Courses

Undergraduate Courses – Spring 2018

Introduction to Sociology
The course will introduce 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.
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, Kathryn Edin
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
Sociological Theory
The course covers the foundational texts dealing with power, wealth and belief--that is, the core concerns of the discipline. Major sociological traditions are seen in their historical contexts, as the background to current issues. The course is based on and requires detailed knowledge of the original texts assigned.
Instructors: John A. Hall
Inequality: Dimensions and Intersections
The goal of this course is to examine how the constructs of race, class, and gender develop and change over time and by place. We will discuss various theories of race, gender, and class. In addition, we will consider how coexisting social hierarchies shape identities, determine life chances, establish relationships of marginality and privilege, and generate social stability and conflict. Racial formation, intersectionality, black feminist thought, and symbolic boundaries will be among the theoretical approaches discussed.
Instructors: Shani A. Evans
Immigrant America
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
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
Law, Institutions and Public Policy
This course will examine how institutions develop, vary in design, and shape public policy. Law will be a primary focus because it is central to the development of institutions in modern societies and provides the formal means for expressing and fixing policy. The course will cover a wide range on institutions-social, economic, and political - not only in an American context but also in comparative prospective.
Instructors: Paul Elliot Starr
Media and Public Policy
Introduction to communications policy and law, covering such topics as freedom of the press and the development of journalism; intellectual property; telecom and broadcast regulation; and policy challenges raised by the Internet, social media, and globalization.
Instructors: Paul Elliot Starr
Money, Work, and Social Life
This course examines how economic life unfolds in labor markets, corporations, retail space, households, and in intimate relationships. The course hones in on how gender, sexuality, race, and ethnicity matter in markets as well as the effect of social relationships and culture on economic action. Treating the economy as if it is another branch of social life, like religion, community, and education, enables a fresh analysis of inequality with surprising results.
Instructors: Frederick Wherry
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 is predicated on the belief that we can only productively address the social and policy dimensions of the Internet if we 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
Mobilities, Borders and Social Dynamics in the Middle East
We will study the various forms of movements of populations in the Middle East in relation to social dynamics. The course will emphasize the urban and territorial impact of migrants' presence in several Middle Eastern cities by highlighting the forms of segregation and cosmopolitanism that result from differentiated legal and social statuses. The course will go beyond the single approach of legal integration by exploring cultural production and initiatives that are directly or indirectly related to the experience of migration and which bear witness to new forms of integration underlining migrants' agency.
Instructors: Amin Moghadam
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 hierarchical models. The course concludes with a project replicating and extending a piece of work in the scholarly literature.
Instructors: Matthew J. Salganik
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: Jorge Nathan Matias
Spatial Analysis in the Social Sciences
This course introduces core concepts and tools for analyzing spatial data. Students will gain hands-on experience creating spatial data (e.g., geocoding and merging data sources), producing and interpreting maps, and describing and analyzing spatial patterns and relationships. Drawing on examples in housing, health, education, public policy, and urban studies, students will learn how to apply spatial reasoning in the empirical analysis of social phenomenon and use spatial methods to answer questions about the geographic distribution of social problems, the organization of communities, and the relationship between society and the environment.
Instructors: Elizabeth May Roberto
Urban Theory
No Description Available
Instructors: Patricia Fernández-Kelly

Graduate Courses – Spring 2018

Contemporary Sociological Theory
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.
Instructors: Patricia Fernández-Kelly
Techniques and Methods of Social Science
This seminar has three objectives: 1) to review foundational principles of research design and contemporary debates in sociological methodology 2) to introduce students to the practice of different social science research methods (e.g., survey research, experiments, ethnography, historical and comparative analysis) and to provide them with an understanding of the strengths and limitations of various approaches; and 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.
Instructors: Matthew Desmond, Adam Michael Goldstein
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: Matthew J. Salganik
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
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
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
Economic Sociology (Half-Term): Social Ties, Culture, and Economic Processes
An introduction to economic sociology seen not as a subordination of sociology to economics but as the sociological explanation of economic phenomena. It focuses on alternative accounts of phenomena that most specialists have explained using economic concepts and theory. In particular, it seeks sociological explanations of production, consumption, and distribution, and transfer of assets. After a general orientation to economic sociology as a whole, the course explores economic activities in an unconventionally wide range of settings including households, informal sectors, gift economies, and consumption.
Instructors: Viviana Adela Zelizer
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