Sociology / SOCY 101

Writing-Intensive Syllabus

Prof. Donald Tricarico



Course Description: Introductory analysis and description of structure and dynamics of human society; special emphasis on application of scientific methods of observation and analysis of social groups, intergroup relations, social change, social stratification and social institutions. 


Students will learn to gather, interpret, and assess information from a variety of sources and points of view.

Students will learn to evaluate evidence and arguments critically and analytically.

Students will learn to produce well-reasoned written or oral arguments using evidence to support conclusions.

Students will learn to identify and apply the fundamental concepts and methods of a field exploring the relationship between the individual and society.

Students will learn to examine how an individual's place in society affects experiences, values, or choices.

Students will learn to identify and engage with local, national, or global trends or ideologies, and analyze their impact on individual or collective decision-making.


Upon completion of an introductory Sociology class, students will be expected to be able to:

•           demonstrate familiarity with classical and/or contemporary social theory;

•           demonstrate an understanding about how social structure affects individual life chances;

•           identify and apply major paradigms of sociological analysis;

•           describe the principles of social research methodologies;

•           identify significant sub-discipline areas of study including, but not limited to the

             topics covered by social institutions and social inequality;

•           apply “the sociological imagination” to contemporary social phenomena and social problems;

•           explain the processes of socialization and adult re-socialization; and

•           discuss the concepts of normative and deviant behaviors.

•           students are also expected to develop writing skills and critical thinking skills appropriate

             for study at the college level.


Methods of Instruction

The course utilizes a mix of instructional strategies. The course is based on small research projects. The projects are sociological excursions into the everyday social world, involving the collection and analysis of empirical data (see accompanying handout).  The whole class will serve as a forum for student presentations of research projects that are the basis of a course grade. The outline of a first draft will be presented orally in class. Constructive in-class feedback is intended to guide revisions of the first draft. A completed second draft is to be submitted within one week of in-class presentations.

The course text is Intersections: Readings in Sociology which I have edited (Pearson, 2009). An earlier edition is acceptable. The book has been customized for this course and is sold by the college bookstore; it is assigned to enhance comprehension of the material presented in class. Written work is expected to integrate insights from the readings. It should also reference class lectures and discussion, which means that students should take representative notes in class. Note taking creates a “student text” that complements the assigned text. 

Regular class meetings are in M126 which is a “Smart Room” equipped with Internet capability.  This allows access to the Internet for instructional purposes; students are encouraged to utilize the technology in the classroom setting.  Smart technology is available to exhibit a range of content from the Internet.

Course Grade

Guide for Writing Papers:

Attendance Policy

The college attendance policy is in force, permitting absences that are equivalent to 6 hours of class time (e.g., four I hour and 15 minute class meetings). A written explanation is required for excess absences. Persistent lateness must be remedied. Attendance issues also impact on the class participation grade.


As stated in the current college catalog, any student who needs specific accommodations based upon the impact of a disability should register with the office of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) to be eligible for accommodations which are determined on an individual basis. The SSD office is located in the Science Building, room S132 (718-631-6257). Students should also contact their instructor privately to discuss their specific needs.


The Department of Social Sciences Academic Integrity Policy adheres to the standards described in the Academic Integrity Policy of Queensborough Community College.  Within the framework of the college policy sanctions for violations of academic integrity are left to the discretion of the instructor.  Students may appeal sanctions to the department chair who will refer the appeal to a departmental Committee on Academic Integrity for review.


Pertinent questions or comments are, of course, welcome at any time during class. I encourage you to visit my office for matters that pertain to the course. Email is preferred to telephone except during office hours.

Office: M121, Tuesday and Thursday, 1 to 2:30 PM

Office Telephone: (718) 631-6015

Email Address:

TOPIC OUTLINE  [With Readings]

1 The Subject Matter of Sociology

READ: Mills, Durkheim, Putnam, Becker, Kraybill, Tricarico

Putnam, Our Kids (Penguin Paperback 2015), Chapters 2 and 5; “The Death of the Party”, T. Wayne, NYT (9.17.15); “The Paradox of Baby Names”, M. Garber, The Atlantic (8.27.15); “The Power of Two”, J.W. Shenk, The Atlantic (6.25.14); “Dinner and Deception”, E. Frame, NYT, (8.22.15); “Outrageous Fashion, With Rules, At Burning Man”, S. Maslin Nir, NYT (9.1.15).

Video: “The Amish in Ohio” (YouTube)

2 Culture, Society, and Socialization

READ: Jenkins, Charon, Kraybill, Kinney, Neugarten and Neugarten, Goffman, Tricarico

Putnam (2015), Chapters 3,4,5; “At Charters, High Scores and Polarizing Tactics” by K. Taylor (NYT, 4/7/15); “Beyond the White Gloves”, P. Green, NYT (4.23.15); “What is it About 20-Somethings?” by Robin Henig (NYT, 8/18/10)

Video: “The Merchants of Cool” (Frontline, 2001); “Growing Up Online”/“Autumn Edows” (Frontline 2007).

3 Families

READ: Coontz, Ingoldsby

Putnam (2015), Chapter 2; “The New Unmarried Moms” by Hymowitz, Wilcox and Kaye (Wall Street Journal, 3/15/13); “Dating Website Emphasizes Like, Rather Than Love”, NYT, 11/07/14); “Afghan Lovers’ Plight Shaking Up the Lives of Those Left in Their Wake” (NYT, 5/19/14); “The American Family is Making a Comeback”, M. Wear (The Atlantic, 10/1/14)

Video: “Let’s Get Married” (Frontline, 2002)

4 Stratification / American Social Class System

READ: Anderson, Lareau, Ogbu, Tricarico

Putnam (2015), Chapters 3, 4, 5; “Class Matters” (NYT); “Family Budget Calculator”, ; “How Poor Are the Poor?”, T. Edsall (NYT, 3.25.15); “The Real Problem With America’s Inner Cities”, O. Bloom (NYT 5/10/15); “Is Harvard Unfair to Asian-Americans?”, Y. Mounk (NYT, 11/25/14); “When Whites Get a Free Pass”, I. Ayres (NYT 2/15); “The Nature of Poverty”, D. Brooks, NYT (5/1/15); “The Hipster in the Mirror” by Mark Grief (NYT, 11/12/10); “Arenas Hit Status Into the Cheap Seats”, K. Belson (NYT, 2.10.15); “Boy Is Beaten and Stabbed on Subway”, V. Yee (NYT, 5/13/15); “’Jersey Shore’ Cast’s Guido Style Can Be Traced Back to ‘Saturday Night Fever’”, S. Roberts (NY Daily News, 7/28/10).

Video: “A Nation of Tribes” (People Like Us”, #1/Youtube); “You Talkin’ to Me?” (NYT); “Joe Queenan’s Tour” (“People Like Us”, #2/Youtube); “Intersections: Southern Boulevard, The Bronx” (NYT)

Online Text: Open Stax Introduction to Sociology 2e

Social Sciences Disciplines

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