Spring 2017 Course Offerings
Profs. Richard Alba, Nancy Foner– email@example.com;firstname.lastname@example.org
Soc. 85902 - Comparative Perspectives on Immigration
Tuesdays, 4:15 – 6:15pm, Room TBA, 3 credits
A comparative perspective can yield fresh insights into the nature and impact of immigration and integration. The focus in this course will be on comparisons that explore how Western European
countries, the United States, and Canada, have been dealing with the incorporation of millions of immigrants and their descendants in the past few decades. We will seek to identify – and explain -- the contrasts as well as parallels in Western Europe and North America, a process that can deepen our insight into the underlying causes of inclusion and exclusion of immigrants and their children as well as how they are remaking the societies where they now live. We will be examining, among others, issues pertaining to religion, race, educational achievement among the second generation, political and labor market incorporation, residential segregation, intermarriage and identities, and the rise of xenophobic movements. Students will critically discuss and prepare comments on relevant works on each of the topics discussed and write a final research paper.
Profs. Paul Attewell and Mary Clare Lennon - email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Soc. 81900 - TOPICS IN MULTIVARIATE METHODS
Wednesdays, 4:15 – 6:15pm, Room TBA, 3 credits
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 two of these techniques. We hope this will serve as the core of a publishable paper.
Prof. Mehdi Bozorgmehr – email@example.com
Soc. 85800 - Muslim Integration in Europe and North America
Wednesdays, 6:30-8:30pm, Room TBA, 3 credits
This new course explores some of the key integration dilemmas faced by rapidly growing Muslim populations in the West. It will draw upon case studies of Muslim minority groups in major settler societies in Western Europe and North America (i.e., Germany, France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, the United States and Canada). The emphasis throughout the course is on empirical and theoretical works and controversial policy debates concerning the integration of Muslims across the two continents. Muslims in Europe are very well-researched, due to their numerical and substantive significance, but Muslims in America are one of the least studied of all minority groups, despite their disproportionate media coverage. Moreover, the Muslim-American experience is conspicuously absent from courses on immigration, ethnic and racial studies, and even religious studies in the social sciences and the humanities.
Specifically, this course will take into account the way in which global immigrant cities such as New York, Toronto, Paris, London, Berlin, and Amsterdam have an effect on the immigrant Muslim experience, and in turn, are transformed by these immigrants and their descendants. Furthermore, the course will comparatively address patterns of accommodation, or lack thereof, of secular and democratic national contexts vis-a-vis Muslim minorities. These can range from outright exclusion to Islamophobia, to reactive solidarity and ethnic/religious mobilization, and ultimately integration. Other pressing issues of the post-9/11 era include youth radicalization (or so-called “homegrown terrorism”), the European refugee crisis, and subsequent right-wing anti-Muslim parties and policies. These will be addressed in this course as well.
The following topics will be covered, as related to Muslim integration:
· Theories of assimilation, integration, and incorporation
· Contrasting demographic and socioeconomic characteristics
· Comparing national and local contexts of reception
· Ethnic and religious group boundaries
· The new second generation
· Radicalization and terrorism
· European refugee crisis
· Ethnic and religious mobilization
· Immigration and integration policies
Prof. Erica Chito Childs – firstname.lastname@example.org
Soc. 75600 - Race & Multiculturalism in a Global Context
Mondays, 2-40pm, Room TBA, 3 credits
Studying race and multiculturalism in a global perspective is an increasingly important phenomenon. The global economy, growing rates of immigration, and rapidly advancing information and media technologies have brought diverse groups in closer contact in more areas of the globe, even those previously regarded as racially and ethnically homogenous. This course will cover a myriad of issues under the rubric of race and multiculturalism, encompassing a large multidisciplinary body of research and beginning with a review of the very concepts of race, ethnicity, and multiculturalism. Throughout the course, we will explore what interracial intimacies, multicultural policies, multiracial families, and cross-racial coalitions show us about contemporary race relations, and the intersections of race, gender, religion, and class. Subjects covered include interracial/mixed marriage, transracial adoption, race/multiculturalism in law and politics, multicultural education, and multiracialism in the media and popular culture. We will focus on these issues in contemporary America, as well as globally covering varied countries and regions. A variety of theoretical frameworks including critical race theory, cultural studies, and post-colonial writings, as well qualitative and quantitative methodologies for studying these issues will be addressed to engage in comparative intercultural and interdisciplinary dialogue.
Profs. Lynn Chancer, Thomas DeGloma – email@example.com;firstname.lastname@example.org
Soc. 70200 – Contemporary Theory
Mondays, 6:30-8:30pm, Room TBA, 3 credits
This course is designed to serve multiple purposes simultaneously. The first aim is intellectual: to provide you with a thorough survey of important theorists in the development of both European and American social theory, as well as a sense of how classical theory influenced contemporary thinking and how current theorists have influenced one another. Our second goal is more pragmatic: we hope to provide comprehensive exposure to theorists whose work will both inspire you and help you with your future written work and independent research in the GC Sociology program. Third, and last, we aim to help you learn to creatively apply contemporary theory to specific social issues and problems of your interest; in this sense, the course is not simply an abstract exercise but hopefully one that brings theory alive and shapes your sociological vision.
Prof. Hector Cordero-Guzmam – email@example.com
Soc. 84700 - Community Based Organization & Public Policy
Tuesdays, 11:45 – 1:45pm, Room TBA, 3 credits
This course reviews the academic literature and current theoretical and empirical debates focusing on Community Based Groups, Organizations and Service providers and their connections to public policy debates and processes. The class explores who these organizations are; how they set and achieve their mission and related goals; what activities they tend to engage in; how they connect to their communities and other stakeholders; how they manage and find material, monetary and other resources to support their work; and how they connect to public policy institutions and policy debates. The course will focus on presenting, discussing, and analyzing materials and cases from a range of social service, labor and workforce based, advocacy, and community action oriented non-profit organizations and will explore how their experience informs contemporary debates and understandings about the role of civil society organizations in the lives and outcomes of communities and community residents.
Prof. Kenneth Gould – firstname.lastname@example.org
Soc. 82303 – Environmental Sociology/Environment Political-Economy
Tuesdays, 6:30 – 9pm, Brooklyn College, Room TBA, 3 credits
This course explores the complex, dynamic interactions between social systems and ecosystems. Environmental political economy challenges social science’s human exemptionnalist 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 environmental political economy 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. Samuel Heilman – email@example.com
Soc. 84509 - The Ethnography of the Hasidic Community: Brooklyn and Beyond
Wednesdays, 2-4pm, Room TBA, 3 credits
The course will offer a an ethnographic consideration of contemporary hasidic life, history, social structure, education, gender, issues of succession and the role of religion in ultra-orthodoxy. It will include field visits to various communities in and around New York. Students will be expected to prepare an ethnography of some aspect of hasidic life.
Prof. Michael Jacobson – Michael.Jacobson@islg.cuny.edu
Soc. 84700 - Public and Social Policy Development, Analysis, and Evaluation
Tuesdays, 4:15 – 6:15pm, Room TBA, 3 credits
This course is designed to provide students with an overview of public policy development, implementation, and evaluation in real-world settings, using local and national examples from the work of the Institute for State and Local Governance (ISLG), a research and policy organization within the City University of New York (CUNY). The Institute currently has 40 full time staff and has projects in over 40 cities nationally. ISLG works with government, nonprofit, private, and philanthropic organizations to reform and improve the structure, financing, delivery, measurement, and evaluation of vital public services in areas that include criminal justice, health care, child welfare and governmental budgeting. Specifically, the Institute provides state and local governments a range of technical assistance, research and analytical expertise, including project development and management, performance measurement and evaluation, cost-benefit analysis, and fiscal planning.
During the course, students will develop a foundational knowledge of the formal and informal policy making process with particular attention to how reforms can be proposed and implemented in what have become deeply politicized and resource constrained environments. Specific areas of focus will include the translation of research into policy and practice, the importance of relationship building, and the role of fiscal constraints in state and local decision-making.
Students will complete a semester-long capstone project that addresses the learning objectives in the context of the work of the CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance. Students will complete readings and assignments related to social and public policy development, analysis, and evaluation to supplement their capstone work.
Prof. Juan Battle – firstname.lastname@example.org
Soc. 83300 – Sexuality
Mondays, 4:15 – 6:15pm, Room TBA, 3 credits
Missing! Marginal! Misrepresented! This course draws on various bodies of scholarship – across the humanities and social sciences – to interrogate the complex subject of sexuality. Because students will be exposed to (and contribute from) a wide variety of perspectives on the subject, this course is appropriate for students in the traditional social sciences (e.g. sociology, anthropology, psychology, urban education, and history) as well as more contemporary ones (e.g. women’s studies, race studies, American studies, cultural studies, lesbian and gay studies).
Prerequisite – None.
Prof. Barbara Katz Rothman – email@example.com
Soc. 83100 - Sociology of Health, Illness and Biomedical Imperialism
Mondays, 6:30-8:30pm, Room TBA, 3 credits
This course offers an introduction to the field classically known as medical sociology, with an emphasis on newer qualitative, critical and theoretical work.
Key themes in Medical Sociology have included the social construction of illness and its ongoing expansion into more areas of life; the medical gaze and the processes of medicalization; how the medicalized body is framed; representations of the body in medicine; cultural images, ethnographies and narratives of disease and illness; and cultural understandings of medical subjects.
When we take seriously the call to do a truly global sociology, we can see Biomedicine operating at a level and in a way in which national boundaries are but minor obstacles in organizing access – access of providers of services to their customers or to their research material, and access of customers to services. In that sense, the ‘social construction’ idea is too passive, and too limited in boundaries. Illnesses are being constructed not only ‘socially,’ in each society according to its own ideas about the body, but in the pursuit of industrial profit. While Foucault spoke of the state uses of biopower, we will also consider how biopower, as it is institutionalized in the Biomedical Empire, uses states.
Prof. Branko Milanovic – firstname.lastname@example.org
Soc. 84600 – Within-National Inequalities: From Pareto to Piketty
Wednesdays, 6:30-8:30pm, Room TBA, 3 credits
The objective of the course is 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. Ruth Milkman – email@example.com
Soc. 84600 - Labor and Inequality: Gender, Race, Class, Immigration and the New Precarity
Tuesdays, 6:30-8:30pm, Room TBA, 3 credits
This course will explore the causes and consequences of growing precarity and polarization in the U.S. labor market, and the accompanying growth of class inequality. We will consider parallels to earlier historical periods as well as the implications for the labor movement. The impact of recent labor market transformations on groups that were historically marginalized — especially women, African Americans, and immigrants — and the widening class inequalities within each of those groups will also be examined.
This is a reading course with a seminar format. Students will be expected to carefully read the assigned texts and write brief weekly papers about them, as well as actively participating in class discussions. In addition, each student will be required to write a research paper on a topic related to the course content and approved in advance by the instructor.
Profs. John Mollenkopf and Leslie McCall - firstname.lastname@example.org
Soc. 84700 - Working Class Politics
Wednesdays, 4:15 – 6:15pm, Room TBA, 3 credits
This seminar addresses a variety of theoretical perspectives and empirical studies on 1) what we mean by “class” and the “working class,” 2) what forces have been reshaping the working class in the U.S. and beyond, such as technological innovation, globalization, the rising share of income going to the top one percent, changing gender and family roles and work-family relations, and the changing gender, racial, ethnic, and nativity composition of the workforce (including how the “white male working class” may be distinctive), and 3) how class membership and more general socio-economic position relate to the adoption of distinctive political values and identities, forms of political mobilization and participation, and policy preferences. The seminar will then use the case of the contemporary working class in metropolitan New York to investigate how its different segments are actually thinking and acting politically, situating them in the national context. (Seminar participants will select a working class segment and explore it through a variety of data sets and sources.) We will ask whether labor unions are still relevant to working class politics, despite their decline in membership, and also ask what other institutions or movements shape their political mobilization, including social movements, community organizations, political parties, civic and religious and fraternal organizations. The course concludes by looking at the role that class played in the 2016 presidential election and the ensuing political dynamics of the city and nation.
Prof. Tamara Mose – email@example.com
Soc. 81200 – Ethnography
Thursdays, 11:45 – 1:45pm, Room TBA, 3 credits
This course will explore various ethnographic approaches to the study of communities, neighborhoods, and other social phenomena. Emphasis will be on conducting field work through participant observation and interviews. We will focus on technical training in developing observational and interview guidelines, data collection, coding, and transcript analysis. There will be a strong emphasis on quality writing, analysis of ethnographic research in book and article format and attention to recent developments in ethnography, especially reflexivity.
Professor Jayne Mooney firstname.lastname@example.org
Soc. 85000 – Theorizing Violence
Wednesday, 4:15 – 6:15pm, Room TBA, 3 credits
This is course focuses on why violence is both an anathema and, at the same time, a common part of everyday life and a core cultural concern for movies through to videogames and the daily news. That is, it is concerned with the prevalence of violence and the fascination of violence. We will discuss the gamut of violence from homicide and domestic violence, through to spree and serial killings to terrorism and the violence of the state, to the harsh realities of war and genocide. The gendered nature of violence and the structural violence of race and class will be considered throughout, as well as, the theories that have arisen in an attempt to provide an explanation. We will focus on why ‘normal’ persons commit extreme violence and why violence is such a ‘normal’ part of the institutions of late modern society. Finally we will turn to how we can tackle the dehumanization and othering which constitute the narratives and psychological mechanisms that make such violence possible.
Prof. Jessica Halliday Hardie – email@example.com
Soc. 71600 – Statistics II
Thursdays, 11:45 – 1:45pm, Room TBA, 3 credits
In this course we will move from the building blocks of social statistics to using statistical tools to test hypotheses and draw conclusions. We will focus on two widely used statistical models: multiple linear regression and logistic regression. Within these larger frameworks, we will cover the underlying assumptions of each model and circumstances in which these assumptions are violated. Specific topics also include non-linearity, mediation, and moderation.
Prof. John Torpey – firstname.lastname@example.org
Soc. 80000 – Comparative Historical Sociology
Tuesdays, 2-4pm, Room TBA, 3 credits
One of the most striking tendencies in the historical social sciences is the bold return of grand narratives and of global perspectives on human life. This course introduces students to the field of comparative-historical sociology and to world history. We will focus on approaches to making sense of major social change in the areas of state formation and democratization, the uses of physical violence, revolution, religion, and the economy, and on how approaches to these issues have changed over time. 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. Sharon Zukin – email@example.com
Soc. 86800 - Consumer Society and Social Media
Wednesdays, 2-4 p.m, Room TBA, 3 credits
During the past century and a half, consumption has joined production as a major source of identity, a surrogate for citizenship, and an important driver of global, national, and local economies. Both praised and damned, it is the source and site of an ever wider and more sophisticated demand for goods and services and a major category of existential choice. Does consumer culture offer a better or a bogus form of citizenship? Does it promote a freer choice of identity or chain humans to an illusory sense of equality? Through branding strategies and digital devices, these questions form an inescapable, universal dilemma that we will explore in this course.
We will study consumer society as an institutional field where different kinds of social actors try to exercise agency, on the one hand, and exert power, on the other. Through readings, discussions, and small-group research, leading to both a course paper and perhaps the first stage of a future journal publication, we will examine such broad issues as the historical construction of global empires of consumption, the role of consumption in social theory, branding as identity and loyalty, and labor and regulation at each stage of the commodity chain. We will also focus on specific technologies of power such as Yelp reviews and on the social construction of the “sharing economy,” as well as specific areas of consumption such as food and fashion. All in one semester!
Prof. David Halle – firstname.lastname@example.org
Soc. 82800 – Global Cities
Monday, 6:30-8:30pm, Room TBA, 3 credits
Office Hours: Mon 5:30 – 6:15 in GC cafeteria (8th floor).
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.