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South Florida Sociocultural Systems Syllabus Fall 2011-Final 1

South Florida Sociocultural Systems Syllabus Fall 2011-Final 1

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Published by Joseph Holbrook
From its incorporation on July 28, 1896, Miami lacked what real American cities possessed. Unlike northern cities like Chicago, Cincinnati or Pittsburgh, Miami was not a cross road city, growing at the breakpoints of railroads and water routes and attracting industrial capital. Nor did a seaport rapidly emerge to compete with New Orleans or the port cities on the East Coast. It’s an area that has never been fully southern or northern. Throughout most of its history, it’s been characterized by a large transient population and a large proportion of inhabitants who were first generation migrants. These and other characteristics have shaped what today many regard as a unique example of urban America.

The metropolitan area of Miami (Miami-Dade County) has been referred to as a social experiment in progress. Some have called it the “Capital of Latin America.” Others regard it as a city at the center of some of the most important contemporary social processes reshaping the nation. Some consider it a harbinger of changes that are fueling passions and national debates. Others consider it a freak of modern history. In this course, we’ll explore the socioeconomic, political, cultural dynamics of metropolitan Miami in a socio/historical context. In this course, we’ll explore the socioeconomic, political, cultural dynamics of metropolitan Miami in a socio/historical context. We will pay particular attention to the processes involved changing the characteristics of 1) the people, 2) the culture, 3) the material environment, 4) the social organization and 5) the social institutions of the region.
From its incorporation on July 28, 1896, Miami lacked what real American cities possessed. Unlike northern cities like Chicago, Cincinnati or Pittsburgh, Miami was not a cross road city, growing at the breakpoints of railroads and water routes and attracting industrial capital. Nor did a seaport rapidly emerge to compete with New Orleans or the port cities on the East Coast. It’s an area that has never been fully southern or northern. Throughout most of its history, it’s been characterized by a large transient population and a large proportion of inhabitants who were first generation migrants. These and other characteristics have shaped what today many regard as a unique example of urban America.

The metropolitan area of Miami (Miami-Dade County) has been referred to as a social experiment in progress. Some have called it the “Capital of Latin America.” Others regard it as a city at the center of some of the most important contemporary social processes reshaping the nation. Some consider it a harbinger of changes that are fueling passions and national debates. Others consider it a freak of modern history. In this course, we’ll explore the socioeconomic, political, cultural dynamics of metropolitan Miami in a socio/historical context. In this course, we’ll explore the socioeconomic, political, cultural dynamics of metropolitan Miami in a socio/historical context. We will pay particular attention to the processes involved changing the characteristics of 1) the people, 2) the culture, 3) the material environment, 4) the social organization and 5) the social institutions of the region.

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Published by: Joseph Holbrook on Aug 30, 2011
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South Florida Sociocultural SystemsSYD 6625
Fall 2011Mondays, 5-7:40Instructor: Guillermo J. Grenier Office: SIPA 331Phone: 305-348-3217
Course description:
This course provides a graduate-level overview of the major social, political, economic, environmental and cultural forces at work in creating the Miami/SouthFlorida area.From its incorporation on July 28, 1896, Miami lacked what real American cities possessed.Unlike northern cities like Chicago, Cincinnati or Pittsburgh, Miami was not a cross road city,growing at the breakpoints of railroads and water routes and attracting industrial capital. Nor dida seaport rapidly emerge to compete with New Orleans or the port cities on the East Coast. It¶san area that has never been fully southern or northern. Throughout most of its history, it¶s beencharacterized by a large transient population and a large proportion of inhabitants who were firstgeneration migrants. These and other characteristics have shaped what today many regard as aunique example of urban America.The metropolitan area of Miami (Miami-Dade County) has been referred to as a socialexperiment in progress. Some have called it the ³Capital of Latin America.´ Others regard it asa city at the center of some of the most important contemporary social processes reshaping thenation. Some consider it a harbinger of changes that are fueling passions and national debates.Others consider it a freak of modern history. In this course, we¶ll explore the socioeconomic, political, cultural dynamics of metropolitan Miami in a socio/historical context. In this course,we¶ll explore the socioeconomic, political, cultural dynamics of metropolitan Miami in asocio/historical context. We will pay particular attention to the processes involved changing thecharacteristics of 1) the people, 2) the culture, 3) the material environment, 4) the socialorganization and 5) the social institutions of the region.
What you have to do.
The course will focus on 1) the development of a ³mini research project,´ 2) the writing of a brief ³conclusions´ paper highlighting the most pertinent, err,conclusions from the project, and 3) the presentation of this project in class. Those of youworking on dissertation research are encouraged to formulate projects which contextualize your research question using the Miami literature and social environment. Even if this does not carryover to your final dissertation work, it will offer you important insights on your topic. Otherswill formulate research questions based on interests and curiosity. In addition, you will completean annotated bibliography each week from the assigned readings. This will help youdevelopyour responses to the readings during our class discussions.
 
When it¶s all said and done,
you will be familiar the major social forces at work in the creationof the modern South Florida region. We will take a trans-disciplinary view of the developmentof our region, reading literature with a Miami focus from across the social sciences. You willread from contemporary scholarship in anthropology, sociology, criminology, psychology andgeography. You will be familiar with the perspectives of a broad, multi-disciplinary group oscholars studying the area that we think we know so well. We will discuss the methods to themadness of studying Miami as well critically examine the ³state of the literature´ in the field.You will be conversant with the key debates in the literature and evaluate how your researchcontributes to this literature.
Responsibilities:
You are responsible for completing all assigned readings ahead of the class period for which they are assigned. You are responsible for purchasing, borrowing, or downloading all assigned reading in time to read it.You are responsible for attending each andevery scheduled seminar meeting. You are responsible for leading seminar discussion of at leastone week¶s readings (depending on enrollment, it could be two). You are responsible for meeting all deadlines. You are responsible for contributing meaningfully to every seminar meeting. You are responsible for respecting the views your classmates, your instructor, and the published scholars whose work you will read. You are responsible for completing all assignedreadings, classroom activities, and projectswhen they are due. This goes for weekly readings aswell as the ³big three´ assignments.By now you should know the drill on plagiarism: plagiarism and other instances of academicdishonesty simply will not be tolerated. There is ³one strike´ rule in effect.
What to expect:
This seminar will be about you actively participating through groupdiscussions and investigation, and me actively listening and expanding on the discussion. I willtry mightily to contribute without dominating. I have had a lot of experience doing research inMiami and thinking about how Miami works so I might kick off our sessions with an update onthe readings, when that¶s required or otherwise frame the context of the readings. The bulk of theclass meetings in weeks 2-13 will involve student-led discussion of the week¶s readings,centering on the focus questions. Weeks 15 and 16 will center on presentation and discussion of your mini research projects.
Grades:
An A is yours to lose. To keep it, this is what you do: come to every session; read all of the readings; contribute significantly to our discussions; write in grammatically comprehensibleand empirically accurate prose; take your role as discussion leader seriously and don¶t talk unprepared crap; meet the deadlines and take every assignment seriously; make connections between the weekly readings and the main themes of the class.If you do all of the above, youhave an A.An A- can be earned from minor shortcomings in one of the areas mentioned above. Grades inthe B range (B+, B, B-) arise from several unexplained absences, little class participation, major deadline failures, or a demonstrated inability to connect work and discussion to the themes of thecourse.
 
Grades in the ³C´ range are rarely assigned. Receiving such a grade should not come as asurprise. You will see the sad face in many of my e-mails to you. If you totally blow the mini project plus have many absences and are frequently mistaken for a corpse during class time youwill surely get a C.
Your grade is composed of the following:
Mini research project: 50Discussion leading: 10Annotated bibliography: 20Participation (includes attendance): 20Total 100
Mini research project:
 Step 1: Develop, or work with your existing, research questions and chose a research a researchsite/strategy. What are your research questions? What methodology will you use to addressthem? What literature contributes to your understanding of your topic? Select a research settingon which you can carry out a mini project and go to it.
y
 
Due: 2 copies in-class, September 12
y
 
Worth: 5 pointsStep 2: Mini-proposal. A very brief proposal consists of four sections: I: Statement of your research topic; II: Research question; III: Identify your methodology and outline research steps,and IV: State the broader relevance of your project.
y
 
Due: 2 copies in-class, Sept. 26
y
 
Worth: 10 points
y
 
 Note: If you haven¶t done so by now, you will need to put in an IRB application toconduct this work, and it must be approved by the IRB before you can conduct your research. I will assist you with this process.Step 3: Conduct Field research. Use one of the qualitative or quantitative techniques that you¶velearned to conduct research (interviews, focus group, participant observation, secondary data).Bring raw materials and typed-up versions of data to class
y
 
Due: 2 copies in-class, October 31
y
 
Worth: 15 pointsStep 4: Interpretation in form of Conclusions: Interpret your data and come up with preliminaryconclusions about your research question. Make it brief: about five double-spaced pages. Writeit as you would write a concluding section of an article. Remind us of your research questions,summarize the results and indicate how this supports, debunks or initiates new avenues for research.
y
 
Due: 1 copy in-class, November 21
y
 
Worth: 15 pointsStep 5: In-class presentation and delivery of materials: Prepare a brief presentation (time limitsTBA and determined by number of students) to be delivered in class. Assemble all of your 

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