SOCI 5134 / SOCI 5134G Dr. Nancy Malcom
Sociology of Childhood Associate Professor
Fall 2007 office: 1088 Carroll
class meets: office hours: 10:00-10:45 MWF,
2:00 – 3:15 MW 4:00-5:00 M, and by appointment
2240 Carroll phone: 681-5168
Introduction to the Course:
Sociologists have long focused on class, race, and gender as significant determinants of social life.
Only recently has age been recognized as an important status category, while childhood has received
even less attention than other age categories. This course focuses on childhood as a social
phenomenon. How is childhood socially constructed? How do children experience society? How
are they shaped by the social institutions (such as family, school, mass media, and sports) in which
they take part, and how do they, as social actors, shape society? How do children deal with the
problems of society and how does society deal with the problems of children?
Required Texts: We’re Friends, Right?, William Corsaro
There are No Children Here, Alex Kotlowitz
* some additional articles may be distributed in class
This class will contain a mixture of lectures, participatory class discussions, in-class activities and
exercises, and video presentations. Every Friday we will hold research workshops in which we will
focus on practical issues related to the research process and to addressing problems and questions
related to the students’ particular research projects.
If you are receiving services from the SDRC, please see me as soon as possible after class to
schedule an appointment to present me with your accommodation letter.
Course Requirements and Evaluation:
The course grade will be determined as follows:
Attendance and Participation 10%
Reading Quizzes (best 9) 10%
Exam #1 15%
Exam #2 15%
Research Project 50%
The research project, which comprises 50% of the overall course grade, will be broken down
in the following way:
Identifying research topic 1%
Identifying references 4%
Identifying data sources and specific questions 2%
Literature review 10%
Research methods write-up 5%
Initial analysis/summarize conclusions 2%
Presentation to class 10%
Final paper 15%
Additional Requirements for Graduate Credit:
Students enrolled in this class for graduate credit will be expected to undertake a more rigorous and
in-depth research project. Their research projects must be completed individually rather than in
groups. They will be expected to complete a more detailed and longer literature review, to ask more
sociologically relevant research questions, to use a larger sample and collect more data, and to do a
more thorough job of presenting their research findings, with a greater emphasis on placing their
research in the context of the sociological knowledge base. In addition, students enrolled for
graduate credit will be expected to present the results of their research outside of the class, either in a
campus-wide forum or at a regional or national sociology conference. I will be more than happy to
help students find an appropriate forum for presenting their research, and if necessary, to help them
secure funding for travel and lodging to a sociology conference.
General Education Outcomes that Relate to the Course:
1. Students will demonstrate effective communication by their ability to actively participate in class
discussions and clearly express relevant ideas in both written and oral formats.
2. Students will demonstrate effective analysis of information by their ability to recognize
inconsistency in logic and to separate fact from opinion.
3. Students will demonstrate problem-solving ability by identifying and formulating problems and
proposing and evaluating ways of solving them.
4. Students will demonstrate intelligent decision-making by making informed decisions and
recognizing the ethical dimensions of their decisions.
5. Students will demonstrate responsible citizenship through active participation as a citizen,
including examining their assumptions about themselves, about others as individuals, and about
their society as a whole.
6. Students will demonstrate knowledge in sociology by their ability to explain the vocabulary and
define basic terms and concepts taught in the social problems class.
7. Students will demonstrate tolerance and understanding through their discussion and active
consideration of diversity in human behavior, points of view, and values.
The student who successfully completes this course will be able to:
1. Articulate and define major concepts in the subfield of sociology of childhood.
2. Understand social interaction and reciprocal relationships between individual and society, by
explaining how the self develops sociologically, demonstrate how societal and structural
factors constrain individual behavior and influence the self’s development, and demonstrate
how social interaction and the self influences society and social structure.
3. Demonstrate critical thinking through the ability to synthesize and evaluate scholarly material
and to present opposing viewpoints and hypotheses on various issues.
4. Conduct original sociological research by identifying a research topic, designing a study using
appropriate research methods, collecting and analyzing data, and presenting findings in both
written and oral form.
Short answer quizzes, short answer and short essay exams, and in-class exercises will be
used to measure students’ knowledge of sociological concepts related to the sociological
study of childhood.
Short answer quizzes, short answer and short essay exams, and in-class exercises will be
used to measure students’ understanding of social interactions and reciprocal relationships.
Short answer quizzes, short answer and short essay exams, and a written research project
will be used to measure students’ ability to think critically.
A semester-long research project, including both a written final paper and an in-class
presentation, will be used to measure students’ ability to conduct original research.
attendance and participation: Your attendance and participation, particularly during the days on
which we will hold in-class workshop, will be an important aspect of this class. Each student should
come prepared to take part. Because I believe that students who actively participate in the class will
get more out of this course and will also enrich other students’ learning experiences, I will reward
participation (at all times, quality of input is valued over quantity). However, I also recognize that
not all students are comfortable talking aloud in class. Thus, the participation grade will be based
primarily on attendance. Tardiness and absences from class will be detrimental to the participation
grade, as will inappropriate in-class behavior such as disruptive comments, sleeping, reading
newspapers, and text-messaging on cell phones.
excessive absences: Students who anticipate being absent from class should contact the instructor.
Students who miss more than half of the scheduled class meetings (for whatever reason) will receive
failing grades for this class, regardless of their performances on exams and the research project.
Students who experience excessive absences due to medical problems are urged to seek a medical
withdrawal from the course.
reading quizzes: Beginning on Monday, August 20th, a one- or two-question short answer quiz
based on the previous week’s reading assignment will be administered during the first ten minutes of
class. These quizzes are designed to ensure that students faithfully and thoughtfully read the
assigned material. Students will be allowed to drop their lowest quiz grade, and their average score
for the remaining quizzes will count for their overall quiz grade. Students must be present on the
day and time that the quizzes are given – missed quizzes can not be made up.
exams: There will be two in-class, closed-note exams. Exam questions will be drawn heavily from
assigned readings and material from classroom lectures, discussions, and videos. Exams will consist
primarily of short answer and short essay questions. Exams will not be cumulative. The first exam
will be held on Wednesday, September 19th. The second exam will be Monday, November 5th.
make-up policy for exams: When possible, students should notify me before the exam if they will
be unable to take the exam at the assigned time. I will allow students who are unable to sit for the
scheduled exam the option of taking an alternate exam. I will offer three make-up exam sessions
during the semester (see below). Any missed exams must be made up during these sessions. In
addition, all make-up exams must be completed after the regularly scheduled exam. While students
who miss the first exam may take the alternate exam during any one of the three sessions offered,
students who anticipate missing the second exam may not sit for an alternate exam during the first
make-up session. Because students who opt to take an alternate exam will have more time to
prepare, the alternate exam will be more challenging than the regularly scheduled exam.
make-up exam sessions: Thursday, September 20th (9:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.)
Tuesday, November 6th (9:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.)
Friday, November 30th (9:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.)
in-class workshops: On six different occasions throughout the semester we will hold a workshop
rather than a regular class session. This means that we will set aside the normal topics that had been
covered in lectures and discussions the previous days, and we will instead devote our attention to the
research project and its various components. This time will be spent talking about the research
process, discussing the research assignments, trouble-shooting, and providing peer-reviews of each
others’ work. Attendance at these workshops is crucial – students not in attendance will be
penalized with significantly lowered “attendance and participation” grades. The dates for these
workshops are noted in the course calendar beginning on page 6 of this syllabus.
research project: Each student enrolled in this class must undertake an original research project,
worth 50% of the overall course grade. Because of the comprehensive nature of this project, it is
discussed in more detail in separate handouts.
A Note about Academic Honesty:
Students enrolled in this class are responsible for knowing and abiding by the University’s Student
Conduct Code, particularly as it pertains to academic dishonesty. Students who violate the
University’s code of academic honesty and integrity run the risk of failing this course.
A more complete description of behaviors that constitute cheating and plagiarism can be found in the
Student Conduct Code. A partial list and description of dishonest behaviors appears below.
Students who are confused or unsure about a specific situation should consult the instructor for
Cheating includes but is not limited to:
* Submitting material that is not yours.
* Using unauthorized materials during exams.
* Collaborating with others on an assignment without the instructor’s consent.
* Cooperating with or helping another student cheat.
Plagiarism includes but is not limited to:
* Directly quoting the words of others without using quotation marks to identify them.
* Using sources of information without identifying them.
* Paraphrasing materials or ideas of others without identifying the sources.
Students should be aware that paraphrasing does not mean retaining a sentence pattern and substituting
synonyms for original words, nor does it mean retaining the original words and changing the sentence
pattern. Rather, paraphrasing means both altering the sentence pattern and changing the words. Even
when students paraphrase, they must still identify the original source.
Tentative Course Schedule:
The following tentative schedule lists planned lecture topics, test times, due dates, and reading
assignments. It is expected that you will have completed the day’s reading assignment before
coming to class. The instructor reserves the right to adjust the schedule as necessary during the
Date Topic Readings and Assignments
M Aug 13 what is childhood?
W Aug 15 in-class workshop #1:
introduction to the research project
M Aug 20 sociological study of childhood reading quiz #1
Corsaro intro & chp 1
W Aug 22 in-class workshop #2: ** meet at Henderson Library
library resources research topic due
M Aug 27 childhood in cultural context reading quiz #2
Corsaro chps 2 & 3
W Aug 29 childhood in cultural context
M Sept 3 LABOR DAY – NO CLASSES
W Sept 5 in-class workshop #3: scholarly references due
composing a literature review
M Sept 10 childhood socialization reading quiz #3
Corsaro chp 4
W Sept 12 interpretive reproduction specific research questions due
M Sept 17 video: Smile Pretty reading quiz #4
Corsaro chp 5
W Sept 19 *** EXAM #1 ***
M Sept 24 peer cultures reading quiz #5
Corsaro chp 6
W Sept 26 friendship and sharing literature review due
M Oct 1 conflict and differentiation reading quiz #6
Corsaro chp 7
Date Topic Readings and Assignments
W Oct 3 little trials of childhood
M Oct 8 children, race, and racism reading quiz #7
Corsaro chp 8
W Oct 10 in-class workshop #4:
research methods/data analysis (picture books)
M Oct 15 children and social problems reading quiz #8
Kotlowitz preface – chp 6
W Oct 17 in-class workshop #5: research methods write-up due
research methods/data analysis (videos)
M Oct 22 children and social problems reading quiz #9
Kotlowitz chps 7-15
W Oct 24 in-class workshop #6:
pulling it all together (a.k.a. “What now?”)
M Oct 29 commercialization of childhood reading quiz #10
Kotlowitz chps 16-25
W Oct 31 children and the mass media initial data analysis due
M Nov 5 *** EXAM #2 ***
W Nov 7 *** research project presentations
M Nov 12 *** research project presentations
W Nov 14 *** research project presentations
M Nov 19 *** research project presentations
W Nov 21 THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY – NO CLASSES
M Nov 26 *** research project presentations
W Nov 28 *** research project presentations
W Dec 5 FINAL EXAM SESSION
3:00 – 5:00 p.m. – abstract and final research paper due
Semester at a Glance - Fall 2007
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
8/12-8/18 last day of
classes begin drop/add
9/2-9/8 Labor Day
Last day to
10/7-10/13 withdraw w/o
10/21-10/27 Registration Homecoming
11/18-11/24 Thanksgiving Holiday – No Classes
11/25-12/1 last day of reading day
exams begin exams end graduation
Students enrolled in this course must print this final page of the syllabus, sign and date the syllabus
contract, and hand in a signed copy of this contract to the instructor.
Student grades will be withheld until this contract is signed and submitted. Students who fail to
submit a signed contract will receive an Incomplete (“I”) for their final grade.
SOCI 5134 / SOCI 5134G
Sociology of Childhood
Dr. Nancy L. Malcom
I affirm that I have read a complete copy of the syllabus for this course,
made a copy for my files, and agree to abide by its terms, conditions,
procedures, deadlines, and penalties.
Print name: ___________________________________________
Sign name: ___________________________________________
* adapted from www.lcu.edu/NR/rdonlyers/F1668C23-4CFE-A3FO-641C588D92BA/0/contract.doc