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CCOG for SOC 214A Fall 2022

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Course Number:
SOC 214A
Course Title:
Illumination Project I: Interactive Social Justice Theater
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Applies the sociological perspective to the study of social problems and possible solutions. Explores the central questions around institutional privilege, power and oppression, social identity, cultural assumptions and discrimination. Examines the many ways in which social contexts, institutional structures, and unequal relations of power shape society and how collective behavior can lead to social change. Includes training in group facilitation, cross cultural community building, social change interventions, creative production and popular education theater. Fosters the development of the skills needed to think critically about the causes and consequences of social change. This is the first course of a three course sequence. Prerequisites: Instructor permission, and (WR 115 and RD 115) or IRW 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

Students in this course will create live interactive theater performances (based on Theater of the Oppressed forum theater) that will be toured throughout PCC campuses with some community performances. The performances are geared toward creating a campus and community climate that is inclusive and respectful of all people’s culture, ethnicity, class, gender and sexual orientation, and other diversity. This course is a required component of The Illumination Project.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  1. Explain social contexts and the diversity of human thought and experience through the application of methods of inquiry and analysis.
  2. Describe how individual life experiences are influenced by social institutions using the sociological imagination and sociological perspective.Use appropriate social research methods to demonstrate the consequences of systemic oppression (racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism etc) on social groups and society.
  3.  Reflect on the processes that shape and address social problems while locating oneself within social contexts and connecting personal biography and social status with societal issues.
  4. Describe people, cultures and communities from backgrounds different than themselves.
  5. Demonstrate respect for diversity, critical thinking, and collaboration by participating as active citizens in their societies and communities, demonstrating respect for diversity, critical thinking, and collaboration.

Social Inquiry and Analysis

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to apply methods of inquiry and analysis to examine social contexts and the diversity of human thought and experience.

General education philosophy statement

Sociology offers a unique perspective that helps us understand how our lives are connected to each other and the larger society. Sociologists use scientific methods to study how societies are organized, why they change, and the different ways that social forces impact people’s lives. The sociological perspective allows us to understand personal troubles as public issues, through the power of social contexts, with varying structures, cultures, and groups shaping our opportunities, attitudes, behaviors, and identities. Theater of the Oppressed’s Forum theater provides a venue for community members to use theater as a way of promoting dialogue and problem solving around social forces that negatively impact specific cultures and groups.

Aspirational Goals

We hope that the careful study of society will empower our students to develop the insights, empathy, and skills to analyze and address social issues such as systemic oppression.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

In addition to following guidelines for assessing General Education outcomes, instructors will assess student learning of course-level outcomes by using various assessment tools, per instructor discretion, such as:

  1. Class participation in discussions and/or in small groups (on-line or on campus) 

  2. Short analytical homework assignments on specific concepts or issues

  3. Response papers or journals reflecting on life experiences or social events

  4. Research papers, using analyses of academic sources (i.e., signature assignments)

  5. Quizzes and/or exams

  6. Oral histories and interviews

  7. Oral or video presentations

  8. Community-based learning projects, involving learning objectives, service to community, and reflection

  9. Group research and presentation projects

  10. Additional assignments, as deemed appropriate for assessment of learning objectives

See sample of assessment options.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  1. The concept of culture that includes personal background, social norms and values as well as dominant and subordinate culture located within U.S. society.

  2. Sociological perspectives related to social problems and the distinction between personal troubles and social problems.

  3. Social institutions, including the economy, government, family, education, religion, healthcare, and media 

  4. The impact of social institutions on different categories of people, including social class, race/ethnicity, sex, age, sexuality, ability, and/or regions.

  5. Social stratification and systems of inequity (racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, anti-semitism, ableism etc.). 

  6. Connecting lived experience to culture, social structures and systems of inequity. 

  7. Challenges and opportunities for social change

  8. Interactive theater as a vehicle for exploring societal structures and opportunities for social change.