Course Descriptions 2020-2021
Courses primarily for:
Courses Primarily for Undergraduate Students
SOCIOL 101-6 – Birthright Citizenship: Race, Law, and Belonging in the United StatesThis discussion-based seminar is an introduction to the social scientific and historical study of U.S. citizenship. Debates over immigration and citizenship are long-standing in the United States. And today’s politicians continue to raise concerns over who (as in what kind of people) should be granted membership. These are fundamentally questions over who belongs and who is deserving. Some on the right, including the 45th President, seek to abolish birthright citizenship, claiming it is a “magnet for illegal immigration.”
Students will learn the history behind granting citizenship to anyone born in the United States. They explore the history of U.S. citizenship law and learn about the interests and justifications for narrower and more capacious definitions of citizenship. Other than birthright citizenship, what regimes for granting citizenship exist? What are the exceptions to birthright citizenship in the United States? How are decisions about and definitions of rights and membership related to ideas of race? Overall, this course will address how the United States has drawn boundaries of membership in racial terms and explore what this means for envisioning future possibilities.
SOCIOL 101-6 – The Elusive Right to HealthRights to health and healthcare are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 23; adopted by the UN in 1948), in the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (Article 12; adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1966), and in many national constitutions. Yet it is far from clear what these rights mean. For instance it is sometimes a right to health that is being asserted and at other times a right to healthcare. It is also unclear how these rights can be achieved in practice. In this course, we will talk about how and why health became a right and what is accomplished by thinking of health as a right. We will be talking, among other things, about how rights to health vary from one country to another and even one disease (or condition) to another. We will also ask what institutions (such as the World Health Organization at the global level) protect and extend rights to health and whether or not they are effective. And we will consider the difference between legal rights and the de facto rights that may be created much more locally (for instance in a clinic). Grades will be based on short written assignments, class presentations, and class discussion; class attendance is required.
SOCIOL 101-6 – First Year Seminar: Animals and Society
In our College Seminar on Animals and Society, we will explore the relationship between human and non-human species from a sociological viewpoint. We will consider a series questions about this relationship including definition of the human-animal boundary; the history of animal-human relations; how gender, class, and race and/or ethnicity impact human dealings with animals; zoos and shelters; the relationship between violence toward animals and toward people; anti-cruelty and animal rights movements; animal therapies; and whether we might conceive of animals as part of society or outside of it.
SOCIOL 101-6 – Rebellion and its Enemies in China Today
This class will sharpen your writing. You will write and present a seven-to-nine page paper on civic activism in contemporary China. In the process of writing this paper, you will practice identifying a theme you find interesting, formulating an argument, finding data and source material on the internet from China in English translation, and relating your theme to the scholarly literature we read and discuss together in class. Some of the progress you will make in your writing abilities will be technical – what counts as evidence, what is the difference between data and scholarly texts, how do you cite and give credit to those who preceded you; some will be intellectual – how do you refute and how do you prove, how do you evaluate your own argument to be clear about its limitations, how do you assess the political relevance of your theme; and some of it will be emotional – how do you cope with the panic that is welling up when you are expected to tame the chaos of reality into a tidy argument, how do you cope with disappointment and ire when I tell you that your second draft is not good enough, how do you cope with your self-doubts when you are trying to find a needle of evidence in the haystack of the internet under time-pressure?
The Chinese have achieved enormous economic growth over the last forty years which has dramatically raised living conditions in China. The Chinese Communist Party has steered this economic development through authoritarian rule which denies the Chinese liberties you take for granted. Thirty-one years ago, the Communist Party killed Chinese who demanded these liberties by employing the military inside the country. Since the massacre of 1989, protest in the streets has moved to networking on the internet. You will write your paper about this challenge to authoritarian rule by engaging some of the following questions: How have urban Chinese lived with the trauma of the massacre? What exactly happened in 1989? Making and uploading videos to the internet is a crucial weapon for activists. How do you evaluate the power of individual videos to force political change? These videos are documentaries, performance art, interviews, covert recordings of state agents, cries for help of fugitives in real time, and witness testimony. The creators of these videos are prepared to take risks because they feel there is something wrong with China today. These feelings are value judgments, or valuations. How do you tease out the values by which activists judge the state and evaluate their lives in China? What in turn are the value judgments of American reporters who report on Chinese activism to the American public? What are the value judgments of American professors who study Chinese activism? And what are your own value judgments: If it turns out that U.S. capitalism in its combination with democracy cannot economically compete with Chinese capitalism in its combination with authoritarian rule, and you were forced to choose, would you choose capitalism or democracy? What parts of your life would be impossible under authoritarian rule? Which line would populism and neo-authoritarianism in America have to cross for you to fight the government?
SOCIOL 110-0 – Introduction to SociologySociology 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 – InequalityDescription coming soon.
SOCIOL 202-0 – Social ProblemsDescription coming soon.
SOCIOL 206-0 – Law and SocietyLaw 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 207 – Cities and SocietyThe course is called Cities and Society but it's really about the whole metropolis. Urban areas are dense settlements of diverse groups of people. Racial, gender, sexual, ethnic, cultural, economic, and political heterogeneity all require negotiation and sometimes lead to conflicts that play out in the streets and neighborhoods of major metropolises. Also, elite political and financial actors in cities have a heavy hand in shaping the direction of urban development and the allocation of resources. We will look at the role of both institutional actors and average city residents in affecting the following urban issues: housing and residential stratification by race and class, economic development, poverty, sprawl, crime and policing, education, culture, and immigration.
SOCIOL 208-0 – Race and SocietyThis 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 SocietyOverview 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 SocietyThis course introduces sociological approaches to economic institutions and behavior. The goal is to provide a set of sociological ideas to understand markets, prices, corporations, supply, demand, production, work, exchange, property, and other economic topics, in a different way.
SOCIOL 216-0 – Gender and Society
Gender structures our daily lives in fundamental ways, yet we are often unaware of its effects. For example, why do we associate blue with boys and pink with girls? Why do most administrative forms only have two categories (i.e. Male and Female)? Why do male doctors, on average, have higher incomes than female doctors? The course introduces students to the sociological analysis of gender as a central component of social organization and social inequality in the US context. We start by reviewing key sociological concepts that are important to the study of gender. Next, we explore the causes and consequences of gender inequalities in important social institutions such as the family, the education system, and the labor market. We conclude by considering gender inequality in an international comparative context to understand crosscutting similarities and differences between the US and both high- and low-income contexts. This allows us to explore the role social norms and policies play 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 232-0 – Sexuality and SocietyThis 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 – Guns in the United StatesDescription coming soon.
SOCIOL 277-0 – Native StudiesDescription coming soon.
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 OrganizationsWe 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 DataIn 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 KnowledgeOn 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"This course examines some of the guiding themes of sociological analysis as they were originally formulated by four influential “classical” social thinkers: Emile Durkheim (1858-1917), Karl Marx (1818-1883), Max Weber (1864-1920), and W.E.B. Du Bois (1868-1963). Drawing on some of these theorists’ major writings, the purpose of the
course is to unpack each thinker’s major concepts and consider how he fused them in order to craft a distinctive lens through which to view the social world at his own time and today."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 SocietyThis 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 309-0 – Political Sociology-Focus on GenderThis class will investigate how gender shapes politics and policy, and how these in turn shape gender, with a focus on the United States, placed in comparative and global contexts. Gender is conceptualized as a set of relations, identities and cultural schema, always constituted with other dimensions of power, difference and inequality (e.g., race, class, sexuality, religion, citizenship status). We will analyze the gendered character of citizenship, political participation and representation, social rights and economic rights. We aim to understand gendered politics and policy from both "top down" and "bottom up" perspectives. What do states do, via institutions of political participation and representation, citizenship rights and policies, to shape gender relations? How do gender relations influence the nature of policy and citizenship? How has feminism emerged as a radical challenge to the androcentrism and restricted character of the democratic public sphere? And how has anti-feminism come to be a significant dimension of politics? We expand on conventional conceptions of political participation and citizenship rights to include the grassroots democratic activism that gave birth to modern women's movements. We explore how women's political efforts have given rise to the creation of alternative visions of democracy, social provision and economic participation, as well as reshaping formal politics and policies. And, finally, we will take advantage of the fact that we are in the middle of a Presidential election to examine the gendered aspects of the political landscape in the contemporary United States.
The course readings feature different types of materials – original documents, scholarly books and articles, a textbook, policy reports, popular non-fiction work on aspects of gender, policy, politics and society. These are supplemented by films and online resources.
SOCIOL 310-0 – Sociology of the FamilyThis 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 – Social Change and the EnvironmentDescription coming soon.
SOCIOL 316-0 – Economic SociologySociological approach to production, distribution, consumption, and markets. Classic and contemporary approaches to the economy compared across social science disciplines.
SOCIOL 317-0 – Global DevelopmentThis 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 LawThis 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
This course examines the recent history of capitalism around the world, and is meant to whet your appetite rather than to provide comprehensive coverage. We examine four historical topics: what communism was, and why people fear it; why there is more poverty and inequality in the U.S. than other developed countries, and whether this is a problem; how some developing countries have managed to become rich; and the rise of the financial sector in the American economy, at the expense of manufacturing and services. We then close with an examination of the racialized history of capitalism, and students are asked to use everything they have learned in the course to think through solutions for questions of the current moment.
SOCIOL 325-0 – Global and Local InequalitiesBases 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 SocietyThe 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 CollectionThe 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 GlobalizationThis 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 OccupationsSociological 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 – The Climate Crisis, Policies, and SocietyClimate 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 SociologyHow 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 GenderIn 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 365-0 – Sociol AnalyticsDescription coming soon.
SOCIOL 376-0 – EmpireThis discussion-based seminar is an introduction to the social scientific study of empire. We will pay special attention to formal settler colonialism, formal overseas colonies, and informal empire. We will discuss how politicians and elites conquer territory, draw boundaries, exercise political and economic control, and define the people of conquered places. We will explore the material consequences that result from such processes, especially as they relate to race, citizenship, and rights. While the primary focus of this course is on forms of U.S. empire, we will place the U.S. empire in a global and transnational context. There will be comparative readings to other empires and colonies. Finally, each student will conduct an individual research project that brings the concepts they learned in class to bear on another case of imperial rule.
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 – Gender-based Violence, Power and Carceral StateIn the U.S., the dominant social response to gender-based violence centers policing, prisons, and other carceral practices. This course examines the intersecting power relations that shape experiences of violence and efforts to address it. We will focus on the politics and practices of criminalization and incarceration and struggles for gender, racial, and economic justice—including the prison-industrial complex; Whiteness and colonial violence; rape myths, law, and forensic technology; Black women’s activism; and social movements shaped by carceral and anti-carceral feminism.
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/Sex & Science: Identities & DifferenceHow 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 – Sexuality, Technoscience, and Law
Sexuality shapes the cultural, economic, political, and social organization of the U.S. The ways we define and think about sexuality are deeply entangled in science and technology, regulation and governance, and social practices of exclusion and inclusion. This course examines the complex relationships between sexuality, technoscience, and the law—including those that guide sexuality-related identities, meanings, and interactions; sexual citizenship, feminist and queer health movements; investigating and controlling sexual crimes; digital expressions of sexuality, privacy, and algorithmic justice.
SOCIOL 379-0 – Understanding GenocideIn 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 392-0-21 – Education, Equity and InequalityIt’s been 173 years since Horace Mann famously called education the “great equalizer,” and, as we know, public education has not led to social equality in the United States. In this course, we will explore this phenomenon, considering the complex relationship between equity, inequality, and education. We will consider various equity issues in the education system including, but not limited to: racism in K-12 education, unequal access to higher education, and the effect the COVID-19 pandemic has had on schools across the board. Students will vote on a fourth topic to explore for the final unit of the course. Additionally, students will spend the quarter independently researching a topic of interest, culminating in a research proposal due at the end of the course.
SOCIOL 392-0 – Latin American Migration to the U.S. Past, Present, FutureImmigration from Latin America and the growth of the United States’ Hispanic and Latino/a populations are two of the most important and controversial issues in the recent history of the United States. Latinos/as—numbering more than 60 million in the U.S.—constitute a large and heterogeneous group with a unique social, political, and cultural history. This course will contextualize today’s debates on Latin American immigration by looking at the past, present, and future of this issue. We will discuss key moments in the development of Latin America migration to the U.S., like the Bracero Program and the Chicano movement, before turning to current issues like the border crisis and the Dream Act. The goal of the course is to provide you with a deep understanding of Latin American migration to the U.S., enabling you to grapple with the nuances of immigration policy questions and empowering you to thoughtfully navigate a hot-button topic.
SOCIOL 392-0 – Sociology of FearIn this course we will study how fear matters as a sociological project. First, we will study the building blocks of fear and how fear is ingrained in society. Second, we will study fear and misperceptions in crime media like newspapers and true crime entertainment. Third, we will study fear in the context of fiction and horror films.
SOCIOL 398-1 – Senior Research SeminarThis is the first class in a two-quarter sequence in which students will complete a senior thesis in sociology. In this fall quarter, students will identify and motivate a sociological research question and create a research design and empirical strategy that will answer that question. Students will also complete a research proposal and begin data collection. Finally, students will connect with a faculty advisor in the Department of Sociology. The faculty advisor will provide each student with intellectual input throughout the research and writing process. They will also serve as the primary reader of the thesis when it is complete
SOCIOL 398-2 – Senior Research SeminarIndependent 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 SeminarAdvanced areas of graduate students' interest. Content varies.
Courses Primarily for Graduate Students
SOCIOL 400-0 – Introduction to Statistics and Statistical SoftwareThis course is designed to teach you 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. Required Math Prefresher **BEFORE** the quarter starts - contact instructor for details and schedule.
Math refresher for course begins 9/02/20 - contact instructor for details and schedule.
SOCIOL 401-1 – Linear RegressionThis 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 IIThis 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 MethodsThe 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
This seminar, required for and restricted to first-year Sociology students, covers some sociological thinking of Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, W.E.B. Du Bois, Georg Simmel, and Jane Addams. The first three wrote what are conventionally seen as foundational texts of sociological theory, while the second three took up specific issues especially relevant today; all six influence contemporary research and sociological discourse. We will focus on how these social theorists conceptualized modernity and how useful the analytic tools developed at the beginning of the twentieth century are for addressing the issues and social configurations of the twenty-first.
Only first-year graduate students in Sociology may enroll.
SOCIOL 406-3 – Contemporary Theory in Sociological AnalysisDescription coming soon.
SOCIOL 408 – Sociology of LawThis course is a general introduction to the sociology of law intended for graduate students in all disciplines. The sociology of law treats law as a social institution that is highly intertwined with other aspects of society, including social structure, social behavior, ideology, politics, culture, and the economy. This seminar will cover classic and contemporary works on central topics in the sociology of law, including: the interplay between law and social inequalities; the relation of law, rights, and social movements; the negotiated nature of regulation and enforcement; the relation of law and organizations; the role of litigants, lawyers, and judges as social actors; and legal culture and legal consciousness. The course takes a critical empirical approach to the relationship between law and society.
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 SociologyThis 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 440-0 – Stratification: Class, Race, GenderThis seminar focuses on major research issues in social stratification and inequality. Stratification refers to the fact that people (or groups or institutions) are arrayed along some (usually hierarchical) continuum of value, whereas inequality focuses on the size and consequences of gaps between groups. Race and gender are key bases of stratification. Class, or socioeconomic status, is both a grounds for stratification as well as a measure of stratification itself. The course will focus on how class background, race, and gender influence inequality on the basis of socioeconomic status. We will discuss theoretical and empirical approaches to studying stratification; explore key domains in which stratification is produced, reproduced and manifested, such as families, schools, the labor market, and neighborhoods; and consider the political responses and debates regarding stratification. The course will focus mostly on the United States, although we will also consider cross-national comparisons among OECD countries.
SOCIOL 476-0 – Case Study and Small N MethodsThis 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 – Interview MethodsIn this course, students will develop the necessary skills to conceptualize, plan, and execute interview-based research projects. We will cover topics such as fine-tuning a research idea, formulating research questions, designing a rigorous research plan, navigating the IRB process, recruiting respondents, creating the interview guide, conducting interviews, and analyzing and writing up data. We will also consider reflexivity, ethics, and the complexities of interviewing various populations. Students at all levels of the graduate student process are welcome. However, the course tends to focus on issues that arise at the beginning stages of a second year paper or dissertation proposal. Those students will therefore receive preference in course enrollment.
SOCIOL 476-0 – Professional Writing and Publishing SeminarThis seminar examines the academic writing and publication process in sociology, giving particular emphasis to writing and publishing articles in professional journals. Students analyze the “anatomy” of journal articles, considering the different ways of motivating an article and organizing a review of the literature, as well as the mechanics of good academic writing.
SOCIOL 476-0 – States and InequalitiesDescription coming soon
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 MethodsFormal 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 BiomedicineThis 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 – Historical Sociology
This class explores recent directions in historical sociology. While classical perspectives will be discussed, it stresses coverage of books published in the last ten to fifteen years. Students will gain significant exposure to the most recent trends in the subfield. Among the topics covered will be state formation and institutional change, empire, and race. Assigned books will include Julia Adams’s The Familial State; Julian Go’s Patterns of Empire; Christof Dejung, David Motadel, and Jurgen Osterhammel’s The Global Bourgeosie, and Angel Adams Parham’s American Routes. Strong pedagogical emphasis will be placed on learning how to read books closely and critically. In addition to giving presentations on selected books, students will write two book reviews; there are no long writing assignments.
SOCIOL 476-0 – Methods for Cultural AnalysisIn 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 – MicrosociologyThis graduate seminar will provide an overview of central topics in
SOCIOL 476-0 – NetworksSocial 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 TheoryThis 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 DesignThis 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 MethodsThis 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 – Topics in Sociological Analysis: Sociology of FamiliesThis course is designed to provide an overview of recent scholarship in sociology and the social sciences on contemporary families in the United States and other industrialized countries. We will focus on research that considers how families have changed over the last century and how the structure, functions, and experiences of family life vary across race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexual identity, and national context.
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
Political sociologists study the influence of social forces on formal politics, as well as politics in non-formalized settings. In this class we focus on three topics: how social identities and social cleavages affect politics; how money influences politics; and how to define power and understand resistance.
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 – Survey DesignDescription to come
SOCIOL 476-0 – Teaching PracticumThis 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.