Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Female Hero--Has She Returned?

In my time as a teacher, I've had the great opportunity to teach in the fields of Sociology, Psychology, Anthropology, Philosophy, and Religion (and mythology).  One book I picked up long ago had the title of something like, "When the Gods Were Women" or something similar.  It was about the ancient religions and how much of their religions were goddess worship, the worship of Mother Earth.  In various books by Joseph Campbell such as The Hero with a Thousand Faces (The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell), and The Masks of God, Vol. 1: Primitive Mythologyhe speaks of the Hero's Journey and other aspects of what makes a hero, but focuses on the male hero only.

Recently, I ran across this headline, Heroine With a Thousand Faces: The Rise of the Female Savior
in the online site AlterNet.  It examines the recent changes in how several movies have had female protagonists in the past few years.  My only regret about the article is that it neglected the television show,

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Series.  I have all seven seasons and have seen episode at least two or three times.  I know, kind of a geek.  But I loved how Josh Whedon created a female lead who not only was strong and capable, but was flawed, struggled, and was a deep, three-dimensional character who was engaging.

So for those of you who highlight the female in the culture, do check this out.

The Teaching High School Sociology web site

Monday, April 16, 2012

Race is Real

This blog was posted a couple of weeks ago, but I just got to reading it.  It examines how I've taught about race--there are no "races" in terms of biology, but rather social categories made up by groups of humans to justify whatever their aims were.  The blog entry is here:

But the best part of this was an introduction to some resources including this one:

Do check out the intro at least once.  Valid questions.  The main home page is here:

The American Anthropology Association has create a look at race through three lenses: history, human variation, and lived experience.  This site will take you some time to examine, but is totally worth it if you want to provide some additional context to your students.  I'd never seen this one before and it is an excellent site.  Kudos to the AAA.  At the end, there is a section for resources for teachers and families. Great stuff.

The Teaching High School Sociology web site

Friday, April 13, 2012

Microblogging and Connections

I ran across this blog entry while perusing Twitter and almost immediately made a connection to sociology.  Part of what sociology does is examine how we make impressions and make meaningful relationships with others in this world.  This blog entry examines just how we do that.  While the connections to high school sociology are not explicit, take the symbolic interactionist point of view to most of the "reasons" many of us post mundane updates, "like," "poke" and do other sorts of things on social media.  Another different look into human behavior and I, for one, love it.  In one selection from the blog,

In contrast to earlier authors, the research showed that phatic posts do contain information messages, signals, values of staying up-to-date with micro and macro world of events and news, flirt, chat, public expressions of everyday life and emotions among the participants (affection, hate, anger, and so on). Their contents has some elements of meaning but their main relevance is to denote something: interaction, connected presence and fostering and maintaining connections.

Check the Scientific American Blog here:

The Teaching High School Sociology web site

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Politics and the Creating an Impression of Self

Spring break and I am catching up on my media and ran across this article in the Washington Post about Mitt Romney's attempt to create an impression of himself at different venues as parodied in Saturday Night Live.  When that troupe is at their best, they capture the absurdity of popular culture.  This can also show the power of media as a socialization agent.  This kind of scenario with politicians always takes me back to Goffman's symbolic interactionism and the presentation of self, which is what politicians attempt to do whenever in public.

The article is here.

The Teaching High School Sociology web site

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sociology Sal: A Great Resource

Another blog that can be quite helpful for high school teachers exploring the world of teaching sociology is the "Sociology Sal" site called "Ways of Thinking."  According to his profile, he has been teaching sociology to high schoolers since 1999 and teaches in Illinois.  He's got a great selection of topics and updates the site regularly.  I would highly recommend the Sociology Sal blog to augment your teaching sociology materials.  I really appreciate his "ways of. . ." segments of his site.

The Teaching High School Sociology web site

Monday, April 9, 2012

Media Literacy: A Clearinghouse for Resources

After Friday's post, I saw a comment from Frank Baker about his own website devoted to media literacy.  It can be found at:

He organizes sites he has found into both subject area and department topics.  There are so many sites to check out off his website.  Wonderful stuff.  Be sure to check it out.

The Teaching High School Sociology web site

Friday, April 6, 2012

Media Literacy

One of my favorite sites is the one at

It takes many ideas from both psychology and sociology and helps teachers and students become more aware of the techniques used as well as the tools to examine and decipher the myriad images we see in the various media we consume.  I will be posting various other aspects of that site as time permits.  Meanwhile, check it out if you are doing any kind of media literacy in your sociology course. Great content for some semiotics.

This link I am sharing below may be the best thing I share related to media literacy both in terms of excellent content, but also in terms of techniques.  Simply a great handout.

One particularly good overview is here:

The Teaching High School Sociology web site

Thursday, April 5, 2012

"Benefit of the Doubt" and Racism

In another great segment dealing with racism, John Stewart and Larry Wilmore deal with the uncomfortable truths regarding how African-Americans are treated within the criminal justice system.  They skewer truth in what is both funny and sad.  The segment is potentially a jumping-off point for race discussions.

I tried to embed the video here, but my school's security settings were not letting me, so here is the link:



The Teaching High School Sociology web site

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Kids and Race

Adults often have difficulty about race and issues surrounding racial/ethnic conflict issues.  Check out these conversations about race from CNN.  These can make for some excellent starting off points for those teachers brave enough to tackle the issue head-on.

The Teaching High School Sociology web site