Courses

Graduate – Spring 2022

Research Seminar in Empirical Investigation
Subject associations
SOC 505
Preparation of quantitative research papers based on field experiments, laboratory experiments, survey procedures, and secondary analysis of existing data banks.
Instructors
Dalton Conley
Proseminar (Half-Term)
Subject associations
SOC 508
This course introduces sociology graduate students to the discipline of sociology and to departmental faculty. Student work is evaluated by class participation and attendance. There are no prerequisites.
Instructors
Mitchell Duneier
Topics in Economic and Organizational Sociology (Half-Term): The Sociology of Organizations
Subject associations
SOC 540
This course covers selected topics in the sociology of organizations. We first undertake a brief introduction to organizational theories. We then consider empirical applications across an array of domains and sub-fields, including work and labor markets, politics and social movements, education, and social stratification.
Instructors
Adam Goldstein
Janet Vertesi
Topics in Social Stratification (Half-Term): Systemic Racism
Subject associations
SOC 560
"Systemic racism" is a term meant to highlight structural factors that perpetuate racial inequality despite personal intentions and agency. Sociologists were among the first to identify and theorize the subject, although popular media seem blind to that fact. This seminar focuses on sociological contributions to the understanding of systemic racism. We begin with an investigation of legislative actions and economic factors perpetuating structural barriers. We then examine migration, immigration, urban development, and residential segregation. Finally, we review resistance movements and policies aimed at addressing systemic racism.
Instructors
Patricia Fernández-Kelly
Sociological Studies of Inequality(Half -Term)
Subject associations
SPI 590C / SOC 571
This segment of the JDP seminar covers theory and research on social stratification, the major subfield in sociology that focuses on inequality. Course begins by reviewing major theories, constructs, measures, and empirical work on inequality. Weeks two through six focus on institutions that are expected to produce (and reproduce) inequalities, including families, neighborhoods, schools, labor markets, and penal policy.
Instructors
Patrick Sharkey
Urban Sociology (Half-Term)
Subject associations
SOC 581
Urban means settlement. Across history and geography, it varies in degree, form, and consequence. This takes us to the study of cities, not just for their bigness, but in how they operate with other aspects of life. Those other aspects include the social-psychology of contact, built design, and political economies of rent -- along with so-called natural elements like vermin, virus, and climate. Coming into analytic view are related complications of power, inequality, and comparative indignities. Across the board and in specific ways, we take the city as "assemblage" - complex relations in place for our examination.
Instructors
Harvey Molotch

Undergraduate – Spring 2022

American Society and Politics
Subject associations
SOC 201 / SPI 339
An introduction to the social bases of American politics and the political forces in the shaping of American society. Topics include divisions of class, race, gender, and party; struggles over national identity and immigration; social movements and civic participation; changes in the media; and the uncertain future of American democracy.
Instructors
Paul Starr
Introduction to Urban Studies
Subject associations
URB 201 / SPI 201 / SOC 203 / ARC 207
This course will examine different crises confronting cities in the 21st century. Topics will range from informal settlements, to immigration, terrorism, shrinking population, sprawl, rising seas, affordable housing, gentrification, smart cities. The range of cities will include Los Angles, New Orleans, Paris, Logos, Caracas, Havana, New York, Hong Kong, Dubai among others.
Instructors
M. Christine Boyer
Sociology of Religion
Subject associations
SOC 211
Despite several hundred years of its advertised demise, religion is alive and booming in the 21st century. Sociological interest in religion is also at an all-time high, and the field is exploding with new (and revived) empirical and theoretical approaches. This course will ask these questions: 1) What does a sociological approach to the study of religion consist of? 2) What are the basic components of religion and how do they work together? 3) How do social factors affect religious belief and behavior? 4) What are the causes and effects of religious change? 5) What is the relationship between religion and public life in modern society?
Instructors
Timothy Nelson
The Sociology of Human Reproduction
Subject associations
GSS 211 / GHP 311 / SOC 219
Human reproduction is often taken for granted as a merely biological phenomenon, yet reproduction is laden with cultural meaning and import for individuals and for society as a whole. Despite its significance, reproduction is rarely addressed in the Princeton curriculum. This new lecture course explores human reproduction from a sociological perspective. It also seeks to introduce students to some of the basic modes of thinking in both sociology and gender and sexuality studies.
Instructors
Elizabeth Mitchell Armstrong
The Sociology of Crime and Punishment
Subject associations
SOC 222
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 Chancer
The Western Way of War
Subject associations
SOC 250
A historical and analytical overview of war focusing on the origins and consequences of organized violence, the experience of battle, the creation and behavior of warriors, and the future of such conflicts.
Instructors
Miguel Centeno
Technology and Society
Subject associations
EGR 277 / SOC 277 / HIS 277
Technology and society are unthinkable without each other, each provides the means and framework in which the other develops. To explore this dynamic, this course investigates a wide array of questions on the interaction between technology, society, politics, and economics, emphasizing the themes such as innovation and regulation, risk and failure, ethics and expertise. Specific topics covered include nuclear power and disasters, green energy, the development and regulation of the Internet, medical expertise and controversy, intellectual property, the financial crisis, and the electric power grid.
Instructors
David Reinecke
Sociological Theory
Subject associations
SOC 302 / CHV 302
This course takes a close look at the 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 to a) engage critically with authors and ideas and b) to develop your own 'sociological eye' and theoretical skills. Key authors will include Marx, Durkheim, Weber, Simmel, Dubois, Schutz, Goffman, Bourdieu, Foucault, Butler and Latour. We will put these authors in their historical contexts and also ask how they can be used now to interpret contemporary issues and events.
Instructors
Shamus Khan
Political Bodies: The Social Anatomy of Power & Difference
Subject associations
AAS 302 / SOC 303 / ANT 378 / GHP 302
Students will learn about the human body in its social, cultural and political contexts. The framing is sociological rather than biomedical, attentive to cultural meanings, institutional practices, politics and social problems. The course explicitly discusses bodies in relation to race, class, gender, sexuality, ability, age, health, geography and citizenship status, carefully examining how social differences come to appear natural. Analyzing clinics, prisons, border zones, virtual realities and more, students develop a conceptual toolkit to analyze how society "gets under the skin", producing differential exposure to premature death.
Instructors
Ruha Benjamin
Machine Learning with Social Data: Opportunities and Challenges
Subject associations
SOC 306 / SML 306
This is a class about using the tools of machine learning to study social data. The power of machine learning tools is their applicability around a wide range of tasks. There are huge opportunities for applying these tools to learn and make decisions about real people but there are also important challenges. This course aims to (1) show social scientists and digital humanities scholars the potential of machine learning to help them learn about humans, make policy and help people while also (2) showing computer scientists how a social science research design perspective can improve their work and give them new outlets for their skills.
Instructors
Brandon Stewart
Media and Public Policy
Subject associations
SPI 334 / SOC 319
Introduction to communications policy and law, covering classical dilemmas and current controversies over the media, including such topics as freedom of the press, libel and privacy, the precarious economics of journalism, communications regulation, power of the giant tech platforms, and disinformation.
Instructors
Paul Starr
Population, Society and Public Policy
Subject associations
SPI 330 / SOC 328
Are large populations a gift or a curse? Can humans live forever? Is marriage obsolete? How many people can planet each 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 long-standing debates about whether population growth promotes or undermines development.
Instructors
Arun Hendi
The Social Meaning of Money
Subject associations
SOC 350
Money seems to represent the ultimate symbol of economic rationality, a single, impersonal and totally interchangeable medium of exchange. Money is also feared as morally dangerous, replacing personal bonds with cold greed. This seminar will offer a fundamentally different sociological explanation of how money works. Examining different monetary worlds ranging from households and college campuses, to law firms and internet sites, we will explore how our multiple moneys are shaped by cultural meanings, moral concerns, and social relations.
Instructors
Viviana Zelizer
Elites and Power in the United States
Subject associations
SOC 372
An introduction to the study of elites, this course surveys the role of education, inheritance, and employment in access to high incomes, wealth, power, and status; changing patterns of wealth concentration; elites and democratic politics; conflicts among business and educational elites; elite culture and consumption; and changes in influence and celebrity in the age of the internet and social media.
Instructors
Paul Starr
Systemic Racism: Myths and Realities
Subject associations
SOC 373
This seminar focuses on the structural and institutional foundations of racial discrimination in the United States. It emphasizes the contributions of sociologists, some of whom will participate as invited guests. The course gives a historical overview followed by an investigation of key legislative actions and economic factors inhibiting racial equality. Subsequent topics include migration and immigration; urban development; and residential segregation. The end of the course reviews resistance movements and policies aimed at addressing systemic racism, including restorative justice and reparations.
Instructors
Patricia Fernández-Kelly
The Sociology of Economic Life and Institutions
Subject associations
SOC 374
This course examines economic phenomena from a sociological perspective. We first consider conceptual tools that sociologists have used to understand economic life and connections between economy and society. We then apply these concepts to an array of topics including labor markets, work, firms, commodification and consumption, credit and finance, social stratification and inequality, and transformations in 21st century capitalism.
Instructors
Adam Goldstein
Identities: Race, Class, Gender, & Sexuality
Subject associations
SOC 375
This course will examine our individual and collective identities -- especially as they relate to sexuality, race, gender, and class. We will specifically focus on the social processes that produce these identities, how identities change over time, and the individual and collective anxieties that occur when identities become destabilized. This course will also focus on how power, privilege, and oppression intersect with our identities.
Instructors
Kristopher Velasco
Advanced Seminar in American Studies: Elites in Democratic America
Subject associations
AMS 403 / SOC 403
The aim of this course is to provide you with the tools to think about elites within democratic societies. The course is divided into four modular units: (1) The Decline of Aristocracy, (2) Creating an American Elite, (3) Elites and Power, and (4) A New Elite. For each of these units we will spend one week reading a theoretical approach to understanding the theme, one week on an empirical case to put this theory in context, and one week reading a novel that works with the themes of the theory and research we have read.
Instructors
Shamus Khan
Critical Approaches to Human Computer Interaction
Subject associations
SOC 409 / COS 409
Can we design computing systems based on virtues like data stewardship, anti-racism, or sustainability? Would that help us to avoid the problems of contemporary systems like surveillance, data financialization, racial bias, and speed, while still engaging novice users, keeping data secure, and producing sustainable solutions? This seminar draws on interpretative social sciences, critical humanities, and computing to explore alternative, socially-responsible designs for future sociotechnical systems.
Instructors
Janet Vertesi