Who are we and who gets to say? This seminar explores the tension between the social emphasis on identity (naming who we are and claiming where we belong) and the technological processes of identification (distinguishing people for administrative purposes). Using texts primarily from the social and historical sciences, we will pivot back and forth between considering the many kinds of identity currently in circulation (racial, ethnic, gender, and sexual identities; illnesses identities; political identities; etc.) and the rise of techniques and technologies that seek to identify people and fix them in place (from the invention of surnames, to the rise of forensic techniques such as fingerprinting, to the creation of the “average” person in opinion research, to the role of DNA testing in telling us who we are). The object of the course is to better understand the historical and social circumstances that determine where people fit—how they know themselves and are known—and to trace the diverse cultural and political implications of identity and identification.
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 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.
What makes food social? What is sociological about eating? How does society shape our relationship with food? These are questions at the center of this course. During the span of this quarter, we will learn about the role of food in society, how social norms as well as culture impact our view of food and review the following topic within food and society: Food inequality, food and sustainability, food and gender and lastly, food culture in the US. We will do so by employing a sociological perspective to food that will help is critically engage with something we do every day - preparing and eating food. This is an introductory level class and does not require prior knowledge in sociology or in knowledge production. By the end of the quarter students will view food as a social and community construct that impacts our lives, well-being, and society. This course is taught with ENVR_POL 211-0-20.
Legal Studies Research Methods introduces students to research methods used in interdisciplinary legal studies, including jurisprudence and legal reasoning, qualitative and quantitative social science methods, and historical and textual analysis. The course is a prerequisite for the Advanced Research Seminar in Legal Studies, 398-1,- 2, and is intended to prepare students for the design of their own research project to be conducted in 398-1, -2. Through exposure to and engagement with interdisciplinary research methods on law and legal processes, the course will provide students with a deeper understanding of law in its historical and social context. The course will provide students with a set of research tools with which to conduct research on legal institutions. The course builds on content from Legal Studies 206/Sociology 206, a prerequisite for this course. While part of the Legal Studies major sequence, the course will enrich the analytic skills of students from many fields who are interested in law or in interdisciplinary research methods.
Prerequisite: LEGAL_ST 206/SOCIOL 206. Taught with LEGAL_ST 207; may not receive credit for both courses.
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 a small research project and write a research paper on a topic of their choosing.
SOCIOL 235-0 Critical thought on Race and Ethnicity
This course, Critical Thought on Race and Ethnicity, examines historical and contemporary manifestations of racism/ethnocentrism and anti-racism; as well as xenophobia/nationalism and internationalism. We explore how racism, ethnocentrism, xenophobia, and nationalism are related by their exclusionary ideas of ancestry and difference, and examine theory-based (as opposed to empirical) approaches to the social, cultural, political, and economic aspects of racial hierarchy. The course centers on racialization (how individuals/groups are sorted into races), global and local racial paradigms (the rules of race-making and racial assignment), and why these denigrating mechanisms are so difficult to eradicate. We also examine what antiracism looks like and how it might be achieved. Despite the challenging course content, this class is a blast!
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.
Political sociology is a field of study that concerns itself with the relationship between state and society and with the study of political power, broadly construed. Political sociologists are interested in myriad topics, ranging from empires and state formation to voter behavior in contemporary US, to how gender and racial identities shape government policies. In this course, students will gain insight into some of the substantive topics political sociologists study as well as the theoretical approaches sociologists utilize to study these topics. In our readings, class discussions, and assignments we will engage with questions such as: How and why do social movements emerge when are they successful in achieving their goals? Why were lockdowns used a measure against COVID-19? What are the causes of state-formation and revolution? And how much power do “the elites” really have? Lastly, we will look at various cases that demonstrate the issues we discuss in class and apply the analytical tools and knowledge we acquire during the course to contemporary issues.
This is a class on economic sociology and like many other actions, economic action is just another form of social action. Economic sociology provides us with a different perspective on economic actions, and as such, it is helpful both academically and in our everyday lives. In class we will explore the foundations of economic sociological theory, as well as current research relevant for today’s economic social issues such as financialization, debt and recent changes in the economy. We will engage with research in the course readings as well as in class. The class will have several components such as a short lecture, discussion, group work and guided readings.
This course explores the economic and social changes that have constituted "development," and that have radically transformed human society. The course focuses on both the historical experience of Europe and the contemporary experience of countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. In the historical discussion, we explore the birth of the "nation state" as the basic organizing unit of the international system; the transition from agrarian to industrial economic systems; and the expansion of European colonialism across the globe. In our discussion of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, we consider the legacies of colonialism for development; the ways in which countries have attempted to promote economic development and industrialization; and issues of inequality and human welfare in an increasingly globally connected world.
In this course, we will examine the way gender organizes health and medicine, as well as how the medical system and health practices create and organize gender. Using interdisciplinary research with a focus on sociological studies, we will interrogate the social, institutional, and biological links between gender and health. We will discuss health inequalities between women, men, and trans* individuals from different race, ethnic, and class backgrounds, using sociological research to understand why these inequalities and forms of difference emerge and are sustained. We will explore how modern Western medicine views male and female bodies and defines their health and illnesses accordingly. Students will complete two short research projects over the term in which they use different data sources (interviews and media content) to examine gendered perceptions of health, health behaviors, help-seeking behaviors, and experiences with medical institutions.
This course is part of the quantitative methods sequence for graduate students in sociology. For most of the course, we will focus on regression-like methods for categorical outcomes, notably binary outcomes, ordered outcomes, nominal outcomes, count outcomes, and (if time permits) event outcomes. The course will also include discussion of practical issues in performing 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 required sections not found in a regular article..
This graduate course is an introduction to ethnographic field methods. Students will learn how to conduct participant observation and in-depth interviews, two methods that often work in tandem in ethnographic sociological studies. We will discuss various aspects of research design and practical strategies to manage and adequately analyze and make sense of the considerable volume of data that ethnographic studies commonly generate. We will discuss epistemological issues, attending to how to use empirical ethnographic data to generate conceptual and theoretical conclusions, and we will also demarcate the capabilities and limitations of ethnographic research. Throughout the course, we will reflect on questions of research ethics, power, and representation.
For years we have understood that race is, biologically speaking, an exceedingly complex matter and that preconceived biases much more than biology govern the way people think about race. In this course, we will discuss both the biological myth and social reality of race. Specifically, this course provides an overview of the prominent theories/theorists of race and ethnicity, and is concerned with: 1) Understanding the early science of race used to justify racial classification and thinking, 2) reviewing the theories regarding the nature and persistence of race and ethnicity as meaningful social groupings in society, and 3) explaining the social significance of these group identities (e.g., how they are related to social stratification, social-cultural relations, and the political and economic dynamics in society). We will begin our review with the origins of the concept race, then move from early perspectives to the present in an aim to understand the influential theories and theorists. As we proceed in our investigation we will continuously ask: 1) What are the key assumptions, propositions and concepts of each theory?, 2) How is the theory located within the larger theoretical tradition? 3) Does this theory agree or disagree with other views in the field? 4) What is the level of empirical support for the theory? 5) To what extent does the theory help to explain contemporary patterns of race and ethnicity across time and space in the United States? and 6) How might one undermine systems of racial inequality if the respective theory is holds?
This course will provide an introduction to central topics in the sociology of health, illness, and biomedicine. At the same time, it will show how that field has been redefined and reinvigorated by science and technology studies. We will seek to understand health, health care, and biomedicine by exploring multiple domains: the work sites in which health professionals interact with one another, with their tools, and with their clients; the research settings where medical knowledge and technologies are generated; the cultural arenas within which ideas of health and disease circulate; the market relations that produce health care as a commodity; the institutions and practices that transform social inequalities into health disparities; the social movements that challenge the authority of experts; and the bodies and selves that experience and are remade by illness. Students from other disciplines are welcome.
This seminar offers a space for graduate students to discuss topics related to college TAing and teaching. The course covers the following topics: practical skills and strategies to be an effective and efficient teaching assistant, particular TAing/teaching challenges for women, minority, international, and LGBT instructors, leading discussion sections and lecturing, how to create inclusive classrooms, how to construct a syllabus, defining your teaching philosophy, and perspectives on student evaluations.