Archive for December, 2009


Sociology: right before your eyes

December 31, 2009

Posted by: Chad M. Gesser

Twitter: @profgesser


Sociology is a relatively young academic discipline. Through the various specialties and considerations of Sociology can be found three primary contributors: Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, and Max Weber.

It’s interesting to note that much of their influence can be traced to the same era: the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. Mention and review of their major contributions can be found early on in most Introduction to Sociology textbooks, and can be found often in the most unlikely of places.

The following are recent popular culture references of these major sociological contributors, some of them might surprise you!

Karl Marx: from Venezuela, “Chavez says Obama ‘illusion’ over”; from Israel, via Los Angeles, “Religion everywhere

Emile Durkheim: from the semi-popular Festivus tradition from the comedy series Sienfeld, “What’s the Fuss Over Festivus?”; from England,
Musical or not, you can’t beat belting out a good tune

Max Weber: from Jerusalem, “Obama’s tragic sense of war and peace”; from Knoxville, TN, “Experts in their fields look at the millennium and where they think it’s heading”; from Sri Lanka “Presidential election and Charismatic Leadership

As you read about Marx, Durkheim, and Weber, do their ideas and findings resonate or appear meaningful? Reading about other major contributors, what particular contributors and ideas or works do you find appealing or interesting?


How will you learn THIS semester?

December 29, 2009

Posted by: Chad M. Gesser

Twitter: @profgesser


I’d like to kick off the start of 2010 with a look at a very interesting video by Dr. Michael Wesch. Wesch is an anthropologist at Kansas State University, specializing in digital ethnography. I first came across this video early in 2007, and then later was fortunate to hear Dr. Wesch speak in the fall of 2007 at a conference just outside of Nashville, TN.

At the start of Introduction to Sociology, many students will be exposed to the idea of the sociological perspective. In this case, are teachers and students on the same page regarding learning?

This video brings forth some thought provoking questions. Among them, what do students learn in college, how do they learn, how do they use their time, and is the educational system reaching students most effectively for a wide ranging, learning college experience?

As we start the new year in 2010, and as many of you start the new semester in Introduction to Sociology, what expectations do you have for your class? How will your class utilize the World Wide Web? How will you engage  with the material? How will you learn sociology?

More of Dr. Wesch’s videos can be found here.