What is Sociology?

Posted: January 3, 2014 in Classroom Activity

Check out the video below, then explain what you interpret sociology to be by identifying at least four explanations or viewpoints regarding your answer.


What is The Sociology View?

Posted: January 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

This is an edited version of an assignment posted by the Sociology Class at Peru State College.
1. Our first chapter is titled “The Sociological Perspective.” Please explain what the sociological perspective is; discussing how ideas like social location, the connection between biography and history, and increased globalization contribute to our understanding of human behavior.

2. Please explain why you took this class, what “the study of sociology” means to you now, and what you hope to learn from this class. Finally, use the web to explore different career options in the field of sociology and explain the two or three that most closely relate to your chosen career field/major. Be sure to include the web addresses you use!

A good resource is: http://youtu.be/TFdUtCAXAUM

What is Sociology?

Posted: January 4, 2012 in Uncategorized

Students are asked to create a comic strip using the GoAnimate4Schools site, send your comic strip to me (Mr. Bednar) (bbednar.esu10@gmail.com) and I’ll embed the comic strip here. The topic of your comic strip is to discuss / define / explain what sociology as a field of study really is. You can use the textbook, if you have one already, or you can use a search engine online.


This project is a focus on making a difference in the world.  Sociology is a field that collects a lot of data and research regarding the way groups live, and what could be done to improve the lives of others.  The project, "Be A Difference Maker", could be a focus on your career plan or volunteering for the future.  This is from Seth Godin's blog:
"Ten years of changing the world."

Lesson 1: In fact, you can make a difference, you can start something from scratch, you can build something without authority or permission. Passionate people on a mission can make change happen.

Lesson 2: In fact, philanthropy works. Building systems and enhancing entrepreneurial outcomes generates results far bigger than the resources invested.

Lesson 3: You better be prepared to stick it out, to exert yourself, to last longer than you ever expected and to care so much it hurts.

Some highlights:

More than 3 million people have access to safe, affordable, and efficient energy
7,000 people have jobs and hundreds of millions of insecticide treated bednets have been produced by A to Z
More than 330,000 farmers are changing their families’ lives with drip irrigation systems
Hundreds of thousands have access to quality sanitation in Kenya – and Eco-Tact has become a model for other countries
More than 150,000 farmers have access to quality, affordable hybrid seeds in Western Kenya
1298 is now answering more than 30.000 emergency calls every month in India (and has created more than 1250 jobs)
Kashf has reached more than 300,000 borrowers with micro-loans and emerged as one of Pakistan’s important civil society institution
The first commercial mortgages for the poor have been provided in Pakistan and Saiban has developed a working, sustainable model for low-income housing development
More than 350,000 individuals have access to safe drinking water (and this doesn’t include the copycat companies that have emerged as a result of WHI’s innovation in the Indian marketplace)
Aravind provides quality eyecare through telemedicine to millions across India and has served as a global model
Sekem is the largest exporter of organic goods from the Middle East to Europe (working with 4,000 farmers on reclaimed desert land)
That a small band of talented, driven people could make this happen isn't surprising to me. What surprises me is that we still wonder whether change like this is possible.


Use a search engine to identify an organization you admire that is making a difference in the world today.  You may consider one of the organizations linked to this site. Create a report or presentation on google docs to be shared with Mr. Bednar.

Please use pictures and information to answer the following questions:  
1) What is the mission of this organization?  
2) List at least three ways this organization is affecting the community or global health. 
3) How are the efforts of this organization changing individuals, families, and communities?  
4) What problems, obstacles, and or challenges does this organization face?  
5) What skills do volunteers need to assist the organization to be successful? 
 6) Explain why you chose to explore opportunities within this organization...how does this organization match your goals?  
7) Identify the contact info for this organization (address, phone, website, facebook page, twitter name)  
8) How will your efforts help this organization?
9) How will this organization help you to be a significant difference maker?

Please include a cartoon podcast made at http://voki.com that summarizes your plan to make a difference.  You could include a short video clip from vimeo or youtube.

An example is  <a href="http://www.tinyhandsinternational.org/">Tiny Hands</a>, a Lincoln, NE based volunteer organization that is attempting to stop human trafficking, especially in Nepal and India.<a href="http://healthacademy.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/pict-tinyhands2.png"><img src="http://healthacademy.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/pict-tinyhands2.png?w=300" alt="" title="pict tinyhands2" width="300" height="96" class="aligncenter size-medium wp-image-255" /></a>  Complete directions for this project can be downloaded <a href="http://healthacademy.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/ch-volunteer-project.pdf">here</a> or can be reviewed on google docs.

In one way or another, sociologists and politicians continually debate the Horatio Alger Myth.  Chapter 8 in the textbook discusses the Horatio Alger Myth.  Do you believe in the Horatio Alger philosophy, or is it a myth?  If you believe it is a myth, what are the roadblocks that stop you from achieving what you want?  How is this debate current today, especially when politicians discuss health care reform, access to technology, access to education, paying for education, paying for medicare, etc?  Can you ever get out of your social class?  Are you doomed to stay in a certain group for life?  Please discuss the Horatio Alger philosophy in at least three paragraphs, along with your opinion.

Film Review: Hotel Rwanda

Posted: April 11, 2011 in Assignment

Message from Peggy Forsberg: “Watching the same film and then posting their discussion will be just fine, and
Hotel Rwanda is a great choice. It features political and sociological themes,
including the effects of political upheaval on individuals and groups.

Thanks for checking..I’ll look forward to seeing their discussion!

From Mr. Bednar – I’ve assigned each student two questions, but please negotiate, or choose a different question if you like.  These questions are shared with you google docs.

Choose any current or older movie with a sociological theme–as you can imagine, your choice may be as diverse as “Wall Street” or “Post Grad”, since virtually all movies can be tied to the topics in our text in some way. You may choose comedy or drama, real or animation, documentary or fiction, etc.
Watch or re-watch the movie–as you do, outline the aspects of the film that apply to a topic or topics from this course. Then, consider whether the film accurately portrays this theme as Henslin or our other sociological theorists have presented it to us. For example, Alexis Bledel plays a recent college graduate (Ryden Malby) who can’t find a job in “Post Grad”. Are her expectations reasonable? Does the film use any stereotypes to support her quest? Are the relationships within the film realistic?
Don’t spend much time on the actual storyline except as needed to support your main points–instead, devote most of your initial discussion post to the questions noted above.
Post your initial response no later than Sunday, April 24, then respond to your classmates with comments and questions throughout the week. Last post is due no later than Sunday, May 1. This assignment is worth 30 points.
Enjoy this discussion!–The goal is to apply one or more of the topics in this course to media as we regularly do in day-to-day life.

Historical Overview
of film, “Hotel Rwanda”:
During the colonial period, Belgium divided the Rwandan people into two distinct ethnic groups, Hutus and Tutsis. The Hutus comprised around 85% of the population while the Tutsis made up the other 15%. The Belgians saw the two groups as distinct entities, and even produced identity cards classifying them according to their identity. Belgians considered the Tutsis to be superior to the Hutus, which led to Tutsis acquiring better jobs and more educational opportunities. However, in 1962, Belgium relinquished power and granted Rwanda its independence and the Hutu majority ceased control. Over subsequent decades, the Tutsis were portrayed as the scapegoats for every crisis.
Some Tutsis and moderate Hutus responded by fleeing the country and joining the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), which began opposing and fighting the Hutu led government in Rwanda. Violence between the Hutu government and the RPF resided throughout the early 1990’s. The final nail in the coffin came on April 6, 1994 by the death of Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu, when his plane was shot down above Kigali airport. The Hutu government accused the RPF of the attack and immediately a campaign of violence spread from the capital throughout the country against the Tutsis. What followed was 3 months of slaughter and genocide and the death of 800,000 Tutsis.
In July the RPF captured Kigali and declared a ceasefire. UN troops and aid workers began arriving to help maintain order and restore basic services. Although the massacres are over, the legacy of genocide continues and the search for justice has been a long and arduous one. Many of those guilty of genocide have been captured in Rwanda; however, some of the ringleaders have managed to evade capture, and many who lost their loved ones are still waiting for justice.

Ethical Issues and Discussion Questions (taken from: http://www.carnegiecouncil.org/education/002/film/reviews/0004.html)
1. At the beginning of the film, Paul places far greater value on protecting his family than protecting his neighbors. But as the film progresses his sense of obligation to his neighbors and his countrymen deepens. Indeed, rather than abandon the refugees he is sheltering, he sends his family to safety while he stays behind.

Is his decision the morally right one? In making decisions, how much weight should one give to the welfare of one’s family compared to the welfare of one’s neighbors? How much weight should governments give to the welfare of foreign peoples compared to that of their own citizens?
2. The UN Colonel tells reporters that his troops are “peace-keepers,” not “peace-makers.” By UN mandate, UN troops were permitted to use their weapons only in self-defense. If the Colonel had disobeyed orders and authorized his troops to fire on Interhamwe fighters, would he have done the right thing?
3. Do you agree that racism played a role in the international community’s failure to act to stop the genocide, as the UN colonel says? The film makes no mention of other possible contributing factors, such as the disastrous U.S. humanitarian intervention in Somalia in 1993, less than a year before, which ended after a U.S. helicopter was shot down and the bodies of U.S. soldiers were dragged through the streets of Mogadishu. Does this justify the U.S. and the UN’s refusal to intervene?
4. The film shows that there was a close relationship between the French and Hutu governments, even while the killings were going on. On the tenth anniversary of the genocide, Rwanda’s president accused the French of consciously training and arming the Hutus, knowing that they would massacre Tutsis. The French deny this, yet it is indisputable that France was the Rwandan government’s number-one supplier of weapons. Does this fact alone make France more culpable for the genocide than the rest of the international community? How should responsibility be allocated for what happened, both inside and outside Rwanda?
How has the international community, in particular Belgium, France, the United States, and the UN, faced up to the question of responsibility and blame in the years since the genocide?
5) In 2005, world leaders formally adopted the Responsibility to Protect [R2P]—the duty to intervene in when national governments fail to fulfill their responsibility to protect their citizens from atrocious crimes—and in 2006 the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1674, which commits the Council to protect civilians during armed conflicts. Do you agree that under certain circumstances, R2P should override sovereignty? Can you cite any examples where R2P has been or should be implemented?
6) What can we learn about personal and collective responsibility in the case of the Rwandan genocide? If you were in a similar situation as Paul, what would be your response?

Additional Resources:
1. PBS/P.O.V website, Frontline’s “Triumph of Evil” www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/evil/
2. Facing History and Ourselves: The Case of Rwanda Hate Radio www.facinghistorycampus.org
3. Frontline’s “Ghosts of Rwanda” www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/ghosts/
4. Amnesty International www.amnestyusa.org/amnestynow/general_and

5. Human Rights Watch www.hrw.org/reports/1999/rwanda/
6. Crimes of War www.crimesofwar.org/onnews/news-rwanda.html
7. Global Issues www.globalissues.org/HumanRights/Media/
8. Propaganda/Rwanda.asp The American University, Washington College of Law
9. Amnesty International www.amnestyusa.org
10. International Campaign to End Genocide www.genocidewatch.org
11. International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda http://www.ictr.org
12. Prevent Genocide International www.preventgenocide.org
13. US Holocaust Museum Committee on Conscience www.ushmm.org
14. Vision TV: Remember Rwanda www.visiontv.ca/RememberRwanda/index.htm

Hopefully, everyone has submitted or is submitting your article analysis. The Deadline is April 14th.