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Spring 2015 Course Offerings

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday
11:45 - 1:45   Bennett: Soc. 75800 
Race, Segregation & Social Inequality
Torpey: Soc.83000
Soc. of Comparative Religion

Attewell/Lennon: Soc. 81900 

Topics in Multivariate Methods

(Qualify for Methods Requirement)
See Also
DCP Methods of Demographic Analysis
2:00 - 4:00

Kurien: Soc. 84509 

Religion and Immigration

Torpey: Soc.80000 
Comparative-Historical Sociology
Zukin: Soc. 72500 
Urban Sociology
Smith: Soc. 85800
 Second  plus Generations and American Immigrant Integration
Duneier/Kasinitz: Soc. 81200 
Urban Ethnography
(Qualify for Methods Requirement)
4:15 - 6:15

Battle: Soc. 71600 

Sociological Statistics II


Chancer/DeGloma: Soc. 70200  

Contemporary Theory

Font: Soc. 83100 
States & Social Transformation

Balk: Soc. 81900    
Spatial Demography

(Qualify for Methods Requirement)

Aronowitz: Soc. 84600    
Social & Political Subjectivity
Duneier/Mollenkopf: Soc. 82800 
Ethnography & Public Policy
6:30 - 8:30 Bologh: Soc.85405 
Social Change

Treitler: Soc.85800 
Race Theory

Katz Rothman: Soc. 82800

Food Culture & Society

Brotherton: Soc. 85000 
Sociology of Crime & Deviance

Halle: Soc. 82800
Global Cities

Katz Rothman: Soc. 77800

Maternal & Child Health

Milanovic: Soc. 84600
Theories of income distribution: from Pareto to Piketty
Min: Soc. 82800  
Asian Americans

Watts: Soc. 82800
Violence in America

Course Descriptions

Prof. Stanley Aronowitz
Soc. 84600 - SOCIAL AND POLITICAL SUBJECTIVITY from Wilhelm Reich to Bernard Stiegler {27352}
Thursdays, 4:15 – 6:15pm, 3 credits, Room TBA
The problem of social and political subjectivity in contemporary society has occupied increasing attention for the last century. Contrary to expectations the prevailing system of power,  technologically advanced capitalism, has weathered constant storms of wars and depressions that many observers and political activists expected would create systemic crisis and social transformation.  Rather than ascribing capitalism’s survival to the perfidy of the leadership class,tyhis course explores theories and practices that attempt to describe the contours of subjectivity in the context of   social relations. Among the readings:
Reich- “What is Class Consciousness”;  The Mass Psychology of Fascism
Antonio Gramsci- Selections from the Prison Notebooks; Cultural Writings;
Henri Lefebvre- Critique of Everyday Life Volume 3
Deleuze and Guattari- Anti-Oedipus
Guattari- Chaos Philosophy
Maurizio Lazzarato- Signs and Machines
Bernard Stiegler- Symbolic Misery

Prof. Paul Attewell / Mary Clare Lennon
Soc. 81900 - Topics in Multivariate Methods {27320}
Thursdays, 11:45 a.m. – 1:15pm, 3 credits, Room TBA
 Social science methods have made a lot of progress over the last 25 years; simple regression is no longer state-of-the-art. This course is an introduction to these more recent methods, emphasizing when they are used and how to use them, and minimizing the underlying math. It is taught in a computer lab, and is suitable for anyone who has statistics up to regression and takes a practical approach.
The course begins with a review of multiple regression and its limitations, which highlights the rationale for the new techniques. It then introduces several methods whose purpose is to focus on estimating the causal influence of one particular variable of interest on some outcome. These methods: regression discontinuity analyses, propensity score matching, difference-in-difference models and others are particularly useful for evaluating the effects of policy changes or of social/clinical interventions. Another set of methods we will cover has a different goal: uncovering unexpected relations in data. These are the central tools of ‘data mining’ and they identify interactions, non-linear relationships and heterogeneity in datasets.
By the end of the course, students should know which techniques to use in what contexts and feel confident that they know how to run each program and interpret its output. Each student will be graded based a term paper that presents an analysis of quantitative data of their choosing using one or more of these techniques. We hope this will serve as the core of a publishable paper.

Prof. Deborah Balk    
Soc. 81900 -  Spatial Demography {27325}
Wednesdays, 4:15 p.m.-6:15 p.m. 3 credits, Room TBA
This course provides an overview of spatial themes and techniques in demography. Examples will be drawn from many substantive areas (e.g., mortality, fertility, urbanization, migration, poverty). Students will learn about the spatial construction of place, basic mapping skills and spatial data creation as well as statistical methods to explore and model spatially-referenced data to answer demographic (and allied) questions. In the most advanced topics, students examine the special difficulties that spatial data may create for standard regression approaches, and learn models and approaches for undertaking multivariate regression analysis in the presence of spatial heterogeneity and/or spatial dependence. Emphasis in the course is evenly split between learning how to make maps and spatial analysis. Pre-requisite Introductory statistics including multiple linear regression; DCP 701 or permission of instructor.

Prof. Pamela Bennett
Soc. 75800 - Race, Segregation, and Social Inequality {27344}
Tuesdays, 11:45 – 1:45pm, 3 credits, room TBA

This course provides an in-depth study of racial and ethnic residential segregation and its relationship to social inequality. Through various theoretical perspectives, students will explore the historical and contemporary patterns of residential segregation in the United States. In doing so, students will become familiar with the entities and social phenomena that contribute to neighborhood segregation (such as federal and local governments, homeowner associations, financial institutions, group inequalities, group preferences, and racial and ethnic discrimination), as well as segregation’s social, economic, and demographic consequences.

This course provides an in-depth study of racial and ethnic residential segregation and its relationship to social inequality. Through various theoretical perspectives, students will explore the historical and contemporary patterns of residential segregation in the United States. In doing so, students will become familiar with the entities and social phenomena that contribute to neighborhood segregation (such as federal and local governments, homeowner associations, financial institutions, group inequalities, group preferences, and racial and ethnic discrimination), as well as segregation’s social, economic, and demographic consequences.

Prof. Roslyn Wallach Bologh            
Soc. 85405 - Social Change
Mondays, 6:30 – 8:30pm, 3 credits, Room TBA
The rise of the Occupy Movement and the enormous success of Thomas Picketty’s book, Capital, the cross-disciplinary, international, academic and lay interest and acclaim it has garnered, speak to the significance of political economy.  Political economy causes social changes that have major consequences for social life -- including education, urban life, family life, the environment, immigration, ethnic and race relations, labor relations, and gender relations as well as international relations – also for suicide rates, marriage and divorce rates, single parent rates, rates of morbidity and mortality (including longevity) and more. Part of the appeal of Picketty’s book lies in his emphatic rejection of the narrow economic approach to questions of political economy that he encountered in the U.S. and his espousal, in its stead, of a more comprehensive, sociological, cultural and historical perspective – employing sources as unorthodox as Jane Austen’s novels! What are the changes that have occurred in political economy since the 1970s? How should sociologists, and social scientists more broadly, analyze these changes (sometimes conceived as globalization, financial capitalism, monopoly capitalism, neo-liberalism or post-industrial high tech and service economy) and their consequences for social life today and in the coming years?  We will examine different analytic perspectives to see which one(s) seem most compelling.

Prof. David Brotherton
Soc. 85000 – The Sociology of Crime & Deviance {27357}
 Wednesdays, 6:30 – 8:30pm, Room TBA, 3Credits

This course traces the evolution of critical sociological thinking on the subject of crime and deviance from its origins in the 19th Century explorations of the city by Booth, Mayhew and Engels through to the emergence of the Chicago School in the early twentieth century, to the immensely creative period in American new deviancy theory of the late fifties and sixties with Becker, Goffman, Lemert, Erikson, Cicourel, Matza and many others. It examines the work of early Merton under the strong influences of Durkeim and Marx and its metamorphosis into the subcultural theories of Albert Cohen and Dick Cloward and the phenomenological tradition of Berger and Luckman and Szasz which formed the basis of the labeling school. From this it makes the transatlantic crossing to work around the new criminology, the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies and to the recent development of cultural criminology. Throughout it places theory in its political, economic and social contexts and the theorists in the world they experienced and the contradictions and dilemmas they faced.
It charts the development of a positivist orthodoxy following the predictions of C. Wright Mill and critically examines the attempts of positivism to develop a science of crime and deviancy, particularly in relationship to delinquency, and the failures to arrive at adequate theoretical explanations and methodological approaches.
Areas of theory will include Constructionism, Subcultural Theory, the work of Foucault, Feminism, Marxism, Critical Criminology and Postmodernism. Its aim is to integrate theory into the research concerns of students and to avoid an abstract discussion of theory by addressing current social problems and concerns (e.g. the debate over the legalization of drugs, the causes and impact of mass incarceration, the explanation of the rise of crime in the latter part of the twentieth century and the drop today). If students are interested in particular social problems or areas of deviance every effort will be made to integrate these in the seminar program.

Profs. Mitchell Duneier and John Mollenkopf 
Soc. 82800 - Ethnography of Public Policy {27342}
Thursdays 4:15 – 6:15pm, 3 credits, Room TBA
Most approaches to the study of public policy either use statistical analysis to address questions of efficiency and effectiveness or institutional analysis to understand how actors form coalitions (or block coalitions) to advance their policy agenda within a particular political opportunity structure. This course investigates a third approach: using the tools of ethnography and qualitative analysis (participant observation, in-depth interviewing) to investigate how the participants inside a given Apolicy domain@ interact to formulate, adopt, and most importantly carry out programs. This approach puts the focus on “front line workers” who actually do the work of delivering public policies by interacting with clients on an every-day basis.  We are particularly interested not only in the details of how such interactions Asocially construct@ clients, but how clients react to these processes as well as how higher levels of management and policy decision-makers try to reshape them from time to time.  In other words, we will examine the role of “street level bureaucrats” in their operating context, including not only managers and clients, but the larger fields of elected officials, legislators, the press, policy scholars, advocacy organizations, consultants, or the concerned public. The course introduces these issues with a close reading of Michael Lipsky’s classic Street Level Bureaucracy then moves to several ethnographic policy case studies, including public housing restructuring, homeless services, policing, and school reform.

Profs. Mitchell Duneier and Philip Kasinitz     
Soc. 81200-- URBAN ETHNOGRAPHY {27322}
Thursdays, 2-4pm, 3 credits, room TBA
This course introduces first-hand study of city life by investigators who have immersed themselves in the worlds of the people about whom they write. Since its inception in the early twentieth century, this great tradition has helped define how we think about cities and city dwellers.
The past few decades have seen an extraordinary revival in the field, as scholars and the public at large grapple with the increasingly complex and pressing issues that affect the ever changing American city—from poverty to the immigration experience, the changing nature of social bonds to mass incarceration, hyper-segregation to gentrification. As both a method of research and a form of literature, urban ethnography has seen a notable and important resurgence.
The class will focus on reading excellent examples of classic and contemporary works in urban ethnography.   It is therefore critical that students come to class having read and ready to discuss the assigned readings. The goal is to provide students with an understanding of this tradition. Throughout the semester we will also devote time to the practical, methodological and ethical issues raised in ethnography. Although this is not a ‘how to do it” course, we believe that careful study of the assigned readings will help those students who need to understand the intellectual dilemmas they will confront when using ethnographic methods, as well as those who prefer to experience urban ethnography as readers. Thus, we seek to understand urban ethnography both as a research method and as a form of social scientific literature.

Prof. Mauricio Font     
Soc. 8310 -  States and Social Transformations {27353}
Wednesdays, 4:15 p.m.-6:15 p.m. 3 credits, Room TBA

This course explores theories of the rise and evolution of the state and their relationship to large-scale social change and development. The seminar discusses classic and contemporary approaches—from Marx and Weber to Tilly, Moore, Skocpol  and other major studies representing the comparative historical, political economic, institutionalist, rational theory and other perspectives. It focuses on the development and roles of states in such areas as  market expansion and transitions to capitalism, late industrialization, other historical and contemporary forms of development, reactions to exogenous shocks and crises, social policy, democracy and democratization, collective action and contention, revolutionary and socialist models, bureaucratic development and failed states, good governance, national integration, culture, and globalization. The seminar may take into account student interest, to include such areas of state action and policy as infrastructure, financial regulation, health, education, and regime change. We will emphasize cases and comparative studies—within and across regions and times. This seminar will be of particular significance to those contemplating additional research in this area. Since it reviews major works on the subject, it may also appeal to those interested in the political economic and comparative historical study of political processes and their relationship to social transformations. For additional information, contact the instructor at mfont@gc.cuny.edy.

Prof. David Halle           
Soc. 82800 – GLOBAL CITIES {27811}
Wednesdays, 6:30 – 8:30pm, Room TBA, 3Credits  
Global Cities seeks to understand the politics, economics, social, and cultural  life of today’s urban-mega centers.  We will study the strengths and weaknesses of these cities by looking at innovation and job creation, housing and neighborhood life including integration and segregation, the rise and decline of  urban “ghettos”,  the waxing and waning of the suburbs, education, political incorporation, crime, architecture and “starchitects”, ethnic and racial relations, religious diversity, inequality, finance and banking, cultural institutions such as museums and art galleries, environmental issues including threats such as global warming and flooding as well as opportunities to make cities “greener”, urban riots, and terrorism.  We will focus especially on New York, Los Angeles, London, and Hong Kong.  The course complements International Migration (MALS 77400) by seeking to understand the global urban context to which so many international migrants are drawn.

Prof. Barbara Katz Rothman            
Soc. 82800 -  Food, Culture and Society
Tuesdays, 6:30 – 8:30pm, 3 credits, Room TBA
The scholarly study of food invokes issues of gender, class, labor, and cultural identities and demands an interdisciplinary approach.  This course explores major issues in foodways—food habits from production through consumption—through readings and discussions as well as through primary research in food and society. 
The key focus in the course is going to be the application of theory and methods from the disciplines represented by students, faculty and invited guests in the course, to the study of Food (with a capital F, food as a social production) 
Rather than a standard paper, each student will, in consultation with the professor and the other students, develop a project that best fits in with her/his own work –for example,  a food-focused dissertation chapter, an internship, a series of published book reviews, or a paper presentation at a professional conference in the student’s home discipline. 
Confirmed guests are key scholars in Food Studies in the New York area, in and out of CUNY, and include (in alphabetical order!)
Fred Kaufman
Tamara Mose
Fabio Parasecoli
Janet Poppendeick
Krishnendu Ray

Prof. Barbara Katz Rothman            
Soc. 77800 - Maternal, Child, Sexual and Reproductive Health: Social and Historical Contexts {27355}
Wednesdays, 6:30 – 8:30pm, 3 credits, Room TBA
This course will offer an introduction and critical overview of public health issues, approaches and concerns in the area of Maternal, Child Sexual and Reproductive Health. The focus will be on the United States, but global issues will be under consideration as well. Specific topics will include the medicalization of maternity care, sexuality and infancy/childhood; the consequences of 'risk' as a dominant ideology for maternal and child health care; issues in reproductive justice, with particular attention to race and class, and the historic and contemporary influence of eugenics in public health; the history of midwifery and global trends in midwifery care; the role of public health interventions and changing ideas about what constitutes "Public Health."   Specific course topics will be adapted to reflect the concerns and interests of what may be a highly interdisciplinary group of participants.  Guest speakers will be drawn from advocacy, academic and public health perspectives.

Prof. Prema Kurien     
Soc. 84509 - Religion and Immigration  {27335}
Mondays, 2 - 4pm, 3 credits, Room TBA 
This course will focus on how religion plays a central role in social, economic, and political processes surrounding migration and immigration. Drawing on case studies of migration and immigration to the West (primarily to the US), we will see how religion, through a variety of indirect and direct mechanisms, shapes out-migration patterns, remittance use, social incorporation into receiving societies, and forms of political mobilization. Religion can affect out-migration patterns by determining societal structures such as the social location of groups within society, which in turn influences the fundamental characteristics of groups and gives rise to differential state policies towards them. Religion plays a central role in the incorporation of immigrants not just through personal faith, religious institutions, and communities, but through the intersection of the religiously infused identities and concepts of secularism of the receiving and home countries, as well as global politics which can profoundly impact the political incorporation of immigrants and their mobilization patterns. Majority/minority religious status in the homeland can affect activism around homeland issues, while majority/minority religious status in the host countries can mold racial attitudes and self-identification in different ways.

Prof. Branko Milanovic
Soc. 84600 – Theories of Income Distribution: From Pareto to Piketty{27911}
Wednesdays, 6:30 – 8:30pm, Room TBA, 3Credits 
The objective of the course is be to review, analyze, and allow students to develop a much better understanding of the theories and empirics of personal income distribution within a single policy-making unit (that is, normally within a nation-state). The first such theory was developed by Vilfredo Pareto more than 100 years ago. Pareto believes that income distribution does not change regardless of a social system and level of development. Simon Kuznets, in the 1950s, posited, on the contrary, a theory where income inequality evolves as societies get richer. Jan Tinbergen, in the 1970s, argued that the level of inequality is determined by the two opposing forces of education (increasing the supply of highly skilled workers) and technological change (increasing the demand for them). Most recently, Thomas Piketty argues that low growth combined with high returns to capital predisposes advanced economies to high levels of inequality. These theories will be considered on the real-world examples of movements of inequality in Brazil, China, “transition countries” and the United States and other advanced economies.  We shall focus especially on the recent evolution of income and wealth inequality in the United States and Piketty’s analytical contributions. The class will be fairly empirical but does not require any prior specific knowledge of the issues nor techniques. It is recommended for students of economics, political science, and sociology.

Prof. Pyong Gap Min             
Soc. 82800 - Asian Americans {27337}
Thursdays, 6:30 – 8:30pm, 3 credits, Room TBA
1.  The main objective of this course is to provide an overview of Asian-American
experiences by covering Asian Americans both as a whole with regard to particular topics and major Asian ethnic groups separately.
2.  Major Asian American groups to be covered separately are Chinese, Japanese,
Filipino, South Asian, Korean, and Indo-Chinese (Vietnamese, Cambodians and Laotians). 
- General topics to be covered are immigration (history and contemporary trends), settlement patterns, socio-economic adjustment, prejudice and discrimination experienced, family and gender issues, community organization, ethnicity (ethnic attachment, ethnic identity, and ethnic solidarity), religious background, and intergenerational transition.
- Specific topics and theories to be covered include the following: the model minority thesis, pan-Asian ethnicity, multiracial Asian Americans, Asian Americans’ positioning in U.S. race relations, the effects of globalization on Asian immigration patterns, Asian Americans’ transnational ties, Asian Americans’ political development, Korean-Black conflicts, intermarriage patterns.
click for the syllabus

Prof. Robert C Smith             
Soc. 85800 – Second Plus Generations and American Immigrant Integration {27798}
Wednesdays 2-4pm, 3 credits, room TBA
This course examines the ways that immigrants, and especially the second and subsequent generations are integrating into American society.  In particular, it asks how they engage with several American institutions: schools,  the political and voting systems,  socioeconomic and cultural institutions, and others.   It will look at schools as institutions for inclusion/exclusion;  will consider what political institutions and processes are working towards or against political incorporation of immigrants and later generations;   will review how assimilation is taking sometimes unexpected turns in various new immigration destinations in the northeast and southwestern US; and examine how other institutions, such as families and their internal dynamics, affect integration and mobility.   The course will give special consideration to the place of undocumented immigrants in American society.   Where appropriate, comparisons to European cases will be made. 

Prof. John Torpey
Soc. 80000 - Comparative Historical Sociology {27313}
Tuesdays, 2-4pm, 3 credits, room TBA
This course introduces students to the field of comparative-historical sociology.  We will focus on approaches to making sense of major social change in the areas of religion, state formation and democratization, the uses of physical violence, revolution, and the economy.  As befits a course with these aims, readings will be substantial and will range widely across time and place.  We will emphasize especially major turning points and transformations in human history.

Prof. John Torpey
Soc. 83000 - Sociology of Religion {27799}
Wednesdays, 11:45 – 1:45pm, 3 credits, room TBA
This course introduces students to some of the major milestones and debates in the sociology of religion.  It addresses such themes as the historical development of religion and its connections with other aspects of human life; the distinction between religious doctrine and religious experience; connections between religion and politics; relationships between the sacred and the secular (and hence between church and state); the notion of “civil religion”; the theory of secularization and its critics; the recent emergence of a “supply-side” theory of religion and its critics; contemporary developments in global religion, etc.  Major questions we will address include: What is religion?  Is there more or less of it now than there was in the past?  What accounts for the variation in religious observance across world regions and cultures?  Is secularization theory still relevant?

Prof. Vilna Bashi Treitler     
Soc. 85800 - Race Theory {27346 }
Tuesdays, 6:30 – 8:30pm, 3 credits, roomo TBA

This is an advanced seminar for graduate students. This course is one that compares what I call "racial structures" across nations and time periods. (It focuses neither solely on the United States, nor on the contemporary moment.) In readings and classroom discussions we try to jointly discover and debate the meaning of race. To do so, we compare theoretical and empirical writings about race, racial categories, racial hierarchies, and racism as they are played out in political, cultural, and socioeconomic structures around the globe and in different historical periods. We will learn together in our attempt to answer these questions: What is race and how is it socially constructed? Given that definition of race, then what is racism? What is a racial structure? How do racial structures vary over time and across space? Given these newfound definitions of race, racism, and the structures in which race and racism are manifest, what insights do we have about doing research on race and racism? Students are required to complete a draft of a publishable paper that uses a social constructionist model of race (i.e., does not treat race as an essential characteristic basic to all humans). That paper may be theoretical or empirical in nature.

 Prof. Jerry G. Watts              
Soc. 82800 – Violence in America {
Thursdays, 6:30 – 8:30pm, 3 credits, room TBA
This class will focus on several specific types/genres of violence that are flourishing in contemporary American society. Topics to be discussed include the American obsession with gun ownership, particularly the belief that owning a gun is fundamental to individual freedom.  The class will also confront intimate partner violence, popularly known as domestic violence.   Domestic violence is a core component of widespread gendered violence against women.   Another topic of discussion will be domestic police departments and their attempt to maintain social order in a society of massive racial/ socio-economic inequalities.  In particular, we will analyze the class dynamics of policing as well as the increased “militarization” of domestic politics forces.  We will also focus on urban gangs and the violence associated with urban crime, particularly the illegal drug trade.   Finally, we will discuss the American legal system and the vast expansion of prisons in America.  Not only is incarceration inherently violent but prisons function as violence training sites for those who are incarcerated.  In addition to participation in weekly class discussions of the assigned readings, the class will require a final research paper.  

Professor Sharon Zukin        
Soc. 72500 -  Urban sociology {27356}
Tuesdays 2-4pm, 3 credits, room TBA
With the vast majority of the world’s population living in cities, it is urgent to understand the forces that drive the production of urban space and urban cultures.  Capital investment and disinvestment, migrations, public policies, media images, and consumers’ tastes: together, all of these create the structured, lived, and imagined city on every spatial scale, from the microcosm of the street to the global city and metropolitan region.
We will read and discuss a range of models and empirical studies—old and new Chicago Schools, neomarxist geography, new urban sociology—to develop our own urban framework, and to analyze issues of concern on multiple sites in the urbanized world.
Students will write very short weekly idea papers to show they have absorbed the readings, lead class discussions, and, at the end of the course, present a framework of theories and methods to study an urban space of their choice (10 pages).