Here’s what this course is about:
Was Donald Trump’s inauguration the biggest in history? Is Climate Change a hoax? Are we post-racial? Politically, we must say the answers to these questions is no—and yet a course like sociology of knowledge will intellectually challenge these politics. This will be the central tension we struggle with this semester—soon you will be able to understand why some have blamed post-structuralist, like Foucault, for climate change denial, and you will be able to counteract those arguments without reinforcing problematic assumptions. If we are to understand that facts are socially produced, that knowledge is not as sturdy as we once thought, that science is fallible, how do we do this without having to accept that racism isn’t a thing, that Trump’s inauguration was the biggest in history, and that climate change is not happening? These problems are what we will tackle with this semester. The official description of this course is the “systematic analysis of the social basis of knowledge” and we are unfortunately in an era where we must all develop the critical skills to do so, and quick. We must understand that reality is socially constructed, and yet have the critical skills to not be gaslit. This is a complex paradox, and you should expect to struggle with this during the semester and beyond. The struggle is the process, and this is how you will learn. We will build our critical thinking skills through discussion, reading, digital media, outside events, and writing. And it should also be noted that sociology is a political project, as all knowledge constructing disciplines are, and so this class will engage deeply with current and past politics. You are expected to have political opinions of your own, and recognize that I do too.