|Due By (Pacific Time)||12/06/2016 12:00 pm|
1. Choose 3 books from the list below or another that we discuss in advance.
2. Write 3 6-8 page papers (1 for each selection) summarizing and critiquing each book; you should include a discussion of how the book reflects your own experiences and/or other sociological material from your coursework while a major (part 2 of the assignment sheet).
3. Paper due dates—paper 1 due approximately end Sept; paper 2 due by end October; last day of classes.
Ghettoside, Jill Leovy
On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American Inner City, Alice Goffman
Don’t Shoot, David Kennedy
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander
The Other Wes Moore, Wes Moore
Shared Beginnings, Divergent Lives, Robert Sampson and John Laub
Great Pretenders: Pursuits and Careers of Persistent Thieves, Neal Shover
Street Women, Eleanor M. Miller
Your book review should cover the three areas listed below (summary and critique required; application optional, but 6-8 pages either way). Although it is not necessary that you explicitly divide your review into the three parts as is done below, I will evaluate your review separately for each focus area.
Part 1. SUMMARY / OVERVIEW
In this section, you should provide a summary or overview of your selected book's focus and relevance. Your overview should provide an adequate presentation of the book's focus to someone who has not read the book. Your summary should accomplish 2 things. First, it should demonstrate that you have carefully read the book and can discuss its basic focus or subject. Second, your summary should serve as the introduction to your paper and provide an outline of your upcoming arguments. You should therefore try to emphasize in your overview the elements of the book that will be most relevant in the discussion that follows in Parts 2 and 3. Some things to consider in this section:
• What is the focus and goal of the book? What is the purpose of the research?
• Why is this book/research relevant or important for us to know about?
• How do the authors conduct their research? Describe the methodology involved and how data were collected.
• What theoretical perspective is implied or explicitly used by the authors to present the material in the book? Do the authors use a micro (social process) or macro (social structure) level approach? In order to identify the authors' theoretical perspective, it might help to think about the variables that are discussed in the book. In which sociological theories of crime are these variables relevant?
• Briefly, what are the authors' most important insights and conclusions? How does their research advance our understanding of the topic being studied? What are the unique contributions of the research to a sociological understanding of crime?
Part 2. Discuss how your own life experiences are reflected in the contents of the book and/or how material you have learned in other sociology courses can be applied to the book. Come and see me to talk more about this section if you have questions!
Part 3. CRITIQUE
Part 3 provides you with the opportunity to give an overall evaluation of your book, its argument or presentation. Based on all that you have discussed thus far, how would you rate this book? Some points to consider:
• What parts of the authors' arguments do you agree and disagree with and WHY (i.e., which of the arguments were particularly convincing, which were weak, and WHY). To what extent does the material presented in the book agree with your own knowledge of the subject? Did the material confirm things you already knew, or was most of the information surprising or unexpected?
• Evaluate the methodology used. How are the results limited by the particular way in which the study was conducted? How does the methodology contribute to the strength, relevance, insight, or value of the results?
• Evaluate the theoretical perspective used (or the fact that one is MISSING). To what degree is the book limited by the use of this perspective? To what degree is the book limited due to a lack of a theoretical perspective? Do you think the authors neglect to mention important information or theories that are relevant to the issues discussed in the book? What additional theories or interpretations would you offer to add to the discussion? How could these theories (concepts and hypotheses) provide an explanation for the events described in the book? (You may have already covered this in Part 2)
• What questions are left unanswered by the book/research? If you were to conduct the research again or re-write the book, what would you add, how would you improve it, what would you do differently? Why are the suggestions you make important? How would they improve the research?
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