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SOCY 3151 Self in Modern Society

Instructor Contact:

Dr. Kristina Kahl


Instructor Bio:

I received my Ph.D. at the University of Colorado in the department of sociology. My general specialty areas are gender, social psychology, social movements, and qualitative and interpretative sociology. I received my B.S. at the University of Oregon (go Ducks!).

About the Course:

This course introduces students to the concept of the self from a sociology perspective. We will address questions such as “Who am I?” “In what way does the self emerge in relation to social organizations?” “How do emotions shape the self?” Often we think of the self as being autonomous and independent and free from outside social influences. Yet, sociology focuses on the interactive relationship that occurs between the self and the social world.  We will address main theoretical perspectives including what “makes up” the self. In this class we will examine how the self constructs itself through the interactive processes between social relations and organizations. We will do this by investigating aspects of identity talk, narrative analysis, and the role of emotions, while additionally paying attention to topics such as race, gender, religion, sexuality, technology and activism.


After completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. To identify sociological concepts and begin to use them correctly
  2. To analyze theoretical perspectives of the self-including identity talk and narratives, on your own.
  3. To apply these concepts and perspectives-including the importance of emotions, everyday interaction beyond the classroom, including your future workplaces.
  4. Improve your skills in reading, writing, listening, critical thinking, and problem solving.

Required Texts:

  • Irvine, Leslie. 2013. The Self in Society. San Diego: Cognella.
    You can get this in the CU Bookstore, but purchasing it online here will get you immediate access to the first 20% of the content so that you can keep up with the reading until your book arrives.
  • Harris, Scott. 2015. An Invitation to the Sociology of Emotions. New York: Routledge.

Grading Criteria:

The goal of this course is to provide students with a variety of learning-based activities because not everyone learns the same way! Students might appreciate one form of learning over another consequently; I try to offer different types of assignments to facilitate ongoing mastery. In particular this class will focus on these key-learning objectives for evaluation:

Learning objectives establish what counts as “basic” or “advanced” knowledge in SOCY 3151. They specify tasks that demonstrate mastery of course material. Learning objectives are evaluated in these four categories of learning activities:

  • Discussion Posts
  • Quiz and Exams
  • Applications
  • Photo Essay

Each assessment is marked either Pass or Progressing (“no pass” sounds like you are doomed- and that is NOT the case), based on whether the work satisfies given specifications for acceptable work. Note that on two of these four methods, you have opportunities to try again if your work does not Pass the first time (by using your tokens). This system sets you up to succeed—and to learn.

  • Discussion Post: You will Pass a Discussion Post objective if you complete it by the deadline with no errors. You will also need to have satisfied the learning objectives listed above. You will have opportunities to redo submissions marked Progressing by spending a token.
  • Exams: Because these involve responses where only the answer is checked, you will Pass the objective if you answer correctly at a 75% level, and receive Progressing otherwise. You are not allowed to use token with exams.
  • Application: You will Pass the application objective if you meet all the detailed specifications provided for each assessment, and receive Progressing otherwise. You will have opportunities to redo submissions marked Progressing by spending a token.
  • Photo Essay: You will Pass the application objective if you meet all the detailed specifications provided below. You are not allowed to use token with Photo Essay.

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Monday – Friday
7:30am to 4:30pm


We are located at the corner of University Avenue and 15th Street in a white brick building.


1505 University Avenue
University of Colorado Boulder
178 UCB
Boulder, Colorado