Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Favorite Class: Introduction to Sociology

My favorite class this semester is definitely Introduction to Sociology with professor Khaldoun Samman. He began the very first class by having us play a name game, in which you introduce yourself with your name and a fun little factoid; for example, I'm Rachel and I do yoga. But, before you introduce yourself, you must introduce everyone that has preceded you with their names and facts. I know it sounds deceptively simple, but it was a great way to learn everyone's names and break the ice.

This was especially important because Intro to Sociology is a discussion based class, so it is essential that we are able to address each other and feel comfortable enough to talk about the topics that can sometimes make us uncomfortable. So far in class, we have covered racial, global, and gender inequalities. All of these are very broad topics, and although I'm sure we only managed to scratch the surface of each theme, I have been finding each and every one of them fascinating.

Another reason why I really like this class is that Khaldoun challenges us to really internalize and synthesize the information we are given from our readings and discussions. He accomplishes this with journal entries, oral exams, and formal group presentations. The group presentations take place in the form of a panel, and require that the presenters dress up and and perform the roll of a guest author, commentator, or moderator. All of this takes place in JBD, the big lecture hall in the basement of the campus center. Although this makes it more intimidating, it was also a really great opportunity see what it might be like to give a real presentation at a conference.

And finally, this is my favorite class because Khaldoun is not afraid to have the occasional movie day, complete with delicious pizza from Pizza Luce. So far, we have watched Anchorman, to explore how popular media portrays gender inequalities, as well as documentaries such as "People Like Us", which explore inequalities of social class. All of these factors, combined with Khaldoun's occasional performances on his favorite Middle Eastern drums, have made Introduction to Sociology my favorite class this semester.

- Rachel Quay '14