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2010 - 2011 Site Archive





5211. Statistical Methods in Sociology   (3 s.h.)

This course has four objectives, to provide you with understandings of (1) basic methods of descriptive statistics, like means, medians, quartile spreads, standard deviations, and skewness, (2) random variation and how different samples selected from the same population may provide different results, (3) the basic idea of statistical inference, i.e., how we make judgments about what is the population that provided the sample result that we have observed, and (4) how to evaluate possible associations between two variables.

5311. Socialization   (3 s.h.)

Socialization is the process by which individuals become members of society. We look at this process as ongoing, starting in infancy and continuing through adulthood. This implies constant re-socialization and discussion of the ways early childhood learning influences adult lives. This research-intensive course is organized around the important socialization agents of family, friends, school, work, and the differences in socialization and therefore life histories by race, gender, and social class. Students undertake individual research on the socialization of children as they begin grade school. This involves developing a research question, developing questionnaires, interviewing a child and his/her caregivers, and analyzing the findings. The course includes instruction on each phase of the research.

5321. Sexuality and Gender   (3 s.h.)

This course examines the ways men and women develop sexual identities as a result of their membership in society. It looks at how this has changed over the course of Western history and at the differences in sexual identity from culture to culture. We focus on the differences in sexual identities of men and women, and the advantages this brings to men. We also examine the overwhelming heterosexual imperative in our society. Students research these and other topics such as differences in sexual expression by race, and the influence of the media on how we understand the meaning and expression of sex. The research requirement for the course involves an analysis of sexual scripts, the production and reproduction of these scripts, and the impact of the messages on different types of viewers. Instruction is provided on film analysis.

5331. Urban Sociology   (3 s.h.)

This class is a survey of aspects of the field of urban sociology.  Urban sociology is an enterprise that looks at cities -- the intersection of people and space with political and economic structures superimposed on both.  Space has been the primary concept that defines much of urban sociology because of the vital role of space and location in defining urban life and opportunities.  Topics will include suburbanization, downtown development, racial and ethnic segregation, poverty, immigration, gender, globalization, culture and virtual communities.

5341. Political Sociology   (3 s.h.)

This course analyzes the social basis of political institutions and political action, stressing the importance of both in the life of communities and individuals. Our emphasis is on the influence of social classes, professional and occupational groups, political parties, social movement organizations, and other notable interest groups have on the political system. We discuss the formation and organization of political activity and its varied outcomes.

5351. Sociology of the Environment   (3 s.h.)

In the first half of the course, we will focus on the interaction among four components: population size, social organization, environmental conditions and available technology.  We will consider issues such as the relationships among the technology of farming, the volume of agricultural production and the availability of labor for economic development.  We will also learn about “input-output” models focusing on the intensity of resource use as well as problems of waste management. 

We will take this basic model and apply it to the problem of climate change, frequently referred to as “global warming”.  How is the climate changing, why is it changing and what are the social factors that contribute to it? 

In the second half of the course, we will concentrate on issues of social organization.  What kinds of political arrangements do we see for the management of waste?  How does the transfer of natural resources from resource-rich but economically underdeveloped countries to the United States and other industrial societies affect the social, economic and political arrangements of both groups of countries?  Finally, we will address the question of whether the society will can be organized in such a way as to reduce the pressure on the environment and remaining natural resources. 

5361. Social Movements & Social Conflict   (3 s.h.)

Social Movements are literally mass movements of people drawn together to bring about or resist some kind of social, political or cultural change. This course will examine social movements with a decided emphasis upon the Post World War II era, leading up to and including our contemporary "Information Age". The course will begin with a brief introduction to the history of social movements and revolutions. After that, the course will explore in greater depth how sociologists frame, analyze, study and explain the emergence, maintenance, outcomes and social control of social movements. Finally, the course will concentrate in the contemporary period and examine how Globalization, mass media and Information and Communication Technologies (IT) have laid the basis for new forms of connectivity, new kinds of sharing, cooperation and creative forms of social networking and activism. Will the "placeless" world of cyberspace and new media eliminate or dramatically constrain the possibility of revolution? How will the enhanced proliferation and dissemination of information and means of communication change ways people associate and assemble? Will it diminish mass mobilizations of political power and popular/radical consciousness or will a "network society"
enable people to act in ways that collective action was not possible before? Among other things the course will consider how "logs", "tactical media", the open source revolution and "Pro-Ams" (Professionals/Amateurs) might effect broader social movements of the 21th century.

5371. Health and Disease in American Society   (3 s.h.)

The social context of the construction of health and disease in the United States, focusing on reproduction and death, the epidemic of Aids, and issues emerging from the aging of the American population.

5411. Class in Modern Society   (3 s.h.)

Social class is a fundamental dimension of inequality in modern society. This course examines the sources and consequences of social class, with particular focus on the intersection of class with other forms of inequality in the context of the United States.

5510. Selected Topics in Sociology   (3 s.h.)

The topics will vary and cover areas not covered by the current roster of classes. Please consult with the instructor for details.

5520. Selected Topics of Sociology   (3 s.h.)

The topics will vary and cover areas not covered by the current roster of classes. Please consult with the instructor for details.

5530. Selected Topics in Sociology   (3 s.h.)

The topics will vary and cover areas not covered by the current roster of classes. Please consult with the instructor for details.

8011. Logic of Inquiry   (3 s.h.)

This course is an introduction to the logic and methods of social research.  We will examine the issues that arise in doing and evaluating both quantitative and qualitative research by reading the sociological literature.  We will spend some time on the simple tools, e.g. tables and graphs, needed to summarize research results.  However the focus will be on larger issues, namely, how researchers draw conclusions from empirical data, and how we can assess the validity of the conclusions they reach.

8111. Classical Social Theory   (3 s.h.)

This course will review the main lines of sociological and other “social” thought of the modern times (roughly from the 1660s to our time), paying attention to four basic directions in theorizing:

(1) The liberal and “classical economic” theories of John Locke and Adam

Smith and the rise of neo-classical (neo-liberal) thinking [rational choice theory and its variations]

(2) The liberal-idealist theory of German philosophy (since Kant) and the

“interpretative” and “subjectivist” paradigm of Wax Weber [and various neo- and nearly-Weberians.

(3) The “social-structural” (“dialectical” in the old language) theory of Karl

Marx and its many offshoots [neo-Marxisms, half-Marxisms (such as “Critical Theory,” etc.), post-Marxisms]

(4) The “collectivist” (sociologistic) theory of Emile Durkheim and its

contemporary versions [“structuralist” (Blau), “culturalist” and “functionalist” (Parsons), “systems” (Luhmann), or “neo-functionalist” (Faia, Alexander)].

8211. Inferential and Multivariate Statistics   (3 s.h.)

This course starts with a review of bivariate statistics and moves quickly into multivariate statistics focusing on multiple regression. The emphasis of this course is on conceptual understanding, interpretation, and application.  All major computations are performed using the SPSS computing program. Students are also expected to learn the basic skills for working with large social science data sets, such as the GSS. This course serves as a prerequisite for Sociology 9211, Data Analysis, which involves the application of the statistical procedures taught in this class to the study of real social issues through secondary data analysis.

8221. Qualitative Methods   (3 s.h.)

This course introduces the assumptions, theories and practices of qualitative research methods. The course is designed to provide opportunities for developing specific qualitative research skills while gaining familiarity with theories, issues, and problems in qualitative research.

8311. Sociology of Education   (3 s.h.)

The main focus of this course is on the ways that educational systems both maintain and challenge social inequality. Students will discuss the ways that education differentially allocates resources based on race, class, and gender. The class will explore this issue in both the “classical readings” in the Sociology of Education, and also in recent books by those working in the field.  Books chosen for this course are intended to begin discussion on contemporary debates. The class will be asked to pay special attention to whether the policies discussed by them will ameliorate or exacerbate existing inequalities by race, class, and/or gender.  The first half of the course will highlight classical readings, while the second will emphasize contemporary debates. 

This course has three main objectives.  First, the course will prepare students for the preliminary examination in the Sociology of Education through discussions of main theories, ideas, and classical works in the field.  Second, the course will promote critical debate about contemporary issues in education. The class will read and discuss “hot topics” in education like debates over curricula, “marketing” universities, racial inequality in school achievement, and school choice. Finally, the course will advance students’ own research projects through frequent discussions and evaluations of students’ own work by the instructor and their peers.

8321. Political Sociology  (3 s.h.)

This is a graduate seminar designed to examine the social conditions of politics and the relationship between state and society. Issues of concern include theories of power and political regimes, historical and comparative political studies, the development and role of the modern state, forms of political organization and participation, democracy, the welfare state and the politics of globalization. A main objective of this course is to develop an understanding of how social actors shape the political system and how political systems, in turn, shape social structures. In addition, the course has a research component designed to provide students with the opportunity to examine in depth a topic their choice with an empirical outlook.

8331. Race and Ethnicity   (3 s.h.)

This course focuses on the nature of racism, discrimination, prejudice, racial conflict, and racial oppression in American society. Special emphasis will be given to the relationship between race, gender, nationality, immigration status and social class.

8341. Sociology of Kinship   (3 s.h.)

This course will survey a range of topics from the field of sociology of kinship: historical changes in kinship as well as global changes in the family over the twentieth century; inequalities in families related to social class, social capital and family life;  inequalities related to race and ethnicity; comparative adolescence and transitions to adulthood; sexuality and love in transnational contexts; perspectives on psychic and intimate relations in families; gender and power relations within the family; the state, public policy and the politics of kinship relations and more. We will also examine how the family came to be a centrally contested sphere in contemporary American political debates. Finally, you will have hands-on experience formulating a research proposal that investigates a research question related to this literature as well as assessing and responding to the proposals of your classmates. The purpose of the seminar is to review some of the major debates in this rapidly evolving field and to gain experience in formulating viable research questions about contemporary kinship issues.

8351. Complex Organizations   (3 s.h.)

This seminar reviews the development of organizational theory, with a special emphasis on recent work in economic sociology and the sociology of corporations.  Specific topics include the role of markets and networks, the control and consent of the workforce, business structure, inter-organizational analysis and organizational culture.

8361. Urban Sociology   (3 s.h.)

This course is about the space and urban sociology. The goal of this course is twofold:  1) to review, assess and analyze important theoretical perspectives on space in urban sociology, and 2) to determine the utility of applying these perspectives to contemporary urban issues. Urban problems will be examined largely from the perspective of how space and location are linked to these problems and they will not be investigated in their own right. The underlying theme of this course relates to theoretical propositions around space. This course will also focus on research from the vantage point of how theory can and should be used as a foundation for conceptualizing research problems.

8371. Sociology of Culture   (3 s.h.)

The goal of this class is to survey the breadth of work that has been conducted under the sociology of culture, to identify the many ways that culture has been shown to be powerful, to examine competing theories about how culture works, to identify the types of research methods that can be used in cultural analysis, and to pinpoint the ways that each of us can embrace a cultural perspective in our own research.

8381. Social Inequality   (3 s.h.)

This course reviews theories and research regarding the dimensions of inequality and the processes which create, increase, and decrease inequality.  It also examines the issues of the relationships between the dimensions of inequality and the processes of cumulative advantage and disadvantage. Individuals, groups, areas, and other social contexts are typically organized hierarchically, and the course explores the ways in which these different social levels shape and are shaped by social inequality over the life course. Examples of these processes include social multiplier effects, “winner take all” theories, the “Matthew Effect” in science, and the “Peter Principle.”

8391. Medical Sociology   (3 s.h.)

This course examines the historical changes in the ideas of health and disease and in society’s response to illness. An important component of the course will be to examine the influences of social/political environment on morbidity and mortality in the United States and how population sub-groups experience illness in the medical system.

8401. Sexuality and Gender   (3 s.h.)

This is a research intensive course in which we will examine the historical and sociological structures underlying relationships of sexuality and gender. The perspective of the course is that sexuality is a social creation with meaning to be found in culture. Sexuality is learned through socialization and resocialization. This learning takes place within a gendered social system and so sexuality itself is gendered in our culture. We will examine a number of theoretical perspectives and read the major sociological work in the field. The course will be divided into a reading seminar during the first half of each class and research presentations by students in the second half. During the course of the semester each student will each work on a topic of her choosing and will present her progress to class periodically.  

8510. Special Department Seminar   (3 s.h.)

The topics will vary and cover areas not covered by the current roster of classes. Please consult with the instructor for details.

8620. Departmental Seminar   (3 s.h.)

The topics will vary and cover areas not covered by the current roster of classes. Please consult with the instructor for details.

8711. Symposium in Sociology   (2 s.h.)

This course introduces sociology graduate students to departmental faculty and their work. Faculty members describe their research, theory development, and/or policy work. This course is required of all entering graduate students.

8721. Symposium in Sociology   (2 s.h.)

This course introduces sociology graduate students to departmental faculty and their work. Faculty members describe their research, theory development, and/or policy work. This course is required of all entering graduate students.

8731. Teaching of Sociology   (1 s.h.)

The processes and problems related to classroom teaching at the undergraduate level. This course is required of all new teaching assistants.

8741. Teaching of Sociology  (2 s.h.)

The processes and problems related to classroom teaching at the undergraduate level. This is a practicum workshop required of all students teaching their first course as a teaching assistant. The course includes practice teaching.

8751. Introduction to Computing  (1 s.h.)

This course introduces students to micro-computer word processing, data base, spreadsheet, and graphing programs. Accessing and using a mainframe computer to generate descriptive statistics.

9111. Contemporary Sociological Theory   (3 s.h.)

This course surveys a broad range of theoretical perspectives from the 20th and 21st centuries.  The course compares these theories in terms of how they contribute to on-going sociological research around a number of social problems.

9121. Advanced Sociological Theory   (3 s.h.)

This is an advanced course that examines the current status of social theory, familiarizes students with the parameters and process of sociological theorizing, and appraises critically the most significant recent theoretical exemplars and proposals. Knowledge of the classics and a review of contemporary social theories are required for this course; students are expected to do an intensive review of the classical and modern writings before entering the more demanding topics and materials.

9131. Theories of Identity   (3 s.h.)

A seminar that offers the students the opportunity for specialized study of one of the most debated issues in sociology nowadays: social and cultural identities. The course will deal with the last developments in identity theory, emphasizing the work of Louis Althusser, Michel Foucault, Ernesto Laclau, Chantal Mouffe, Slavoj Zizek, Stuart Hall, Craig Calhoun, R.S. Perinbanayagam, James Holstein, Jaber Gubrium, Judith Butler, Lawrence Grossberg, Charles Taylor and Paul Ricouer, among others.

9211. Data Analysis   (3 s.h.)

1. To teach the skill of creating multiple hypotheses that might explain the same set of observed data. At this stage, we will be satisfied with two hypotheses, yours and the hypothesis of someone who disagrees with you.  A good research design will help you to create data that will allow you to learn which hypothesis is more likely to be correct.

2. To teach skills of data presentation including tables, charts and graphs.  We will spend a substantial amount of time working on methods of writing about quantitative results.

3. To teach skills of working with statistical models, and to understand how they represent human reality in a simplified way.  It is important to focus on the assumptions embedded in the models and to think about how they might affect what appear to be your observed results.  In teaching about these, I will assume that you have mastered the skills taught in Sociology 563, Multivariate Analysis. 

4. To help you evaluate the problems of the measurement of your variables, and how the errors of measurement might affect your observed results. 

5. To help you learn to write programs in Stata, which is the computer language we will be using in this course.

9221. Theory and Practice of Statistical Sampling   (3 s.h.)

This course presents the basic ideas for commonly used statistical sampling strategies. We discuss methods of sampling when the assumptions for simple random sampling are not met. We cover methods of stratification, selecting with probabilities proportional to size, clustering and weighting. In each case we study how to calculate statistical estimates with variances and confidence intervals. The course also focuses on issue of statistical design, and how to create a design which will have the best chance of providing answers relevant to the important research questions of the study.

9231. Methodology of Social Surveys   (3 s.h.)

The objective of the course is to instill an understanding of the survey process.   To do this, students must learn to write questions, and to appreciate the ways that different question-writing strategies affect the types of answers that respondents give. 

We will engage the three types of activities: (1) the actual writing of questions, (2) the discussion of the effects of different question-writing strategies, and (3) the discussion of methods of evaluating errors on surveys. 

There are two basic “theorems” of survey research.  The first is that playing the “respondent’s” role creates a burden for the people we interview, and that if we overtax the respondent, the weight of this burden will cause the quality of their answers to deteriorate.

The second is that respondents and interviewers create relationships, and neither typically wants to spoil the relationship.  If the interviewer continues to ask questions, the respondent will usually continue to answer the questions, even though these answers have little or no meaning. The good survey researcher develops strategies to detect when this occurs and to adjust her analyses accordingly.  One of the major goals of this course is to help in the development of these strategies.

9291. Departmental Seminar in Research Methods   (3 s.h.)

This course will concentrate on hierarchical linear modeling. Relying on standard textbooks the instructor will provide guidance on how to analyze “nested” data. Such data occur when subjects are grouped into clusters such as schools, states, companies or even birth cohorts. With a good background in multivariate analysis, graduate students will be well prepared to learn this material. The course will also provide instruction on how to use the relevant computer software and to make decisions about selecting and defining level-1 and level-2 observations.

9311. Immigration and Inequality   (3 s.h.)

Since immigration shows no sign of declining—both in the United States and many other nations of the world—the causes, consequences and repercussions of immigration will be one of the most important topics of the 21st century. This course will survey key current theoretical debates in the study of international migration with an emphasis on related literature dealing with gender, kinship and ethnicity. Among the topics to be considered are: theoretical approaches to international migration; controversies regarding assimilation; the framing of migration through  gender and kinship relations, social networks and social capital; family ideologies and achievement; the social context of immigration, ethnic niches and enclaves, transnationalism, empirical trends in post-WWII United States immigration and settlement, second-generation immigrant patterns and immigration policies and politics. Specific questions about immigration will vary by semester but may include the following:  how is the ethnic and generational composition of the American population changing as a result of this new immigration? What types of ethnic and pan-ethnic identities are emerging? Where is “home” for these newcomers? How does gender and race influence the adoption of immigrant identities? How do second-generation youth struggle with what is cool and what is culturally authentic to their backgrounds? What new meanings around sexuality and romance emerge in transnational families that straddle generations and international borders? The long term goal is to encourage students to undertake research in the field of migration research. This field is unique in its interdisciplinary and methodologically pluralist nature: stretching from the demography and economics of migration, through political science, sociological and geographical approaches, to the ethnography and oral history of migrants.

9321. Theories of Race and Racism   (3 s.h.)

This course focuses on theories and analyses that seek to explain the social salience of race. The selected readings explore various concepts that surround the study of race, such as racism, white supremacy, oppression and subordination, nationalism, sexism and inequality. Many scholars believe that modernity, capitalism, and race are coterminous. We will explore in this seminar those connections. Some of the questions that we will explore are: How did the racial dimension of world society come to be, and how did it gain such weight in the organization of social/economic/political processes? How are the racial dimensions of society constituted and changed? How are they related to other central aspects of society, such as class, gender, ethnicity, age, nationality, citizenship, etc.? What is the relation between race, racism and whiteness? Is it a colorblind society possible? What is a "race narrative" and how it affects people's identities and social structures?

9382. Independent Study   (3 s.h.)

With the consent of the graduate chairperson and the instructor concerned, students may select an intensive program of study and/or research within a specific area of sociology.

9994. Preliminary Examination Prep   (3 s.h.)

This is an advanced reading course for students preparing for the preliminary examination.

9998. Pre-Dissertation Research   (variable credit s.h.)

This course is for advanced graduate students who are developing a dissertation.

9999. Dissertation Research   (1-6 s.h.)

This course is for advanced graduate students working on their dissertations.