American Sociological Association

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  1. The Impact of Racial Diversity in the Classroom: Activating the Sociological Imagination

    Diverse college campuses have been conclusively associated with a variety of positive outcomes for all students. However, we still know very little empirically about how student diversity directly impacts the core task of the university: classroom learning. While students vary based on race along a broad spectrum of experiences and backgrounds, we have yet to establish how those varying backgrounds might impact the ways students engage with course material.

  2. Teaching Critical Perspectives on Body Weight: The Obesity “Epidemic” and Pro-Ana Movement in Classroom Discussions

    While most sociology students are well prepared to think critically about inequalities involving race, gender, social class, and sexuality, the topics of body weight and health present some challenges for classroom discussion. Primarily, this is due to the body’s status in contemporary society as simultaneously malleable (able to be changed) and intractable (an indicator of moral worth). Such associations lead to cases of size discrimination—what is often called “sizeism”—with impacts similar to what is experienced around race and gender discrimination.

  3. Teaching Content Analysis through Harry Potter

    Content analysis is a valuable research tool for social scientists that unfortunately can prove challenging to teach to undergraduate students. Published classroom exercises designed to teach content analysis have thus far been predominantly envisioned as lengthy projects for upper-level courses. A brief and engaging exercise may be more beneficial for introductory social science courses in which less time can be allotted to any one topic, such as content analysis.

  4. Discovering Race in a “Post-Racial” World: Teaching Race through Primetime Television

    Teaching students about race remains a challenging task for instructors, made even more difficult in the context of a growing “post-racial” discourse. Given this challenge, it is important for instructors to find engaging ways to help students understand the continuing significance of race and racial/ethnic inequality. In this article, we detail an exercise that asks students to analyze representations of race/ethnicity on network television for one week as a way of illustrating white dominance, white privilege, and racial inequality.

  5. Can Online Courses Deliver In-class Results? A Comparison of Student Performance and Satisfaction in an Online versus a Face-to-face Introductory Sociology Course

    This study uses a quasi-experimental design to assess differences in student performance and satisfaction across online and face-to-face (F2F) classroom settings. Data were collected from 368 students enrolled in three online and three F2F sections of an introductory-level sociology course. The instructor, course materials, and assessments were consistent between the two delivery formats. The investigators compare student satisfaction and student performance on midterm exams and an integrating data analysis assignment.

  6. Out with the Old, In with the New? Habitus and Social Mobility at Selective Colleges

    Sociologists have long recognized that cultural differences help explain the perpetuation of inequality by invisibly limiting access to elite cultural norms. However, there has been little investigation of the ways students reconcile shifts in habitus gained in educational settings with existing, nonelite habitus.

  7. Why Liberals and Atheists Are More Intelligent

    The origin of values and preferences is an unresolved theoretical question in behavioral and social sciences.

  8. Stigma of a Label Educational Expectations for High School Students Labeled with Learning Disabilities

    Poorer outcomes for youth labeled with learning disabilities (LDs) are often attributed to the student’s own deficiencies or cumulative disadvantage; but the more troubling possibility is that special education placement limits rather than expands these students’ opportunities. Labeling theory partially attributes the poorer outcomes of labeled persons to stigma related to labels.

  9. Extra Credit in the Sociology Classroom

    The role of extra credit in the college classroom has been examined as a philosophical and pedagogical issue, but in this project, we argue that the matter of extra credit is also a sociological one. Using survey data, we examine how college instructors’ status and individual demographic characteristics are related to the use of extra credit. We found that women and instructors with less teaching experience are more likely to offer extra credit.
  10. Gender Gaps in Undergraduate Fields of Study: Do College Characteristics Matter?

    Despite gender parity in earned bachelor’s degrees, large gender gaps persist across fields of study. The dominant explanatory framework in this area of research assesses how gender differences in individual-level attributes predict gaps in major choice. The authors argue that individualistic accounts cannot provide a complete explanation because they fail to consider the powerful effects of the gendered institutional environments that inform and shape young men’s and women’s choices.