Re: text for intro
I used Margaret Anderson's text last term and found myself choking in more
instances than I'm used to. In the past I've used packets of readings
painstakingly culled from original sources. I used Anderson since this
particular introductory course was designed to be somewhat remedial in
nature(don't ask) and I wasn't that confident in students' ability to
grapple with original source material.
Why was I so disappointed? The text represents what I like to call the
bleeding heart wing of sociology. While I would say it was strong on theory
in places, there was just too much emphasis on the evils of American and
western societies, gender, race, class, nationality... the whole nine yards,
and not enough on the discipline itself. Theory aside (which was well
handled) was often displaced by haranguing about social ills.
I don't think students need a 'now let me show you the truth your parents,
high school teachers and the media in general have denied to you for the
past 18 years' approach. I think it does them a disservice. Reading the
text I was reminded a Peter Berger's comparison of the sociologist to the
liberal protestant minister.
Mostly, I think, students need to develop critical analytical skills. Spoon
feeding them, or through programmed exercises, directing them to THE TRUTH,
only continues the dumbing down they've experienced.
So what will I use next year? Anderson again, since in the program within
which I teach, we buy the books for the students and we can't, for budgetary
reasons, discard them.
What I will do however is introduce more readings.
[mailto:teachsoc@...] On Behalf
Of Jack Estes
Sent: Sunday, June 03, 2007 10:54 AM
Subject: TEACHSOC: text for intro
Anyone still around? Haven't had much activity on this list for a while.
I am frustrated since I've decided - again - to use a new textbook for my
intro course. I get tired of them after a couple semesters. But there are so
many choices . . . . Sometimes I just say to hell with it and stick to what
I have. Don't want to do that this time.
I'm considering using The Engaged Sociologist: Connecting the Classroom to
the Community, by Korgen and White. I'm wondering if any of you have tried
it. It looks interesting with lots of hands-on activities for students.
Lighter on theory than some, but heavier on practical things. And the style
seems student-friendly. Also, with so many significant social issues at
hand, it seems to be a book which encourages action.
I've been using McIntyre's Practical Skeptic. I like it all right, but I'm
ready for a change. I'd appreciate comments and suggestions.
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