Make your own free website on


Ethnicity and Culture

| Home | Graves Health appendix | Syllabus | Debate questions | Summer 2015 Daily Reading and Class Schedule | Peer-reviewed journal assignment | Grading rubric from Eng. 101 | Common writing errors | Race is a DOING | List of specialized vocabulary | Read what your classmates have written!! | The N Word | More "A" student writings! | Class charts USA | Essay question suggestions | Japanese tourist article assignment | Fast and Slow Cities assignment | Final exam questions

SOC 150-1646

Ethnicity and Culture in the US

Class Policies and Procedures

Summer Semester 2015

 Semester hours: 3

Class Meetings: MTWTh 10:55 am - 1:30 pm

06/08/2015 - 07/09/2015

Room: West Campus. Yosemite Hall, A117

Campus E-mail:

Office Hours: Before or after class or anytime by request

My sociology web pages with links to sociological sites:

or: http//

Required Text:

Pearson Learning Solution: Racial and Ethnic Groups Books a la Carte Edition Plus REVEL -- Access Card Package, 14/E

ISBN: 9780134091020




Please note, this text must be purchased with accompanying online access, for assignments which make up a major part of the grade. You will have received an email from me through Blackboard with instructions to sign up. However, the course is online on Pearson's website, not MJC!

 Recommended but optional:

The Race Myth, Why We Pretend Race Exists in America, Joseph L. Graves, Jr. Dutton, 2004 ISBN:0-525-94825-2

Course Description: In this course we set up a sociological framework to view the history of the ethnic groups that make up America and to understand the society as it is today. We deconstruct the concept of race in its historical and cultural context and study the implications of the social construction of reality. We explore socially accepted ideas of what it means to be American in an assimilated or pluralistic society. Controversial topics, such as affirmative action, and theories of class vs. race, are analyzed and debated. This course requires a high level of critical thinking skills.

Instruction Methods: The nature of the subject requires in-class discussion, debate, and group discussions based on pre-reading of required text chapters, and papers, articles or news items assigned or submitted by students . The more students participate with varied ideas and opinions, the more interesting the class will be! Some portion of each class will be devoted to clearing up questions on the text, lectures emphasizing salient points, and if time permits, viewing short videos or films to stimulate discussion.

Requirements: YOU MUST READ THE ASSIGNED TEXTS BEFORE EACH CLASS! The reading assignments define the nature of the problems, provide the specialized vocabulary, and background needed for class discussions. There are questions online with each chapter that will be graded, and study aids for your use. Eight essays are required, plus one final, longer essay question.  These must be turned in on time, or one letter grade will be deducted for each day late. (More info on this in class.)

Grades: YOU are the one who determines your final grade. It is based on the work that YOU do and the level of thinking that you apply to the issues.

A total of 100 points can be earned as follows:

Essays (8 @ 5 pts.) total points 40

Chapter exams online 2 x 17= 40

Final exam total points 20


Additional points may be awarded for exceptional essays. 

Letter grades are:

F= <60





Attendance: Students may miss up to two classes for extenuating circumstances (i.e. police, hospital, morgue). In-class writing assignments and quizzes cannot be made up. You CANNOT pass this class without attending regularly and on time. After the third absence, I suggest you withdraw from class as per MJC policy.

Policies on cell phones and computers:  NO texting or IMing in class.  It is distracting to students around you, and disconcerting to me.  If you don't want to be in this class, please drop it! If you are "in" class, please give me your attention.

I understand that many of you have children or work obligations that require you to be available by phone.   I have no problem with this in moderation, but do let your friends know that you are busy at this time.  Please change your phone to vibrate in class---no dopey song clips, please!

Policies on photos and recordings of any kind: No photos, videos, or audio recordings are allowed without my express permission. My lectures are my intellectual property and I reserve the right to take legal action against any violation of this policy.

Plagiarism: Plagiarism means using someone else's words and is a serious offense that will result in failing the class and possibly expulsion from the college, and rejection by other educational institutions. The College’s policies and procedures for offenses will be followed. Just don’t do it!

Students with Disabilities: Please contact me and I will make arrangements to accommodate and support you.

Helps for students: Tutoring is available from the social sciences department. I am always available to answer your questions; please take advantage of this! MJC also has a writing lab where you can get help with your writing. Please use them!

Course Level Outcomes:

Socio 150: Ethnicity and Culture in the United States

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  Formulate arguments to underline the importance of race, ethnicity and diversity and their relevance in the contemporary United States, multicultural society with regard to social dominance.

  Define and describe the concept of identity as related to ethnicity with regard to social dominance, using insights from sociological literature.

  Compare their own identity(ies) within the context of their own culture(s) and in contrast to the identities of others.

  Utilize and apply the sociological theoretical paradigms to analyze the concepts of power relations, equity, and social justice in relationship to the concepts of race and ethnicity and find examples of each concept in United States society and/or non-western societies.

  Synthesize information and engage in critical analysis by investigating and/or evaluating the implications of an issue involving cultural identity construction and/or dominant/non-dominant social group interactions.

           My goals for you in this course are to help prepare you to be better citizens of the world by making you aware of the extent and type of racism that we face in the 21st century, and to challenge you to see beyond the clichés of common beliefs. A secondary goal, though no less important, is to improve the logical thinking, communications and formal writing skills that you will need in the rest of your college education as well as in your chosen career. I hope you will enjoy the journey, and be surprised at where you are at its end!

         Syllabus subject to change! 

Revised Saturday, January 10, 2015