The required books for this seminar are:

Anderson, Benedict. 2016. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, New Edition. Verso. ISBN 9781784786755.

Delanty, Gerard. 2009. Community, 2nd edition. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0415496179.

Durkheim, Emile. 2014 [1893]. The Division of Labor in Society. Free Press. ISBN 9781476749730.

Turkle, Sherry. 2016. Reclaiming Conversation. Penguin. ISBN 9780143109792.

Additional, required readings are available on this class website.

Email, not Voicemail

I am happy to meet with you in office hours, or at another time if my office hours don’t work for you. I also check email regularly. Do not leave voice mail for me on my office phone. I do not check voice mail.


weekly summaries (11 at 10 points each) 110
paper 100
final exam 100
leading one class discussion   30
participation   30
oral presentation   30

The weekly critical analyses will cover the reading assigned for that week. These should be about two pages long, typed double spaced, and should probably usually be of the compare-and-contrast type. Most of the two pages should consist of your critical observations rather than dry rehearsal of what the author(s) said.

The term paper for this course will be a 20-25 page analysis of the relationship between community and a technology of your choosing (or some other topic of your choosing, relevant to the study of community, with my approval).

The final exam will be an essay test covering the lectures, discussions, and readings for the course.

On the week you lead the class discussion of readings, you will be expected to be especially well prepared so that you can keep things moving along with appropriate questions and responses to your colleagues’ contributions. Notice this is a big chunk of your grade for the course. Be smart and useful. So for instance, do NOT ask yes-or-no questions  Those are uninteresting. You risk losing half of the 30 points immediately upon the asking of a single yes-or-no question.  Also do not ask the class, “What did you think was interesting about this article?” That’s really boring and makes you look kind of simple. Yes, you do have to turn in a two page critical summary on the week that you lead discussion.

The oral presentation will be a brief talk on the topic of your paper, given to the class near the end of the semester.

Your participation grade will reflect the quality of your contributions to our discussions in seminar. Students should arrive each week with at least two or three non-simplistic questions about the week’s reading that we can mull over as a group. Any absence will negatively affect your participation grade, but just showing up every week and declining to contribute meaningfully will result in a poor participation grade, too.

Course Objectives and Instructional Methodologies

By the end of the semester, you will be stronger in a number of areas.
With respect to written communication skills, the extensive writing demands of this seminar will have provided much useful practice.
With respect to professional communication skills, your interaction in seminar discussions will likewise have provided ample opportunity for improvement.
With respect to multicultural knowledge, our explicit emphasis on ethnic identity and nationalist movements will have shed new light on longstaning questions.
With respect to critical thinking skills, graduate seminars are essentially nothing more than small groups of scholars coming together to offer critical analysis of recent scholarship, so you’re pretty well set there.
With respect to theoretical knowledge, your repertoire of sociological theories will be augmented by the addition of theories of community, belonging, and identity.
In terms of instructional methodologies, I may lecture for a few minutes each week, but the bulk of our time together will be spent in class discussions of readings. Most of the time you spend each week on this seminar will be dedicated to reading and mastering the material, writing your analyses of those readings, and researching and writing your term paper.

Make ups, Late Papers

Because you have a full week to work on them, critical analyses will not be accepted late except in truly extraordinary circumstances (e.g., documented multi-day trips to the hospital, documented family funerals). If you have to miss class, e-mail the summary to me by class time that day and I will consider it turned in on time. There is even less good reason to be late turning in a term paper you’ve been working on steadily all semester. If you get hit by a truck two days before the term paper is due, email me the 98 percent of the work that should already be done by that point. Late term papers will lose 10 points per day late.

Students with Disabilities

Per the Office of Disability Services: “If you are a student with a disability who will require an accommodation(s) to participate in this course, please contact me as soon as possible. You will be asked to provide documentation from the Office of Disability Services. Failure to contact me in a timely manner may delay your accommodations.”

Electronic Devices

Departmental statement: “The Department of Sociology reserves the right to limit or deny the use of any and all electronic devices in the classroom.”  Do not secretly video the lectures and post them on YouTube.  Because of the discussion format of graduate seminars and issues of privacy, politics, and creating an atmosphere conducive to open discussion, I do not allow taping or otherwise electronically recording seminars.

Long, Important Department Statement about Academic Dishonesty
(and I quote:)
As members of the university community, students are expected to be aware of and abide by university policies regarding academic honesty. By the same token, members of the faculty within the university community are expected to enforce those policies. Members of the Department of Sociology operate on the assumption that each student has thoroughly reviewed the university policies regarding academic honesty and that the policies will be followed. Accordingly, members of the Department of Sociology will enforce all policies related to academic honesty. The specific policy statements in this regard are to be found at the following web sites: (Texas State Student Handbook) (Academic Honesty, UPPS No. 07.10.01)

The following is not a substitute for the statement of policies found in the above referenced material. Rather, it serves to call each student’s attention to the breadth and depth of academic dishonesty.

Academic dishonesty includes the following: Cheating, plagiarism, collusion and/or abuse of resource materials. Each term or phrase is defined in some detail in the above referenced material. Because the offense of plagiarism can be confusing to students, the following information is provided as essential reading by all students.

“Plagiarism means the appropriation of another’s work and the unacknowledged incorporation of that work in one’s own written work offered for credit.” (Texas State University Handbook, UPPS No. 07-10-01)
Examples of plagiarism include, but are not limited to:

  • downloading or buying a research paper
  • cutting and pasting information from several sources to create a paper
  • leaving out quotation marks around quoted material, placing quotation marks around some but not all copied information
  • leaving out quotation marks around copied information but adding a citation implying that the information is the student’s summary of the source
  • leaving out quotation marks for more than three consecutive words taken directly from a source
  • providing a reference/bibliograghy page but leaving out the reference citation in the body of the paper
  • faking a citation
  • unintentionally using words or ideas or quotes without citing them in the body of the paper and on the reference/bibliograghy page


Ignorance of what constitutes plagiarism or having plagiarized in the past without having been penalized does not excuse such acts in the Department of Sociology. Any student charged with plagiarism may appeal in writing in accordance with Texas State University policy.

The phrase, academic dishonesty, includes a variety of transgressions. It refers to acts such as cheating on a test to committing plagiarism when writing a paper. The Sociology Department assumes that it is the responsibility of each student to know what constitutes academic dishonesty. A lack of understanding of the phrase is no excuse when academic dishonesty is at issue. Similarly, a student may not be excused from a current transgression because he/she committed a similar act in the past and was not charged with a violation of university policy. Any student who is accused with academic dishonesty has the right to challenge the accusation, but the challenge must be submitted in writing and in accordance with university policy. University statements regarding academic dishonesty can be found at the following websites: (Texas State Student Handbook) (Academic Honesty, UPPS No. 07.10.01)

A complete statement on the policy of the Department of Sociology regarding academic dishonesty (including plagiarism) is available on the departmental website Remember: ignorance of what constitutes academic dishonesty or having participated in academic dishonesty in the past without being penalized does not excuse such acts in the Department of Sociology.