Graduate – Fall 2022
A rigorous first course in regression with applications to social science. Assuming only basic math, the course covers probability, inference from random samples, multiple regression and modern causal inference. Throughout we provide an introduction to programming with the open-source statistical package R and examples from current social science research.
Sociology as a discipline was not institutionalized until the early 20th century, but sociological thinking predates the discipline by at least a century. In this course, we examine the development of social thought through the writings of sociology's founders as they developed the idea of the social and its relationship to the development of the individual and to economic and political transformation. While the course lingers on Marx, Weber, Durkheim and Simmel, it also explores their intellectual contexts, their interlocutors and their legacies up through the middle of the 20th century.
Since the publication in the 1980s of the seminal essay by Chandra Mohanty, "Under Western Eyes," feminist scholarship has sought to decolonize knowledge by decentering the Global North and rejecting the universalization of Western experiences. Differences in experiences across cultures and nations became a focal point of feminist inquiry. Universal claims engendered suspicion, leading many to reject analysis of larger systems such as "patriarchy." The avoidance of ethnocentrism also became a priority. How do we achieve these goals? In other words, how do we decolonize feminist knowledge?
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.
This course provides a broad overview of the field of population studies. Topics covered include: a survey of past and current trends in the growth of the population, analysis of the components of population change (fertility, mortality, migration) and their determinants, the social and economic consequences of population change (environmental, ageing and the welfare state), racial/ethnic and spatial inequality and population policy. The readings cover issues in industrialized as well as low-income countries, with a focus on the U.S. for several topics.
This course focuses on the causes, consequences, and responses to urban inequality. The course is organized in four parts. First, we consider how one comes to learn about and understand cities and neighborhoods. Second, we review classic and current ideas about how urbanization affects the way we live and interact with each other. Third, we assess various explanations for urban inequality. Fourth, we focus our attention on central problems and challenges of urban life, from segregation to violence, and consider policy responses.
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.
This course offers an introduction to the sociological literature on stratification, inequality, and social mobility.
Course aims to improve students' abilities to understand and critically evaluate public opinion polls and surveys, particularly as they are used to influence public policy. Course begins with an overview of contrasting perspectives on the role of public opinion in politics, then examines the evolution of public opinion polling in the US and other countries. Class visits a major polling operation to get a firsthand look at procedures used for designing representative samples and conducting surveys by telephone, mail and Internet.
Second course in applied statistical methods for social scientists, building on the materials covered in POL 572 or its equivalent. Course covers a variety of statistical methods including models for longitudinal data and survival data. Material covered corresponds to the quantitative part of the General Exam in Formal and Quantitative Analysis at Level II.
The Research Apprenticeship involves faculty assignment to students that lead to the acquisition of new research skills by the student and/or may lead to a joint research project during that semester or in the future. This may include quantitative or qualitative research methods and/or a substantive area of research (i.e. a survey of a literature). It is required during each semester of the first two years of graduate study (A,B,C,D). SOC 599A and 599C are offered in the fall and SOC 599B and 599D are offered in the spring.
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Undergraduate – Fall 2022
This course will introduces students to the discipline of sociology (the systematic study of human groups, institutions and societies). Students will learn the major theoretical approaches within the field as well as the diverse research methods used in sociological investigations. These tools will be applied to a wide variety of special topics studied by sociologists, including family, work, education, religion and social movements, as well as dynamics of class, gender, race and ethnic inequalities within and across countries.
This course will examine the historic moment in which we are living in order to introduce students to the concept of race and discipline of sociology. Students will learn to study systematically how human groups interact with one another and how social networks and a variety of institutions help shape those interactions and outcomes. How are these interactions and outcomes categorized and understood? Where do different people fit into the social categories we use to make sense of our societies, and why? And how are different actors able to transform those spaces in which to fit?
By taking a comparative approach, this course examines the role of social, economic, and political factors in the emergence and transformation of modern cities in the United States and selected areas of Latin America. We consider the city in its dual image: both as a center of progress and as a redoubt of social problems, especially poverty. Attention is given to spatial processes that have resulted in the aggregation and desegregation of populations differentiated by social class and race.
What is gender? How and why does it still matter in the 21st century? What might a world where gender does not matter look like? How can social change happen? This course will undertake a sociological examination of the role of gender in society. We will examine how gender shapes our identities, how it shapes our interactions with others, and how it shapes and is shaped by institutions. We will look not only at how our gender privileges us, but also how we are both subject to and participate in producing gender inequality in our everyday lives. The course will draw on material from the U.S as well as countries around the globe.
This course is an introduction to the logic and practice of social science research. The goal is to provide methodological training that will enable students to design and execute successful independent research projects. We review a range of approaches used by sociologists to answer research questions, including field experiments, surveys, observation, in-depth interviews, and mixed method research.
Most research in sociology is quantitative, and it is important for students to be able to critically evaluate published quantitative research. Ideally, students should also be able to conduct empirical research involving statistical methods. This course provides the foundation for both goals. The course focuses specifically on how to determine, apply, and interpret statistical methods appropriate for answering a sociological research question given a particular set of data. Basic probability theory is introduced as a building block of statistical reasoning, and a variety of commonly-used statistical methods are covered in the course.
Would universal health insurance improve the health of the poor? Do patterns of arrests in US cities show evidence of racial profiling? What accounts for who votes and their choice of candidates? This course will teach students how to address these and other social science questions by analyzing quantitative data. The course introduces basic principles of statistical inference and programming skills for data analysis. The goal is to provide students with the foundation necessary to analyze data in their own research and to become critical consumers of statistical claims made in the news media, in policy reports, and in academic research.
Sexuality is fundamental to the organization of society -- both in the U.S. and across the world. Though sexuality carries important personal significance, the understanding of why and how it influences our lives is inextricably woven into a complex, global fabric. The aim of this course is to unravel this fabric and reveal the deeply globalized nature of sexuality in the modern era and how this shapes understandings of sexuality, the sexual identities available to us, and how the state regulates it -- especially from a global, comparative perspective.
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.
Over the past 20 years, we have witnessed rapid advances in our ability to collect and analyze human DNA. For the first time, social scientists can integrate molecular genetic data into studies of the processes that shape social and behavioral outcomes like education and BMI. How do genes affect a person's chances of developing depression? Do genetic influences vary across environments? What is the difference between race and genetic ancestry? We review the ugly history surrounding genes and social outcomes, introduce the key concepts of molecular genetics, and explore recent discoveries in human genomics and their implications for society.
Why do people love Broadway musicals? How do audiences engage with musicals and their stars? How have fan practices changed since the 1950s alongside economic and artistic changes in New York and on Broadway? In what ways does "fan of" constitute a social identity? How do fans perform their devotion to a show, to particular performers, and to each other? This class examines the social forms co-created by performers and audiences, both during a performance and in the wider culture. Students will practice research methods including archival research, ethnographic observation, in-depth interviewing, and textual and performance analysis.
This course seeks to help students understanding the basic elements of the ethnographic method and how it can be applied to the analysis of various public policy settings. We will focus on the suitability of ethnography for addressing at least three basic issues: (1) how people on the ground are affected by public policies; (2) the unintended consequences of public policy; (3) the co-production of public services, particularly the interaction between front line bureaucrats and their clients.
This seminar introduces the study of gentrification, with a focus on mapping projects using GIS (Geographic Information Systems) software. Readings, films, and site visits will situate the topic, as the course examines how racial landscapes of gentrification, culture and politics have been influenced by and helped drive urban change. Tutorials in ArcGIS will allow students to convert observations of urban life into fresh data and work with existing datasets. Learn to read maps critically, undertake multifaceted spatial analysis, and master new cartographic practices associated with emerging scholarship in the Digital and Urban Humanities.
For the last 60 years, the United States has been engaged in a near-constant effort to reform American schools. In this course, we will make sense of competing explanations of educational performance and evaluate the possibilities for and barriers to improving American public schools and for reducing educational disparities by family socioeconomic status, race, and gender. In doing so, we will grapple with the challenges that researchers and practitioners face in evaluating educational policies.
For the first time, most people now live in cities. One in seven humans lives in an urban slum. We analyze the political, economic, and social dynamics that both create and arise from urbanization, informality, and attempts to govern our contemporary urban world. We ask how formal and informal institutions change inequalities of shelter, work, race, and other social identities, across urban space. We investigate the links between the processes of urbanization and climate change, and how they shape the politics of cities. We draw from cases across the globe, along with a range of social science methods and theoretical perspectives.