DISCUSS: Can You Have an Intelligent Conversation About Theory Now?

Way back in ancient times (August, to be precise), you collectively named 11 social theorists that you had heard of and/or knew on the first day of class. Needless to say, you’ve come a long way!

You’ve worked exceptionally hard this semester and have completed some amazing projects. Our course website has been visited nearly 10,000 times (!) (UPDATE 12/5/11: 11,348 times!) this semester by people all over the world. Your ideas and contributions have been shared across the web and featured in several classrooms beyond ours.

I know that working and learning in digital spaces was very foreign to most of you just a few months ago, but you’ve held your own and you should be proud! Congratulations on a job very well done!

In this post, I’d like for you to think about and respond to the questions below as our time together comes to a close:

  1. Do you feel like you could have an intelligent conversation about contemporary social theory now? Perhaps you’ve already been having intelligent conversations about social theory–how have they gone?
  2. How might you use social theory after this course (for some of you, I know you may want to put this experience far, far behind you :), but how might you use social theory for your final comps projects)? Are there certain theorists or theories that will continue to guide your work/sociological imagination?
  3. Any other final thoughts on the course? (Please feel free to share your thoughts about the content, the process of working digitally, your projects, the course website, etc.)

I hope you have a wonderful break and thank you for a great semester! :)

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29 thoughts on “DISCUSS: Can You Have an Intelligent Conversation About Theory Now?

  1. 1. I feel like I can and have had intelligent conversations about Social Theory. Mostly, theory knowledge comes in handy when exchanging witty banter with classmates. This may be the truest system of Sociology taking over our minds and lives. AHHH!
    2. One of the theorists that I really liked at the beginning of the course was Marcuse. When my mom came to visit, I literally would not shut up about Marcuse and how our lives are run by the culture industry. It’s everywhere! I also really liked Mills. Even though his book was written over 50 years ago, it feels like it was written this year. I could use these theorists to help me with other research/comps projects.
    3. I think that it was crazy that we have gotten so many views! That is fantastic! It makes me feel like my work as a student is actually valued, even though I don’t have a PhD. Also yay for the semester being over! It’s been great but I’m so glad to be done.

  2. At the beginning of the semester, I was definitely a little skeptical about using this website, and it just did not seem necessary to me (Sorry). But as the semester went on, everyone’s posts became more and more interesting, and I really enjoyed reading what people had to say about things that we see in our everyday lives and probably never think twice about. As a result of this, I have definitely become more aware of things around me, and I am left thinking sociologically about them. When I was home, I feel as if I drove my family crazy with questioning the things they did and said by saying “Well I learned in one of my soc classes that…. I think that means…”. Additionally, my roommate is also really into social theory, so we often find ourselves in random discussions about theories, and society.

    As for comps, I’m not exactly sure which theories/theorists I plan to use, but I am very interested in Goffman’s presentation of self and Focault’s docile body. I feel as if these theories can be applied to many of today’s issues. If fitting, I will definitely try to include them in my Comps project, but I know I will for sure use them in the future in other papers or projects.

  3. 1. I have already had several intelligent conversations about contemporary social theory with classmates and professors. I often found myself sharing what I had just read for homework or learned in class with my roommate (who happens to be a biology major with no interest in sociology). She was even intrigued with the panoptical surveillance and my group project on the Bystander Effect.
    2. I will try to apply social theory to my senior comps project by incorporating two of the themes and concepts we have learned in class. Specifically I am really interested in the racial other and the images that maintain white domination and secondly, the culture industry. I can research how society depicts women of color in the media (i.e. magazines, movies, advertisements etc) and how this relates to their consumption and role in the culture industry. In the course I took a lot of interest in Jeremy Benthams concept of the Panoptical Surveillance. I thought it was interesting that a lot of people posted different forms of panoptical surveillance on WordPress, demonstrating that it is in fact a successful policing method in today’s society.
    3. I agree with ladycakes5, I’m very impressed with how many views we received over the last couple of months! At first I had a lot of trouble figuring out the website, but as time progressed I got more comfortable using it and posting my own work. Although the group projects were a lot of work, I had fun working with my group and thought the other group projects were really interesting. I definitely feel like we can and should share our projects in other classes at Oxy in the future. As of now, I’m just glad I survived the semester!

  4. 1. After taking the class, it has become second nature to take concepts like symbolic interactions into consideration in conversation with others. Apart from that, I found it interesting and helpful that our conversations in class about “Occupy” occurred literally right before it became a huge sensation.
    2. I am not a Sociology major, so I do not believe I will be doing much further research into any concepts or theorists. However, I was very intrigued by Goffman’s Presentation of Self in Everyday Life and feel that his concepts are a huge asset in understanding why people do some of the things they do in conversation with one another.
    3. I must admit I was not much of a fan at all with all the online coursework. Apart from the group projects, I don’t feel like it served a significant purpose; although I’m really happy to hear how successful it was in getting acknowledged after all the time spent on it! I also felt like it hindered my time spent on course readings (sometimes work for other classes) as my priority was always to do my posts for the week. Of course, as a non-major, many things were a struggle for me throughout the course, but overall I enjoyed the class content and found it very interesting for discussion.

  5. 1. I definitely have had intelligent conversations about theory and they make me really happy. For example, today I was talking with my friends about how crazy everything is with all of the storms and power outages and I discussed how it was like Hobbes’ state of nature (exaggeration of course), and about how the helicopters that were flying overhead were examples of panoptical surveillance in that people who saw them knew not to do anything “crazy.” Altogether, I love applying the theory to everyday situations.
    2. I plan to continue to utilize soc theory in all of my other soc classes, but also in discussing social interactions and situations. As for my comps, I am really interested in Foucault’s docile bodies and want to use that in some way to analyze the discrimination against Gypsies in Europe. So far, I am planning on researching the Gypsies more in my upcoming semester in Spain, and we’ll see how and which theories will apply!
    3. At first I was very skeptical of all of the online stuff because I happen to be kind of a noob at it all, but I have come to really enjoy blogging. That being said, I often forgot to comment on other people’s posts, which I know is a problem grade-wise. But I thought it really helped me to understand the power of social media and how easy it is to get your ideas out to the vast public. I really enjoyed this class, I wish it could have been longer so we could go more in-depth!

  6. After taking this course, I can confidently say that I can and have been engaging in intellectual conversations about social contemporary theory. Originally thinking that I would only understand classical concepts, contemporary sociology has broadened my views on how social theory can be applied to today’ society. Even in my own dorm room, I find myself in arguments with a fellow soc 205 classmate who is my roommate, over interpretations of critical race theory, the power elite, and many more socioloigical concepts.

    C. Wright Mills and Herbert Marcuse mark two sociologists that I found fascinating throughout the semester. I have great interest in capitalism and the culture industry, and these two theorists gave great insight towards the inner workings of our economic system. These two sociologists have continued to engage my interests as I would like to further study the concept of money and how we are trapped by this institution. Ideas of bureacracy and one dimensional thought allow me to further think towards how consumers can finally respond back to their own consumerism. In a time where the masses are questioning their own economic class against the power elite, there is not a better time to be studying these ideas.

    I really enjoyed the collaborative websites. The discussions allowed me to expand upon my own ideas and engage in deep conversations over sociological thought. In an era where digital age is sweeping the world, this class helped me remain relevant with the technological world, for I have never truly blogged before.

  7. I have been able to have intelligent conversations about the new theories we have learned in class. The conversations have gone well as the theories that we have learn apply to everyday interactions and help explain these interactions.

    How i will use the social theories that we have learned in the future is in my other sociology classes and use them to help get my point across in papers that I will have to write. The theorists that i really enjoyed were Goffman and Marcuse. I really enjoyed Goffman’s, backstage/front stage, and Marcuse, how the culture industry controls us, are easily seen in our everyday lives but are passed off as nothing.

  8. I feel like I can and have had many intelligent conversation about what we learned about in class. I was lucky enough to be learning about social theory related to particular topics while something relevant was either happening in another class room or world news such as the Occupy movement’s increase visibilty while we were talking about the Power elite. This really helped me see how these texts written before remain relevant. Many of the critical race theory and information from the feminism and queer theory sections were fueling information for dialogs we had in my dorm. There have been a lot of debates about these two topics due to recent news and things going on around campus. It was much easier to be present in these conversations with the information we learned in class. Dramaturgy has also been something that I like to play with when interacting with my friends and roommate.

    I think that I will be using critical race theory in my comps paper. Otherwise I feel that this information has given me a better understand of why social interactions are the way that they are. I don’t think I can leave interactions with people without about either bringing it up or thinking social interactionanism. In a way I feel that this has helped me understand people motives and definitely increased my sociological imagination. I think this class has helped me understand why people with power have the right to say “things happen for a reason” and think about how to change those things to be more inclusive.

  9. 1. After learning about several theorists and their contributions to sociology I feel like I can have an intelligent conversation about contemporary social theory. I have come to understand and apply their theoretical concepts to everyday life situations. As a matter of fact, I have had several intellectual conversations about sociological theory and have loved being able to apply the same theories to so many different social situations. Having intellectual conversations with my classmates has been really interesting and rewarding because it reflects our knowledge and understanding of the material we have learned throughout this course. However, after learning about theorists like Mead, Cooley, Goffman among many more I have been able to have intellectual conversations with friends majoring in other areas other than sociology. Somehow, I always end up making connections to sociological concepts during my conversations, allowing them to become more intellectually stimulating.
    2. Like I mentioned in the previous question, social theory can be applied in almost every situation or conversation, therefore, I know I will be using social theory frequently in analyzing different aspects of our society. Taking this course has provided a good foundation for my major, which is why I think social theory will recur throughout the time I spend studying sociology and eventually provided the basis for my comps project, whatever that might be. Erving Goffman, in particular, will continue to guide my sociological imagination. I have found his work very interesting and easily identifiable in many aspects of society. Other theorists, such as Cooley and Mead, who are associated with symbolic interactionism will continue to foster my sociological imagination and lead me in the right direction into finding an interesting comps project topic.
    3. I definitely felt out of my comfort zone working digitally but overall I think doing so was a good experience. Taking a different approach in learning sociological concepts really helped me grown intellectually and helped me open up to different teaching techniques. As time progresses, society seems to be more dependent on technology which is why learning to expose our work online is a great way to get used to the changes that are rapidly taking place.

  10. 1. Yes absolutely! I have been carrying more social theory into daily life with my friends/family—sometimes my boyfriend will call me out, saying “Soc major!” when I start to backup my arguments with social theories or concepts. The most intelligent/engaging conversations I have had were with my group members while we planned and carried out our projects, which I appreciated greatly.
    2. This course (and the visual portfolios especially) certainly helped me with ideas for my final comps; I will most likely focus on how individuals and societies unconsciously recreate norms, beliefs, and stereotypes, especially those related to whiteness or masculinity/femininity. Marcuse, Cooley, and Foucault had a great impact on my thinking and learning this semester. I greatly appreciated learning about C. Wright Mills and the Power Elite as well.
    3. It was at first very difficult to adapt to the online blogging/posting; I struggled with following updates and was confused with the two websites. Once I got the hang of it, though, it was much easier. I really liked the group project work and the presentations, but wasn’t entirely happy with having most of the semester’s work online. I feel like there wasn’t a large flow of post commenting, so much of the time we were posting without extra feedback or critical thinking. Nonetheless, I liked the class and all the content we learned about. Vive la sociologie!

  11. I think that I could have an intellectual conversation about social theory without even realizing it. I would use social theory to explain social problems to my friends and family in a way that is understandable to them, without having to resort to using highfalutin words and terminology. I think that now, I could paraphrase the complex theories in colloquial terms. I would definitely look into using social theory again for comps and even for my other classes, because Sociology is very interdisciplinary. Marcuse and Goffman continue to guide and inspire my sociological imagination, and I find that it is their theories that I continue to think about. I really enjoyed learning about symbolic interactionism and the culture industry the most, because I think that these are two things we can never escape. I enjoyed the course a lot but there are some things can can be improved upon in terms of schedule organization. I didn’t like that our schedule kept on getting changed every couple meetings, and that some lectures had to be compensated.

  12. 1. Yes of course I can now have intelligent conversation about contemporary sociological theory! Since learning about new theorists throughout the semester, I have increasingly incorporated them into everyday situations/conversations and various personal anecdotes. I find that I talk about Marcuse on the daily (consumerism!), as well as Goffman. I really love and appreciate that I can now do this; I’d like to incorporate even more theorists into conversations.

    2. I love how universal social theory is. I am not as scared to attempt to research or come up with a comps project, because I’ve learned in this class that you can apply social theory to almost anything. I will definitely choose something that interests me, such as fashion or art, and incorporate theorists into these subjects. I am looking forward to studying abroad in Paris next semester and viewing the city and the culture through a sociological lens and preparing/researching for comps.

    3. When posting all of this material to iheartsociology, I really didn’t think about where it was going in cyberspace, or who was viewing it. I think that it is amazing that over 10,000 people have viewed our site. I never thought of this as an actual blog that is accessible to people around the world–I thought only our class could view it. I am proud of the work that everyone has done!

  13. 1. I have talked to so many people about theory and I didn’t even realize it was happening! We’ve learned so much throughout the semester, and with all of the modern examples we have found through our visual portfolio projects, we can obviously apply our theory concepts to discussions in classrooms, with friends, and even around the dinner table (without it sounding too weird). The more interesting conversations about theory have been with my friends who are sociology majors. We start a conversation just like any other one, but somehow they always end up with some theory thrown into the mix.
    2. I’m so glad I took social theory in my first semester as a sociology major, because I know that it will help me so much with the rest of my classes for my major. Cooley’s theory of the looking-glass self has already helped me in my Methods class. I applied the theory to one of the articles we read and it was so interesting to me that I posted about it on my visual portfolio project. For my comps project, I will be continuing the idea of pit bulls having a stigmatized identity largely based on media construction. Goffman’s theory of stigma will obviously help me out a lot, as well as Berger’s social construction of reality. I’m actually oddly excited about starting my comps project and seeing how many theorists I can logically apply to my project.
    3. I’m not going to lie, I was absolutely terrified when I heard all of the work we were going to be doing throughout the semester, but I was surprised at how quickly and (semi)painlessly it went by. I loved going on iheartsociology every week and seeing how many new connections my classmates made with theory and the real world. I think that by using all of the social media for our visual portfolios and group projects, it showed how many people you can educate in such a short amount of time. I definitely enjoyed working on my visual portfolio; I surprised myself with how easily I could connect social theory with my personal interests. Overall, I think by using so many different outlets to show our knowledge, I’ve gained more from this class than almost any other class I’ve taken.

  14. I do feel that I am able to have an intelligent conversation about social theory now. I feel that I can use most of what we discussed to view the world around me and to make intelligent observations about what I see in front of me. I am especially interested in the idea of performances as presented by Goffman. The concepts tied to these performances are all things I see in my everyday life and they all influence the development of my views of society and the people in that society. Overall, I think this course was an excellent step in the process of figuring out the world around me and the parts I and others play in that world. There were a lot of concepts we covered in this course that I feel I have been noticing my entire life. Now that I am able to identify them, I think my relationship with society has become more complex but also much clearer.

  15. 1. I definitely think I am more able to have intelligent conversations about social theory, especially because of the visual portfolio. This made me much more sensitive to images that I see everyday and can now see a lot more meaning in terms of sociology than I would have before. Because I am a soc major, having intelligent conversations about theory outside of class isn’t really a new thing, but I do think this class has helped to bring in more modern, pop-culture references seen in digital show and tells and visual portfolios.

    2. I think that after my visual portfolios, I have a definite interest in the influence of advertising and the effect it has on society, which is something I think I could go further with in my final comps project. Going off of that, I have found the theories of Marcuse and the Frankfurt School to be especially compelling and relevant given the climate of advertising in our current society.

    3. As some other’s have noted, I was definitely skeptical about using so much media and different website for this class, but I do think that it is pretty incredible that our work has reached so many people. I really did not that about that or that something like that would happen, so it’s pretty cool to be a part of. I’m still not quite sure how I feel about doing so much with this website, only because I am a huge advocate for class discussion. Though I think all of the work posted has been very interesting and has been an alternative way to express our opinions and thoughts, I still think it was very hard for me constantly be checking a website and having anxiety that I missed something.

  16. 1. I definitely learned a lot in this class! I feel like I have a good grasp of the major sociological concepts/theorists and I feel like I actually know what Sociology is all about as opposed to what I’m learning in my Soc 101 class. I have definitely have had intelligent conversations with my peers about sociological concepts, especially about Foucault, and its really amazing to finally be able to understand what other people are talking about, especially people who are in Politics or in the CTSJ major. I feel like I know a lot that I can contribute to conversations and be able to discuss and learn new things from others. I appreciate this class a lot more now.

    2. I know that in my future courses, I can tell that I will most likely use Foucault and many of the Classical theorists that we studied. I’m really interested in applying gender stereotypes or Marcuse in popular culture, especially in other forms of media such as comic books and movies. I’m not sure what I’m going to do for my comps, but I definitely have a better idea of where to start and what to look for.

    3. I have to agree with the above post about using websites for class materials and class discussion. I am amazed that there are tons of people who are visiting the website and find what we do/study as interesting, and in a way its satisfying to know that we’re grabbing people’s attention and “changing the world” slowly. I still think class participation is a great way to learn and hear from other people, in person, but this has been an interesting experience in voicing out our opinions in a different way.

  17. 1. I believe that I can now have an intelligent conversation about contemporary social theory now. In the beginning of the year I could only name 2-3 theorists but I can now name at least 15 and this shows a vast increase in knowledge. I also now feel that I can describe the theories and ideas of the theorists making it easier to apply them to life and to discuss.
    2. I really think that social theory will be helpful and useful for me in many of my future sociology course, and for my final comps project. I’m not sure which theorists I would use, but I want to definitely want to use critical race theory. Because of this course I realized how interesting and important race issues are to me in that I am mixed race and a minority. For my comps I am considering looking at the consequences of modern racism and even just the effects on minorities of being ignored by society.
    3. Though the use of technology and social media was challenging for me throughout the course (due to my inexperience with it), it is nice that I now have those skills and can use certain sites and programs in my future schooling and career. This include prezi, wordpress, coursekit, blogs etc… And though a lot of the work was challenging I did like that through the visual portfolios and the projects we could see the applicability of what we were learning, making the information more important and interesting.

  18. I do feel like I can have an intelligent conversation about theory but what I really like is that I can be the one to bring new theorists into the conversation. I was exposed to many theorists in my various soc classes but I never felt comfortable bringing up new theorists. I now freely add to discussions and challenge ideas with the use of these theories.

    I really enjoyed the Feminist/Queer theory readings and have been able to apply them to multiple situations since reading them. I used Cooley in my comps this semester and I know I would not have had we not gone over looking glass self in class. I think Goffman’s work will continue to color my writing and I am excited to be able to add these new dimensions to my work. So in that way I have already started using social theory outside of this course and I know it will continue in my various soc classes.

    I wish that we had time to actually do the Feminist/Queer theory readings as a class. I know that we ran out of time, but I was disappointed that we had to drop them because I think they are so applicable to everyday life and possibly the only exposure that some students will get. I have read and studied Marx, Durkheim and Weber in a number of other classes and would have preferred to spend less time on them and more time on this newer material. I think that they also would have added a new dimension to the visual portfolio pieces because there are so many examples in everyday life that people pass by. I have enjoyed seeing the examples of theory that people find through these posts and I would have been interested to see what they found here.

  19. 1) Yes, I feel like with all the visual portfolios I have written and read on the website, I can certainly have an intelligent conversation about contemporary social theory, especially in a casual way that people with no sociological background may understand. I have brought up instances of theorists such as Marcuse with my friends when I felt like there was an instance of the Culture Industry they may understand.
    2) I will be using social theory for my comps project. I am not sure yet what I want to work on but after this class I have a lot of options and ideas I want to explore. I think Marcuse was the theorist which I respected the most and I think I will try to shape my comps project so that I can include Marcuse in it.
    3) I think this cours was very challenging and maybe too much was done online – as great as the group projects were I don’t think it was appropriate to not have class for a week so we could work on them, when we could have finished the readings that we had originally assigned if we hadn’t skipped class. The group projects were great but they were just an extension of Visual Portfolios, and I think there was not enough in class discussion about the theorists which would have benefitted my understand of the readings. Overall, challenging class yet that is what I expected for a theory class.

  20. 1. Yes, I do feel like I can have intelligent conversations about contemporary social theory, and I have! :) Especially when reading Goffman, who I felt really applied to my generation, I spoke about “The Presentation of the Self in Everyday Life” a lot to my friends. They actually thought he sounded interesting and could relate to his work.

    2. I think that knowing about really important theorists like Marx, Weber, Durkheim, Foucault, etc, will help me a great deal with comps because their theories can be applied to so many modern day events. For example, I am using Durkheim in my Political Soc class for a research paper on islamophobia.

    3. I loved reading “When the Center is On Fire”, I thought it was so interesting and only wish we had maybe talked about it a bit more! I also really appreciated that we did blogging because I know it is a big part of sociology but I never really knew how to do it before this class. I also appreciate that the visual portfolios made me constantly view the world through a sociological lens, so I was always noticing things that I may not have noticed otherwise.

  21. 1. I have already been having conversations about theory with classmates, other sociology majors/minors, and anyone else who is interested in understanding society at a deep level. I like that I can match theories with the names of theorists and apply them to different social phenomena that my peers and I witness. These theories and theorists have also come up in other classes, and I take pride in knowing about them in-depth

    2. I could definitely see myself using social theory for my comps project, or to even start a blog of my own using theory to critique and analyze people, places, and things that society would otherwise take for granted. I am particularly fascinated with Cooley and his Looking Glass Theory because I have developed an interest in studying how society shapes people’s identities. In addition, I find Weber’s theories very applicable to different social phenomena that I am aware of, and I also plan on learning more about Foucault and how his theories tie into the criminal justice system.

    3. All these assignments have been empowering for me because they involve raising awareness about underlying social issues and problems that society would otherwise ignore. Applying theory to these issues helps people better understand the social implications that result from systems of power, and utilizing social media resources gets the word out there. I love that this class is using its knowledge to inform the world about topics that students and I feel very strongly about, and has better prepared me for studying more sociology.

  22. I definitely feel like I could have an intelligent conversation about contemporary sociological theory, and have already done so with both peers and adults. I feel confident in my knowledge of many theories and the ways in which they apply to the world. I talked to my parents about the class, and mentioned what we have learned about Marcuse’s theories. They seemed to be very interested and were impressed with what I had to say. I’ve also talked to other students about theories we’ve learned in class, and I feel like it’s very clear that we have confidence in the subject matter.
    I feel that I will absolutely use social theory after this course, in both my daily life and for my final comps. Through completing the visual portfolios and group project I realized how applicable these theories are to the way that we live our lives. For example, the culture industry theories that Marcuse discusses in One Dimensional Man help us to better understand the control that media advertisements and marketing have over us. Understanding this control helps us to realize how ridiculous certain false needs can be, and it can help us to be individuals rather than conforming to what the media tells us we need to be. Another example would be the many things we have learned through the race and racism theories. I had never heard of black face before, and learning about the many racial implications of Halloween costumes was so informative and important for people to be aware of. Ethnic Notions also helped me to better understand the history of racial depictions and how they have merely transformed into modern examples that we see today.
    Overall, I feel that I really benefited from this class. I learned a lot of information that I feel applies to my daily life, which is a great quality in a class. It was a heavy workload, particularly in the beginning of the course, but overall I am proud of the work that I have done and know that I have learned very useful information. I particularly enjoyed the visual portfolios because of how we learned to apply these theories to the world around us, which was the most useful aspect of the class.

  23. 1. I feel very comfortable having an intelligent conversation about contemporary social theory; my friends may even argue that I feel TOO comfortable. I am constantly relating things that happen in every day life to things from our class [i.e. was taken with the mass hysteria during the wind storms] and love recognizing theory in basic things I encounter. Unfortunately, this knowledge has a downside: everything is ruined for me! Now, instead of laughing at many commercials, movies, and friends’ jokes, all I can recognize are the great inequalities at play and how it is this media and behavior that perpetuates this inequality. Thus, it is undeniable that the theories I learned in this class have permeated my concept of our world and revealed its realities.
    2. After this course, I plan to use much of the information I have learned both in my further studies and in the work force. While I am a psychology major, I believe many of the things we have learned about [i.e. standpoint theory] are very applicable to the psychological field in understanding the environments and social situations patients’ are coming from. Also, the theories I have learned have already changed the way I think, and undoubtedly the way I act around sensitive social issues. I have already dubbed myself a feminist on the lesbian continuum and look forward to learning more!
    3. Overall, I really enjoyed this course. I felt the content was accessible and interesting. While I learned a lot from the course website, I felt overwhelmed at the prospect of commenting on all of my friends’ posts. The website was so active that it felt hard to keep up. I don’t really know how I would suggest fixing that in future classes, though, because I feel that the visual portfolio project and the feedback I received from my peers are very important. Hope you have a great break!

  24. 1. I feel like I could have an intelligent conversation about contemporary sociological theory. I think it is interesting that some concepts we learned about apply directly to experiences I have had, and I knew I was thinking sociologically at the time, but did not know exactly what theory it applied to. For example, my first visual portfolio post was about a baseball game I attended last spring. I think it is interesting that I can now explain the phenomena I witnessed with sociological terms. I have had conversations about theories with other sociology students. Oddly enough, they are mostly heated reactions to conversations from class. When my family came out here for Thanksgiving, I found myself explaining events we witnessed in sociological terms. After receiving blank stares of confusion, I would just say “It’s from my soc class”.

    2. Although I am no longer a sociology major, I think some theorists easily translate to other disciplines. For instance, since I am interested in economics, I can apply Mills’ concept of the power elite to conversations about the economy. Marx also theorized about social structures and economic classes. Marcuse’s ideas about consumerism are relevant to my interest in economics because we need to know why consumers act as they do.

    3. I will admit that I did not like the proportion of time required on online content creation versus conventional readings and class assignments. I believe the online space would be more effective if we used it solely for organized discussions like this. I was disappointed that we did not do this very often throughout the semester. I also feel like the content on this website became overwhelming and unnecessary. As for the group projects, I think we could have spent a smaller portion of the semester on them and had more class time to discuss concepts such as Critical Theories of Race. Once we began working on the group projects, I felt a complete disconnect from the coursework. However, I think the requirement of posting it in digital spaces was a great way to inform other people interested in our topic.

  25. 1.I defiantly feel as though I could have intelligent conversation about contemporary social theory. I honestly feel like I have learned much about social theorists and their theories. I have had conversations throughout the semester with other students about social theory and I find myself using some of these theories to analyze the things around me.
    2.Being a sophomore, I really have no idea what my comps project will be, but I do imagine that I will be suing the information about social theories I learned in this class. I really enjoyed reading Foucault and Marcuse. I believe that their work could influence my decision of what to study and how to view society.
    3.Overall I really did enjoy the course. I defiantly was not use to doing so much work online. I really enjoyed working in groups and found your lecture very helpful.

  26. Yes, I do feel like I can have an intelligent conversation about contemporary social theory now. In fact, I have already had several with adults and my peers. I think that doing my own visual portfolios and reading my classmates’ has really taught me how to apply social theory to many different situations, and I am able to confidently explain what we have learned in class. I talk about theory so much that my housemates are getting annoyed with how often I pause movies, interrupt conversations in order to say how interested something is because it relates to a particular sociological concept.

    First off, I am not a sociology major, so I will not be using social theory for my final comps project. That being said, I will obviously continue to use social theory in future courses. Furthermore, I will continue to relate sociological concepts that I have learned in this class to every day situations, as doing so seems to have become engrained in my thinking. I will probably continue to think about Cooley’s Looking Glass Self and Mead’s I and Me the most, as I am very interested in how people’s personalities are formed and very, and feel that these concepts could relate most to my studies of psychology (my major).

    Overall, I enjoyed the course and thought the material was interesting. However, I felt like it was overwhelming to keep up with the website, especially because we started it so late in the semester. It felt like there was not enough time to leave enough comments. Also, once we started doing our group projects, I felt very disconnected from the class and its material. I really enjoyed the visual portfolio project, and don’t think I could have learned to apply social theory so well without it.

  27. I definitely feel like I could hold a conversation on social theorists, unlike before. I would find myself asking people questions pertaining to our lectures that morning because every theorists provided a new lens to seeing things. I also implemented a lot of what was being learned in class to my other classes, and it was not difficult since a lot of the theorists we learned were the founders for their field or subject. So connecting contemporary ideologies with past ones has made it easier to understand and see how theories have transformed over time.

    I find my self constantly looking at the social theories we have learned for arguments, discussions or criticisms, when looking at other people’s work not related to sociology. Theories that always come to mind are Colleys Looking glass self, dramaturgy, Marcuse’s one dimensional thought, and all the criticisms of capitalism from several theorists.

    I definitely plan on using social theory for my comps, specifically symbolic interactionism because it is closely knitted to social psychologists work and the interactions between people. Many themes stem from SI, including micro-aggressions which, for now, seems to be my main focus.

    I have retained more information in this class than any other class so far, and I definitely see myself going back to our “cheat sheets” to refresh my memory. Also the use of social media was at first difficult, but I now understand is necessary for the technological time period in which we live in. And Im still amazed my Prezi!

  28. I definitely think I could have an intelligent conversation about contemporary social theory. It’s been difficult to have conversations though because I am constantly wanting to use sociological theory terms in conversations with my friends, most of whom have no idea what terms like “a diminished self-concept” or “panoptical surveillance” or “psychological illiteracy” mean. It is fun to explain it, but I’m not sure how much fun it is for them.
    I definitely think many of the concepts I learned in this class will be useful for future projects. The material on race and modern day minstrel shows is of particular interest to me, moving forward, as are many of the concepts of C. Wright Mills. I find it interesting that the Power Elite was published over 60 years ago, and yet almost all of the concepts are even more applicable today then they were then. When he talks about mass media in terms of the radio and television, it is crazy to think that there was no internet and that most TV sets were black and white. I also think a lot of his commentary about economics is incredibly relevant to the current economic climate.
    I found this class to be challenging but enjoyable. While it was stressful at times to deal with working digitally, I do appreciate that I can google my WordPress user names and see posts that I actually wrote. It makes me feel like I am basically a published sociologist!

  29. 1. I have definitely been able to have intelligent discussion about sociological theory! I found myself getting very excited about many of the theorists and wanting to come home to tell all of my housemates about them. As none of my housemates care about sociology none of them were very interesting or intelligent, but I felt proud of myself for being able to introduce things I was learning about to people who have no idea what sociology or sociological theory is.

    2. I will be using a lot of what I learned about social theory in future sociology classes, in day to day life, and obviously in my final comps project. I have always been interested in race and racism and LGBTQIA issues, so those theorists will hopefully be helpful to me in the future. However, a new theorist I fell in love with was Foucault. I had never learned about him or his ideas before and was beyond thrilled with everything I read of his. I will definitely be using him in the future.

    3. I loved this class! It is one of the first soc classes that has challenged me and the first soc class that has taught me something solid that I can apply to everything I observe in every day life. I loved the fact that it wasn’t 100% discussion based, and I found the online portion to be challenging but helpful. The world is turning into a technologically dependent place (as many theorists feared!) and we need to learn how to use these online tools in order to keep up with everyone else. I think it was extremely helpful! Thank you so much for a wonderful semester!

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