Fall 2004


Time and Place: MWF 12:40-1:35, PH 105
Instructor: Dr. J. Brandon Wallace
Instructor's Office, Phone, and Email: PH 373, 898-5976,
Office Hours: MWF 8:00-10:10; MWF 11:15-12:40. Other times by appointment.

It is the responsibility of each student to read and understand this syllabus. It acts as an implicit contract between the student and the instructor specifying the rights and responsibilities of each. Be sure to clarify any questions you may have about the syllabus as soon as possible.


The required text for the course is Self and Society: A Symbolic Interactionist Social Psychology, 9th Ed., by John P. Hewitt. Two other books, Inside Social Life: Readings in Sociological Psychology and Microsociology by Spencer Cahill and The Production of Reality: Essays and Readings on Social Interaction, edited by O'Brien and Kollock, are available on reserve in the library or may be purchased by special order at the book store.


This course is an upper division course focusing on sociological approaches to social psychology, emphasizing symbolic interactionism and social constructionism. The course is designed to illustrate how the individual and social interaction shape and are shaped by the cultures and social structures in which they exist. Topics covered include the nature and scope of social psychology, symbols and symbolic communication, the structure of social interaction, the development and maintenance of the social self, and the production and influence of culture. While there are no specific prerequisites for the course, introductory sociology and junior/senior status are highly recommended. Class time will be split between lectures presented by the instructor and student lead discussions of assigned readings. Questions and comments are welcome at any point during the class session. Students should feel free to express their own ideas and opinions, but must be willing to allow others to do the same. While it is not required that students agree with the instructor, they are expected to demonstrate an understanding of the arguments presented in class, even if they disagree with them. Required reading assignments come from the assigned text, but additional readings are available on reserve in the library. Students should complete assigned readings by the date specified on the course outline. Lectures expand on assigned readings and include substantial material not in the readings.


Students are expected to attend class, participate in discussions, keep up with assigned readings, and take good notes. While no specific credit is given for attendance, attendance does affect final grades, in that those who attend class make better grades. Further, students who attend regularly and participate in class are more likely to be assigned a higher grade if their final average is borderline bettween to letter grades.

Four in-class essay exams will be given. An exam will follow the conclusion of each of the four sections specified in the course outline. A list of study questions is available online for each section. The exams will consist of one question chosen at random from the list of study questions. Students will have one hour to write their answer.

Students are also required to write a summary or outline of two assigned readings and make 10 minute presentations of the readings to the class. A list of readings from which students may choose is available online at Students will sign up for two readings from the list the first week of class. Once each student has signed up for two readings, students may volunteer to present any remaining readings for extra credit on a "first come, first served" basis. The presentations are due when the topic to which they relate is discussed in class. (See the course outline.) If a student is unprepared or absent when their presentation is due, they may turn in the written summary or outline, but will not be allowed to make up the presentation. Failure to present to the class will result in a lower grade. Two books containing the readings are on reserve in the library.

Students enrolled for graduate credit will write a paper on a topic relevant to the course and make a 15-20 minute presentation of their paper the last week of class. Graduate students are encouraged to discuss possible topics with the instructor early in the semester.


Each exam is worth 100 points. Each of the two required presentations is worth 50 points. The paper required of graduate students is worth 100 points. Extra credit presentations are worth 5 points. The total possible points for undergraduates is 500 (excluding extra credit points). This total will be divided by 5 to determine final grades. The total points possible for graduate students is 600. This total will be divided by 6 to determine final grades. Grades will be assigned according to the following: 93-100=A, 90-92=A-, 87-89=B+, 83-86=B, 80-82=B-, 77-79=C+, 73-76=C, 70-72=C-, 67-69=D+, 63-66=D, 60-62=D-, less than 60=F.


Copying someone's exam, using notes or texts during the exam, having someone complete assignments for you, and plagiarism (claiming another's written work as you own, including materials obtained from the Internet) is dishonest. Students engaging in such acts may not only be given a zero on the exam or assignment in question, but may fail the course as well. In addition, the professor may report such actions to appropriate university officials for further disciplinary action (See the Student Handbook).


This document, the course outline (which contains links to the study questions), and the reading selection list can be assessed via the Internet at

Students with special needs certified by the Disabled Student Services should see the instructor the first week of class to discuss arrangements to meet these needs.

The Department of Sociology and Anthropology at MTSU hosts an Undergraduate Social Science Symposium each Fall to give undergraduate students an opportunity to present papers and/or research they have done in conjunction with various social science classes. If you are interested in participating as a presenter, please contact Professor Ben Austin (, 898-2690, PH 361).

Additional information of interest to sociology students, majors, and minors is available on the Department of Sociology and Anthropology web page at