SOCIOL 101-6 That Seventies Show: Politics and Society in the "Long 1970s" and the Origins of Our Time
This course explores the idea that the extreme level of political polarization and economic inequality that prevails in our own time can be traced to the conflicts and dilemmas of the "long 1970s." In addition to exploring primary sources from the period, students will read an interdisciplinary selection of monographs, book chapters, and journal articles. Grades will be based on class discussion as well as a combination of short and long writing assignments.
SOCIOL 101-6 Gender, Classification, and Globalization
In this course, we will explore the relationship between gender and globalization. We will study how gender and sexuality are produced as global social categories. The course will survey liberal approaches to gender and sexuality categories as sites for international human rights claims-making. It will then turn to postcolonial and transnational feminist critiques of taken-for-granted social groupings, such as “woman” and, more recently, “gay” and “transgender,” that are assumed to be globally relevant. Critical approaches to gender and sexuality challenge conventional “born this way” narratives about gender and sexual identities as innate and therefore universal. This course will raise questions that will make us uncomfortable and, hopefully, give us tools to critically reflect on our own gender and sexuality identities and practices.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Our climate is rapidly changing. Rising sea levels and increasing ocean acidity, higher temperatures, more droughts, melting glaciers, wilder weather patterns, and mounting environmental disasters mean that climate change is increasingly visible in our daily lives. What role does human society play in these changes, and what consequences does society suffer as these changes occur? This course is an introduction to environmental sociology during which we will employ an intersectional, sociological perspective to look beyond the scientific basis for environmental problems to understand the social roots of environmental issues. We will cover a variety of topics in environmental sociology, including new directions in sustainable development and how actors such as corporations, the media, and social movements impact public opinion and environmental issues. Further, we will critically examine the gendered, racial, and socioeconomic production of disparate environmental risks.
This 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.
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.
How do sociologists do their work? How do they make discoveries and draw conclusions about the social world around us? This course is an introduction to sociological research methods. We will learn how to design a research study - everything from choosing a topic and formulating a research question to developing a research plan. We will explore a range of research methods from surveys, interviewing, observational methods and content analysis to "big" data approaches. We will also think about the strengths and weaknesses of various sociological methods and what these methods can contribute to our understanding of the social world. We will also debate and discuss the role of the researcher in the research process along with thinking about ethical concerns and IRB protections for research subjects. We will also critically examine how social science research is presented to us in our everyday lives (including news reporting, political polls and social media postings). The goal of this course is for students to be able to design an appropriate methods plan to investigate a sociological research question they are interested in, but also to become more critical when learning about the latest social science study from media and social media outlets.
SOCIOL 276-0 Israeli Society and Israeli Sociology
This course examines the relationship between knowledge production, history, and politics by focusing on the discipline of sociology in Israel. We will begin with a brief introduction in which we will discuss what is sociology, as well as the politics of scientific (i.e., sociological) knowledge production. We will then read and discuss the works of selected authors ranging from Jewish-Zionist proto-sociologists that published their works before the establishment of the State of Israel; to the works of early Israeli sociologists and so-called "establishment" sociology; to the later rise of critical approaches. Thoughtfully engaging with these works, we will ask questions such as: What are the main problems with which these thinkers/sociologists grappled and how did they approach them? How did these sociologists conceive of their nation and state? How did they think Israeli society should be compared to other societies? And what, according to these scholars, is Zionism's/Israel's relationship with the Palestinians? As we engage with these questions, students will gain substantive knowledge of Israeli society and develop critical thinking and reading skills.
Gender studies have traditionally focused on women. Yet critical work on men and masculinities show us how people of all genders are constrained by gender expectations and assumptions. Furthermore, studies of masculinities shed light on practical questions like, why do men die earlier than women? And, why are men more likely to commit mass shootings? In recent years, the public spotlight has cast light on savory and unsavory aspects of masculinity; think about the rise of the term “toxic masculinity,” the #MeToo movement, the 2019 viral Gillette advertisement, and blogs commenting on the behavior of men on the reality show The Bachelorette. In this course, we will go beyond banal statements like “men are trash” to critically ask, What role does masculinity play in social life? How is masculinity produced, and are there different ways to be masculine? This course provides students with an intensive introduction to the foundational theory and research in the field of masculinities studies. We will use an intersectional lens to study the ways in which the concept and lived experience of masculinity are shaped by economic, social, cultural, and political forces. As we study the institutions that socialize people into gender, we will examine how the gendered social order influences the way people of all genders perform masculinity as well as the ways men perceive themselves and other men, women, and social situations. Verbally and in writing, students will develop an argument about the way contemporary masculinity is constructed and performed.
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. 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.
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?
This course provides an overview of how human populations change through mortality, fertility, and migration. This year, we will give special attention to how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted mortality, fertility, and migration in the US and globally. Students will learn key concepts from the field of demography and be introduced to cutting-edge demographic research related to health disparities in the United States, the impact of HIV/AIDS on family life and longevity in Africa, migration patterns within and from Latin America, the reasons behind sex-selective abortions in Asia, and the implications of the current low birthrates in Europe.
The main emphasis in this course is on how sociological theory informs social research. We will read selections of classical social theory and then look at how various scholars have used that theory to help them analyze some aspect of society. We will keep moving between theoretical statements and applications or refinements of that theory. The course will be a mix of lectures and discussion.
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.
This class will investigate how gender shapes politics and policy, and how these in turn shape gender, in the United States and other countries, situated in global context. 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 an election to examine some of 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.
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.
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 329-0 Field Research and Methods of Data Collection
If sociology is the study of social groups and societies, then field methods puts you right there in the thick of it. There are three main parts of doing fieldwork: observation, participation, and documentation. If you came to sociology because you like being around people, you’ll have no problem with the participation part, but might find the documentation and perhaps even the observation a real challenge. If you are the type who loves people but only in the way that life scientists love their lab rats, then you’ll be a keen observer and documenter, but will have to force yourself to participate. This course is to try to make all of us more comfortable doing all three. This is a hands-on class. You will be in the field collecting data. We will spend class time discussing your field experiences. The readings will locate field methods within the variety of social scientific methods; raise the logistical, ethical and personal dilemmas you will all face as fieldworkers; and provide examples of how to translate observational data into a coherent and theoretically grounded piece of scholarship. The goals of this course are both to give you the techniques of field research and to make you a better reader and evaluator of the various types of empirical evidence.
The gender division of labor is a key organizing principle in all known societies, but it takes a fascinating array of forms. In industrialized and post-industrial societies, women have increasingly taken up paid employment and moved into formerly-masculine fields, driven by demand for women workers as the economy shifts toward the service sector, and more recently by feminist movements. Yet women are still doing the majority of caring and household labor, while men's take-up of traditionally feminine caring labor has been far more limited. Moreover, the sex segregation of occupations and substantial gendered earnings gaps remain. Meanwhile, much of the work formerly done by housewives has been "outsourced" to paid service workers, many of whom migrate from global South to global North to take up this work. Scholars debate about whether and how these arrangements will change, and whether they may be influenced by political initiatives, either top-down (e.g., affirmative action to recruit women to STEM fields) or bottom-up (e.g., cultural and media campaigns to validate new norms). In this course, we will investigate the ways in which work - paid and unpaid, in families and in places of employment - is organized by gender and other forms of power, difference and inequality, such as race, class and migration/citizenship status. We will examine family divisions of labor across diverse households: how do men and women divide domestic work and care for children or others needing care? Where does non-familial provision come into play? What are the consequences for outcomes in paid employment and in terms of the distribution of time, respect, and power? We will learn about the development of the modern economy and occupational sex segregation, as well as how different kinds of men, women and others are treated at work. Finally, we will consider the role of government policy in sustaining or changing these arrangements.
What is the scientific status of our ideas about race? How are medical and legal ideas invoked in determinations about people's gender identities? Overall, how do developments in the life sciences affect our understandings of who we are, how we differ, and how social inequalities are created, perpetuated, and challenged? This seminar explores how scientific claims and technological developments help transform cultural understandings of race, gender, and sexuality. Conversely, we will consider how cultural beliefs about race, gender, and sexuality influence scientific knowledge and medical practice. We 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.
This 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 400-0 Introduction to Statistics and Statistical Software
This 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.
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.
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, 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, and morality and social control.
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.
Making lives better around the globe means developing effective bureaucracies that can implement collective solutions. From Iraq and Afghanistan and Africa to post-conflict Ukraine, state-building is never far from the front pages. This course uses classical theories of state-building in sociology to understand state-building in the contemporary world, and uses contemporary developments to interrogate and extend those theories.