Spring 2019 Course Offerings
Prof. Marnia Lazreg email@example.com
Soc 80000 - Reading Foucault on power, religion, and sexuality
Mondays, 4:15 - 6:15 pm, Room TBA, 3 credits
This intensive seminar focuses on a close reading of a small number of texts to understand what Foucault exactly wrote (and said) about power, its articulation with religion and sexuality, and its effects on the physical as well as social body. Did Foucault elaborate a coherent theory of power that incorporates politics, religion and sexual identity? What is the explanatory potential of such a theory when compared with existing sociological conceptions of power?
To answer these questions, the seminar examines the nature, forms, technical methods and consequences of power in the various settings Foucault evoked, such as the state, the economy (capitalism), and revolutions. The interface between sexuality and religion is studied through a number of key concepts, including “political spirituality,” “political life,” “liberalism,” “biopolitics” and “biopower;” “governmentality,” “pastoral power,” “mysticism,” “rupture”
The seminar further explores the relevance of Foucault’s thought to understanding some major contemporary issues, including the emergence of religion as a political force in developing countries; the state use of security as a tool of population control; the rise of neo-conservative leaders to power in Europe and the United States; and the backlash against feminism and gay rights.
Lectures at the Collège de France: “Society must be defended” (1976); “Security, Territory and Population,” (1977-78); Birth of biopolitics” (1978-79); “On the Government of the Living” (1979-80).
History of Sexuality and selections from Discipline and Punish
Students will be expected to engage in a sustained commitment to the readings and write a term paper on one of the theoretical issues covered in the seminar with a view to assessing its applicability to a current event.
Open to all interested students.
Prof. Richard Ocejo firstname.lastname@example.org
Soc. 81200 - Qualitative Methods/Ethnography
Mondays, 2:00 - 4:00, Room TBA, 3 credits
The ethnographic method has produced some of the most influential and memorable studies in sociology since the discipline’s founding. Both seminar and practicum, this course will introduce students to and help train them in ethnography as it is used in sociology. To quote Robert Park’s famous line, a key goal of the course will be for students to “get the seat of [their] pants dirty with real research,” with guidance and reflection. In addition to readings and discussions on the method and examples of research, students will be required to select a site and group for their own semester-long fieldwork. This research will entail regular site visits, note taking, interviewing, and preliminary analysis and conceptual framing. It may be the start of a new project, or part of an ongoing one. We will cover such methodological topics as the epistemology of qualitative research, the role of theory in ethnographic work, and reflexivity. And through reading examples of a variety of types of ethnographic work, we will cover such topics on “doing ethnography” as roles in the field, ethics, relationships with participants, and positionality. Along with learning the method’s basics and enhancing research, critical thinking and writing skills, the course will also give students the chance to develop a potentially long-term research project.
Prof. Charles Post email@example.com
Soc 82800 - The Origins of Capitalism: Comparative-Historical Sociology
Mondays, 6:30 - 8:30 pm, Room TBA, 3 credits
This course will serve as an introduction to one of the central themes of comparative-historical sociology, the origins of capitalism. We will begin with the classical sociological and historical discussions of the origins of capitalism (Smith, Marx, Weber, Polanyi), before moving to examining the ongoing debates on the ‘first transition’ in seventeenth century England. The course will proceed with a discussion of the ‘later transitions’ in the United States, Canada, France and Japan, before concluding with an overview of discussions of the problems of capitalist development (and non-development) in the global South. Among the themes addressed will be the respective role of markets, social conflict and states in the origins of capitalism. Readings will be substantial, varied in perspectives and range widely over time and place.
Prof Gregory Smithsimon firstname.lastname@example.org
Soc. 72500 - Neighborhood Ghettos & Enclaves
Wednesdays, 6:30 - 8:30 pm, Room TBA, 3 credits
This class will examine the role neighborhoods and other forms of spatial community play in contemporary urban life. We will look at both the micro level interactions that create communities in the city, as well as larger structural forces such as racial segregation, migration and public policy in assessing what urban communities do, how they are created and change and how they are sometimes destroyed, as well as examining the role that spatial communities have in the lives of their residents and others in the City. Specific topics will include the development of the modern neighborhood, “ghettos” past and present, immigrant enclaves, the role of race, public space, ethnic enclaves, and gentrification.
Prof. Jessica Hardie email@example.com
Soc. 83300 – Sociology of Family
Tuesdays 11:45 am – 1:45 pm, Room TBA, 3 credits
Families are universally important social institutions, both for the individual and society. They are the keepers of culture and tradition and have acted as primary drivers of social inequality throughout history. This seminar will introduce students to the major theoretical perspectives and scholarship on families within sociology, improving their ability to critically analyze work in this field and inspiring students' own family-related research. The course will focus primarily on the United States, but will incorporate literature from other regions. Throughout the semester, we will seek to explain the role of family in individuals’ lives, the precursors and consequences of family change, and how the family intersects with other social institutions. The course materials draw on a variety of theoretical, historical, cultural, and methodological perspectives to examine topics such as union formation and dissolution, family relationships, childbearing, parenthood, work and family issues, and intergenerational exchanges. editor from public facing publication, and academic with high profile success engaging publics.
Prof. Juan Battle firstname.lastname@example.org
Soc. 85700 – Reading and Speaking Race
Mondays 4:15 – 6:15 pm, Room TBA, 3 credits
This course will provide students with a deeper understanding of contemporary academic and public discourses surrounding race and ethnicity. Grounded in a sociological approach, students will read key social scientific texts on the meaning of race from both historical and contemporary perspectives. This class is different than a traditional race and ethnicity graduate course because it asks students to not only understand academic discussions of race and ethnicity but also work to make these complex arguments accessible to wider audiences. With journalists and publics becoming increasingly interested in nuanced discourse about the influence of race in the Post-Obama era, the class presents a unique opportunity to help emergent scholars hone their voices and analysis.
The contemporary political environment necessitates a language and nuance that helps articulate an increasingly diverse yet still unequal world. Weekly discussions will be facilitated by rotating members of the class. Students in the course will be expected to develop two written products: 1) an op-ed targeted at a major news publication such at the New York Times or a national news publication; and 2) a book review for an academic publication. The course will draw primarily (though not entirely) from two main texts. Further, the course will incorporate guest speakers who specialize in public facing work including a journalist, an editor from public facing publication, and academic with high profile success engaging publics.
Prof. Chris Bonastia email@example.com
Soc. 82901 - Black Freedom Struggles and White Resistance
Wednesdays 2:00 – 4:00 pm, Room TBA, 3 credits
In the last two decades, research on Black Freedom Struggles has expanded in several intriguing directions. Central to this expansion is the claim that the conventional narrative of the civil rights movement is reductionist and historically inaccurate. At its core, this conventional narrative is a regional morality tale that goes something like this: In the South, peaceful Blacks defeated the violent white enforcers of Jim Crow; when the movement traveled North (around 1965), unreasonable Black demands and violent outbursts led to white backlash and the collapse of the movement. Among other shortcomings, this North/South binary ignores the common roots of American racism that fueled Black activism and white resistance throughout the nation.
In response to the limits of the conventional narrative, some scholars have produced detailed case studies of local battles outside the Deep South. Some have argued that, in a number of locales, Black nationalist movements did not supplant integrationist movements, but co-existed alongside them for extended periods. Others have turned greater attention to grassroots activists and foot soldiers, many of them women, rather than focusing primarily on iconic figures and mainstream national civil rights organizations such as the NAACP and Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Still others have accorded closer scrutiny to the various manifestations of white resistance to social change, or the dynamics between Black and Latinx organizations fighting for racial justice.
Relatively few sociologists have joined this conversation. In this course, we will critically analyze research on Black Freedom Struggles and white resistance by scholars inside and outside of sociology. In addition to our attempts to gain a broader and deeper, historical and sociological understanding of our topic, we will spend some time thinking about how the conventions of various disciplines shape the way that authors understand and narrate history. What does sociology do well? Where does it fall short? What might sociologists contribute to this area of study? What might sociologists learn from scholars in other fields?
Please note that this course is not a survey of sociological theories of race and ethnicity. Some of these readings—mostly the ones by sociologists—are explicitly theoretical, while others are not. Throughout the semester, we will consider how theory can clarify or obscure our historical understandings of Black Freedom Struggles and white resistance.
Prof. Thomas DeGloma firstname.lastname@example.org
Soc. 70200 - Contemporary Sociological Theory
Tuesdays, 6:30 - 8:30 pm, Room TBA, 3 credits
This course is designed to serve multiple purposes simultaneously. The first aim is 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. The second goal is to provide comprehensive exposure to theorists whose work will hopefully inspire you and help you shape your research agenda and refine you scholarship. The third main objective, related to the second, is to help you learn to creatively apply contemporary theory to specific social issues and problems of your interest. Given these objectives, the course is not simply an abstract exercise but hopefully one that brings theory alive and shapes your sociological vision.
Prof. Janet Gornick JGornick@gc.cuny.edu
Soc. 83300 (PSC 83502/WSP 81000) - Women, Work and Public Policy
Tuesdays 4:15 – 6:15 pm, Room TBA, 4 credits
This course will provide an overview of key issues affecting women in the contemporary workplace in the United States and other high-income countries. We will begin with an overview of women’s position in the labor market. Here we will take a multidimensional approach to capturing gender inequality at work, covering gender gaps in employment rates, in working time, in occupation, and in earnings; one section of the course will focus on paid care workers. We will assess growing class inequalities among women, which have led to polarization in the labor market, especially between women with more and less education; we will consider divisions by race, ethnicity, nativity, and sexuality. We will analyze the ways in which public policies have addressed these concerns, and evaluate their impacts.
The course also examines the effects on women workers persistent inequalities in divisions of labor within households. Despite the enormous increase in women’s employment rates during the past half century, women continue to carry out the bulk of unpaid work in their homes. Altering these inequalities has proven even more challenging than transforming the structures that shape paid work. We will consider recent research on the effects of “work-family reconciliation policies”– that is, public policies aimed at supporting women (and men) as they balance the responsibilities of paid work and family care. The key question now under consideration is whether some of these policies – e.g., paid family leave, rights to part-time work, and flexible scheduling – create new forms of gender inequality.
Students will complete weekly reaction papers and a semester-long research project.
John Mollenkopf email@example.com
Soc. 82800 – Core Seminar in Urban Studies
Mondays, 4:15 - 6:15 pm, Room TBA, 3 credits
This two-semester, interdisciplinary seminar provides a common core for urban studies across the disciplines at the Graduate School. It will combine the close reading and analysis of key theoretical texts from the social sciences and humanities with an application to specific case study examples that will illustrate the different approaches that the humanities and social sciences take to understanding cities and urban life. The seminar will familiarize students interested in engaging in urban studies with many of the necessary research methods, whether historical and textual and visual analysis to participant observation and in-depth interviewing to quantitative data gathering and analysis techniques, including mapping, Census data, administrative data, and open data sources. Key Graduate Center professors from many disciplines will also present their perspectives on how to conduct cutting edge research. The seminar seeks both to be a focal point for a new urban studies initiative at the Graduate Center and to prepare students to conceptualize and launch their own urban research project.
Prof Jeremy Porter firstname.lastname@example.org
Soc.819000 – Geospatial Humanities
Thursdays, 6:30 - 8:30 pm, Room TBA, 3 credits
This course aims to familiarize students with GIS and spatial analysis tools and techniques used in the visualization, management, analysis, and presentation of geo-spatial data. The course will be a hand's on applied course in which students will learn to work with publicly available geo-spatial data in open-source software packages, including but not limited to: R, Python, QGIS, and CartoDB. Topics covered include, Data Acquisition, Geo-Processing, Data Visualization, Cartography, Spatial Statistics, and Web-Mapping.
Prof. John Torpey email@example.com
Soc. 85000 - Sociology of Violence
Tuesdays 2:00 – 4:00 pm, Room TBA, 3 credits
This course explores sociological explanations for and analyses of violence in human life. We will examine interpersonal violence as well as that inflicted by violent groups and military organizations. Readings will include classical theories about violence as well as contemporary empirical studies and interpretations.