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Another FaCTS Mellon Project

Cultivating a Sociological Imagination Using a Book Club Approach

by Dr. Farrah D. Gafford

The use of non-traditional readings in sociology courses has been well documented as an effective way to promote student engagement and learning. The proposed project seeks to incorporate contemporary works of fiction through the use of a classroom book club. I plan to restructure an existing course (Race and Ethnic Relations) to incorporate a reading book club. Instead of relying solely on scientific readings for the course, I will select contemporary fictional pieces that highlight race relations in society. By participating in our classroom book club, students will craft their own connections to course themes instead of relying on the interpretation of a textbook. The book club strategy will also take the instructor and students away from a typical lecture format where students often become unengaged and passive learners. This pedagogical tool is intended to help students engage key concepts connected to race and ethnicity and increase active student participation and classroom community building. Students will be given several writing and oral presentations assignments to demonstrate their ability to engage course readings, themes, theories and concepts.

Start date: Monday, May 10, 2010
Finish date: Tuesday, May 10, 2011