Sunday, December 10, 2017

end of semester farewell

SOC 101 grads:

"I believe in the mimetic and moral worth of texts that allow my students to rehearse their lives in their imaginations, to know themselves in versions of what they might have been in different times and circumstances and what they desire to be. My work as a teacher is to open these texts, and to make them meaningful and useful to the students who trust themselves to me." -- Robert Fong

From my family to yours, I want to wish you a safe and happy season, and a fruitful education and career. Drop me a line sometime to let me know how you're doing.
Best wishes,
Professor Christa Hughes

Christa reading to her granddaughters, Sept 2012

Monday, July 31, 2017

Welcome prospective students

A new semester is starting soon, but every week I update this Blog with informative links, videos, and reminders for each chapter.
Students who take this course state that it opened their eyes and they had a lot of fun along the way.
I look forward to meeting you in class (online and face to face classes available).
Prof. Hughes

Welcome to the Sociology 101 Blogger

Aren't you glad hairstyles and fads change? This is the haircut my mother thought would be perfect for my 3rd grade picture.

Here you will find articles, suggestions and hints as we move through the semester. You can learn more about a concept we've discussed in class, and read your homework for the week. In addition, I have placed useful links and YouTube video clips on the site and I'll update them to match the topics we're discussing. Send me your suggestions or broken links.

Your homework this week is to read all four assignments on your MCC SOC 101 homepage and select one to do this semester, optionally (except Summer session classes). You must tell me which asmt by the 2nd class and you can't change it, except to move it closer (due earlier). Each asmt is started and completed at a different time during the semester. Each assignment corresponds with a unit of learning and may not be started prior to that unit, and is due on the day of one of the exams. Review the syllabus to see when you would start and complete your chosen assignment.You can always opt out later -- it's not required.
In addition, review these websites prior to next week's class. You don't have to read every webpage in depth, but please surf each page a bit. Please also log into Canvas to view your Gradebook points at any time.

Welcome to SOC 101! If you have questions let me know.


PS: The college would like you to know about the EARS program.

MCC Early Alert Program (EARS)

Mesa Community College is committed to the success of all our students. Numerous campus support services are available throughout your academic journey to assist you in achieving your educational goals. MCC has adopted an Early Alert Referral System (EARS) as part of a student success initiative to aid students in their educational pursuits. Faculty and Staff participate by alerting and referring students to campus services for added support. Students may receive a follow up call from various campus services as a result of being referred to EARS. Students are encouraged to participate, but these services are optional. Early Alert Web Page with Campus Resource Information can be located at:

Chapter 2: Research


In preparation for next class, read chapter 2 and review the links below.
In particular, pay attention to the 2nd and 3rd links below about Evaluating Internet Resources and Good Research vs Bad Research. Then, using the knowledge gained from those sites, apply your new knowledge to the Did You Know? Shift Happens or Did You Know 4.0 video and be prepared to answer questions about it in class.

Use the website below as a constant guide to help you understand concepts, play games, and test your knowledge. It's free and no login required.
Tischler Text: Student Companion Site

Don't forget to briefly review the websites below under the chapter 1 posting also. Don't forget to read all 4 assignments and choose one. If you have questions just email me.


Week 3: Culture: "The last thing a fish would notice would be water."

SOC 101 neophytes: By now you should be settled in and on track.
You should have read chapters 1 and 2, and also reviewed lecture notes from the prior class before coming to class, as well as chapter 3 for next class.
In chapter 3 you're introduced to cultural concepts. Ralph Linton stated that the last thing a fish would notice would be water. What did he mean by that?

This is a picture of my mother and I in 1967. Notice the characteristic beehive hairdo on my mom. What was American culture like in 1967?
 How does it compare to today or even to 100 years ago? How will culture shift in your lifetime? Will beehive hairdos return? Why not? Bell-bottom jeans did!


1) Complete your Research Concepts paper before next class (last page of the lecture handout) that we started in class. It's due next week.

2) Read this Wikipedia link. Be prepared next class to be able to list some of the cultural reasons for the practice of Chinese Foot Binding. Chinese Foot Binding (Wiki)

3) Check out this link and be ready to discuss cultural norms and your assessment of the situation in Cameroon. Breast Ironing in Cameroon

4) Also check out this video. Media Affects Body Image

5) Neil Postman - Amusing Ourselves to Death (impactful!)

Let me know if you have questions. Don't forget the green/yellow/red technique as you read and review the textbook and your notes.

See you next class.


Week 4: Socialization

In chapter 3 you were introduced to cultural concepts. One's own culture is sometimes better understood by contrasting with another culture, since our own is easy to ignore when we're in the midst of it (Ralph Linton - last thing a fish would notice).

For chapter 4 on Socialization, read some stories in this website (10 Modern Cases of Feral Children) to get a sense of how important socialization is.

Next week we'll discuss the nature vs nurture argument. Geneticists say that "genetics loads the gun but environment pulls the trigger." Could this help explain social behavior too where "environment" is the "social environment?"

I added this picture of my mother as a baby in order to pose a question to you. My mother was born in 1942 in wartime and her father, being in advertising, used her baby picture for this ad encouraging people to purchase more war bonds. How was her socialization different from yours? What factors influenced who she would become?

See you next week and don't forget that exam 1 is coming up soon!


Saturday, February 25, 2017

Chapter 6 & McDonaldization

Well, you made it through exam 1 and we're marching onward.

Some men in class may feel out of place when we discuss Erving Goffman's Dramaturgical concept of face-saving behavior, so I'll balance it out. To the left is a picture of Cory McClenathan and I several years ago at Firebird Raceway during the Checker Schuck’s Kragen NHRA Nationals here in Phoenix. I went back again the following year and asked Cory to sign the picture (thanks, Cory!). At the time, Cory was driving the McDonald's Top Fuel Dragster. (You can see the characteristic "M" on the back of his pit crew member's shirt.) This is my not-so-stealth segway to our discussion of chapter 6 with George Ritzer's concept of McDonaldization.
For next class, read chapters 5 and 6 and review these links:

1. George Ritzer's McDonaldization of Society

2. Starbucks and McDonalds Global Penetration

3. George Ritzer talks about McDonaldization

4. Walt Disney cartoon: Pigs is Pigs (you will "get" bureaucracy when you see this!)

See you next class.