Introduction to Sociology
Professor/InstructorTimothy J. Nelson
Orientation to basic sociological concepts as analytical tools for the study of continuities and change in social and individual behavior. Influence of family, school, and the market. Social construction of the self and selected aspects of the life course including childhood, love, and death. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
American Society and Politics
Professor/InstructorPaul Elliot Starr
An introduction to changing patterns of family structure, community life, economic relations, voluntary associations, moral beliefs and values, social and political movements, and other aspects of civil society and politics in the United States. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
Introductory Research Methods in African American Studies
The purposes of this course are to assist the student in developing the ability to critically evaluate social science research on the black experience and to do research in African studies. To accomplish these goals, the course will acquaint students with the processes of conceptualization and basic research techniques, and some of the unique issues in conducting research on the black experience. A variety of appropriate studies will be utilized. One three-hour seminar.
Introduction to Urban Studies
Professor/InstructorM. Christine Boyer
This course will examine different crises confronting cities in the 21st century. Topics will range from immigration, to terrorism, shrinking population, traffic congestion, pollution, energy crisis, housing needs, water wars, race riots, extreme weather conditions, war and urban operations. The range of cities will include Los Angles, New Orleans, Paris, Logos, Caracas, Havana, New York, Hong Kong, and Baghdad among others.
Urban Sociology: The City and Social Change in the Americas
By taking a comparative approach, this course examines the role of social, economic, and political factors in the emergence and transformation of modern cities in the United States and selected areas of Latin America. The class considers the city in its dual image: both as a center of progress and as a redoubt of social problems, especially poverty. Special attention is given to spatial processes that have resulted in the aggregation and desegregation of populations differentiated by social class and race. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
Sociology of Religion
Classical and contemporary theories of the relations between religion and society, with emphasis on the dynamics of religious traditions in modern societies: secularization, religion and political legitimation, sources of individual meaning and transcendence, rituals and moral obligations, religious movements, and contemporary trends in American religion. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
Creativity, Innovation, and Society
An exploration of how creative activities are shaped by larger social configurations. The course first decodes the culture of creativity by examining how society thinks about creativity (and its opposite). How do the varying cultural meanings related to creativity reflect social change? Then it examines the social processes and consequences of innovation from a sociological point of view. Under what social conditions does innovation emerge? How do innovations reshape society and culture? Two lectures, one preceptorial.
Inequality: Class, Race, and Gender
Inequalities in property, power, and prestige examined for their effects on life chances and lifestyles. Primary focus on socioeconomic classes in modern societies. Special attention to the role of religious, racial, and ethnic factors. Comparisons of different systems of stratification in the world today. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
The Sociology of Crime and Punishment
This course seeks to provide a sociological account of crime and punishment. Why do people commit crime? How should we respond to crime? How has crime policy changed over the past several decades? What are the consequences of recent crime policy? Through classic and contemporary sociological research, policy analysis, and media coverage, the themes of crime and punishment in contemporary society are explored. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
Sex, Sexuality, and Gender
This course focuses on the many ways gender differences are created, diminished, and reinforced in society. Students will learn how sexuality and gender categories are socially constructed concepts that vary across the life course (childhood, adolescence, adulthood) and different social settings (media and public discourse, schools, work, family, other countries, the policy arena, and the scientific academy). A variety of theoretical perspectives will be examined including sociobiological, micro- and social-psychological, and social-structural. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
Race and Ethnicity
An introduction to the sociological study of race and ethnicity which begins by encouraging students to exercise some critical distance from the core concepts of race and ethnicity. Topics will include comparative racism, immigration, the experiences of the second generation, whiteness, the culture of poverty debate, slums and ghettos, and the debate over the "underclass." Two lectures, one preceptorial.
Three main questions will be considered: (1) How "natural" is the family institution? (2) How essential is it? and (3) How well is it working in current American society? Comparative perspective on the analysis of childhood and society, marriage and divorce, and main contemporary trends. Proposed alternatives to the family and future developments. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
Modern Mexican Society
Professor/InstructorDouglas S. Massey
An introduction to the social, political, and economic organization of modern Mexico. The course traces the evolution of Mexico's fundamental institutions from their birth after the Mexican Revolution of 1910, through their flowering during the 1950s and 1960s, to changes in the neoliberal era of the 1980s and 1990s. The course ends with a consideration of Mexico's current position as a partner in the North American Free Trade Agreement. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
The Western Way of War
Professor/InstructorMiguel Angel Centeno
A historical and analytical overview of war focusing on the origins and consequences of organized violence, the experience of battle, the creation and behavior of warriors, and the future of such conflicts. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
Claims and Evidence in Sociology
Professor/InstructorKathryn Jo Edin, Jennifer L. Jennings
This mandatory course for concentrators is intended to provide the groundwork for understanding sociological arguments, evidence, research, and writing. It provides students with the opportunity to try their hand at interpreting and evaluating arguments in the sociological literature and constructing their own arguments for a sociological study. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
Sociological Research Methods
An overview of the research process in social science, including techniques of sampling, methods of data collection, principles of measurement, problems of inference and proof, basic methods of data analysis, and ethical considerations. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
Systematic survey of the principal concepts underlying all sociological description and explanation-prediction, with special attention to the different ways these concepts are employed in the four currently leading groups of theories, namely, structural functionalism, exchange theory, conflict theory, and symbolic interactionism. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
Introduction to Quantitative Social Science
Would universal health insurance improve the health of the poor? Do patterns of arrests in US cities show evidence of racial profiling? What accounts for who votes and their choice of candidates? This course will teach students how to address these and other social science questions by analyzing quantitative data. The course introduces basic principles of statistical inference and programming skills for data analysis. The goal is to provide students with the foundation necessary to analyze data in their own research and to become critical consumers of statistical claims made in the news media, in policy reports, and in academic research.
Communism and Beyond: China and Russia
Professor/InstructorDeborah A. Kaple
A review of the stages of communism, including reform and dismantling. Comparisons of social classes and ethnic groups under the old system and their readiness for recent changes. Treatment of workers, farmers, intellectuals, officials, and new entrepreneurs. Comparative approach to China, Russia, and other countries formed from the Soviet Union. Two ninety-minute classes.
Topics in the Sociology of Latin America
A study of selected topics of current interest in the sociology of Latin America. The specific subject matter will vary from year to year, reflecting the changing interests of both faculty and students. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
Gender and Development in the Americas
An examination of gender as an integral component of socioeconomic development in advanced and less-developed countries, with a focus on the United States and selected areas of Latin America. Special attention will be given to processes of industrial restructuring on a global scale that have increased the participation of women in the formal labor force. An understanding of the relationship between gender inequality and social order will be a central object of inquiry. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
Race and Public Policy
Professor/InstructorDouglas S. Massey
Analyzes the historical construction of race as a concept in American society, how and why this concept was institutionalized publicly and privately in various arenas of U.S. public life at different historical junctures, and the progress that has been made in dismantling racialized institutions since the civil rights era. One three-hour seminar.
Media and Public Policy
Professor/InstructorPaul Elliot Starr
Introduction to communications policy and law, covering such topics as freedom of the press and the development of journalism; intellectual property; regulation of telecommunications, broadcasting, and cable; and policy challenges raised by the Internet and the globalization of the media.
Latino Politics in the U.S.
The course will explore the personal, political, historical and sacred aspects of Latinas/Latinos in the United States from the perspective of a theory of transformation. The course intends to provide Latinas/Latinos as well as students from all backgrounds the opportunity to see a people in their own midst becoming and being political as they move forward to create a new culture and community in this country.
Population, Society and Public Policy
This course focuses on the causes and consequences of population change and the policy levers used to regulate demographic behavior and outcomes. In addition to basic demographic concepts, measures and data, we will address questions such as: What is the carrying capacity of the planet? Why has fertility declined in some countries but not others? How does population growth influence the environment? What does population aging portend for social security solvency? Can countries regulate international migration? Why does China have so many male births? Is marriage obsolete? Is urban life good or bad for your health?