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Syllabus

In this course, we’ll investigate science and technology as social practices. We’ll ask questions about the social processes and institutions involved in science and technology. We’ll consider the consequences of scientific practice and scientific knowledge and the intersections with other social processes and institutions, especially politics, law, and public discourse. We’ll inquire into the consequences of technological developments, with a special emphasis on the nature of daily life.

Textbooks and Readings

  • Grace Davie, The Sociology of Religion, 2nd edition (Sage, 2013).
  • Mark Mulder, Aida I. Ramos, and Gerardo Marti, Latino Protestants in America (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017).
  • Ruth Braunstein, Prophets and Patriots (University of California Press, 2017).
  • Christian Smith, Soul Searching (Oxford, 2009).
  • About the course

  • Class meetings will be a mixture of lecture presentation and hands-on activities.
  • Be prepared to participate in discussions. You should complete the assigned readings prior to the class meeting in which they will be discussed. Take notes on the readings: ask questions about what is unclear; make connections to other points of knowledge.
  • Be prepared to participate in group exercises. The best way to learn is to teach, and we will often engage in exercises that require you to explain material to each other.
  • Be prepared to interact through the course web site. This will allow us to extend the course beyond the class meetings.
  • Out of respect for your classmates, you should refrain from disruptive activities, such as talking in class during the lecture, sleeping, arriving late or leaving early, etc. Please turn off your mobile phone during class meetings. You will be marked as absent on a given day for persistent infractions.
  • Attendance is required. Every unexcused absence will result in a two point deduction. If you must miss a meeting, you are required to fill out the contact (inquiry) form. (Fill out the form in advance if the absence is planned. Otherwise, complete the form as soon as possible after the meeting you missed.) If I do not receive a completed form, the absence will be counted as unexcused.

    Evaluation

  • Grading will consist of four parts: (a) a research project that focuses on a particular issue in sociology of religion; (b) reading reflections, submitted before each class meeting, (c) posts on the online forums, where we will continue discussion of key ideas from the readings; and (d) in-class participation.
  • Research Project: The research project will include a required proposal (worth up to 5 points), a required draft (worth up to 10 points), which will serve as the midterm examination, and the final edited version (worth up to 25 points). The final edited version will serve as the final examination for this course. The draft version will be presented to the class in a 5 minute summary in order to get peer feedback to incorporate into the final version.
  • Reading Reflections: Students are required to submit, before the class meeting in which it will be discussed, a one page (3 paragraphs) reflection of three key points from the assigned readings. Ten reviews are required; students can decide which to submit. (Ten reviews worth two points each, for a total of 20 points). Reflections must be turned in by the beginning of class; you may bring them to class or email them to me. Reflections must be typed.
  • Forums: Participation in the online discussion forums will be worth up to 20 points. One point is earned by responding to one of the questions I pose. An additional point is awarded for responding to another student’s comment. Students can earn up to 2 points on each forum (by responding to a question and by responding to another comment).
  • In-class Participation: We will do in-class writing and and group work. These activities are worth one point each. Because this is in-class work, if you are absent on a particular day, you will not be able to earn participation points for that day. (That is, there is no make up of in-class activities.) Participation in class is worth up to 20 points.
  • Grades will be assigned according to the following scale: 100-94 = A, 93-90 = A-, 89-87 = B+, 86-82 = B, 81-80 = B-, 79-76 = C+, 75-72 = C, 71-70 = C-, 69-66 = D+, and, 67-62 = D. Scores below 62 are failing.

    Consult the Brooklyn College Bulletin and the university policy [PDF] for regulations regarding academic integrity. If you submit work for credit that is not your own, you will receive a zero on that assignment. Academic dishonesty is grounds for failure in the course. Additional penalties may result, at the discretion of the college.

    Note regarding Student Disability Services:
    In order to receive disability-related academic accommodations students must first be registered with the Center for Student Disability Services (CSDS). Students who have a documented disability or suspect they may have a disability are invited to set up an appointment with the Director of the Center for Student Disability Services, Ms. Valerie Stewart-Lovell at 718-951-5538. If you have already registered with the CSDS please provide your professor with the course accommodation form and discuss your specific accommodation with him/her as soon as possible and at an appropriate time.

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