Socl376 Senior Seminar: Sociological Imagination
Monday and Wednesday, 3:30 to 4:45 PM in Sturges 106
Biography and History
"Yet men do not usually define the troubles they endure in terms of historical change and institutional contradiction. The well-being they enjoy, they do not usually impute to the big ups and downs of the societies in which they live. Seldom aware of the intricate connection between the patterns of their own lives and the course of world history, ordinary men do not usually know what this connection means for the kinds of men they are becoming and for the kinds of history-making in which they might take part. They do not possess the quality of mind essential to grasp the interplay of man and society, of biography and history, of self and world. They cannot cope with their personal troubles in such ways as to control the structural transformations that usually lie behind them."
C. Wright Mills, pages 3-4 of The Sociological Imagination 1959
The Senior Seminar is a "capstone course" meant to complete your sociological education before you graduate. Undoubtedly you have encountered the phrase sociological imagination many times in your sociological career. Perhaps you have even read Mills' book of that name. We are going to read it together and discuss its applicability to our world in the 21st century. You will be asked to confront the intersection between biography and history and to write about it. The primary learning outcome is for you to develop the quality of mind essential to grasp the interplay between biography and history.
This course will be run as a seminar and I will lecture very little. It is vitally important that you come to class and participate. You owe this diligence to the other students in the class. The success of the class depends almost entirely on how seriously each of you commits your self to thinking and communicating about the issues we decide to cover. I've assigned very little reading. We will decide together on what specific topics to cover and how we will work on them as individuals, as small groups, or as the class as a whole.
- Attend class.
- Come prepared.
- Speak in class.