The world has taken a great interest in Silicon Valley – known for its proximity to beautiful San Francisco, its booming tech industry, and its vast wealth. Yet despite its prosperity, Silicon Valley is facing a number of complex challenges. How, if at all, should the technology industry diversify itself? How do we ensure access to affordable housing in a place where someone making over $100,000 can still be considered low-income? How do we understand the large degree of racial and ethnic segregation that exists in such a politically liberal area?
We will analyze the dynamics of Silicon Valley affect the answers to these questions while also considering how similar issues may or may not be at play elsewhere in the nation and across the globe. Students will explore the intricacies of Silicon Valley through engaging with scientific articles, class discussions, group work, guest speakers, and field trips in order to gain a deeper understanding of the complexities that underlie human society. Students will then learn how to formulate sociological questions and use methods that social scientists use to answers some of today’s most pressing dilemmas. To put this into practice, students will have the opportunity to conduct their own data collection and research analysis, and then present their findings through a final poster session.