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Course Descriptions 2019-2020

Courses primarily for:

Courses Primarily for Undergraduate Students

SOCIOL 101-6 – Birthright Citizenship: Race, Law, and Belonging in the United States

Description coming soon

SOCIOL 101-6 – Chicago Landscapes: Place, Space and the Creation of Community

Chicago has played a prominent role in the literary and social imagination. This course will explore (1) how community is created, imagined and remembered in Chicago, (2) how Chicago has shaped our thinking about what it means to live in a modern city, and (3) the significance of place for people's identity.  The course will include some basic concepts and strategies for analyzing urban life and we will compare sociological, historical and fictional approaches. Students will also learn several methods used by sociologists to collect evidence. In addition to introducing students to a fascinating city and some core sociological ideas, my goal is for students to learn to think and read more critically, and to communicate your ideas more effectively, both as speakers and writers. 

SOCIOL 101-6 – First Year Seminar: Animals and Society

This seminar explores the relationship between humans and non-human species from a sociological viewpoint.  Topics include: the history of animal-human relations; the moral status of animals; how gender, class, and race-ethnicity impact our dealings with animals; zoos and shelters; the relationship between violence toward animals and toward people; animal rights movements; animal therapy; and the question of whether animals are part of society.

SOCIOL 101-6 – First Year Seminar: Teens, Tweens and Adolescents

This course examines the experiences of young people today and how the experience of being a young person varies greatly by socio-economic status, gender, and race/ethnicity. We will also spend time looking at how life stages associated with youth (such as tween, teenager, and emerging adulthood) have evolved and why the road to adulthood is often longer today. We will also think about how the media shapes societal views of young people and how young people use social media. Finally, we will consider how the lives of young people today (Millenials) compare to earlier generations (including Baby Boomers and Generation X) and we will look at intergenerational interactions at home, in school, and in the workplace.

SOCIOL 110-0 – Introduction to Sociology

Sociology is a field of study that examines how people and groups interact, navigate, and make decisions within the structure and constraints of their social world. Often these social processes go unobserved or unacknowledged, and sociologists treat it as their job to shed analytical light on how people experience and participate in society. Through sociological analysis, we can answer questions like: How did Evanston become largely segregated by race? Why is it illegal for people to sell their kidneys? Is suicide contagious? Why would someone pay for Instagram followers?

Sociology is a huge field of study, and includes and enormous variety of topics and methods. Each week, we will focus on a specific area of sociological study (Culture, Gender, Race, Family, Money, Deviance, etc.) with the goal of offering you a general overview of the types of questions sociologists ask and how they answer them. By the end of the quarter, you will be able to think sociologically about your own world, and hopefully develop a budding interest in one or more of the areas we discuss in class.

SOCIOL 201-0 – Social Inequality: Race, Class, and Power

This course examines causes and consequences of inequality in American society. Lectures emphasize the mechanisms through which inequality develops and comes to be seen as legitimate, natural, and desirable. We will also examine the economic, social, and political consequences of rising inequality.

SOCIOL 202-0 – Social Problems

How issues emerge. Rules, rule enforcers, rule breakers; advocates, opponents, and victims of problems. Blame, help, and entitlement. Current problems and systemic contradictions.

SOCIOL 206-0 – Law and Society

Law is everywhere. Law permits, prohibits, enables, legitimates, protects, and prosecutes. Law shapes our day-to-day lives in countless ways. This course examines the connections and relationships of law and society using an interdisciplinary social science approach. As one of the founders of the Law and Society movement observed, "law is too important to leave to lawyers." Accordingly, this course will borrow from several theoretical, disciplinary, and interdisciplinary perspectives (such as sociology, history, anthropology, political science, critical studies, and psychology) in order to explore the sociology of law and law's role primarily in the American context (but with some attention to international law and global human rights efforts). The thematic topics to be discussed include law and social control; law's role in social change; and law's capacity to reach into complex social relations and intervene in existing normative institutions and organizational structures.

SOCIOL 208-0 – Race and Society

This class will explore the nature of race in an effort to understand exactly what race is. It seeks to understand why race is such a potent force in American society. Close attention will be paid to the relationship between race, power, and social stratification. The course will examine the nature of racial conflict and major efforts to combat racial inequality.

SOCIOL 212-0 – Environment and Society

Overview of the interactions between societies and the natural environment. Examines both key environmental problems, like climate change and oil spills, and possible solutions, and the roles played by different social structures and groups in shaping both issues.

SOCIOL 215-0 – Economy and Society

Introduction to sociological approaches to economic life. Topics include property rights, illegal markets, money, economic inequalities, direct sales, and boycotts.

SOCIOL 216-0 – Gender and Society

The course introduces students to the sociological analysis of gender as a central component of social organization and social inequality primarily in the contemporary US context.  We start by reviewing key sociological concepts that will guide the rest of the course including the social construction of gender, how people “do gender,” gender binaries and borders, intersectionality, and sexualities.  Next, we explore the causes and consequences of gender inequalities in key social institutions (e.g family; education; the labor market). We conclude by considering gender inequality in an international comparative context to understand cross-cutting similarities and differences between the US and both high- and low-income contexts.  This will also allow us to highlight of role social policies in the social construction of gender and in perpetuating and/or mitigating gender inequalities.

SOCIOL 226-0 – Sociological Analysis

Logic and methods of social research, qualitative and quantitative analysis of social data, and ethical, political, and policy issues in social research. Foundation for further work in social research.


SOCIOL 227-0 – Legal Studies Research Methods

Legal Studies Research Methods introduces students to research methods used in interdisciplinary legal studies, including jurisprudence and legal reasoning, qualitative and quantitative social science methods, and historical and textual analysis. The course is a prerequisite for the Advanced Research Seminar in Legal Studies, 398-1,- 2, and is intended to prepare students for the design of their own research project to be conducted in 398-1, -2. Through exposure to and engagement with interdisciplinary research methods on law and legal processes, the course will provide students with a deeper understanding of law in its historical and social context. The course will provide students with a set of research tools with which to conduct research on legal institutions. The course builds on content from Legal Studies 206, a prerequisite for 207. While part of the Legal Studies major sequence, the course will enrich the analytic skills of students from many fields who are interested in law or in interdisciplinary research methods. Prerequisite: LEGAL ST 206. Taught with SOCIOL 227; may not receive credit for both courses.

SOCIOL 232-0 – Sexuality and Society

This course will examine how society shapes sexuality, as well as how sexuality shapes society. Although many consider sexuality to be deeply personal, in fact, social context greatly affects how individuals understand and experience sexuality. Questions this course will consider include: What is the relationship between individual identities and practices and broader social, cultural, and structural contexts? How does sexuality intersect with gender, class, race/ethnicity, geographic location, age, and nationality? What are sexual subcultures? The course will also consider how sexuality is related to different types of social inequalities. At the end of the course, students will be able to discuss how studying sexuality helps us better understand complex social processes.

SOCIOL 276-0 – Introductory Topics in Sociology: Neighborhoods and Crime

Crime is often seen as a “city problem.” But not all cities are alike and, more than that, not all neighborhoods are alike. In fact, one of sociology’s most enduring findings is that certain social problems—including crime—are highly concentrated within cities. The central question this course seeks to answer is: “Why do some neighborhoods have higher rates of crime than others?” In addressing this question, the course covers a wide range of theories, paying particular attention to ecological, social structural, and cultural aspects of city-life. In addition to covering the main sociological theories in these areas, the course will also focus on several in-depth topics including: street gangs, the underground economy, immigration, and mass incarceration.

SOCIOL 288-0 – Institutions and Society

This course approaches the study of sociological institutions –often referred to as ‘the rules of the game’—from a design perspective. We’ll work to understand how these institutions emerge and address existing societal problems, ultimately analyzing the potential of different institutional configurations to encourage or discourage desired outcomes. We focus on both coordination-type dilemmas (e.g. how to parent, which side of the street to drive on, who provides health care) and collective-action dilemmas (e.g. how to police fishermen going over quota, farmers reining in downstream pollution). We end with a study of how institutions persist – possibly beyond their useful lifespans – such as the persistence of the intentionally inefficient ‘QWERTY’ keyboard, and a conversation about why it’s difficult to enact policy change.

SOCIOL 301-0 – The City: Urbanization and Urbanism

Learn different sociological theories about cities and social life and about research that supports or revises those theories. Topics include physical ecology of cities, political economy of cities, social life among social groups, and the question of community, deviance and social control, and planning for the future.

SOCIOL 302-0 – Sociology of Organizations

We all interact with organizations. You are interacting with an organization right now. Much of everyday life, whether it is school, work, shopping, or eating occurs within the context of organizations. The goal of this course is to teach you to think analytically about the organizations you interact with. Throughout the quarter, we will examine why organizations are the way they are, how scholar’s understandings of organizations have changed over time, and how scholars today think about organizations.

SOCIOL 303-0 – Analysis and Interpretation of Social Data

In Spring 2020, the topical focus of the course will be violence by the police and capital punishment in the United States. These topics will be explored with interdisciplinary readings and relevant legal cases. Students will be exposed to several research tools and research processes, as they also engage with material on police violence and capital punishment. In addition to shorter assignments, students will develop their own specific research project and write a research paper relating to capital punishment or police violence.

SOCIOL 304-0 – Politics of Racial Knowledge

On a daily basis we consume?often without notice or concern?a substantial amount of racial knowledge. We routinely ingest, for example, infographics about demographic trends, media coverage on crime and undocumented immigration, and advertisements for group-specific medicines. In complex and contextually specific ways, this diet shapes our personal and collective identities, social interactions and relationships, and political aspirations and anxieties. In this course, we endeavor to study the politics of racial knowledge?that is, the ways in which categories, measurements, and other techniques of knowledge production have helped to constitute "race" as a seemingly objective, natural demarcation among human populations as well as legitimate and, in some cases, contest, forms of racial domination and inequality. Drawing on diverse historical, anthropological, sociological, and philosophical texts, this course explores of the emergence, evolution, and effects of scientific forms of racial knowledge. This exploration will begin by discussing the historical relationship between the modern concept of race and European colonialism and slavery. Subsequently, we will track several major developments in the history of racial knowledge, from Enlightenment philosophy to contemporary genomics research. In these travels we will pose and ponder on the following questions: How have scientists?independently and in conjunction with governments and corporations?conceptualized, measured, and described race? What instruments have been used to demonstrate the so-called objectivity of race and racial hierarchy? How has the human body been made both an object and product of racial knowledge? How have political and intellectual movements and the media advanced or contested the production of essentialist, race-based explanations of human difference? Finally, what role can (and should) racial knowledge play in addressing racial inequality and exclusion in the present?

SOCIOL 306-0 – Sociological Theory

Social theory provides a lens to understand how power operates in modern societies. It helps us examine not only the production of socio-economic and political inequalities but also the reproduction of social order, namely, how society holds together despite all the antagonisms such disparities create. In this course, we will study three strands of social theory—emancipatory, positivist, and critical. Emancipatory theorists, most notably Marx, "speak truth to power" to emancipate oppressed groups. They hope their theories will arm the oppressed against their oppressors in their struggles for freedom. Mainstream, positivist theorists, in contrast, take the point-of-view of the social planner and seek to use science to reform society. Finally, critical theorists, such as Frederic Nietzsche, Max Weber, and Michel Foucault, share positivists' skepticism toward emancipatory theorists. Yet, they do not try to base their authority on science, as they see science as just another way power operates. Moreover, they believe power to be intrinsic to social relations and think emancipation is simply not possible. Instead, they seek to reconfigure power relations to create more ethical social structures.

SOCIOL 307-0 – School and Society

This course is a critical sociological look at education in the United States with a focus on contemporary debates and issues. The course will cover how sociologists have both theoretically and empirically looked at schooling practices, what students learn, and how schools fit into the larger society including how the educational system in the U.S. interacts with political, economic, familial, and cultural institutions. We will also spend much time examining how educational experiences and opportunities are shaped by multiple social statuses including gender, socioeconomic status, race and ethnicity. We will focus on K-12 and higher education including the transition to higher education. Throughout all of these issues and topics, we will consider how schools both challenge and support existing systems of inequality.

SOCIOL 310-0 – Sociology of the Family

This course is an overview of the sociology of the family focusing on contemporary issues in the U.S. We will begin the course, however, by looking at the history of the family and how its form and roles within have changed historically. The course will pay particular attention to diversity in family experiences by social status including generation, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and gender. We will also think about how the intersection of work and family lives differ greatly across demographic groups as well as addressing popular misconceptions regarding the integration of occupational and family lives. The aim of this course is for students to learn how sociologists have studied families in the U.S., understand general trends in how contemporary U.S. families live, explore issues of diversity among family experiences and structures, and contemplate how “the family” fits in with other social institutions, including the economy. Overall, the goal of the course is for students to become more engaged and critical of issues related to family life that are presented to us in our daily lives through the media, from politicians and family advocates, and in our interpersonal exchanges.

SOCIOL 312-0 – Numbers, Identity, and Modernity

Our world is awash in numbers. In this class we will consider how we make and use numbers, how we know ourselves through numbers, andthe particular kinds of authority we grant to numbers. Using a range of examples including the SAT, college rankings, and statistics about raceand sexuality, this class will examine what prompts people to producenumbers, what causes them to spread, how they intervene in the worldsthey measure, how they inform our ethics, and how we think about ourselves and others differently as a result

SOCIOL 316-0 – Economic Sociology

Sociological approach to production, distribution, consumption, and markets. Classic and contemporary approaches to the economy compared across social science disciplines.

SOCIOL 317-0 – Global Development

This course explores the economic and social changes that have constituted "development," and that have radically transformed human society. The course focuses on both the historical experience of Europe and the contemporary experience of countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. In the historical discussion, we explore the birth of the "nation state" as the basic organizing unit of the international system; the transition from agrarian to industrial economic systems; and the expansion of European colonialism across the globe. In our discussion of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, we consider the legacies of colonialism for development; the ways in which countries have attempted to promote economic development and industrialization; and issues of inequality and human welfare in an increasingly globally connected world.

SOCIOL 318-0 – Sociology of Law

This course examines the relationship between law and the distribution of power in society, with a particular emphasis on law and social change in the United States. Readings will be drawn from the social sciences and history, as well as selected court cases that raise critical questions about the role of race, gender, and sexual orientation in American society. Among the material we will examine are the documents made public in the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Students should be aware that some of this material is graphic and disturbing.

SOCIOL 319-0 – Sociology of Science

This course will explore feminist perspectives on science and technology, also known as Feminist Science and Technology Studies (STS) or Feminist Technoscience. How does gender shape the production of scientific knowledge? How have feminist scholars found ways to interrogate claims about the biological basis of sex and commitments to sex as a binary (female/male) form of difference? How can we rethink our belief in technologies as neutral and value-free? How is scientific knowledge and practice also shaped by histories of colonialism, the contemporary dynamics of race, sexuality, disability, and the queer turn in the social sciences and humanities? The rich interdisciplinary field of Feminist Technoscience opens up new ways to think about the “objectivity” of science, its political underpinnings, and its effects in the world.

The course is organized around five units: (1) gendering the biology of sex; (2) feminist biology as an alternative science; (3) intersectional perspectives on science and technology; (4) recent work in feminist technoscience; and (5) governing sex and science.

SOCIOL 321-0 – Numbers, Identity & Modernity

Our world is awash in numbers. In this class we will consider how we make and use numbers, how we know ourselves through numbers, and the particular kinds of authority we grant to numbers. Using a range of examples including the SAT, college rankings, and statistics about race and sexuality, this class will examine what prompts people to produce numbers, what causes them to spread, how they intervene in the worlds they measure, how they inform our ethics, and how we think about ourselves and others differently as a result.

SOCIOL 322-0 – Sociology of Immigration

At a time when borders between nations are so heavily defended, how do we understand the flow of people across those divides? This course considers the recent sociological literature on immigration, with a particular emphasis on the transnational movement of Latin Americans. We will examine how sociological scholarship has incorporated changing understandings of Latinx migration, based on consideration of immigrants’ demographics and motivations for relocating, the factors in sending and receiving countries that foster or hinder migration, the processes of incorporation (or rejection) of immigrants in their destinations, and immigrants’ ability to maintain close ties with their countries of origin while simultaneously participating in the social life of their new locations. Finally, we will discuss these various issues in the broader context of shifting U.S. immigration policies and politics.

SOCIOL 323-0 – American Subcultures and Ethnic Groups

In this course, we will explore a diverse set of subcultures that collectively make up the pluralistic fabric of American society. In no way could we possibly explore the numerous and rich diversity of these subcultures so of necessity we will focus on a selected subset of them. These will include subcultures based on youth and age, sexuality, interest and leisure, and ethnicity. You will have the option of selecting a specific subculture of interest to you to study in detail. We will ask a set of sociological questions that are pertinent to all subcultures that will make up the weekly themes of the course. These themes range from identity to language, symbols, beliefs and ideology, ritual practices, types of organization, inequalities of resources, status & stigma, and power and politics.

Each student selects a particular subculture of interest to you to focus on throughout the course and become “the  class expert” on that subculture. Your presentation, along with additional readings and resources leads to a final paper.

SOCIOL 324-0 – Global Capitalism

From extreme inequality and global financial crises to the climate emergency confronting us today, capitalism has been the globalizing force par excellence. Not only does it connect previously isolated spaces and peoples, but it also produces such catastrophic problems at the global scale with global impacts. This course will examine how global capitalism was reconstructed in the aftermath of the World War II as the United States created a new global order. We will focus on the three pillars of this order—free trade, financial liberalization, and oil—and study how the American state created international institutions such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and World Trade Organization to promote the free flow of commercial goods, money and credit, and oil. We will, in turn, analyze how these transformations fueled the rise of a global economy riddled with local and global inequalities, financial imbalances, and unprecedented levels of carbon emissions.

SOCIOL 325-0 – Global and Local Inequalities

Bases of social stratification. Effects on life conditions and social organization. Theoretical, methodological, and empirical dimensions. Emphasis on advanced industrial societies.

SOCIOL 327-0 – Youth and Society

The course will be a critical examination of how "childhood" and "adolescence" have been defined in the U.S. We will consider how modern and historical conceptions of childhood and adolescence have evolved and how these definitions have been shaped by societal forces and institutions such as the economy, religion, and politics. We will also look at the lives of children themselves and how individuals experience being children, kids, teens, and so forth in a particular time and place. As a class, we will also be very critical of cultural and media portrayals of children and teenagers (including how social problems regarding young people are discussed) and ask how these representations have reflected and shaped how society views young people. The final topic for the course will be how adolescents make the transition to adulthood socially, emotionally, and economically, and how this transition has changed over time - particularly over the last several decades.

SOCIOL 329-0 – Field Research and Methods of Data Collection

The goal of this course is to give students experience in qualitative research methodologies. Qualitative methods are a primary way that sociologists learn about the larger social world, test and develop theories and hypotheses, and make sense of complex situations and interactions. Qualitative methods allow sociologists to understand the world from the perspective of the individual and gain a better understanding of how the social world operates.

SOCIOL 330-0 – Law, Markets and Globalization

This course examines law in the context of recent trends which have increasingly integrated the world’s social and economic systems. Globalization means greater interdependence and less national autonomy. It occurs as international flows of capital, goods, services, and people increase. Transactions, interactions and relationships that formerly occurred within national boundaries now occur across them. But transactions and relationships involving capital, goods, services and people are not self-sustaining. Rather, they are supported and regulated by an institutional foundation that typically centers on the legal system. As part of globalization, particular legal and institutional forms are also spreading throughout the world. Because the legal and institutional frameworks that support these transactions exist primarily at the level of the nation-state, a governance mismatch has emerged. Globalization means that more is going on between national jurisdictions than within them, and tensions arise between competing institutional models. Thus, globalization motivates both an extension of legal systems, and a confrontation between different legal systems that can be resolved conflictually or concordantly. Either outcome leads to institutional convergence. We consider a number of different kinds of law but focus especially on commercial law, quasi-legal trade agreements (e.g., WTO), and commercially-relevant quasi-legal institutions. We pay attention to legal developments in developing and transitional economies, and also consider how the international community deals with significant common problems like economic inequality and global climate change.

SOCIOL 332-0 – Work and Occupations

Sociological perspectives on work. Students view their own occupational futures in the context of the changing social relations of production.

SOCIOL 333-0 – Sociology of Gender and Sexuality in the Middle East

SOCIOL 336-0 – Climate Change, Policy, and Society

Climate change is the worst environmental problem facing the earth. Sea levels will rise, glaciers are vanishing, horrific storms will hit everywhere. After looking briefly at the impacts of climate change on natural and social environments both in the present and near future, we then consider how to best reduce climate change and how to adapt to its impacts. Issues of climate justice, divides between the global North and South, social movements, steps taken in different countries and internationally, and the role of market and regulations are addressed.

SOCIOL 355-0 – Medical Sociology

How are experiences of health and illness influenced by the gendered social and political context in which our bodies are located? This course will introduce you to the major theoretical and substantive topics that comprise the social study of gender, its relationship to health and illness, and the influence of social movements, politics, and policymakers. We will explore a wide range of historical and theoretical understandings of gendered bodies, identities, processes, and institutional structures, with a focus on how they contribute to gendered patterns and inequalities in experiences of health and illness across the lifespan. The course will consider the origins and impacts of the women’s health movement in the United States (US) and globally; investigate the social basis of health outcomes, engage critically with how other socially meaningful forms of difference, such as race and class interact with gender to shape experiences of health and illness; explore differences in how the reproductive health of men and women is constructed and controlled; consider questions of social justice in relation to the health experiences of queer, intersex, and transgender individuals; and, engage with recent policy debates related to biomedical and health research.

SOCIOL 356-0 – Sociology of Gender

In this course, we investigate gender relations, in the context of complex inequalities, across states, markets and families, with a focus on the United States (historically and in the contemporary era), but with an effort to place the US in comparative and global contexts and to gain some familiarity with other countries. We examine the gendered character of citizenship, political participation, social and economic rights, and try to understand gendered politics and policy from both "top down" and "bottom up" perspectives. We explore the gendered division of labor in employment and in families, and evaluate how this has been shaped by state and corporate policies, ordinary peoples’ practices and shifting cultural ideals and gendered belief systems. We examine gendered representations and practices in the community and public sphere. Finally, we look at changing family forms, which both respond to shifts in markets and states and encourage further changes in these spheres.

SOCIOL 376-0 – Charts, Graphs, Data

SOCIOL 376-0 – Gangs

This course explores the modern American urban street gang. It looks at the long sociological tradition of theory and research on such gangs, much of it conducted right here in Chicago. It looks at the structure and activities of such gangs and the response of local community institutions including the police, and national urban and criminal justice policy with respect to street gangs.

SOCIOL 376-0 – Heterosexualities

How and when did the identities that we know today as “straight” or “heterosexual” come into existence? And how have those identities differed across time and space? Drawing on the academic literature and representations in film and other popular media, we will examine the “invention of heterosexuality” and its transformation and diversification over the course of the 20th and 21st centuries. By paying attention to multiple definitions of heterosexuality—including those that coexist within a single historical moment and location—we will problematize the notion that heterosexuality can be simply conceived as a single, unitary sexual identity. Among other topics, we will discuss the increasingly blurring boundaries between heterosexuality and other sexual identities; heteroflexibility, sexual fluidity, and other challenges to conventional definitions of heterosexuality; the power associated with heterosexuality, masculinity, and femininity; the effects of sexual inequality; contemporary problems and issues, including hookup culture and definitions of sexual consent; and imagined futures of the notions of sexual identity and sexual orientation.

SOCIOL 376-0 – Masculinities

How do scientific claims and technological developments help transform cultural understandings of race, gender, and sexuality? Conversely, how do cultural beliefs about race, gender, and sexuality influence scientific knowledge and medical practice? This class will take up a series of controversies from the recent past and present to explore the dynamic interplay between expert findings, social identities, and political arguments.

SOCIOL 376-0-Race/Gender – Race/Gender/Sex & Science: Identities & Difference

How do scientific claims and technological developments help transform cultural understandings of race, gender, and sexuality? Conversely, how do cultural beliefs about race, gender, and sexuality influence scientific knowledge and medical practice? This class will take up a series of controversies from the recent past and present to explore the dynamic interplay between expert findings, social identities, and political arguments.

SOCIOL 379-0 – Understanding Genocide

In this class we will consider alternative theories of genocide and ethnic cleansing and their relationship to nationalism, poverty, and civil war. We will also investigate the responses or non responses from other nations. Case studies may include The Nazi Extermination of Jews and others, Bosnia, and Rwanda. Attention will also be given to Syria and Burma.

SOCIOL 392-0 – Technology, Work, Love, & Life

Can technology end poverty? Is the internet racist? Technology is everywhere and humans have always used technology to shape society and vice versa. How do people relate to technology? How has our culture been affected by technology? In this course we will examine how technology itself been shaped by societal norms, and values. We begin with an examination of what technology is, and is not and continue by examining the role technology plays in shaping different aspects of society - from race, to gender, and surveillance.

SOCIOL 398-1 – Senior Research Seminar

SOCIOL 398-2 – Senior Research Seminar

Independent research projects carried out under faculty supervision. Prerequisite for 398-2: B- or better in 398-1.

SOCIOL 476-0 Third Year Paper Seminar – Third Year Paper Seminar

Advanced areas of graduate students' interest. Content varies.

Courses Primarily for Graduate Students

SOCIOL 400-0 – Introduction to Statistics and Statistical Software

This course is designed to teach students the basics of single variable calculus, probability, set theory, random variables, and hypothesis testing. The course prepares students for the next class in the statistics sequence. The fundamental math used in this course will be covered in a review course prior to the start of the quarter. By the end of the course, students will understand the intuition behind statistical analysis, have practice applying the statistical techniques covered, and be familiar with different types of statistical analysis.

Math camp for course begins 9/16/19 - see instructor for details and schedule.

SOCIOL 401-1 – Statistical Analysis of Social Data: Applied Regression Methods I

This course is part of the quantitative methods sequence for graduate students in sociology. The main topic of the course is the theory and practice of linear regression analysis. We will cover multiple ordinary least squares regression, regression assumptions, regression diagnostics, basic path models, data transformations, and issues in causal inference. If time permits, we may discuss other regression-based topics such as fixed and random effects models, instrumental variables, and regression discontinuity.

SOCIOL 401-2 – Statistical Analysis of Social Data: Applied Regression Methods II

This course is part of the quantitative methods sequence for graduate students in sociology. For most of the course we will focus on regression-like methods for categorical outcomes, notably binary outcomes, ordered outcomes, nominal outcomes, count outcomes, and (if time permits) event outcomes. The course will also include discussion of practical issues in performing a statistical analysis of secondary data. I assume that you the enter class either having data at hand to perform an analysis or that you can find data on your own. The major goals of the course are for students (1) to become proficient enough in regression models for categorical variables to understand, explain, and critique its use in articles appearing in sociology journals and (2) to be able to perform a competent analysis of data that is of sufficient quality to appear as an article in a sociology or social science journal. The major assignment for the course will be for students to write a paper that is a data analysis of secondary data. The final paper should be similar to a draft of a publishable article, although there will be some sections that I require you to turn in that you would not find in a regular article.

SOCIOL 403-0 – Field Methods

The problem with learning to do fieldwork is that you need to learn everything all at once. Fieldwork defies compartmentalization or much setting of priorities. For the most part, people learn to do fieldwork rather than being taught to do it. On the theory that learning to do fieldwork is more a matter of being socialized rather than of learning techniques, the course is arranged to provide a concentrated exposure to fieldwork. Through your own and your colleagues' field experiences and four quite different books by fieldworkers, you will be exposed to a wide variety of field settings. These monographs and your own experiences will also provide us with a common base to draw on in reflecting on the methodological and ethical issues addressed in the pieces on how to do fieldwork and ethnographic writing.

SOCIOL 406-1 – Classical Theory in Sociological Analysis

Against the backdrop of Cartesian reservations about the possibility of a "science" of the social world, this course examines several of the major justifications that social thinkers have offered, historically, for constructing such a science.  In the process, the course also considers the different conceptions of the social world that have been part of these justifications. The principal thinkers examined are Emile Durkheim, Karl Marx, Max Weber, and W.E.B. Du Bois.

SOCIOL 406-3 – Contemporary Theory in Sociological Analysis: Modernity

Modernity has become a contested term. This class investigates how various thinkers have conceived of what it means to be “modern" or "post-modern," critiques of modernity that have profoundly shaped our images of it, and skeptics who challenge the idea of modernity. It also includes sections that investigate in detail what I call "mechanisms" of modernity: procedures, devices, approaches or strategies that people adopt or promulgate in their efforts to be rational, manage uncertainty and conflict, or attain efficiency in various institutional arenas.

SOCIOL 420-0 – Cultural Sociology

This course introduces graduate students to the sociology of culture (understanding social influence on cultural formations) and cultural sociology (understanding cultural influences on social processes). Although the course has no prerequisites, some acquaintance with Weber, Durkheim, and Marx will be helpful.  Classes will be roughly half discussion, half lecture.  Students must come to class prepared to discuss the readings and their applications, and teams of students will lead each discussion.

SOCIOL 437-0 – Economic Sociology

This course provides an introduction to economic sociology. It poses the key idea of "embeddedness" and develops it by exploring the connections between economic institutions and behavior, on the one hand, and social processes, structures and relations, on the other. The course is organized topically, and people are expected to read all the required material.

SOCIOL 476-0 – Case Study and Small N Methods

This seminar offers a broad and advanced introduction to the field of comparative and case study methodology. The emphasis is on what are conventionally regarded in political science as "qualitative" methods for the analysis of a relatively small number of cases. In sociology, this field is generally known as comparative-historical methodology. The course focuses on recent methodological writing, though a few classical pieces are also included. The readings are not specific to any substantive subfield in political science or sociology. The course assumes no prior background in qualitative methodology, but the material is advanced.

SOCIOL 476-0 – Publishing and Writing

This seminar focuses on the anatomy of articles in professional journals of sociology. In doing so, the seminar examines the different ways of "framing" a research question, the art of organizing a review of the literature, and the mechanics of good academic writing. The seminar is designed primarily as a forum for the advanced graduate student who has written a paper that s/he seeks to develop into a manuscript appropriate for submission to a referred sociology journal. During the quarter, seminar participants will revise their papers into article-form on the basis of a series of assignments and exercises structured not only to assist in the revision of the papers on hand, but also to provide preparation for article writing in sociology more generally.

SOCIOL 476-0 – Business and Society

This course considers the interrelationship of business, society, and democracy over the course of American history. Drawing on an interdisciplinary selection of readings, it explores topics such as the political and legal development of the corporation; the role of slavery in the development of American economic and political institutions; the rise of a new American bourgeoisie as well as the rise of the financial services industry during the nineteenth century; the role of real estate interests in shaping the racial and class segregation of the postwar metropolis; the fragmentation of the American corporate elite; public affairs consultants and the corporate-led commercialization of mass political participation; and the renovation of patrimonial capitalism at a time of extreme economic inequality.

SOCIOL 476-0 – Demographic Methods

Formal demography is characterized by a focus on the enduring collectivity of population and careful study of the processes responsible for changes in population size and composition. Of particular interest to the demographer, are the processes of fertility, mortality and migration. In addition to these three basic areas of research, demographers are also interested in a number of related issues within the broad social science and health research spectrum including marriage, retirement, segregation, disability and land use. At the heart of all of these empirical analyses of populations and related issues is a particular way of looking at the world and related set of methodological techniques.

This course aims to introduce students to this way of viewing the world. Namely, it will cover the the principal methodological tools used by demographers for studying changes in population size and composition including: basic measures of mortality, fertility and migration; life table construction; multiple decrement life tables; stable populations; population projections; age patterns of vital events; and event history analysis. Students will learn to apply these and other demographic methods through a series of weekly problem sets.

SOCIOL 476-0 – Health, Illness, and Biomedicine

This course will provide an introduction to central topics in the sociology of health, illness, and biomedicine. At the same time, it will show how that field has been redefined and reinvigorated by science and technology studies. We will seek to understand health, health care, and biomedicine by exploring multiple domains: the work sites in which health professionals interact with one another, with their tools, and with their clients; the research settings where medical knowledge and technologies are generated; the cultural arenas within which ideas of health and disease circulate; the market relations that produce health care as a commodity; the institutions and practices that transform social inequalities into health disparities; the social movements that challenge the authority of experts; and the bodies and selves that experience and are remade by illness. Students from other disciplines are welcome.

SOCIOL 476-0 – Methods for Cultural Analysis

In this seminar, we will consider how one formulates research questions and puts evidence together in order to investigate specific instances of the culture-society interaction and, from doing so, to assess cultural theory. The course is for students who (1) have a background in cultural sociology (usually by having taken SOC 420), and (2) have a research project involving culture, one that is either already underway or in the planning stages. All participants must be actively engaged in a piece of cultural research (dissertation proposal, second-year paper, etc.), at least for the duration of the course itself. The goal is to create a productive interplay between research activities and methodological awareness.

SOCIOL 476-0 Microsociology – Microsociology

This graduate seminar will provide an overview of central topics in microsociology: an approach that is also known as sociological social psychology. Rather than focusing on organizations, institutions, and populations, microsociology addresses the dynamics of interaction, the relationships between personality and social structure, the production of culture, the dynamics of social identity, the sociology of emotions, and the experimental analysis of inequality and trust. The class incorporates various methodological traditions, including ethnography, interviews, survey research, and experimentation, and draws on the writings of such important theorists contributing to a microsociology approach including Sigmund Freud, George Simmel, George Herbert Mead, George Homans, and Erving Goffman.

SOCIOL 476-0 – Networks

Social networks have a profound affect on what you feel, think, and do. Whether or not you get a job, who will date or marry, whether or not you’ll catch a contagious disease are all affected by the social networks in which you live. This class explores the ways our social networks shape society, and how society shapes our social networks.
Social Network Analysis (SNA) refers to both a theoretical perspective and a set of methodological techniques. As a theoretical perspective, SNA stresses the interdependence among social actors. This approach views the social world as patterns or regularities in relationships among interacting units and focuses on how such patterns affect the behavior of network units or actors. A “structure” emerges as a persistent pattern of interaction that can influence a multitude of behaviors, such as getting a job, income attainment, political decision making, social revolutions, organizational merges, global finance and trade markets, delinquent youth behaviors, the spread of infectious diseases, and so on. As a methodological approach, SNA refers to a catalog of techniques steeped in mathematical graph theory and now extending to statistical simulation and algebraic models. This course surveys the growing field of SNA, emphasizing the merger of theory and method while gaining hands-on experience with network data and software. As such, the course is designed to be (roughly) equal parts theory and methods. Students will leave the course with the ability to understand and apply SNA in a variety of contexts.

SOCIOL 476-0 Race and Theory – Race and Theory

This course sets out to think with, through, and beyond contemporary sociological theories of race, racism, and coloniality. It thus stages an intra- and inter-disciplinary discussion about the state and stakes of current theorizing on race.

SOCIOL 476-0 – Research Design

This course provides an overview of the major components involved in designing an empirical research paper including (i) developing and refining a research question; (ii) situating the question in the relevant literature; and (iii) constructing an appropriate research strategy to explore the question. Throughout the course students will gain familiarity with (i) academic writing and the academic article format; (ii) the peer review publication process; (iii) the practice of giving constructive feedback on peer work; and (iv) presenting research in conference presentation style. By the end of the course students will develop a detailed research proposal that will resemble the front end of an academic journal article. While there is no one size fits all way to do research, this class will emphasize strategies conducive to writing a peer review journal article that can be applied to other academic endeavors as well (e.g. dissertation proposal development etc.).

This is a practical course aimed at helping students who are just starting out on a research project. This is not a course in the philosophy of research design and/or research methods. Although students may have a range of backgrounds and expertise we will focus on the fundamentals so that even those early on in their research careers gain familiarity with both the research process and the professional aspects of sociological research.

SOCIOL 476-0 – Set-Theoretic Methods

This graduate-level course requires having already completed "Case Study and Small-N Research." The course provides an introduction to the logic and use of set-theoretic methods, including but not exclusively Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA). The material is equally divided between set-theoretic methods for medium/large N research and case study/small N research. The requirements for the class are: (1) a paper in which students analyze data using QCA; (2) a final exam; and (3) active participation in classroom discussions of the readings. At the end of the class, students will know how to use QCA and other set-theoretic methods in their own work.

SOCIOL 476-0 Theorizing Black Genders and Sexualities – Theorizing Black Genders and Sexualities

This graduate seminar engages critical texts in the fields of black feminist theory, black queer studies, and queer of color critique.  Our emphasis is on treating these fields as neither separate nor mutually constitutive, but instead as engaged in a long-standing rich dialogue.  We will read by work scholars including Cathy Cohen, Patricia Hill Collins, Mignon Moore, Marcus Hunter, Audre Lorde, Alice Walker, and Evelynn Hammonds.

SOCIOL 476-0 – Political Sociology of the State

The seminar provides an overview of the theoretical and empirical debates focusing on states as institutions engaged in coercion and competition; regulation and redistribution; the classification, stratification and production of citizens/subjects; production and reproduction.  We discuss the emergence, development and futures of states and empires, and their (usually uncertain) boundaries. Sociology 476 is a seminar in which students are active participants in discussions of readings.

SOCIOL 476-0 – Sociology of Sexuality

This graduate seminar asks the following questions: What do we learn about society by studying sexuality? What do we learn about sexuality by studying society? We will focus on sociological approaches to studying sexuality and link sexuality studies to broader sociological questions about culture, social interaction, social inequality, globalization, social movements, science, health, political economy, and public policy. We will explore various theoretical and methodological approaches that have been used in sociological studies of sexuality—including those that guide sexuality-related analyses of meanings and identities, practices and behaviors, politics, power, relationships, population movement, collective identities and social movements, globalization, place and space, and morality and social control.

SOCIOL 476-0 – Teaching Practicum

This course provides mentoring and guidance for graduate students currently teaching in the Sociology department.

SOCIOL 480-0 – Introduction to the Discipline

Introduction to the department, faculty, and adjunct faculty. Faculty discuss their research and teaching interests. Mandatory two-quarter weekly seminar for first-year study.

SOCIOL 490-0 – Research: Second-Year Paper

Independent study for work on second-year paper.

SOCIOL 570-0 – Seminar on College Teaching

This seminar offers a space for graduate students to discuss topics related to college TAing and teaching. The course covers the following topics: practical skills and strategies to be an effective and efficient teaching assistant, particular TAing/teaching challenges for women, minority, international, and LGBT instructors, leading discussion sections and lecturing, how to create inclusive classrooms, how to construct a syllabus, defining your teaching philosophy, and perspectives on student evaluations. Back to top