Anti-Disciplinary Studies: Responding to Social Complexity
SSC530, Fall 2010
Tuesday/Thursday 8:30-9:50; Dalrymple 34
Office: Dalrymple 27
Office Hours, Wednesday 8:30-10:30
Course Description: This class will introduce students to the theoretical, methodological, and practical differences between six social science disciplines. We will investigate the different approaches taken by anthropology, sociology, political science, psychology, History and economics to two complex social problems, urban youth violence and international development. Students will learn to critique scholarly articles, policy recommendations, and the practical application of theory in the modern world. They will also learn to integrate diverse perspectives in the pursuit of realistic and holistic solutions to complex social problems. Students are expected to engage each week with scholarly articles from a particular discipline pertaining to one of the two complex social problems. They will learn to compare and contrast between approaches and outcomes, and to evaluate both the quality of particular analysis and proposed solutions, and the disciplined nature of modern policy formation and application. Prior exposure to two or more introductory social science courses and an interest in scholarly critique will be very important for success in this course. Prerequisite : Two introductory social science classes
Format: Class meetings will generally combine informal lecture with class discussion of the readings. As a class the readings will be investigated and critiqued and students must come to class prepared to communicate clearly about the literature. There will be two small papers and one final paper that ask that students to formulate interdisciplinary solutions to complex social problems. As such, students must be fully engaged with the readings and the diverse perspectives they describe, in order to formulate their own proposals.
Class Participation Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 10%
As a discussion class of this nature functions best when everyone participates and contributes, class attendance is mandatory and active participation will be graded. Participation grades will reflect thoughtful comments regarding the readings and your peerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ideas and thoughts. It is expected that all communication will be respectful and attentive to the thoughts of others, while clearly expressing your ideas and opinions to the class as a whole. Students are allowed 3 absences throughout the semester. Each additional absence will result in a 2% drop in the overall final course grade unless there are extreme circumstances (death in the family, extreme sickness, etc.)
Forum Posts Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 10%
Each Tuesday students must submit a 250 word post immediately after class.Ã‚Â These forum posts must reflect on the class readings for that day and your thoughts about them. They must be turned in by the end of the day on Tuesday or they will not be counted.
Project Updates Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 20%
Throughout the second half of the semester students are responsible for a 700 wordÃ‚Â project update paper every Thursday.Ã‚Â These papers must describe your progress towards finishing your paper, showÃ‚Â how the readings you are doing, both assigned and chosen, are relative to yourÃ‚Â chosen social problem, or be early drafts of sections of your final paper.Ã‚Â These papers are due every thursday, the same day for which you will choose a final paper specific reading. They should be well thought out and express ideas clearly and concisely.Ã‚Â Each of these papers should start with a citation and a short summary of the article you chose to read for that day.
Paper Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 60%
There is one large paper due for this class. However, throughout the semester the paper will be constructed through 5 smaller assignments, each accounting for a small portion of the full 60%. This will allow each student to break the task into manageable pieces and complete the task on time. The paper will be an analysis of a complex social problem in the community. Each student may define 'community' as they wish, but the more engagement the student can have with the problem, the more fine grain an understanding will be possible and the more pertinent a solution the student will eventually describe. The paper must provide a description of the ongoing problem, the actors involved, the relationship between the actors and their orientation toward the problem, past attempts to find a solution to the issue, and the students own solution. The solution should take account of the various perspectives of the parties, as well as the varying approaches of the pertinent disciplines. The paper must make use of, and correctly cite, at leastÃ‚Â 10 books or scholarly articles in addition to any class readings that might be used.
The graded portions of the paper project are as follows;
300 word abstract - Due on September 16th - 5%
1000 word sketch - Due on September 30th - 5%
The 1000 word sketch of your ideas for the final paper is intended as a bridge between the 300 word abstract and the half draft due November 2nd. It is intended both to inspire your early investigation of your subject and as a way for me to ensure that everyone is moving in the right direction towards completing a successful paper. I expect to see four things included in these short papers.
First, I expect you to briefly summarize any readings you have completed on your chosen subject.
Second, I expect you to discuss the new ideas you have had regarding the subject, or how the ideas expressed in your abstract have evolved and been refined.
Third, I expect you to describe the next steps you will take in investigating your subject, articles or books you plan to read, people you plan to interview, newspaper or magazine articles you will read, documentaries you will watch, etc. In addition, you should describe what you expect to learn in these new materials and how they will help your investigation of the subject.
And fourth, I hope that each of you will also provide a brief suggestion of what solutions you are currently considering. These do not need to be final, but should show that you have been thinking of possible solutions and also about class material and how it might be applied to your subject.
These papers are due prior to class on Thursday morning. I expect them all to be turned in on time.
Annotated bibliography - Due on October 14th - 5%
An annotated Bibliography is a list of citations followed by a short 150 to 200 word description of the importance or relevance of the work cited. For some basic information go to: http://www.library.cornell.edu/olinuris/ref/research/skill28.htm.
For this particular project I expect each annotated bibliography to include sources relevent to your project and for your annotations to describe why each given source will help you complete your project. I expect to see that each of you has put significant effort into the project thus far, so each annotated bibliography should include at least 5 significant scholarly articles, or 5 significant pieces of such length, wether they be book chapters, reports, legal documents, court transcripts, e-mail exchanges, etc.
One book will not suffice. If you have read an entire book I expect that to be supplemented even at this early point with at least 2 other significant pieces. If your investigation of your subject has been primarily through newspaper articles your annotated bibliography should include the number of citations that would be similar in lengthÃ‚Â and significance to 5 scholarly journals.
Remember please that this is a fully graded assignment. If it is not on time the rules for late grades apply. This assignment is designed not only to grade a piece of paper turned in, but to grade your progress in investigating your subject thus far. Please try to show, in your annotations, that you have read these pieces and have thought clearly about how they apply to your subject. I expect all assignments to be turned in on time.
3000 word draft - Due on November 2nd - 5%
6000 word draft - Due on November 18th - 10%
6000-7000 word final paper - Due on December 7th - 30%
Paper Formats: All assignments in this class can be e-mailed to me at Gmillar@marlboro.edu. There is no reason to print and hand in physical copies. I will return comments similarly by e-mail, with tracked changes style comments.
Learning Differences: This class will honor all necessary accommodations for students with documented learning differences. If you have a learning difference or believe you may have a learning difference that requires specific accommodation, please contact Megan Littlehales, Coordinator of Disability Services, at email@example.com. Megan will let me know what accommodations would be appropriate.
Academic Integrity: Students in this class will abide by MarlboroÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s commitment to academic integrity (see http://www.marlboro.edu/resources/handbook/academic/disciplinary_action/). As members of an academic community we each have a responsibility to cite all ideas and words that are not our own. Any student caught plagiarizing in my class will receive a failing grade. If you are unsure what does and does not need to be cited, please ask me or make an appointment with the WriterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Block to ask for assistance. You can read more on the subject at http://abacus.bates.edu/pubs/Plagiarism/plagiarism.html.Ã‚Â In addition, for the final paper students must follow the citation guidelines provided at http://akbar.marlboro.edu/~jsheehy/sources/, which describe how to cite, and provides examples of citing various kinds of materials. Examples of how to cite interviews, personal letters and court transcripts are not included. Therefore, if you use any of these sources please cite them as follows. Pretending, for example, thatÃ‚Â you are citing a letter, interview, or court transcriptsÃ‚Â with your teacher, the citation and bibliography for that source would look like this:
Ã‚Â Gearoid said "I hate plagiarism" (Millar, 2009).
Millar, Gearoid (2009) Telephone interview, August 4th
Gearoid wrote "Always cite primary sources" (Millar, 2010).
Millar, Gearoid (2010) Personal letter, August 4th
Gearoid responded "No I did not commit plagiary" (Millar, 2011)
Millar, Gearoid (2011) 1st District Court Hearing, Brattleboro, August 4th
Late Work: Because I try to provide feedback on each assignment and maintain an ongoing assessment of each studentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s coursework, I cannot allow students to turn in late work. Deadlines for all class assignments are, therefore, non-negotiable, barring extreme circumstances similar to those noted above under Attendance and Class Participation. If you regularly run over deadlines, please set yourself deadlines for class work in advance of the official class deadline. Assignment grades will be lowered by 5% for each day they are late.