Writing in Sociology: Understanding Public Space (SOC 190)

Course Overview

Why should sociologists study and write about public space?

To understand why sociologists should think and write about public space, we only need to think about the starring role of public space in recent news.  From the Occupy movement in the U.S. to the political demonstrations during the Arab Spring, public spaces have been important sites for political expression and civic life.  While these political movements echo the historical significance of public space in city life, these spaces have also sometimes been transformed as destinations for consumption and commodification.  In this course, we will write about what constitutes a public space in both form and purpose, what types of activities occur in public space, and what rights we have to public space.  Students will draft a series of reports designed to explore the meaning of public space through scholarship and field research.  These reports will include:  a guide to your favorite urban public space, a field log, a literature review, and a case study.  SOC 190 fulfills the College Writing 2 requirement and builds on the work of English 110 (College Writing 1) to teach the conventions of writing in the discipline of Sociology.

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