CCOG for SOC 214C Summer 2024

Course Number:
SOC 214C
Course Title:
Illumination Project III: 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 through interactive theater. 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 writing, producing and performing in interactive theater presentations that explore the causes, consequences and solutions to societal inequities such as racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism and others. Focuses on the development of the skills needed to think critically about social inequity and social change. This is the third course of a three-course sequence. Prerequisites: SOC 214B. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

The plays students produce in this course are based on Theater of the Oppressed forum theater and will be toured throughout PCC campuses with some community performances. Students write the plays, produce the publicity and educational materials as well as perform in the plays and facilitate audience dialogue. 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. During SOC 214b and SOC 214c the courses will focus on two different social inequity topics. 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 social inquiry and analysis.
  2. Describe how individual life experiences are influenced by social institutions using the sociological perspective.
  3. Use social research methods to demonstrate the consequences of systems of oppression, such as racism, sexism, classism, and heterosexism, on social groups and society.
  4. Reflect on the processes that shape and address social problems while locating oneself within social contexts and connecting personal biographies and social statuses with societal issues.
  5. Describe people, cultures and communities from backgrounds different than ourselves.
  6. Use social theories in production and performance of plays to educate others about institutional oppression and inequities based on racism and xenophobia as well as potential solutions to social problems
  7. Demonstrate respect for diversity, critical thinking, and collaboration by participating as active citizens in their societies and communities.

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.  See sample of assessment options:

  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

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 especially as those concepts relate to the topic of the plays for this term.

  2. Sociological perspectives related to social problems and the distinction between personal troubles and social problems as it relates to the play topic this term.

  3. Social institutions, including the economy, government, family, education, religion, healthcare, and media as they relate to the play topic this term.

  4. The impact of social institutions on different categories of people, specifically the group of people featured in the play topic this term.

  5. Connecting lived experience to culture, social structures and systems of inequity especially as it relates to the topic of the plays this term. 

  6. Challenges and opportunities for social change especially as they relate to the topic of the plays for this term.

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