Some potential exam questions for the Soc 149/249 Final Exam. Updated Feb 2016


Note: the final exam will require you to write 3 essay questions and a number of identifications from the following list. The final exam will be a closed book exam.


1) What are the effects of segregation (economic, social, psychological, and political) on the people living in the urban ghetto? Use examples from at least 3 books we have read


2) What are the historical causes of racial segregation and isolation in the housing market in the 20th century U.S.? Use examples from at least 3 books we have read. [We had a question like this on the midterm, so this one will *not* be on the final]


3) In William Julius Wilson’s Declining Significance of Race, he argued that racial discrimination had become less important in the U.S. after Civil Rights. Is race truly less important now than it was 50 years ago? Cite the arguments of Massey and Denton, and Oliver and Shapiro, and Michelle Alexander.


4) Explain in detail any one part of the story of the Rivers family, from There Are No Children Here, and describe how that story supports or contradicts a theory that we have studied in this class. Cite at least 2 other sources that we have read besides There Are No Children Here.


5) What is the history and significance of the Fair Housing Act, first passed in 1968? What were the strengths and weaknesses of the law, and what effect did it have? When and how was the law revised?


6) What is the 'Culture of Poverty' theory, and what evidence can you find in the readings for it or against it? Use at least 2 sources from the reading.


7) Who according to Elijah Anderson, are the 'Old Heads', how and why has their power and position changed over the years, and what are the effects of their diminished authority?


8) What are the basic elements of Charles Murray's critique of welfare? How are these critiques similar to or different from the analysis of specific public policies we've read about in other books for this class? Compare Murray's analysis of social policy to at least one other text from the reading list


9) What were the main claims in Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s famous report on the black family? What, in Moynihan’s view, explained the difference between black and white family structure? What evidence is there in other readings for the class to support or contradict Moynihan’s claims about the importance of family structure?


10) What is gentrification? Use the example of HOPE VI and one other example from the reading. Why does city hall want gentrification? How do prior residents experience gentrification? [The example of HOPE VI does not apply in 2016 as that reading was not covered this quarter]


11) Explain the role of mass incarceration as an historical phenomenon in the post-1970 US. What policies created mass incarceration? Why has the war on drugs had a more damaging effect in communities of color? How do the war on drugs and mass incarceration contribute to inequality in the US?





* Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996


* Charles Murray’s Law of Imperfect Selection


* Progressive Tax


* Home Owner’s Loan Corporation


* Gentrification


* 1975 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act


* Thomas Schelling and his explanation for segregation


* Integration Maintenance


* Narrow Geographic Horizons


* Ebonics


* Chicago Housing Authority


* The Southern Homestead Act of 1866


* Eminent Domain


* How power works, according to Robert Caro’s version of Robert Moses


* HOPE VI [not for 2016]


* How does the movie “Hoop Dreams” describe the role of race and privilege in the school careers of William Gates and Arthur Agee?


* Describe the similarity or contrast between one aspect of the movie “Do the Right Thing” and the same theme as described in Anderson’s Streetwise.