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American Society---TIUA

Toyoko International University in America
at Willamette University
Fall 2002
David H. Kessel

Class Time: MWF 1:50-2:50
Classroom: Room 145
Office: 213 Smullin Hall
Office Telephone: 370-6915
Home Phone: 541-736-0204
Office Hours: MWF 10:30-11:30 (in Office) & at TIUA before Class
EMail Address:

TIUA Homepage
TSS Directory


Course Description
General Issues and Policies
Grading Scale
Schedule of Topics
Required Readings
Reading Materials Online
Assignment Instructions
Important Dates
Total Points in Course


This course will be an sociological overview of American Society...beginning with a review of sociological ideas/concepts. Major components of American Society will be covered...with a ending focus on "racism." The course itself, how it is taught, will be an "experience" of and in American Society. Although NOT a focus itself, a comparison and contrast of American and Japanese societies will emerge.


Email Account

You will need an email account for this class...which you probably already have. Please send me an email message with your name in the "subject" I can enter it into my address book accurately. Please do this immediately. Thank you.


Plagarism is presenting the words or thoughts of others as your own...without giving a reference to who they belong to and where they are from.

Cheating is taking a "shortcut" in completing your work...copying from another person, using someone else's work as if you did it, having another person do your work.



You are expected to turn in assignments on the DUE DATES indicated. However, if you turn in one late, the penalties are as follows:

1 class late = 2% of grade received
2 classes late = 4% of grade received
3 classes late = 6% of grade received

No assignment will be accepted after ONE WEEK...a grade of "0" will be given.

However, if you are sick or have another valid reason, your assignment will be accepted without penalty. If possible, please let me know in advance concerning the problem you're having.

Typing Assignments

ALL assignments MUST BE exceptions!


TIUA has a strict Attendance Policy which I am required to use. I will take attendance every class. TIUA's Policy is as follows:

1. If you are late for class...a "tardy" will be recorded
2. 3 "tardy" = 1 absence
3. If you miss between 10% - 20% (4-8) of the classes, your grade will be lowered
4. If you miss more than 20% (8) of the classes, you will fail the course (get an F)
5. If you are sick, please email me or call Ext. 3300


Although just being in class does not mean "participating", neither does sound coming out of your mouth mean "participation," either. me...means active interest and saying something when you have something to say. Silence, itself, doesn't mean you aren't participating. Participation also means that when we have a guest speaker or a panel discussion...or something like will be courteous and help make the guest or the panel members feel welcomed and appreciated. Participation also means joining in for all the events (i.e. field trip) planned. I will evaluate your "participation" at the end of the Semester and take it into account for a Final Grade.


This course will NOT be an exercise in memorizing and recall. Rather, it will be about using, applying, and connecting ideas and concepts...on understanding and thinking. Evaluation of your work will focus on how well, how far, and how deep your explanations/analyzes go.


A+.........98-100 (Exceptional)
A..........94-97 (Excellent)
A-.........90-93 (Good/Excellent)

B+........87-89 (Very Good)
B..........84-86 (Good)
B-.........80-83 (Fair/Good)

C+........77-79 (Fair)
C..........74-76 (Fair/Basic)
C-.........70-73 (Basic)

F..........??-69 (Needs More)


The course has been divided into four (4) Parts...with coverage of each Part assigned a range of dates as indicated below. Each Part is also divided into various topics. Also, there will be various activities...a field trip, movies, videos, panel discussions, guest lecturers, oral presentations...which will be announced as we go along (and as I can arrange them). The following schedule is my "best guess" at this point, but the range of dates gives us plenty of leeway to do what we want.

9/4---10/4 Part I: Course Introduction...and..."Sociology"

9/4-9/9 Getting to Know Ourselves/Syllabus/American Society Room in TSS
9/11-10/4 Sociology: General and Critical

10/9---11/15 Part II: Components of American Society

Schooling and Education
Culture: Norms/Values/etc.
Stratification: Hierarchy/Class Structure
Political Economy: Capitalism/Who Governs?

10/18---12/6 Part III: Racism: Black Like Me

12/9---12/13 Part IV: Conclusion

Human Agency
Social Change
Observation Synthesis


Online Materials and paper Handouts

BLACK LIKE ME by John Howard Griffin


Analysis Papers
You will write five (5) Analysis Papers. The topics for the papers are HERE.

Random Response Papers
Along the way there will be assignments I will announce...from 2 to 5 of them.

1st Exam
An Oral Exam...material coverage to be announced

Internet Assignment
Finding web sites related to course topics...and an Oral Presentation about some of them

Book Report
A book report about BLACK LIKE ME

Final Exam
A Take-Home Essay Exam


Analysis Papers
Minimum length is 1 page typed (double-spaced)...Maximum length is 2 pages typed. These papers are opportunities for you to use course ideas and analyze, not just to give an opinion.

Internet Assignment Instructions are HERE

Book Report Instructions are HERE


09/11 Analysis Paper #1 Due

10/02 Analysis Paper #2 Due

10/07 1st Exam

11/13 Analysis Paper #3 Due

NEW DATE: 11/25 Internet Assignment Due

11/27 Analysis Paper #4 Due

12/4 Analysis Paper #5 Due

NEW DATE: 12/13 Book Report Due & Pass Out Final Exam

12/20 Final Exam Due & Self-Evaluation Due...between 9-11 our Classroom (115)


Analysis Papers (50 pts.)
Random Responses (50 pts.)
1st Exam (100 pts.)
Internet Assignment (100 pts.)
Book Report (100 pts.)
Final Exam (100 pts.)



Analysis Paper #1---What do you "know" already?

I'd like to get a feel for your thinking about American society as we begin this course. You've been here for 7 months so I gather you might have a few thoughts on your mind already. Try to respond to the following guideline questions...but, you can add any other ideas you want.

-----What did you know about American society before arriving here?
-----What are your general observations about American society?
-----What do you know now, after being here for 7 months?
-----After these 7 months, what interests you the most about American society?
-----What similarities and differences have you noticed between American society and Japanese society?
-----What do you want to know...i.e. what do you want to know more about?

There are NO "right or wrong" answers to these questions...only what's on your mind.

Analysis Paper #2---Sociological Concepts Analysis

I want you to write an essay on how the first seven Sociological Concepts we covered all "fit" together. What do they have to do with one another? How does "thinking" change when we use these ideas to study society and yourself? The seven concepts are:

Reread the outlines of these ideas which are online and do the best you can.

Analysis Paper #3---American Values Assessment

These ideas are from Section "D" (Values) of the "Culture Outline."

There are a number of ways of determining a society’s values:

a. What preoccupies people in their conversations and actions.

b. What choices do people make consistently.

c. What do people say is good, bad, moral, immoral, desirable, or undesirable
1) What people do and what they say are not always the same.
2) People will generally respond in ways they feel are appropriate and this will indicate the values of the society

d. Observe the reward-punishment system of the society.

e. What causes guilt, shame, or ego enhancement.

What I'd like you to do is try to determine what the major values are in the people you have interacted with since you arrived in the United States. I want you to do this using the ideas above...think of them as questions to answer. I don't want you to ask people these questions...but rather, I want you to think back on interactions you've had (and are still having). What values are most obvious...which values do you hear or see most often? In other words, what are the American values you hear and see most often in your interactions with Americans?

Analysis Paper #4---Stanford Prison Experiment Video Analysis

Respond to the video we saw about the Stanford Prison Experiment. What did you think of it? Did you understand what it was about? If you haven't looked at the Discussion Questions online...I'll be passing out a copy in class on Friday, 11/22. We'll talk more then.

Analysis Paper #5---Oprah Racism Video Analysis