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PUB 320: Contextualizing Work

Course Description

This course asks students to critically examine the power dynamics and history of their workplace. In order to do this, students are responsible for crafting an "Autoethnography of their Workplace"-- a process that asks students to place themselves (and their autobiography) within their worksite (or where they are designing a project) and to analyze how their action-research project fits within the organizational culture group dynamics of that worksite. Students will be introduced to ethnographic study to learn to identify and reflect on personal, cultural, social, structural, and economic aspects of their work experience. Theories and models of effective autobiography and autoethnography will be shared to provide examples for students to draw upon.

Prerequisite

Enrollment in Charter Oak’s partnership program with College Unbound. Completion of Cornerstone Course. The College Unbound program is a competency-based program that is a hybrid of on-site cohort support/online course system. With that, course materials are delivered online, but students are frequently asked to engage with fellow students and their communities’ in-person.

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  1. Develop and test research methods to investigate and uncover community and personal knowledge.
  2. Examine and analyze observational data to determine how they can inhibit or facilitate the creation of an autoethnography.
  3. Interpret observational data in the workplace to inform questions for research interviews.
  4. Analyze workplace norms to uncover workplace power dynamics.
  5. Demonstrate the synthesis of their sociological and anthropological concepts of work through self-study and research interviews.
  6. Review interviews to organize data, identify patterns and inconsistencies within and across field study components, filter through research material, and create their final research presentation.
  7. Compare and contrast personal reflections with broader research findings between developing classmates autoethnographies.
  8. Analyze theories of autoethnography and utilize them in the preparation of a research report for presentation
  9. Analyze results and disseminate in a public presentation demonstrating the implementation of an actionable project in their workplace.

General Education Outcomes (GEOs)

Please check the applicable GEOs for this course, if any, by outcomes at GEO Category Search, or by subject area at GEO Discipline Search.

Course Activities and Grading

Assignment(s)Weight

Autoethnography

  • Autobiography (WK 1) - 5%
  • Study of Worksite Proposal (WK 2) - 5%
  • Observation Assignments (WKs 2, 3, 4) - 15% total (5% each)
  • Self-Interview (WK 4) - 5%
  • Work Interview (WK 5) - 5%
  • Integrated Autoethnography Report (WK 7) - 10%
45%

Recorded Public Exhibition

25%

Project Updates

15%

Discussion Boards

15%

Total

Required Texts

  • Jones, Adams, & Ellis, “Handbook of Autoethnography”. Left Coast Press, 2013. ISBN: 1598746006
  • Terkel, S. “Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do.” The New Press, 1997. ISBN: 1565843428
  • Ehrenreich, B. (2001). Nickeled and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America. New York: Picador. ISBN: 0312626681

Note: Additional chapters/excerpts may be posted to Blackboard, but you are expected to have access to the above texts on your own.

Additional Resources

  • Fetterman, D. (1998). Ethnography: Step-by-step. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. ISBN: 0761913858
  • Clarke, C. & Robboy, H. (1992). Social interaction: Readings in sociology. (4th ed.). New York, NY: Worth Publishers.
  • A Short History of American Labor: American Federationist of March 1981
  • Murchison, J. (2010). Ethnography essentials: Designing, conducting and presenting your research. San Francisco, CA
  • Giddens, A., Duneier, M, Appelbaum, R. P., & Carr, D. (2012). Introduction to sociology. (8th ed.). New York, NY: W. W. Norton.
  • Hodson, R. & Sullivan, T. (2008). The social organization of work. (4th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson-Wadsworth.
  • Rothman, R. (1997). Working: Sociological perspectives. (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
  • Sternheimer, K. (2010). Everyday sociology reader. New York, NY: W. W. Norton.
  • Sue, D. W. (2007). Racial microaggressions in everyday life: Implications for clinical practice. American Psychologist, 62 (4), 271-286.
  • Wharton, A. (2005). Working in America: Continuity, conflict, and change. (3rd ed.). McGraw-Hill.
  • Robin D. G. Kelley, "We Are Not What We Seem': Re-Thinking Black Working Class Opposition in the Jim Crow South," The Journal of American History, Vol. 80, No. 1. (June 1993): 75-112. [JSTOR, University Library]
  • Revisting Studs Terkel's 'Working'
  • Studs Terkel Organization - click "multimedia resources" on the bottom left for additional multimedia resources for week 1

Course Schedule

WeekSLOsReadings and ExercisesAssignment(s)

1

1

Introduction of Course Themes and Complementary

  • Readings:
    • Chapter 1 & 2 from Jones, Adams, & Ellis, "Handbook of Autoethnography"
    • Either Chapter 6, 7, or 8 from the Exemplars within Jones, Adams, & Ellis, "Handbook of Autoethnography"
  • Additional Suggested Materials:
    • Hodson & Sullivan, “The Evolution of Work” pp. 3-7; Presser, “Toward a 24-Hour Economy,” pp. 459-465; Giddens, Duneier, Appelbaum, & Carr, “The Modern Economy,” pp. 403-411
    • http://www.studsterkel.org/ Click "multimedia resources" on the bottom left for additional multimedia resources for week 1
  • Read assigned material
  • Review lecture material
  • Participate in Discussion Boards
  • Submit Autobiography of your Work

2

1,2

Connecting Readings to Project Development

  • Readings:
    • (Posted to Blackboard: “Ethnographic Maps,” pp. 127-142 From Murchison, J. (2010). Ethnography essentials: Designing, conducting and presenting your research. San Francisco, CA
    • Chapters 1, 2 & 3 Ehrenreich, B. (2001). Nickeled and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America. New York: Picador.
  • Read assigned material
  • Review lecture material
  • Participate in Discussion Boards
  • Submit Observation #1

3

1

Workplace Roles

  • Readings:
    • Chapter 11 & 12 from Jones, Adams, & Ellis, “Handbook of Autoethnography”
    • Chapters 1-7 in Terkel, S. “Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do.”
  • Read assigned material
  • Review lecture material
  • Participate in Discussion Boards
  • Submit Observation #2

4

1,2

Workplace Observations: Mapping Physical, Social, & Symbolic Space

  • Readings:
    • Either A “Book” within Terkel’s Working (to be decided in consultation with your Academic Adviser) or Chapters 3-6 of Nickel and Dimed
    • Chapters 18 & 19 in Handbook of AutoEthnography AND an Exemplar chapter from “Representing, Breaking, and Remaking”
  • Read assigned material
  • Review lecture material
  • Participate in Discussion Boards
  • Submit Observation #3
  • Submit Project Update #2

5

1,2

Debriefs, Common Questions, New Reading/ Resource in Response / Data Analysis

  • Readings:
    • Either A “Book” within Terkel’s Working (to be decided in consultation with your Academic Adviser) or Chapters 3-6 of Nickel and Dimed
  • Read assigned material
  • Review lecture material
  • Participate in Discussion Boards
  • Submit Interview Log & Brief Transcription

6

1

Peer feedback and Exploring the Relationships between Work & Life

  • Readings:
    • Required materials from Additional Reading Plan Submitted from Student to Professor
    • Required reading posted in your name to the discussion board last week
  • Read assigned material
  • Review lecture material
  • Participate in Discussion Boards
  • Submit work in progress for peer review and post reflection

7

1

Final Pieces of your Autoethnography

  • Readings:
    • Required materials from Additional Reading Plan Submitted from Student to Professor
    • Required reading posted in your name to the discussion board last week
  • Read assigned material
  • Review lecture material
  • Participate in Discussion Boards
  • Submit Integrated Autoethnography Report
  • Submit Project Update #2

8

1

Public Exhibition

  • Readings:
    • None
  • Record and post Public Exhibition
  • Complete course evaluation

COSC Accessibility Statement

Charter Oak State College encourages students with disabilities, including non-visible disabilities such as chronic diseases, learning disabilities, head injury, attention deficit/hyperactive disorder, or psychiatric disabilities, to discuss appropriate accommodations with the Office of Accessibility Services at OAS@charteroak.edu.

COSC Policies, Course Policies, Academic Support Services and Resources

Students are responsible for knowing all Charter Oak State College (COSC) institutional policies, course-specific policies, procedures, and available academic support services and resources. Please see COSC Policies for COSC institutional policies, and see also specific policies related to this course. See COSC Resources for information regarding available academic support services and resources.