Sociology of Knowledge

Hunter College, Spring 2017

Final Project Guidelines

When writing the draft of your final project assignment, you’ll want to include the following:

Task: What will you accomplish?

Format: How will you do this? A zine? A paper? A policy statement? A protest?

Justification of Format: Why is this the best way to accomplish your task

Audience: For whom is this work intended?

Roles: What will each member do, and how will you divide the labor?

Grading Criteria: What will you do to earn an A?

You can hand this in to me by email or in person by Thursday.


Update: I didn’t think of this initially but for those revising their guidelines I suggest you add the following:

Topic: One word or one sentence about your project

Timeline: The steps you will take to complete the project

Learning Outcomes: What you will get out of this project


Early Versions of My Article

Here are four earlier versions of the paper of mine you read for class today. The first linked file is the proposal for the wiki project from 2012, then three versions of the paper before I cut out all the things about wikis. Two versions have comments I received in them so you can see how feedback was given, first by a professor, then by a reviewer.
Proposal for the Wiki Project

Independent Study Paper with Comments from Professor

Version submitted to first journal with comments from “Reviewer B”

Version sent to second journal and rejected

“Wall” For Final Project

I’ve made this site for you to use, as Nicole suggested. This will be an optional place for you to post ideas and work stuff out for your final project. Because you had so much overlapping interests, this will be a place for you to add ideas to other groups and follow along on the development of their ideas. I will go through your group blogs and pull your usernames from there and add you all to the site so you can start posting (sometime this weekend I should get you all added.)


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Where WEB DuBois lived

As you know, I’m in Philadelphia this week for the Eastern Sociological Society Conference. This kind of conference is where sociologists all get together in one place once a year to talk about our research and ideas, and in my case, also our teaching. During what would have been class time yesterday I was on a panel I organized with four other scholars talking about what a “prison abolition pedagogy” might be or could be. I can tell you more in class. On Saturday I will be giving another paper, but that time on my dissertation research. This morning I was on the hunt for breakfast and heard about a vegan pizza place and since that sounded like a good breakfast plan to me. Coincidentally, the pizza place was across the street from where WEB DuBois lived when he was working on what some say was his most sociological project, his book The Philadelphia Negro. It was amazing to be on the block where he lived (which is now a park). His house would have been a little past where that car is in the third photo. Such a great energy on that block and so fun to walk around the streets where he walked around.

Article on Marx’s Exclusion from American Sociology

I came across this article, randomly, but it had to do with our discussion in class the other day about American Sociology and Marx. I thought I would share it for your interest, or possibly as a resource for your final group projects.

Historical Origins of Ideological Denial

Patrick J. Gurney Richmond, Virginia

The American Sociologist 1981, Vol. 16 (August): 196-201

This paper focuses its attention upon the relationship between the dominant ideas in American sociology and the receptivity, opposition, or indifference to the ideas of Karl Marx. It documents that early American sociology basically ignored Marx s ideas. When his ideas were addressed, the modal response was overwhelmingly negative, and typically along ideological lines. A classificatory scheme is developed to identify the ideological nature of the treatment of Karl Marx in early American sociology. In effect, Marx was defined as beyond the limits ofvalid inquiry.

Social Construction of Reality on Buffy The Vampire Slayer

I may or may not have been watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer just now and there was a scene in a sociology class where they are talking about the social construction of reality. Look at all those eager hands up in the air! I couldn’t find a clip, but here’s a transcript. Can you follow what they are saying?  Do you think the Buffy writers got it right? Is this what Berger and Luckmann were saying?

This is gonna be great…

Buffy enters with Willow, amid a few other students flowing in and taking their seats. Buffy’s forcing positive energy.

I mean, I thought it might be weird
being back. And, it is, a little
but it’s a good kind of weird.WILLOW
Oh, there’s the teacher. Mike.MIKE, mid-thirties, a vaguely cool academic-type, puts down his knapsack and crosses to the blackboard.

You’ll like Mike.BUFFY
You call your teacher “Mike?” Wow.
School sure has changed since my day.ON MIKE, writing on the blackboard. NOTE: The class that follows operates BRISKLY, FAST PACED, emphasizing Buffy’s difficulty in keeping up. Mike writes the words:

“Social Construction of Reality”
(turning to the class)
Who can tell me what that is?WIDE ON CLASS – Hands shoot up, including Willow’s.

ON BUFFY, looking around at the students eager to answer.

MIKE (cont’d)
Rachel?ON RACHEL, who answer quickly and confidently.

A concept involving a couple of
opposing theories. One stressing the
externality and independence of
social reality from individuals…ON MIKE, turning toward the rest of the class.

And the flip side?ON BUFFY, taken aback as hands shoot up around her again.

Steve?STEVE (O.S.)
That each individual participates
fully in the construction of his or
her own life.ON MIKE, picking up the pace.

Good. Who can expand on that?HIGH ANGLE – EMPTY SPACE as raised hands fill the screen.

MIKE (cont’d)
Chuck.ON BUFFY, listening, watching, increasingly overwhelmed.

Well, those on the latter side of the
theoretical divide stress that social
reality is actively constructed and
restructured by individual actors.As he speaks, Buffy leans in to Willow and whispers.

Will, I’m not following this too well.WILLOW
The trick is to just get into the
rhythm, go with the flow.Her hand goes up.

Flow-going might be easier if your
classmates weren’t all big brains.WILLOW
Buffy, that’s ridiculous. They’re no
smarter than you or me.MIKE (O.S.)

(answering a question)
Because social phenomena don’t have
unproblematic objective existences,
they have to be interpreted and given
meanings by those who encounter them.

ON MIKE, pointing.

Nicely put. So, Ruby, does that mean
there are countless realities?ON WILLOW, pleased with herself, as she turns back to BUFFY who just looks at her.

What?Buffy shakes her head and starts scribbling in her notebook.

WILLOW (cont’d)
That’s a good idea. Take notes.ANGLE ON BUFFY’S NOTEBOOK – She doodles a little stick figure.

“Objective” measurement is actually
a social construction on the
subjective meanings ascribed by those
doing the measuring…BUFFY glances over at the notebook of the girl next to her.

ON GIRL’S NOTEBOOK – The girl is doodling a strikingly intricate design, with perspective shadings.

MIKE (cont’d; O.S.)
All knowledge of the world is a human
construction rather than a mirror of
some independent reality…ON BUFFY, giving up, as she RIPS her doodle drawing out other notebook and crumples it.

No Class on Thursday


Much like a marxist utopia, there is no class on Thursday. Make sure to watch gaslight instead of class. See you Monday Feb 27.

Gaslight Film

Candy Experiment

screen-shot-2017-02-15-at-4-42-20-pmI didn’t get all of your pictures on here so sorry to lose I left out!

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