Portfolio Assignment

Assignment Instructions
The purpose of this project is for you to connect our readings and class work to your life and the world around you. While this is not a formal essay type assignment do take a serious, reflective approach.

For at least 3 weeks
Choose one of the following. Do not repeat an option.
Write a letter to a friend telling them how the content of the week relates to their life
Find a newspaper article and explain how it is related to the material covered this week
Find a peer-reviewed sociology journal article on the topic of the week and write a letter telling a friend about it
Take a photograph and explain how it relates to the weekly topic
Find a podcast or short video that would make a good basis for a weekly discussion. Provide a discussion question and how you might answer it.
Tell me about a conversation you had with a friend and how this week’s material could inform the discussion
Tell me about a piece of fiction (a film, television show, or piece of literature but NOT a documentary) that you have recently encountered and how the week’s readings might be reflected in this.
Find or create a meme and explain why/how it reflects the week’s readings
Other: Make me a proposition but I first must give the OK.
Write up to two pages (500 words). This should be informal and free of unnecessary jargon but grammatically correct, well organized, and clear. Each entry should include/use terms, concepts and perspectives taken from the week’s reading
Post on Blackboard. The first entry is due on February 19th and I will grade and give feedback on these. Subsequent entries will be graded before your final. Please only upload in Word or PDF formats.
By week 12 all three entries must be in!
You will be graded on the following:
Did you select 3 items of different types?
Were the entries original/creatively chosen?
Did you analyze each item sociologically using course material?
Did you accurately make use of specific terms or concepts?
Did you accurately refer to and employ each of the sociological concepts?
Was the writing clear and grammatically correct?

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An example of a portfolio entry! (Letter to a friend)
Bonjour Catherine,
What a week it has been! But really it looks like it is going to be this way for a while. We are both spending so much time with our teaching, and I am absolutely astounded at the number of emails you are getting, the number of meetings with your Department, colleagues, and students. I know what you mean when you said the other day that it is crazy that we are in the same 900 square foot flat but seem miles away. On the one hand we seem to be always in a ‘meeting’ but don’t seem to be meeting anybody much.
This all got me thinking about something I am learning in my Social Processes course. It seems Emile Durkheim, one of the founders of a sociological perspective called Structural Functionalism (and a francophone like you!), was really concerned about how societies needed to ensure their members had strong social connections to each other and to have a connection to society as a whole. He even wrote a book on the topic of suicide that claimed the rate of suicide would increase if a society or social group did not do a good job of ensuring people had these social connections, something he called social solidarity.
Why am I mentioning all this? Well, remember what happened last evening when we were arguing with our child about what to watch on TV. He wanted to watch that cheesy comedy and I was super grumpy and insisted we take a look at that Massey Hall concert series on Youtube? You didn’t seem too impressed when I started the Japandroids concert .But look what happened, within a few minutes we both had tears in our eyes and our long-suffering child had gone off to read. What the hell was that?
We put it off to exhaustion and nostalgia. We both were remembering being at the Cobalt and seeing them a couple of years back. It was crazy loud and way too much of a brofest for both of us. The slam dancing and crowd surfing started early and I remember looking over at you and planning an escape from the front of the stage, but you had the elbows up, were holding your own, and seemed transfixed. We headed back from the fray to join the older, feebler and way less intoxicated. Still though we had an amazing time and it all came flooding back last night.
Durkheim has an explanation for what happened, he called it collective effervescence. This is the name he gave for the feeling one gets in crowds, especially performing rituals where one is taking away and feels at one with the group. He called it noted that religions use mass gatherings and ritual bind members together. This is not a momentary thing as these feelings tend to stick around.
Anyhow, it was fun, but I worry what will happen as we now must avoid such gatherings. How cruel is it that it turns out that singing is one of the most effective ways to transmit covid! I rather think it is important for both of us to head out for that bike ride, grab a seat on the patio a share a glass while looking at all the people walking by. Connection to a bigger society in these times is so important.

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