The aim of this course is to familiarize students with work in contemporary sociological theory that has had a major impact on empirical research in the U.S., or holds untapped potential for such impact. We focus especially on bodies of theory relevant to large tracts of the discipline. Rather than attempt a survey, we read in depth select theoretical texts that together illustrate the heterogeneity and richness of the field.
Graduate – Spring 2019
Contemporary Sociological Theory
Instructors: Patricia Fernández-Kelly
Techniques and Methods of Social Science
This is a course on research methods for sociology PhD students. The seminar has four objectives: 1) to review foundational principles of research design and contemporary debates in sociological methodology; 2) to introduce students to the practice of different research methods (e.g., survey research, experiments, ethnography, historical and comparative analysis) while considering the strengths and limitations of various approaches; 3) to familiarize students with the components of a strong empirical paper and prepare them to identify a topic and data for their empirical paper; and 4) to train students in the conduct of responsible research.
Instructors: Matthew Desmond, Jennifer L. Jennings
Advanced Social Statistics
Introduces theories of inference underlying most statistical methods and how new approaches are developed. The first half of the course covers maximum likelihood estimation and generalized linear models. The second half covers a number of topics useful for applied work including missing data, matching for causal inference and, others. The course concludes with a project replicating and extending a piece of work in the scholarly literature.
Instructors: Yu Xie
Research Seminar in Empirical Investigation
Preparation of quantitative research papers based on field experiments, laboratory experiments, survey procedures, and secondary analysis of existing data banks.
Instructors: Dalton Conley
Sociology of Gender (Half-Term)
This course offers an introduction to theory, perspectives, and empirical research in the Sociology of Gender. The course covers a combination of canonical and contemporary work, consider traditional and current debates, and will include local and global material. This is a reading and writing intensive class.
Instructors: Sanyu A. Mojola
Religion and Public Life
Presentation and critical discussion of empirical research in progress by participants. Focuses on the use of social science methods in the study of religion and on applications of recently published work about religion and society. Includes an emphasis on religion and public policy in the U.S. and in comparative perspective.
Instructors: Robert J. Wuthnow
Sociology of Education (Half Term)
Poor students lag academically behind their more advantaged peers, and explanations for this achievement gap are hotly debated. While some have pointed to the quality of education offered in public schools as the primary culprit, others have drawn attention to the role of out-of-school factors in creating and exacerbating these gaps. In this course, which is a graduate-level introduction to the sociology of education, we make sense of competing explanations of pre-K-12 educational performance through a sociological lens, and evaluate the possibilities for and barriers to closing achievement gaps.
Instructors: Jennifer L. Jennings
Topics in Economic and Organizational Sociology (Half-Term): Consumption, Marketing and Inequality
Introduction to the sociological analysis of consumption and marketing processes. Course investigates advertising, consumption, and its unequal distributions by race, class, gender, and sexuality. After a general discussion of consumption theories and marketing studies, the course surveys how racial and ethnic inequalities generate and respond to consumption with important consequences for long-term disadvantages marginalized groups experience. Overall, the course attempts to strengthen intellectual bridges between economic sociology and consumption studies, while emphasizing consumption as a reflection and driver of inequality.
Instructors: Frederick Wherry
Sociology of Poverty (Half-Term)
This course examines the history, causes and consequences of U.S. poverty. It explores strategies for addressing it from the colonial era to the present. It covers the major theoretical explanations sociologists and other scholars have advanced to explain the persistence of poverty in the U.S. including family structure, parenting, residential segregation, labor markets, safety nets, and the criminal justice system. Within each topic area, students are introduced to a range of interventions aimed at alleviating poverty.
Instructors: Kathryn Jo Edin
Advanced Sociological Fieldwork II (Half-Term)
This course is intended specifically for students who are currently conducting sociological fieldwork or writing up empirical papers on the basis of fieldwork. Students who are currently in the field are encouraged to participate remotely. Part two deals mainly with distinctive issues relating to the publication of fieldwork.
Instructors: Matthew Desmond, Mitchell Duneier
Workshop on Social Organization
A two-semester course for graduate students whose work is at the intersection of the fields of organization studies, economic sociology and social network analysis. In addition to covering foundational readings in these fields and addressing selected special topics (e.g. social organizational aspects of economic crisis), the workshop provides opportunities for students to develop research projects and presentation skills, and to read the work of and interact with scholars brought to campus by the Center for the Study of Social Organization.
Instructors: Viviana Adela Zelizer
Immigration and Development in the Age of Globalization (Half-Term)
A review of writings and data related to population flows and displacements between 1960 and 2018. Course investigates (a) causes and consequences of internal and international migration; (b) the part played in immigration by inter- and intra-nation economic inequality; and (c) the rising impact of climate change and political strife. We give attention to the emergent collision between immigrant rights and the rights of nation states. The role of community organizations and NGOs is considered. We discuss immigration and immigration policy in the United States, and selected areas in Europe, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia.
Instructors: Patricia Fernández-Kelly
Text as Data: Statistical Text Analysis for the Social Sciences (Half-Term)
A survey of approaches to statistical text analysis with a focus on applications in the social sciences. The course covers supervised learning, clustering, topic modeling and scaling.
Instructors: Brandon Michael Stewart
Undergraduate – Spring 2019
Poverty in America
This course investigates poverty in America in historical and contemporary perspective. We will explore central aspects of poverty, including low-wage work and joblessness, housing and neighborhoods, crime and punishment, and survival and protest. Along the way, we will examine the cause and consequences of poverty; study the lived experience of severe deprivation and material hardship; evaluate large-scale anti-poverty programs with an eye toward what worked and what didn't; and engage with normative debates about the right to housing, living wages, just punishment, and other matters pertaining to American life below the poverty line.
Instructors: Matthew Desmond
The Sociology of Crime and Punishment
This course seeks to provide a sociological account of crime and punishment. Why do people commit crime? How should we respond to crime? How has crime policy changed over the past several decades? What are the consequences of recent crime policy? By reading classic and contemporary sociological research, policy analysis, and media coverage, we will explore the themes of crime and punishment in contemporary society.
Instructors: Lynn S. Chancer
This course takes a close look at foundational texts and critical concepts in the discipline of sociology, from the 19th-century 'classics' to contemporary theorists who have inspired important research agendas. Our two main goals will be a) to engage critically with authors and ideas, and b) to help you develop your own 'sociological eye' and theoretical skills. Key authors will include Marx, Durkheim, Weber, Simmel, DuBois, and Bourdieu. We will give special attention to processes of domination, economic exchange, racialization, and emotion. Whenever possible, we will apply theories and concepts to contemporary events and issues.
Instructors: Ekedi Amandine Mpondo-Dika
Communism and Beyond: China and Russia
This course focuses on the communist experiment in the Soviet Union and China. The first half of the course presents the political, social and economic histories that characterize the USSR's and China's particular path to communism. The second half of the course focuses on the consequences of communism by examining each country's demographics, environment, social structures and so on.
Instructors: Deborah A. Kaple
This course seeks to expose students to the recent social science literature on contemporary immigration to the United States, its origins, adaptation patterns, and long-term effects on American society. The course will consist of lectures by the instructor combined with class discussion of assigned texts.
Instructors: Tod G. Hamilton
Population, Society and Public Policy
Are large populations a gift or a curse? Can humans live forever? Is marriage obsolete? How many people can planet earth support sustainably? Why does China have more boys than girls? Why is US life expectancy so low? Is it possible for the US to seal its borders? Will population aging destroy the economy? Why is fertility so low in Korea? Why do countries with youthful populations experience so much social unrest? Can immigration solve population aging in Europe? Is demography destiny? Students will learn basic demographic concepts and engage longstanding debates about whether population growth promotes or undermines development.
Instructors: Arun Hendi
Race and Public Policy
Analyzes the historical construction of race as a concept in American society, how and why this concept was institutionalized publicly and privately in various arenas of U.S. public life at different historical junctures, and the progress that has been made in dismantling racialized institutions since the civil rights era.
Instructors: Douglas S. Massey
Information Technology and Public Policy
New technologies have changed the way we communicate with each other and learn about our world. They have also raised public policy dilemmas in every area they touch: communications, regulation, privacy, national security, intellectual property and many others. This course aims to help students understand the technology behind the Internet; the social science concepts and research that illuminate the likely effects of policy options; and tradeoffs among fundamental values that different policy options imply.
Instructors: Edward William Felten
The Ghetto and the Enclave
In this seminar, we investigate the "ghetto" and "enclave" as sociological concepts that have given rise to distinct literatures, each with its own presumptions about the mix of voluntary and involuntary elements in the genesis of community, the advantages and disadvantages of living apart from the mainstream, and the permeability of the boundary between community and mainstream society. Through examining these literatures, our goal is to help students develop the background necessary for conducting their own research on place-based ethnic and racial segregation.
Instructors: Mitchell Duneier, Nicole Anne Pangborn
Class and Culture
Examines the cultures of classes within American society and asks to what extent people's identities, relationships, or chances for social mobility are shaped by their class culture. Looks at high and popular culture as well as mass media, paying attention to patterns of cultural consumption ("taste") and asks how these patterns work to reproduce the class structure.
Instructors: Timothy J. Nelson
Crisis of Liberalism/Birth of Neoliberalism
This course looks at the crisis of liberalism from its beginning at the turn of the twentieth century to the founding of post-WW II world order. Critical liberal intellectuals in Great Britain, Continental Europe, and the United States, who observed that liberalism was unable to offer constructive answers to the problems of the world it had created, worked for a reform of liberalism based on a self-questioning analysis of what had gone wrong. The course will look at those responses to the crisis of liberalism, the critique of the dominant liberalism, and arguments for reform
Instructors: Tomaz Mastnak
Designing Social and Behavioral Field Experiments at Scale
Online platforms, which monitor and intervene in the lives of billions of people, routinely host thousands of experiments to evaluate policies, test products, and contribute to theory in the social sciences. Field experiments are also powerful tools for monitoring discrimination and governing human and machine behavior. In this hands-on undergraduate class, students will develop practical experimentation skills, engaging with methods, theory, ethics, and politics of large-scale behavioral research online. For a final project, student teams will develop, conduct, and report on a novel experiment together with an online community or platform.
Instructors: J. Nathan Nathan Matias