will examine the process of social research by 1) considering the research questions that social scientists routinely ask, 2) examining the methodological approaches social scientists use to answer their research questions, 3) analyzing the claims authors make in existing research studies, and 4) investigating the ethical issues that shape the context of inquiry and the process of social research.  This course adopts a hands-on approach to research methods.  As such, students will be expected to collect and analyze data in labs as well as outside of class.

 

Readings: 

Textbook TBA, other readings to be posted to Canvas

SOC 323 • The Family

44635 • Fall 2015
Meets MW 3:00PM-4:30PM BUR 214
(also listed as WGS 345)

 Description:

This course explores the family as a social institution in American society. The primary goal of this class is to encourage students to step beyond their personal experiences and cultivate a more sociological and analytical approach to the family.  By the end of the term, students will be able understand the cultural and structural forces that shape family life, and how these dimensions can shift, but also resist change over time. We will begin with a historical overview of the family where we will contextualize and challenge nostalgic depictions of the family in popular culture.  Throughout the term we will chart multiple dimensions of family life, including dating, cohabitation, marriage, parenting, childhood, and divorce, and changing ideas of the American family, to name a few.  We will adopt a sociological perspective, considering how gender, race, class, sexuality, and other social factors shape family relationships and family life.  We will also consider alternate family structures that were once dismissed as deviant (e.g. having children outside marriage and gay marriage) but are increasingly common and continue to shape public policy in the 21st century.  This course carries a writing flag designation and so also seeks to develop students’ writing skills throughout the term.

Texts:                         

TBA

Grades:           

Two Papers 45%

 Journal Writing Assignments  20%

Peer Reviews   5%

 Attendance and Participation  20%

Group Presentation on a topic about the Family 10%

                        

SOC 307J • Education And Society

44879 • Spring 2015
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM CPE 2.210

Description:

This course introduces students to the sociological study of education.  The overarching goal of this class is to enhance students’ understanding of how the educational system works, how schooling shapes the opportunities available to children and adolescents, and how educational attainment influences the lives and wellbeing of adults.  This course will begin with an overview of the history of the American educational system. We will then explore the myriad factors that shape achievement and learning, beginning when children are young, considering such topics as school readiness, early childhood education, and the role of parents and caregivers in shaping educational opportunities.  As we consider older children, our focus will shift toward questions involving the significance of schools, peers, and communities, and topics such as youth culture, identity issues, bullying, truancy, social media, violence in schools, and college culture. We will spend a considerable amount of time exploring differential access to educational opportunities along race, class, and gender lines, and how these social variables shape student experiences and future outcomes. We will also explore the links between educational stratification and employment, income, relationships, health, parenting behaviors, and other outcomes. Finally, throughout the course we will keep an eye on recent debates in and challenges to the educational system in the U.S. including educational reform, the evaluation of teachers and teacher tenure, the charter school movement, and differences between public and private schools at all educational levels.

Texts:                         

One required textbook to be determined. Empirical journal articles, and other                                    required reading materials will be posted to Canvas.

Grading:         

Exams 70%

Paper exploring a contemporary issue in education  20%

Attendance and in-class writing exercises   10%

 

                                               

                       

            

 

SOC 323 • The Family

45019 • Spring 2015
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM CLA 0.118
(also listed as WGS 345)

 Description:

This course explores the family as a social institution in American society. The primary goal of this class is to encourage students to step beyond their personal experiences and cultivate a more sociological and analytical approach to the family.  By the end of the term, students will be able understand the cultural and structural forces that shape family life, and how these dimensions can shift, but also resist change over time. We will begin with a historical overview of the family where we will contextualize and challenge nostalgic depictions of the family in popular culture.  Throughout the term we will chart multiple dimensions of family life, including dating, cohabitation, marriage, parenting, childhood, and divorce, and changing ideas of the American family, to name a few.  We will adopt a sociological perspective, considering how gender, race, class, sexuality, and other social factors shape family relationships and family life.  We will also consider alternate family structures that were once dismissed as deviant (e.g. having children outside marriage and gay marriage) but are increasingly common and continue to shape public policy in the 21st century.  This course carries a writing flag designation and so also seeks to develop students’ writing skills throughout the term.

Texts:                         

One textbook to be determined                   

Edin, Kathryn and Maria Kerfalas. 2011.  Promises I Can Keep: Why Poor Women Put Motherhood Before Marriage. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Lareau, Annette. 2011. Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life, Second Edition with an Update a Decade Later.  Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Broyland, Jennifer Finney. 2013.  Stuck in the Middle with You: A Memoir of Parenting in Three Genders. New York: Broadway Books.                    

Additional Readings posted to Canvas

Grades:           

Two Papers 45%

 Journal Writing Assignments  20%

Peer Reviews   5%

 Attendance and Participation  20%

Group Presentation on a topic about the Family 10%

                        

SOC 308S • Intro To Health & Society

46120 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM WEL 2.246
(also listed as H S 301)

Course Overview:

This course explores health, illness, and biomedicine from a sociological perspective. Specifically, we will examine how social forces influence health and disease in U.S. society.  To this end we will consider how and why rates of disease vary among different populations and how cultural and structural inequalities shape access to healthcare and affect morbidity and mortality.  We will also examine how social forces shape the very definitions of health, illness, and disease categories, and thereby medical diagnoses and treatments.  How do economic factors, politics, public perceptions of morality, and historical biases against specific populations shape our modern-day understandings and experiences of health and illness?  After mid-term break, we will spend considerable time examining the medical profession in our society— its historical emergence, how it established (and continues to maintain) professional autonomy, but also how it is now changing to respond to myriad challenges.  We consider the social consequences of the commodification of healthcare, and how new medical and information technologies are transforming our current healthcare system and the nature of the patient-physician relationship. Our course readings and discussions will help us address current bioethical controversies that continue to influence our beliefs about health and illness and shape our very understandings about human rights and personhood. We will conclude the term by focusing on the 2010 Affordable Care Act, the subsequent challenges to this health care legislation, and what it means for the future of health care in the U.S.

Course Goals:

This course has many goals.  By the end of the term, students should be able to:

  • contextualize and analyze contemporary health problems in the U.S. and abroad from a variety of disciplinary and professional perspectives. 
  • explain how social and cultural factors shape contemporary understandings and experiences of health and illness in U.S. society and around the globe
  • critically evaluate the motives and evidence people, professions, agencies, organizations, and corporations, use to make specific claims about health and illness. 
  • recognize the importance of social characteristics in assessing health outcomes for different demographic groups and populations.

 

 Required Reading:

         Course readings include scholarly articles, book chapters, a variety of public health, medical, and popular media publications, and three books, which are listed below.  Readings have been selected to acquaint students with the basic theoretical frameworks and subfields within medical sociology, but also – and perhaps more importantly – to enable them to make their own judgments about contemporary topics in health discourse and public policy.  The majority of the course readings will be available on Blackboard/Canvas.  I reserve the right to make changes to the assigned readings schedule throughout the term.  If and when I add additional readings during the semester, I will post them on Blackboard/Canvas, or in some cases, distribute them in class.  

Fadiman, Anne. 1997.  The Spirit Catches You and Then You Fall Down.  New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.

Reid, T. R. 2010. The Healing of America: a Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care. New York: Penguin.

Brawley, Otis. 2012.  How We Do Harm: A Doctor Breaks Ranks About Being Sick in America. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Course Requirements and Grading:

This course is organized in a lecture format, but it is greatly enhanced by your participation.  For variety’s sake, I will often incorporate short video-clips, group activities, and/or writing exercises in our class session.  We will also spend considerable time each week discussing the readings and our own experiences, interests, and knowledge in this area.  Please remember that discussions will only be as rich as you all make them, so it is essential that everyone come prepared to speak about the readings thoughtfully and critically.  Your final evaluation for the course will be broken down as follows:

 

Pop-quizzes and in-class writing exercises                                                           10%

Students are expected to attend class, to read assignments before each class, and actively participate in classroom discussions during the week.  Quizzes will check your comprehension, but also keep you on track.  There will be 4 in-class writing assignments that will ask you to respond to a prompt. After 10 minutes, they will be collected and given a score of full credit, partial credit, or no credit. They each count for 1% of your grade. Three pop quizzes will also be administered during the term. Your two highest quiz grades will count, and each will be worth 3% towards your final grade.

 Exam #1    September 30th                                                                                   20%

 Exam #2    October 28th                                                                                       20%

 Paper Assignment                                                                                                 20%

You will write one paper during the term, choosing between two paper assignments offered during the course of the semester.  The paper will be approximately 5 pages in length (not to exceed 6 double-spaced pages), and will answer a specific question related to course topics.  Specific assignments will be distributed on the dates indicated below. Due dates are firm. Electronic submissions of papers will NOT be accepted. 

OPTION 1:  Essay exploring morality and health

                  A detailed assignment will be passed out on October 2.

                  (5 pages, DUE October 16 at the beginning of class)

 OPTION 2:  Essay on contemporary health care challenges      

                  A detailed assignment will be passed out on November 6.

                  (5 pages, DUE November 20 at the beginning of class)

  

Final Exam Friday, December 12th  2-5p.m.                                                         30%

 

 

 

SOC 323 • The Family

46220 • Fall 2014
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM GAR 1.126
(also listed as WGS 345)

This course analyzes the family as a social institution, using the sociological perspective. 

Studying the family can be tricky in that we all have our own experiences being part of families.  It is important, then, to go beyond our own experiences to explore both the private aspects of the family as well as public aspects of the family using various kinds of empirical data.  Shifting definitions of the family are the context for a brief history of the family.  Throughout the course we will explore family change. Specific topics will include dating, “hooking up” and marriage; parents and children; cohabitation, divorce and stepfamilies; and how the family intersects with, is shaped by, and shapes other social institutions, with particular attention to the economy and the world of work as well as state and social policies.

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