Spring 2016 Course Offerings
Profs. Richard Alba & Nancy Foner email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Soc. 82800 – Immigration in an Era of Globalization
Thursdays, 2-4pm, 3 credits, Room TBA
This course will provide an overview of the literature on contemporary
immigration. The focus will be on the U.S., but the larger context of
South-North immigration will be brought into view. Attention will be
divided between theories and empirical research, as the course considers
accounts of who immigrates and why and how immigrants insert themselves into
the receiving society and its economy. The final part of the course will
consider the impact of immigration on, among other things, future ethno-racial
divisions and intermarriage and family relations.
Prof. Stanley Aronowitz email@example.com
Soc. 80000– Marx's Grundrisse
Thursdays, 4:15 – 6:15pm, 3 credits, Room TBA
A decade before the publication of Capital, Marx completed a draft of the study. The draft went well beyond the final version which was almost entirely a critique of the categories of political economy. The Grundrisse(rough draft) has important sections that anticipate the later work, including the second and third volumes of Capital. The Grundrisse, however, which was first translated into English in 1973 covers more ground: an elaborate chapter on money; considerations in the history of human societies that depart from the three stages model enunciated in the German Ideology; significant contributions to the theory of work and labor; a remarkable fragment on the effects of automation on work; a major critique of contemporary theories of surplus value and profit; reflections on poverty and much more.
The entire course will be devoted to this single book and its reception. We will read major sections closely, and consider some of the commentaries on it by Negri, Rosdolsky and Stiegler. Prior familiarity with The German Ideology and the Economic and Philosophical Notebooks of 1844 by Marx and Engels is helpful but not required.
Profs. Paul Attewell & Mary Clare Lennon firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Soc. 81900 – Topics in Multivariate Methods
Wednesdays 2-4pm, 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.
Professor David C. Brotherton firstname.lastname@example.org
Soc. 85000 Studies of Youth, Marginalization and Subcultures of Resistance
Mondays, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Room TBA
In the current period a plethora of youth resistance actions, movements and subcultures have developed in response to socio-economic dislocations on a global scale. From rebellious students, youth riots in England to graffiti writers in Rio de Janeiro to politicized gangs in Quito and New York and the globalized Occupied Wall Street movement an endless range of symbolic and substantive responses by youth to their felt conditions of marginality can be observed and studied. In this seminar we will excavate this dynamic and fluid social field through focusing on theories and empirical studies that help to explain the continuity and discontinuity of youth social and cultural resistances over time. Questions of race/ethnicity, class, gender and age will be addressed as we trace the meanings and representations of youth reactions to industrial and post-industrial societies within and across their highly ambiguous political and cultural locations. Students will be expected to carry out small research projects that in some way reflect the transgressive practices, rituals and possibilities of youth in the late modern metropolis.
The seminar has two major goals: (i) to explore the range of sociological theories that explain youth social and cultural resistance, and (ii) to critically interpret the different forms that this resistance takes in the context of an evolving and highly contradictory transnationalist capitalist order. We will focus in particular on the origins of youth subcultures as they emerge during both modernity and late modernity and their construction within changing notions of criminal and non-criminal deviance.
Prof. Erica Chito Childs email@example.com
Soc. 76900– Media and Popular Culture Analysis
Mondays, 2-4pm, 3 credits, Room TBA
This course will explore the myriad of theoretical approaches and methods used to analyze the content, structure, and contexts of media and popular culture in society. In particular we will explore how cultural meanings convey specific ideologies of gender, race, class, sexuality, nation, and other ideological dimensions. We will focus on three inter-related dimensions of cultural analysis including the production and political economy of culture, the reading of cultural texts (film, TV, video games, news coverage music, social media, etc.), and the audience reception of those texts (including social media responses). Students will produce an original research paper employing one of the theoretical frameworks and methodologies of cultural analysis for publication.
Prof. Hester Eisenstein firstname.lastname@example.org
Soc. 80000– Feminist Texts and Theories
Mondays, 2-4pm, 3 credits, Room TBA
In this course students will consider significant classic and modern texts in the feminist tradition. The course will cover a series of feminist theories from the 19th to the 21st centuries, including Marxist, radical and liberal perspectives, and ranging from Black, Third World, lesbian and ecofeminist formulations to postmodern/poststructuralist views that question the existence of woman as a category. We will look at issues of race, class, sexuality, and disability in relation to feminist and womanist positions. The class will include readings by Clara Zetkin, Simone de Beauvoir, bell hooks, Chandra Mohanty, and Judith Butler, among others. Students will be expected to be prepared to discuss the readings each week, and to write a weekly short zap or response paper. The final project for the class will be a 20-25 page research paper, but can also be a film, a video, or a political statement and analysis.
Prof. Kenneth Gould email@example.com
Soc 84510 Environmental Sociology
Thursdays, 11:45 – 1:45pm, 3 credits, Room TBA
This course explores the complex, dynamic interactions between social systems and ecosystems. The sub-field of environmental sociology challenges sociology's human exemptionalist paradigm by incorporating the natural environment as a variable. The course will examine the social origins of the major environmental stresses facing contemporary social systems, the social conflicts that these stresses have produced, and a range of approaches to resolving social system-ecosystem disjuncture at local, regional, national, and transnational levels. Major theoretical frameworks and debates in the sub-discipline will be addressed. Special attention will be paid to the roles of science and technology in generating and responding to socio-environmental disorganization, the role of socio-economic inequality in environmental conflicts, the emergence of environmental social movement coalitions, the fusion of the politics of place, production, and identity in ecological resistance movements, and linkages between transnational economic processes and efforts to achieve ecologically and socially sustainable development trajectories.
Prof. David Halle firstname.lastname@example.org
Soc. 82800 Global Cities
Mondays, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Room TBA
Global Cities seeks to understand the politics, economics, social, and cultural life of today’s urban-mega centers. We will study innovation and job creation, neighborhood life including integration and segregation, housing including the “affordable housing” and “homeless” crises; the rise and decline of urban “ghettos”, the waxing and waning of the suburbs, education, political incorporation, crime and police-community relations, architecture and “starchitects”, ethnic and racial relations, immigration including Europe’s current refugee crisis, 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, and London, but draw examples from many other global cities. The course complements International Migration (MALS 77400) by seeking to understand the global urban context to which so many international migrants are drawn.
Prof. Samuel Heilman email@example.com
Soc. 84509– Sociology of Hasidism
Wednesdays, 11:45 – 1:45pm, 3 credits, Room TBA
This course will explore the current Hasidic world looking at it sociologically. We will detail its history, structure, personalities, and conflicts. We put it in the context of fundamentalism. Special attention to issues of succession and continuity.
Prof. Philip Kasinitz firstname.lastname@example.org
Soc. 72500– Urban Sociology
Wednesdays, 4:15 – 6:15pm, 3 credits, Room TBA
This course will survey sociological work on the city as both a spatial location and a social institution. We will discuss the relationship of urbanism and modernity, debates over the role of “community” in urban life, the “Chicago School” and political economy approaches, ghettos, neighborhoods, neighborhood chance, ethnic enclaves, the sociology of the built environment, the role of public space in urban life, the importance of culture and consumption in shaping the urban experience and the impact of migration, gentrification and globalization on contemporary cities.
Prof. Barbara Katz Rothman
Soc. 82800– Maternal, Child, sexual and reproductive health
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 with a particular focus on the area generally known as Maternal and Child 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 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 in infant care, including breast feeding and co-sleeping; and selected other topics as decided by the class.
Prof. Leslie Paik Lpaik@ccny.cuny.edu
Soc. 84505– Law and Society
Mondays 11:45-1:45 pm, 3 credits, Room TBA
This seminar examines the relationship between law and society, considering how the law shapes social life and how social change affects law and legal institutions. The seminar takes a “law in action” approach to studying law that focuses on the social, political, economic, and cultural contexts of law. We begin by the classical and contemporary theories of the sociology of law and then proceed to various topics of law and society research, including legal consciousness, legal pluralism, the legal profession, legal mobilization, and the globalization of law. To highlight those topics, substantive readings will focus on how the law shapes our views of race, gender, family and immigration in the US. This seminar will provide a broad socio-legal foundation for students working on those substantive topics, as well as for those interested in social control and social change.
Prof. Robert Smith email@example.com
Soc. 81200– Ethnography, Related Methods and Case Based Analysis.
Tuesdays, 6:30-8:30pm, 3 credits, Room TBA
This course will review ethnography and related methods, and have students conduct their own ethnographic research. The course has several goals: First, it seeks to familiarize students with different schools of ethnographic research. Second, it seeks to develop the ability of students to do ethnographic research and writing, and make them self conscious and confident about the epistemic and scientific bases of ethnographic research, enabling students to better engage with mainstream sociology. Two key tasks here are to develop students ability to identify what their case/s is/are case/s of, and then make the case for that case. Third, the course will examine theories about all the various tools in the ethnographic toolkit: participant observation, interviews of various kinds, biographical and comparative case analysis, narrative and documentary analysis, and particular issues, such as negotiating the IRB (Institutional Review Board). As part of the class, students will engage in their own ethnographic research, and present both notes and some analysis in class.
Prof. John Torpey firstname.lastname@example.org
Soc. 82800– Social Change: In Search of Progress
Tuesdays, 2-4pm, 3 credits, Room TBA
This course examines the idea of “social change” generally, and the idea of “progress” more specifically. We will explore ways of thinking about how societies change, different approaches to understanding historical time, and specific domains in which “progress” might be said to have been made in recent decades and centuries – economic, political, gender, racial, military, and the like. Readings will be drawn from interdisciplinary sources across the social sciences and philosophy.
Prof. Elena Vesselinov email@example.com
The course aims to engage graduate students in discussions about the main axes of urban inequality: economic, racial/ethnic, spatial, educational and environmental. We will discuss these five aspects of inequality, as well as how each of them is studied, using specific research methods. We will debate when and how scholars use in-depth interviews, surveys, Census data, GIS, various indexes, or social media to address specific research questions. Thus the course will focus on urban inequality in substantive and methodological way. It is organized in five sections.
Soc. 82100– Studying Urban Inequality
Thursdays, 11:45 – 1:45pm, 3 credits, Room TBA
The first section, Economic Inequality in the Study of Cities, begins with some theoretical evidence about the political economy of place. The readings in this section examine the origins and sources of economic inequality in contemporary world cities. The section continues with evidence about the widening income and wealth gap between urban residents.
The second and third sections then focus on urban inequities related to racial/ethnic origin, immigration status and residential location. These sections are closely related and we will discuss some latest work about indices of residential segregation, particularly the work of Sean Reardon, Van Tran and others, as they improve the methodology of studying social and neighborhood differentiation.
The readings in the fourth section are still intertwined with the previous sections, because educational inequality is also linked to residential location. We will compare the educational outcomes of children alongside class and racial/ethnic background.
The last section is about environmental inequality and justice. While the previous three sections are focused more on the U.S., in this section we will explore inequities in cities around the world, because the environment is an area that probably shows us the most of humanity’s interdependence.
The class will operate as a seminar in which students will introduce some of the readings. There will be two take home essays assigned during the semester, corresponding to major sections of the course. In addition, each student will prepare a final project: a research proposal. The final grade will be calculated as follows: class discussion - 20 percent; essays - 25 percent each; research proposal - 30 percent.
Professor Angie Y. Chung firstname.lastname@example.org
Soc. 82800 – Immigrant Communities
Tuesdays, 11:45 – 1:45pm, 3 credits, Room TBA
The course will cover the evolution, structure, and dynamics of immigrant communities in the United States with particular attention to the ethnic economy and community politics of contemporary Asian and Latino enclaves. We will cover a wide range of ethnic communities from socially isolated, self-sufficient ethnic enclaves to transnationally-embedded global economies to multiracial suburbs on the metropolitan outskirts. Among other things, we will discuss different scholarly perspectives on what constitutes an ethnic enclave, why some thrive while others decline, how they may empower and exploit, how they are culturally consumed, and how they are integrated into the urban political economy. Students will have the opportunity to develop an instructor-approved community project relevant to the course.
Professor Bryan S. Turner email@example.com
Soc. 83000 – Comparative Sociology of Religion
Tuesdays, 11:45 – 1:45pm, 3 credits, Room TBA
The course attempts to do three things. The first is to provide you with a critical overview of the development of the sociology of religion and to explore key authors and works. This aspect of the course considers how ‘religion’ and the ‘sacred’ raise issues that are generic to sociology (explanation, understanding, interpretation, rational action, body, practice and so forth). The second is to consider the current debate about secularization and post-secularism, and its antecedents in such notions as civil religion, religious nationalism, popular religion and public religions. Finally while in much of western society mainline churches are declining, in global terms religion is dominant in social and political conflicts: in the Middle East conflict, in Africa between Muslims and Christians, and in Asia between Buddhists and Muslims. Therefore the course looks at a range of problems concerning state-religion relations in multicultural, multi-faith, culturally hybrid and ethnically divided societies. These issues will require us to consider such developments as ‘public religions’, fundamentalism, Pentecostalism, revivalism, religious radicalism, piety, conversion and so forth. Where possible, these considerations are pursued within a comparative and historical framework. Click for detailed course descriptions.
Prof. Roslyn Wallach Bologh firstname.lastname@example.org
Soc. 74600– Political Economy and Social Life
Tuesdays, 6:30 – 8:30pm, 3 credits, Room TBA
What kinds of changes have been occurring and what kinds of changes are likely to occur in social life over the next five or ten years? Political economy has major consequences for social life -- including inequality, 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) – also for what is called personality structure, character and culture. Thomas Piketty’s book, Capital In the Twenty-First Century, harkens back to Capital written in the nineteenth century by Karl Marx. Piketty argues that twenty-first century capitalism is going to look a lot like nineteenth century capitalism in terms of class inequality. Faculty and students at Harvard have created an interdisciplinary Program in the Study of Capitalism. How can we, as social scientists, analyze political economy and its consequences for social life today and in the coming years? We will compare different analytic perspectives to see which one(s) seem most compelling. We will examine important changes in political economy and explore how these changes were reflected in and changed life in a particular locale, such as New York City. How do researchers and writers link their analyses and descriptions of social life to a larger historical, political economic context, and what difference does that make?
One objective of the course: first draft of a publishable paper on any aspect of social life, but with a political economic framework, context or theoretical analysis, or first draft of a publishable paper that directly engages some issue of political economy.
Prof. Jeremy Porter
Soc. 81100 / DCP. 80300 - Social Demography and Geographies of the Disadvantaged
Wednesday, 11:45 a.m.-1:45 p.m., 3 credits, Room TBA
In this course we will examine the role of “place” as social geographies which relates to containers of populations. In particular, we are interested in the social geographies of disadvantage. We will explore theoretical treatments and popular sources of data in the analysis of disadvantaged populations. We will also be introduced to ways that public policies, institutional practices and spatial perceptions become institutionalized and influence local contexts to maintain disadvantage. Students in the course will work with data from the US Census Bureau, Centers for Disease Control, and other administrative population level data sources. In addition, students will be introduced to a series of open source software packages commonly used in the application of methods associated with the examination of disadvantaged populations/individuals in localized contexts. Methodological applications include Multilevel modeling (could be listed as HLM), Geographically Weighted Regression (GWR), Spatial Regression, and an introduction to Spatio-Temporal Analyses. Pre-requisite: Introductory statistics including multiple linear regression.
Prof. Frank Heiland
DCP. 70200/SOC. 81900 Methods of Demographic Analysis
GC: Thursday, 11:45 a.m.-1:45 p.m., 3 credits, Room TBA
This course gives students an overview of some of the major demographic methods used in the study of population, and includes the standard procedures for the measurement of fertility, mortality, natural increase, migration, and nuptiality. Students will learn how to construct demographic rates, life tables, and population projections, and how to carry out standardization, decomposition of differences, analysis of fertility and nuptiality patterns, analysis invoking model life tables and stable population theory, and analysis of nonstable populations.
Soc. 84600 – Prof. Branko Milanovic email@example.com
THEORIES OF INCOME DISTRIBUTION : FROM PARETO TO PIKETTY
Wednesday, 6:30 – 8:30, 3 credits, room TBA
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.