Workshops

Students in sociology are invited to participate in a program of Graduate Workshops in the Humanities and the Social Sciences, a series of interdepartmental discussion groups that bring faculty and advanced graduate students together to discuss their current work. Information about these many of these workshops is available at http://cas.uchicago.edu/.

Chicago faculty as well as outside speakers often present portions of books or other projects in which they are currently engaged while students frequently present portions of their dissertations and other research. Some examples of the workshops which draw students from sociology are:

Computational Social Sciences
An unprecedented volume of data on human behavior is now being offered by governments, corporations, educational institutions, and not-for-profit organizations. Along with this scale of data, new methods of data mining, estimation, and information processing offer unprecedented possibilities for social science inquiry. However, these methods have only begun to be adopted by scholars asking sociological questions, and these early workers are scattered throughout the university. The primary aim of this workshop, then, is to draw together scholars into a lively, learning community exploring these new opportunities.

Demography
This workshop is sponsored by the Committee on Demographic Training in collaboration with the Population Research Center of NORC and the University. Visitors from other campuses as well as Chicago faculty discuss current research activities in population studies.

East Asia: Society, Politics, and Economy
This workshop focuses on current social science research on East Asian societies, including the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea. Presentations are by University faculty and advanced graduate students who conduct research on these societies.

The Workshop on Education
This interdisciplinary workshop alternates between two types of sessions: 1. Methodology and 2. New Findings in Education. The Methodology sessions focus on methodological problem solving and works in progress for individuals seeking guidance on methodological problems. The New Findings in Education section functions as a typical University of Chicago workshop with detailed discussions regarding student and faculty papers. Open discussion is encouraged after each workshop.

Gender and Sexuality Studies
This workshop provides an interdisciplinary forum for the development of critical perspectives on gender and sexuality. Its primary purpose is to promote analyses of the ways in which these categories intersect with other practices, constructs, or systems of domination. In bringing together readings in queer and gender theory, workshop members will build a vocabulary and analytical tools to evaluate presentations with informed perspectives on how gender and sexuality theories inform and constitute one another. Graduate student presentations may focus on any area of gender and sexuality studies, with gender and sexuality understood as always already embedded in other social practices and categorizations. Workshop participants will share responsibility for choosing readings and speakers and for evaluating the effectiveness of the workshop's interdisciplinary process.

Organizations and Markets
This workshop focuses on the sociology of organizations, networks, and markets. A wide variety of topics are addressed, including how organizations operate, why they differ, how they emerge from prior organizations, how future growth depends on position in a structure of other organizations and how people survive and thrive within organizations.

Social Theory
This workshop explores issues in social theory across a variety of disciplines in the social sciences and humanities. The emphasis is less on developing social theory than on exploring in a sustained fashion the social theoretical implications of the participants’ work. Themes to be addressed are likely to include the relationship between social and cultural transformations; questions of the public sphere, civil society, and democracy; the relations between modernist and postmodernist forms of social theory; and conceptual issues posed by globalization.

Social Theory and Evidence
Social scientists continue to struggle over the relative merits of their many enterprises: explanation versus interpretation, causal versus descriptive analysis, the development of theories versus the testing of hypotheses. Two questions are foundational: What constitutes a good theory? And at what point does the evidence for an argument turn from plausible to compelling? These problems, present from the birth of social science, have grown no less thorny, but also no less critical, since how we choose to solve them informs the evidence we believe and the theories we generate. This workshop focuses on the clarity and cogency of social theories and the logic and effectiveness of evidence in social research.

Workshop on City, Society, and Space
The social organization of urban environments has always held a prominent place in the social sciences and at the University of Chicago in particular. This workshop carries on that tradition, providing an interdisciplinary forum for faculty and graduate students to present current research. Participants contribute to the development of new understandings of the social structures and processes within a city. This workshop hosts a lively and interactive series of presentations covering such topics as political economy, culture, social organization, globalization, crime, and urban history.

Workshop on Quantitative Research Methods in Education, Health, and Social Sciences
The Workshop on Quantitative Research Methods in Education, Health, and Social Sciences serves as an important venue on the University of Chicago campus for building an intellectual community of colleagues who share methodological interests. Workshop participants meet biweekly to discuss working papers and brainstorm solutions to methodological problems encountered in ongoing research. Participants include faculty members, researchers, and students from the Social Sciences Division, Health Studies, Statistics, Public Policy, the National Opinion Research Center, the Consortium for Chicago School Research, and colleagues from the University of Illinois in Chicago.