Economy and Society

Sociology 415 - University of North Carolina

Course website: follow links from

Course grades: On Blackboard, (login with your UNC Onyen)


Professor: Ted Mouw

Teaching Assistant: Jordan Travis

268 Hamilton Hall (962-5602)




Office hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays by appointment.

Office Hours: by appointment.






You can reach me by email at  For simple questions, this is the quickest way to reach me.  I will also be available before and after class to answer questions.  I welcome your questions and opinions.  For more difficult questions, please come to see me during office hours. 


Teaching Philosophy


I believe that the classroom experience can be both fun and intellectually stimulating.  I will have high standards for your participation and performance in the course.  At the same time, the class will be a friendly environment. For example, I will expect you to come to class prepared to discuss, and I will call on you to participate in class.  However, class participation will be conducted with a mixture of seriousness, humor, and respect to ensure a diversity of opinions and a supportive atmosphere for participation. 





I have deliberately selected the reading for this course to reflect this lack of consensus.  My guiding principle has been to avoid textbooks that spoon-feed answers, but to give you a sample of the diversity of opinion.  I believe that the function of the college classroom is to confront opposing arguments rather than ignore them. The challenge is for you to sort through these conflicting perspectives, and my expectation is that the class will work cooperatively to decide what is “right.”  As much as possible, I will try to moderate a discussion based on the reading rather than impose my own views of what is right and wrong. 




Poll Everywhere:

We will use Poll Everywhere as a classroom response system.  You should bring a text-capable cellphone or your laptop to class every class session.

Click on this link to register your device/s with Poll Everywhere: Register


Basic behavior: don’t browse the web or multitask during class.  No phone texting except for Poll Everywhere.


Components of your grade:

1) Reading notes

2 points per class

58  points (2 x 29)

2) Class attendance

3) Midterm exam

50 points

4) Final exam


50  points

5) Final Paper


50  points

6) Class participation


65 points

7) Extra credit & quizzes




Note:  Your grades will be posted on Blackboard.


1) Reading notes:


My expectation is that you will come to class everyday prepared to discuss the assigned reading.  The reading in this class is not optional.  As much as possible, I will try not to repeat things in lecture that were covered in the reading.  The class discussion and lecture will begin where the reading left off. 


On the class schedule page on the web, you we see links to reading questions for each class period.  As you do the reading, take notes on these questions.  These are intended to be notes, so you do not need to write in full sentences or complete paragraphs.  All I want to see is evidence that you have read and thought about the material.  I only expect you to turn approximately 1-page of notes.


Each day’s questions are worth 2 points.  They are graded on a Ö+ (2 points), Ö (1.8 points), Ö- (1 point) basis. 


The reading notes should be turned in before class starts.  ¼ point will be deducted from notes turned in after class starts.


Absence policy on reading notes:

If you let me know in advance, you may turn your reading notes in ahead of time if you have a scheduled absence for full credit.

If you are not able to attend class, you may email the TA your reading notes as long as they arrive in his/her email box by the time class ends.  No late reading notes will be accepted after the end of each class.  The only exceptions to this policy are medical situations accompanied by a doctor’s note.  If you turn in the reading notes and duck out of class, you get partial credit.



2) Class attendance


Class attendance is mandatory.  Because this is a discussion class, I expect you to be present in class and prepared to contribute. 


I will take attendance each class.  If you miss more than 3 classes during the semester, every additional absence will lower your class grade by 2 percentage points.  The only exceptions to this are official UNC activities, illness accompanied by a doctor’s note, and sudden family tragedies etc. 


Example:  You have a 91 average and miss 5 classes.  Your final grade is an 87, a B+.


For your first 3 absences, it doesn’t matter why you were absent.  (The first three absences count as “unexcused absences” regardless of the reason).


Absences after #3 that are (1) related to UNC athletics or (2) accompanied by a doctor’s note, may be made up (i.e., so your final grade is not penalized) by adding 2-pages on to your final paper per absence, and making the final paper a research paper, with at least outside 10 references and a bibliography.  Research papers will be graded as research papers, not as essays (i.e., my expectation will be higher).


Unexcused absences after the 6th unexcused absence may be made up by turning your final paper into a 10 page research paper + 2 pages for each absence after #6, with at least 15 outside references.  Your grade will still be penalized 6 percentage points for absences #4-#6 (2 per class).


Example: You have a 91 average but have missed 10 classes.  Normally, your final grade would be 14 points lower.  Instead, you may write an 18 page research paper, and be penalized 6 points for absences.


If you miss more than 14 classes, you will automatically fail the class.  The only exception would be a serious medical illness that required an extended hospital stay.  It is your responsibility to keep me informed of your situation during extended absences or I will drop you from the class.



3)  Midterm exam


The midterm exam will consist of 3 essay questions drawn from the list of reading question or in-class discussion questions.  A review sheet of possible questions will be distributed a week before the midterm.



4) Final Exam


At least 2/3 of the questions on the final will be taken from reading notes questions.  All the questions will be short-essays.


Note: see the Registrar’s exam calendar for the exam time,



5) Final Paper

A final paper of 5+ pages is due the day after the final day of class.  The paper should explore one of the subjects discussed in class.  If you turn a draft of your paper in two weeks before the end of class, I will read it and give you comments on it.



6) Class Discussion

I expect everyone to come to class prepared to discuss.  Your class participation is worth 65 points.  An “A” discussion grade must be earned by outstanding and memorable comments and questions during the semester.  A “B” grade is “average” class participation—which means that you are prepared and willing to answer questions from the lecture notes (it doesn’t necessarily mean you get the answers right, but that you can discuss them based on the reading), and that you occasionally volunteer a comment or question.  Less than a B indicates a lack of preparedness or cooperation in discussion or when called on.


I expect everyone to come to class prepared to discuss.  Your class participation is worth 65 points, or about 20% of your grade. 


As discussed above in “Teaching Philosophy” I want the classroom environment to be supportive of discussion and not frightening.  Please come and talk to me during office hours if you are worried about participating in class…we will find a solution.


Discussion guidelines:

In order to encourage regular contributions to class discussion and base your discussion grade on observed performance, I am going to ask you to speak in class at least once every three classes.  By “speak” I mean (1) answer one of the questions discussed in class (either from the reading notes, the lecture notes, or a question that arises spontaneously) (2) comment in a substantive way on another student’s reply.  Questions that do not relate to the material being discussed or trivial contributions (such as a one word response or adding something to a list) do not count. 


Finally, I want a record of what you have said in class.  After you have spoken, there are three ways you can get credit for your participation.  1 (preferred):  text your question/comment to Poll Everywhere (an explanation of how to do this will be given in class), 2: email me your question/comment, 3: write it down and turn it in at the end of class.  It doesn’t have to be a verbatim record of what you said, just enough to help me remember when I look it over after class.



7) Quizzes & Extra Credit

I will occasionally use poll everywhere for comprehension quizzes which will be worth 1 point. 


More frequently, I will give “extra credit” comprehension questions.  Each will add ¼ point to your overall point total.




Grades will be assigned as follows: 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-, below 60=F

(fractions of a point will be rounded down)


Note: the official class schedule is on the class web page.  The class schedule and readings may change, so don’t print all the reading notes at the beginning of the semester.