Courses

Required Courses

2102 Sociological Theory 2: Postclassical

This required graduate course in sociological theory begins with readings and discussions of key theorists in the postclassical phase (roughly from mid-century to about 1975). It also covers the most recent phase, attending to important theoretical developments in sociology that emerged in the latter part of the 20th century. The course continues the dual focus of the first course in that readings and discussions deal both with key theoretical ideas and with skills and standards that are intrinsic to the creation and evaluation of theoretical explanations in sociology. Because it follows upon the classical phase, such readings and discussions also aim to deal with the issue of how later theoretical efforts built upon and extended and/or challenged and revised classical ideas.

2202 Quantitative Methods

Complementing courses on qualitative methods, research design, computer methods and statistics, this course will provide an overview of quantitative research methods in the social sciences. Topics will include specification of researchable questions as well as experimental and quasi-experimental research. The course will concentrate on survey research issues such as sampling, measurement, questionnaire construction and item writing, and collection and organization of data. The issues will be illustrated by sociological literature. Students will be trained in analyzing social data.

2203 Qualitative Methods

This course will offer an overview of qualitative research methods in the social sciences. It will emphasize interpretive approaches to social research, and cover the empirical research process from the beginning to end. Key topics include issues inherent in many types of research such as conceptualization, operationalization, data collection, analysis, synthesis, interpretation, and theory construction. Problems of doing research in natural settings will be addressed. The uses of triangulation and combining qualitative and quantitative research will also be considered. Students will carry out their own empirical projects using specific qualitative techniques, such as the interview and participant observation. Graduate students in the PhD program are required to take both Qualitative Methods and Quantitative Methods.

2205 Research Resign

This course is designed to: (1) introduce graduate students to a variety of methodologies in social science research; (2) introduce the principles of research design; and (3) assist in developing methodological approaches and strategies for your own research efforts. The course covers basic philosophical and epistemological foundations of social science research; methodological issues of research design; principles of data collection; and ethical and political issues of social science research. Both quantitative and qualitative methodologies will be discussed.

Elective Courses

2303 Political Sociology

The variety of political arrangements in the twentieth century presents a number of puzzles. Are the differing mechanisms of governments to be explained by levels of economic development, institutional histories, the intentions of social movements, transnational constraints or slow changing national political cultures?  Is the state an autonomous actor or the creature of other social forces?  Are regime changes consequences of some sort of "structural" change or are they simply consequences of rulers stupidity?  We will focus specifically on the births and deaths of political democracies.

2309 Culture and Power: Globalization

Up to now much of the debate about globalization has been dominated by economic questions and concerns. This course charts out a new territory out of those earlier discussions by exploring theories and practices of globalization with specific emphasis on cultural aspects. The course offers both a basic survey of the major discussion areas connected to the study of cultural globalization, and an opportunity to pursue supplemental reading lists pertinent to specific theses projects. Specifically, we will study global patterns that influence or inform cultural practices and institutions, in connection to globalizing trends in political and economic life. Themes to be explored include cosmopolitan culture today; modern conceptions of global histories; issues in “contacts” and identity (as for example in diaspora, postnational cultures, and fluid solidarities); new cultural geographies; and how we discern today global cultural values (including spiritualities, as measured or contested in surveys and cultural productions). Each of the themes above will be studied through one set of common readings required of all students, and another individualized one to be chosen by the student from an extensive bibliography and in accordance with the student’s research interests.

2310 Culture and Power II

In this course we will explore the interactions of national identity and culture, concentrating on West European countries. What is a nation? How do people define nations and their cultural boundaries? How are national identities negotiated, maintained, and remembered? This will not be a strictly comparative course, but as we explore these questions we will discuss how the answers do and do not differ across countries. We will read theoretical work on nationhood, studies that focus on cultural processes and events, and studies that analyze national policies and policymaking. Authors will include Benedict Anderson, Craig Calhoun, William Sewell, Jr., Rogers Brubaker, Michael Schudson, Karen Cerulo, and Jeffrey Olick.

2339 Theoretical Issues in Social Movements

This course provides a graduate-level introduction to the study of social movements and collective action.  The field of social movements is now a large area of study within political sociology and we will not be able to survey all of the literature on the subject.  Instead, we will discuss some of the major theoretical issues and read some of the interesting conceptual and empirical work in the area, including a mix of classical statements and recent work. The course will begin by providing some background on the major theoretical approaches to the study of social movements, and then focus on issues such as political opportunities, culture, collective action frames, mass media, social psychology, recruitment and commitment, collective identity, mobilizing structures, strategy and tactics, coalitions, countermovements, repression, and outcomes of social movements.

2341 Social Movements

This seminar will take up current issues in the study of social movements: the historical development of forms of contention; the interactions of plebeian disruption and elite reform; transnational aspects of social movements; rational-action models of individual participation and movement tactics; movements as sources of identity; the culture of activism; and new frontiers in research methods.

2342 Cultural Sociology

This seminar explores main themes in cultural sociology, including theories of patterns of life, values, symbols, identities, and solidarities, as well as the social vehicles in terms of which culture is produced, sustained and interpreted. The seminar explores both the place of culture in sociological analysis, and the place of sociology in the analysis of culture. The seminar includes both theoretical and empirical components. In addition to the common seminar materials, the students will have a chance to pursue pertinent parts of their own research on various contemporary or historical cultural phenomena of their own choosing.

2971 Graduate Writing for Publication

This graduate course will focus on practical advice for successfully turning master's theses, seminar papers, and dissertation chapters into journal articles and books.  Students enrolled in the course will learn skills for writing and revision and gain understanding of the publishing process for academic journals and presses, as well as ideas for developing a successful work process and setting achievable writing goals.  The course will be organized to allow students to work intensively on a writing project, with the goal of having a publishable article or manuscript by the end of the term.

3397 Topics in Social Movements and Culture: Humor in Politics and Protest

This graduate seminar will take an interdisciplinary, comparative, and historical approach to examine the role of humor in politics and protest. We will look at three broad categories of humorous expression: street theater and performance, commentators and satire, and social psychological functions of humor for developing group cohesion and collective identity. Specific cases are likely to include the impact and import of the Colbert Report and John Stewart show on U.S. politics, political cartoons in NYC history, carnival in Brazil and the Caribbean, the Orange Revolution in Poland, contemporary activist actions and groups in the global justice movement, and sexist jokes and sexual harassment. The course will contextualize humor within a theoretical framework of social psychology and sociology of emotions through a critical lens sensitive to issues of power and control.

3398 Topics in Social Movements and Culture: Gendered Social Movements

This course will examine the ways in which women and women’s organizations mobilize around both gender issues and broader political issues.  The course will look at women’s movements in both the U.S. and internationally since the 1950s.  Cases will include (among others) women’s peace movements, transnational campaigns for women’s rights, pro-choice and pro-life movements in the U.S.   Using this diverse group of cases, we will focus on gender issues and examine core topics in social movement literature including framing, identity, coalitions and organizational structures.  We will also engage with the “hot” debates occurring among social movement scholars.  Specifically, we will examine the relationship between structure and culture in social movement analysis and the idea of movement relevant research.  A recommended reading list will address core social movement literature topics for students who are not familiar with the social movement literature.