It covers themes such as human nature and colonization, culture, consumerism, mass media, social control, race and colonialism, the environment, public health and globalization, among others. The course consists of four segments each with its own thematic focus. The course inquires into areas such as: ‘What are the primary concerns and points of focus within critical social science’? ‘What is the role of culture in the formation of self and identity’? ‘How can we understand some of the main social problems in the emerging global society? What social forces maintain the inequalities and problems in our society? ” The main course theme is that the social reality we live in is not an inevitable formation, but rather is a “socially constructed reality’ – this means that our society develops as the product of powerful social forces, and subsequently is always involved in recesses of continuous change brought about by human action. The course provides an understanding of the power dynamics that shape our social realities, and approaches issues from a social justice perspective.
The course challenges many “taken-for-granted” beliefs people often make in their understanding of how society works. Part of this challenge involves taking a critical approach to issues, and to question commonly held assumptions about self and society, culture and human nature. The critical social science approach inevitably poses difficulties to many students who are called upon o look at the society with which they are familiar in new and often controversial ways.
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Through ‘conceptual analysis’, students are invited to develop analytic thinking skills which allow for a rigorous examination of the course themes, and the development of a critical understanding of the social world. It is essential that students be in regular attendance at lectures and tutorials, and to complete the required readings before each class so that one is prepared to understand the lectures and films and to engage in the tutorial. Course themes include the following topics:
The ‘Social Construction of Reality Thesis / society as a human invention Culture, Colonization and Human Nature Power, Ideology and Social Justice Mass Media, Consumer Culture and Popular Ideology Popular Constructions of Gender – Media Representations of Masculinity and Femininity Competition as a basis of power Race, Racism and Imperialism The Environment -? Mass Production and Mass Destruction Globalization as Progress and Regress Note: This course satisfies part of your General Education degree requirement, thus it involves: a significant component of writing the development of critical thinking, reading and writing skills an interdisciplinary approach to a variety of issues a broad and inclusive approach to the subject matter Required course materials: 1) One course reading kit, available at the York Bookstore consisting of selected text chapters, essays and articles from various sources printed by Canadian Scholars’ press. Please note that effort has been made to include readings which are directly relevant to the course content and easily accessible by introductory students. Lectures will endeavor to cover the readings/films selected for each weekly topic. ) One novel: Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell ) A number of films Will be shown in class as well, as indicated in the lecture schedule. Please note that the teaching team is not responsible for providing films for students who miss them. 4) Each week before lecture the Professor will upload an overhead point Word file to the course website under the tab Presentation Slides to accompany the lecture. These are your guide to the weekly topic and will help with explaining the key points in readings and lecture. It is essential that you follow the overhead slide points to keep up with the lecture content and to formulate thorough answers on tests.
The website can be accessed by reaching for the York Courses Website, click “course title” , follow the links to the AP/HERE 1040 6. 00 Power and Society page, and click Course Web site on the left beside the Professor’s name, then log in at the top right of the page. Once in, look at the list on the left and click Presentation Slides to access the lecture points posted for each week. This is not a Model website. Grading and Evaluation: Test 1 – Test 2 – Test 3 – Test 4 – 20% Tutorial activity plus 6 reading summaries – Tests: Four in-class tests worth 20% each. Each test consists of both multiple choice and long written-answer type questions. All questions are based on eternal from lectures, course readings and films. All tests are held during class time slots.
There is no Winter or final exam in this course. Tutorials and Summaries: The tutorial grade is worth 20% and is based on 2 things: I) tutorial attendance which includes active, prepared, intelligent participation and the ii) submission of six reading summaries (3 per term) of two to four pages per total summary. If there are two or three readings for that week you are to summarize all of them in two to four pages. Reading Summaries for this course and when they are due: This course has no formal research essay assignment. Instead your writing skills will progress on the basis of summarizing a selection of your choice of readings from the course.