SOC 376 Syllabus 2013

Becoming a Global Citizen

SOC 376 OL
4 S.H.

Summer Session I
June 4- July 3, 2013


Elon University

Instructor:                              Dr. Tom Arcaro
Teaching Assistant:            Sami Biardi

Office Phone:                          336-278-6442
Other phones:                        336-263-4578 (c)
Office:                                        Lindner 209-C
Office Hours:                           I will be online at some point most days.

Final Examination:          3 July 2013.

I look forward to working with you in probing deeper into the many critical social problems facing our global community.  In many ways I want you to consider this course an extension of what you learned in GST 110, The Global Experience, and indeed I hope you bring much of that learning and growth into our many online discussions.  We have much important work to do in this class, and by the very act of signing up for this course you have begun to be part of an important –no critical- effort to make the world and more just place for all.

Catalog Description
In this course we will survey a wide range of global social problems including rape in the Congo, conflict  (or “blood”) diamonds and minerals, the HIV/AIDS crisis, sex trafficking in Nepal, Thailand and elsewhere, issues related to global climate change, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and other issues and news current during the time frame of our session.  The lenses through which we will examine these problems include the basic theoretical perspectives found in sociology, but will also include a gendered approach.  Students will actively research and discuss these topics and will be responsible for creating a “presentation” for the class on an issue of their choice.  Students will be challenged to work together on a class project to actively address one or more issues.  All work in the course will be geared toward deepening each student’s understanding of what it means to be a globally aware citizen in the 21st century.

Course Objectives
The objectives for this course include exploring the following subtopics:

1) Review the major theoretical perspectives in sociology
In order to move beyond merely describing the world we must accumulate a set of conceptual and theoretical tools to help us go from asking the what questions to the why and how questions, i.e., from describing to analyzing and explaining.  Our first job will be to look around the world and be able to know what is happening, but in the end, we will have the goal of offering some critical analyses as well.

The main theoretical perspectives in sociology include functionalism, symbolic interactionism, conflict theory and, more recently, evolutionary psychology.  We will do primers of each as we start the course.  Your Intro to Sociology text will have a chapter covering these main perspectives.

2) Explore a wide range of global social problems
We will examine a wide array of global social problems using both the Internet and readings I will post on our blog.  Each student will present what they learned in their GST 110 course and after sharing those insights we will go on to cover more deeply some of those topics as well as break some “new ground.”

3) Examine the concept “global citizen”
Through reading an array of essays and articles we will explore what it means to be a global citizen.

4) Examine the world of humanitarian and development aid and the organizations that deliver this aid.

4) Imagine, write, and publish a book addressing what it means to be a responsible global citizen.

[Look here for an example of what I did with my Winter Term class.  Our goal will be to have something similarly published by the end of summer.  This will mean extra optional- work for some of you after the formal class has completed.]


Service component:  the book project

This course will have a service component in two ways.  First, your multimedia project will help inform viewers about some issue and/or organization.  Secondly, your blogs posts -along with the blog posts written by the students that were in this class in 2012- will be harvested and put into a book.  This book, tentatively titled Being and Becoming a Global Citizen, will be published and be available online at by late summer.  To be clear, by being part of this course you are contributing to a book, the net profits for which will got to a humanitarian aid organization of our choice.   This means that when you write you need to keep in mind the broad and critical audience that will be reading it.

Book editing, design and production will be handled by Sami and Dr. Arcaro but we invite any of you to contribute with whatever skills you have.  We will need help with copy editing, formatting, art and overall content.

Required Course Materials

  • Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures, True Stories from a War Zone. (by Kenneth Cain, Heidi Postlewait, and Andrew Thomson)
  • In the Eyes of Others (edited by Caroline Abu-Sada)
  • War Games:  The Story of Aid and War in Modern Times (by Linda Polman)
  • Intro to Sociology text (see below)

I recommend that you get started on these books before the term starts.  All are available online at and you should order them ASAP.

I will post other readings related to our various topics on our blog.  These will either be essays or book chapters.  I may also post numerous “mini lectures” as audio or video podcasts, and you will be required to listen or watch these by specified points in the course.  You will also be sent links to various web sites as we proceed through the term.

Introduction to Sociology text
Buy, borrow, or check out from your local library (or online) an Intro to Sociology text.  I have several in my office you are welcome to borrow on a first come, first served basis.

Course Requirements
To accomplish the objectives for this course, you will complete the following:

Reading Assignments
You will have several reading assignments throughout the term, beginning with reading the assigned monographs.  There will be additional readings assigned in class from web sources. You should read all material assigned and be ready for discussions on our blog.  All writing that you do for the course should use and reference assigned reading materials as well as any outside research that you do.

Blog posts
General information about content and evaluation:  On a regular basis (at least 2-3 times per week) you will be asked to respond to discussion questions by posting to the blog.  The purpose here is to apply class material with current events as well as expand on and apply sociological thinking.  It is important that students also research and provide academic support for the positions, observations, and perspectives presented.  To be clear, for each blog post prompt you are to (1) respond to the prompt in at least 250 words and with at least two citations (at least one from an assigned readings and/or Sociology Intro book) and one from an outside source, (2) respond to at least two of your colleague’s posts, (3) appropriately categorize your posts. So, for example, for the Assignment 1 post you will click  “Assignment 1″ before you publish. You are advised to write your own response before reading the posts of others.  These posts  (including your responses to colleagues) will be evaluated based on both the quality and quantity of writing.  I will be looking for analytical creativity, good use of research materials, and well reasoned and presented information and points of view.  You cannot pass this course without participating regularly on the blog.  Failure to make regular and timely posts will have major consequences for your grade.  Keep in mind that we will harvest the best of these for publication in the book, including your comments.

Individual research
You will do in-depth research on a topic of your choice.  I will consult with you on what this topic might be.

We may use Skype as an additional way to stay in touch, present material, and otherwise move the course along.  We can use this particularly to get to know each other, and I will want to talk with all of you prior to or in the first days of the course.  You will need to download Skype on to your computer and add both professors and classmates to your contact list.  To download Skype, go to  The basic service is free, and having a webcam makes the experience more complete.


On June 15 you will complete a midterm covering several questions from the readings, your research, and other course content.  Plan on taking at least 2 hours to write this exam.  You will be given the prompts 24 hours before the due time, which is midnight [EST].

Final Exam

On July 3rd you will complete your final examination.  This examination will cover all course reading, discussions, presentations, and other materials as assigned. Plan on taking at least 2 hours to write this exam.  You must email your final before midnight or you will not pass the course. As with the midterm, you will be given the prompts 24 hours before the due time, which is midnight [EST].

Class Participation and Other Homework
I expect you to participate in class discussions and complete any additional homework assignments that may be asked of you.  All of your interactions on our blog site will “count” toward your class participation.

Summary of Course Requirements and Grading:

Blog posts and comments to peers:                  70%       at least 2-3 times per week
Research “paper”                                                  10%
Midterm examination:                                         10%    June 20th
Final Exam:                                                            10%    July 3rd

Grading Rubric

Here are the questions I ask when I am grading any student work:

1. Was the assignment turned in on time? (Depending upon the circumstances, late assignments will be accepted but will be downgraded.)
2. Did the student follow instructions completely and correctly?
3. Was the student conscientious in completing the assignment? Did the student put in sufficient time and thought relevant to the assignment?
4. Does the student correctly understand and use the sociological ideas, perspectives, concepts, or theories on which the assignment is based?
5. Does the student follow a format appropriate to the assignment?
6. Is correct spelling and proper grammar used throughout the student’s work?
7. Is the level of depth of analysis, explanation, or discussion appropriate to the assignment?
8. Is the length of the completed work appropriate for the assignment?
9. Has the student shown creativity of thought and style in the assignment?
10. If outside sources were used were they cited properly? Was a list of references included at the end of the assignment?


Plagiarism and Cheating

You are required to abide by the Elon honor code at all times during this class.  We will verify your quoted sources for accuracy and any falsified quotes or sources will result in a failing grade.




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