The course catalog is constantly evolving. For more detailed scheduling information about these courses, please visit the registrar's office.
2021-22 TENTATIVE COURSE OFFERINGS
SOCI 30002 Principles of Sociological Research. Explores how theoretical questions and different types of evidence inform decisions about methodological approach and research design. This course is required for first year Sociology PhD students. Vargas. Winter.
SOCI 30003 History of Social Theory. This course is an introduction to sociological theory. It will cover Marx, Weber, Durkheim, Simmel, Mead, Dewey, Bourdieu, and possibly others. Martin. Spring.
SOCI 30004 Statistical Methods of Research 1. This course provides a comprehensive introduction to widely used quantitative methods in sociology and related social sciences. Topics covered include analysis of variance and multiple regression, considered as they are used by practicing social scientists. Stolzenberg. Winter.
SOCI 30005 Statistical Methods of Research 2. Social scientists regularly ask questions that can be answered with quantitative data from a population-based sample. For example, how much more income do college graduates earn compared to those who do not attend college? Do men and women with similar levels of training and who work in similar jobs earn different incomes? Why do children who grow up in different family or neighborhood environments perform differently in school? To what extent do individuals from different socioeconomic backgrounds hold different types of political attitudes and engage in different types of political behavior? This course explores statistical methods that can be used to answer these and many other questions of interest to social scientists. The main objectives are to provide students with a firm understanding of linear regression and generalized linear models and with the technical skills to implement these methods in practice. Wodtke. Spring.
SOCI 30006 Second-Year Writing Seminar. Doctoral students in Sociology are required to take this seminar in their second year as they develop their Qualifying Paper (a full draft, at minimum, must be turned in to the department by June 11). In addition to providing a framework for these individual writing projects, the seminar will address norms of professional publishing, including professional peer review, as well as strategies for argumentation and analysis. Clemens. Spring.
SOCI 30008 Third-Year Dissertation Proposal Seminar. This course is aimed primarily at third years in the Sociology department, although all pre-dissertation graduate students are welcome. We will intensively workshop each other’s dissertation projects, and students will be expected to produce a defensible proposal by the end. Go. Winter.
SOCI 30103 Social Stratification. Social stratification is the unequal distribution of the goods that members of a society value -- earnings, income, authority, political power, status, prestige, etc. This course introduces various sociological perspectives about stratification. We will look at major patterns of inequality throughout human history, how they vary across countries, how they are formed and maintained, how they come to be seen as legitimate and desirable, and how they affect the lives of individuals within a society. The readings incorporate classical theoretical statements, contemporary debates, and recent empirical evidence. The information and ideas discussed in this course are critical for students who will go on in sociology and extremely useful for students who want to be informed about current social, economic, and political issues. Stolzenberg. Spring.
SOCI 30106 Political Sociology. Political sociology explores how social processes shape outcomes within formal political institutions as well as the politics that occur in the family, civic associations, social networks, and social movements. This course surveys the emergence of the most historically significant forms of political ordering (particularly nation-states and empires); explores the patterns of participation, mobilization, and policy feedbacks within nation-states, both democratic and non-democratic; and considers how transnational politics and globalization may reorder political relations. Clemens. Winter.
SOCI 30116 Global-Local Politics. Globalizing and local forces are generating a new politics in the United States and around the world. This course explores this new politics by mapping its emerging elements: the rise of social issues, ethno-religious and regional attachments, environmentalism, gender and life-style identity issues, new social movements, transformed political parties and organized groups, and new efforts to mobilize individual citizens. Clark. Winter.
SOCI 30118 Survey Research Overview. This course is designed to walk students through the many phases of interview-based research projects, with an emphasis on overall research design and linking each design decision to the student's research question within the limits of budget and time constraints. The course should give students a basic understanding about how sampling, questionnaire or interview guide construction, and actual data collection fit together in practical terms. The final product for the course is a research proposal that provides a clear research question and a plan of action for collecting original data by interview (including open-ended, qualitative, interviews, focus groups, or fixed-choice, standardized surveys or some combination of interview/survey with other data). Proposals to collect data by observational checklist or rating scale or a content analysis may also be acceptable for this course, but proposals for secondary analysis of existing data are not. Quizzes cover core content from readings and lectures. Students in the course turn in 6-8 weekly assignments that are pieces of the final proposal and get back comments and suggestions to help revise these for the final, integrated proposal. Van Haitsma. Autumn, Winter.
SOCI 30120 Urban Policy Analysis. Cities are sites of challenge and innovation worldwide. Dramatic new policies can be implemented locally and chart new paths for national policies. Five main approaches are compared: Leadership patterns: are business, political, or other kinds of leaders more important--and where, when, and why do these matter? Second do capitalism, or more recently, global markets, make specific leaders irrelevant? Third: leaders like mayors are weaker since citizens, interest groups, and media have grown so powerful. Fourth innovation drives many policy issues. Fifth consumption, entertainment, and the arts engage citizens in new ways. Can all five hold, in some locations? Why should they differentially operate across big and small, rich and poor neighborhoods, cities, and countries? The course introduces you to core urban issues, whether your goal is to conduct research, interpret reports by others, make policy decisions, or watch the tube and discuss these issues as a more informed citizen. Chicago, US and big and small locations internationally are considered; all methods are welcome. Clark. Autumn.
SOCI 30125 Rational Foundations of Social Theory. This course introduces conceptual and analytical tools for the micro foundations of macro and intermediate-level social theories, taking as a basis the assumption of rational action. Those tools are then used to construct theories of power, social exchange, collective behavior, socialization, trust, norm, social decision making and justice, business organization, and family organization. Yamaguchi. Spring.
SOCI 30157 Mathematical Models. This course examines mathematical models and related analyses of social action, emphasizing a rational-choice perspective. About half the lectures focus on models of collective action, power, and exchange as developed by Coleman, Bonacich, Marsden, and Yamaguchi. Then the course examines models of choice over the life course, including rational and social choice models of marriage, births, friendship networks, occupations, and divorce. Both behavioral and analytical models are surveyed. Yamaguchi. Winter.
SOCI 30179 Labor Force and Employment. This course introduces key concepts, methods and sources of information for understanding the structure of work and the organization of workers in the United States and other industrialized nations. The course surveys social science approaches to answering key questions about work and employment, including: What is the labor force? What determines the supply of workers? How is work organized into jobs, occupations careers and industries? What, if anything, happened to unions? How much money do workers earn and why? What is the effect of work on health? How do workers and employers find each other? Who is unemployed? What are the employment effects of race, gender, ethnicity, religion and other ascribed characteristics? Stolzenberg. Spring.
SOCI 30192 The Effects of Schooling. CANCELLED. From at least the Renaissance until sometime around the middle of the 20th Century, social class was the pre-eminent, generalized determinant of life chances in European and, eventually, American societies. Social class had great effect on one’s social standing, economic well-being, political power, access to knowledge and even longevity, health and height. In that time, there was hardly an aspect of life that was not profoundly influenced by social class. In the ensuing period, the effects of social class have receded greatly, and perhaps have even vanished. In their place formal schooling has become the great generalized influence over who gets access to the desiderata of social life, including food, shelter, political power, medical care, etc. So it is that schooling is sociologically interesting for reasons that go well beyond education. The purpose of this course is to review what is known about the long term effects of schooling. Stolzenberg. Spring.
SOCI 30224 Topics in Sociology of Culture. This class surveys the historical bases and current extension of core readings in the sociology of culture. These works will be investigated not only in their own terms, but their position in central issues revolving around the independence (or lack of same) of cultural production communities; the omnivore/unibrow question; the role of culture in larger (and smaller) political and social environments; the use of hierarchical as opposed to non-hierarchical models of social structure; and the location of meaning. Clark. Spring.
SOCI 30233 Race in Contemporary American Society. This survey course in the sociology of race offers a socio-historical investigation of race in American society. We will examine issues of race, ethnic and immigrant settlement in the United States. Also, we shall explore the classic and contemporary literature on race and inter-group dynamics. Our investigative tools will include an analysis of primary and secondary sources, multimedia materials, photographic images, and journaling. While our survey will be broad, we will treat Chicago and its environs as a case study to comprehend the racial, ethnic, and political challenges in the growth and development of a city. Hicks-Bartlett. Spring.
SOCI 30252 Urban Innovation: Cultural Place Making and Scenescapes. Activists from Balzac, Jane Jacobs, and others today seek to change the world using the arts. Ignored by most social science theories, these new cultural initiatives and policies are increasing globally. Urban planning and architecture policies, walking and parades, posters and demonstrations, new coffee shops and storefront churches reinforce selective development of specific cities and neighborhoods. These transform our everyday social environments into new types of scenes. They factor into crucial decisions, about where to work, to open a business, to found a political activist group, to live, what political causes to support, and more. The course reviews new case studies and comparative analyses from China to Chicago to Poland that detail these processes. Students are encouraged to explore one type of project. Clark. Spring.
SOCI 30253 Introduction to Spatial Data Science. Spatial data science consists of a collection of concepts and methods drawn from both statistics and computer science that deal with accessing, manipulating, visualizing, exploring and reasoning about geographical data. The course introduces the types of spatial data relevant in social science inquiry and reviews a range of methods to explore these data. Topics covered include formal spatial data structures, geovisualization and visual analytics, rate smoothing, spatial autocorrelation, cluster detection and spatial data mining. An important aspect of the course is to learn and apply open source software tools, including R and GeoDa. Anselin. Autumn.
SOCI 30264 Wealth. Wealth is the value of a person’s accumulated possessions and financial assets. Wealth is more difficult for social researchers to measure than earnings and income, and wealthy people are notoriously uncooperative with efforts to study them and their assets. Further, wealth data conveys less information than income data about the lives of the middle- and lower-classes -- who tend to have little or no wealth at all. However, information about wealth gives fundamentally important insight into the values, attitudes, behavior, consumption patterns, social standing, political power, health, happiness and yet more characteristics of individuals and population subgroups. This course considers the causes and consequences of wealth accumulation for individuals, the social groups to which they belong, and the societies in which they dwell. Stolzenberg. Winter.
SOCI 30315 Introduction to Causal Inference. This course is designed for graduate students and advanced undergraduate students from the social sciences, education, public health science, public policy, social service administration, and statistics who are involved in quantitative research and are interested in studying causality. The goal of this course is to provide students a basic knowledge of causal inference. Topics for the course include the potential outcomes framework for causal inference; experimental and observational studies; identification assumptions for causal parameters; potential pitfalls of using ANCOVA to estimate a causal effect; propensity score based methods including matching, stratification, inverse-probability-of-treatment-weighting (IPTW), marginal mean weighting through stratification (MMWS), and doubly robust estimation; the instrumental variable (IV) method; regression discontinuity design (RDD) including sharp RDD and fuzzy RDD; difference in difference (DID) estimation method for cross-section and panel data, and fixed effects model. Yamaguchi, Hong. Winter.
SOCI 30508 Working with Found Data: Library/Internet Research. This course is an introduction to the methods involved in "research with found data:" that is, found material like manuscripts, books, journals, newspapers, ephemera, and government and institutional documents. (Such materials can be found both in print and on the Internet.) The course covers the essentials of project design, bibliography, location, access, critical reading, source evaluation, knowledge categorization and assembly, and records maintenance. The course is a methodological practicum organized around student projects. The texts are Thomas Mann's Oxford Guide to Library Research and Andrew Abbott's Digital Paper. Abbott. Autumn.
SOCI 30521 Sociology of Urban Planning: Cities, Territories, Environments. This course provides a high-intensity introduction to the sociology of urban planning practice under modern capitalism. Building upon urban sociology, planning theory and history as well as urban social science and environmental studies, we explore the emergence, development and continual transformation of urban planning in relation to changing configurations of capitalist urbanization, modern state power, sociopolitical insurgency and environmental crisis. Following an initial exploration of divergent conceptualizations of “planning” and “urbanization,” we investigate the changing sites and targets of planning; struggles regarding the instruments, goals and constituencies of planning; the contradictory connections between planning and diverse configurations of power in modern society (including class, race, gender and sexuality); and the possibility that new forms of planning might help produce more socially just and environmentally sane forms of urbanization in the future. Brenner. Winter.
SOCI 30528 What Does it Mean to Speak Freely? The idea of freedom of speech possesses tremendous political and cultural power in global discourses about what it means to live a good life in a good society. It is considered an indispensable precondition for the flourishing of the sciences and the arts, as well as for the proper functioning of democracy. Courts interpret freedom of speech as one of the core liberal rights. Public and private institutions like the University of Chicago proclaim a commitment to freedom of speech. And claims about the importance of freedom of speech pepper public discourse. But what does it mean to be free to speak? This course will explore this question historically, philosophically, and ethnographically. Students will learn about the fundamental sociality of human beings and think collectively about the implications that the indissoluble and necessary entanglement with others has for developing an inner life, the generation of ideas, and the willingness to articulate these ideas within various social contexts. Students will also learn about the different ways in which freedom of speech and thought has been understood over time, and the concrete political and social struggles that have shaped the development of ideas about freedom of speech. Class discussion will also explore how institutional arrangements shape ideas and practices of free speech. Glaeser, Lakier. Spring.
SOCI 40103 Event History Analysis. An introduction to the methods of event history analysis will be given. The methods allow for the analysis of duration data. Non-parametric methods and parametric regression models are available to investigate the influence of covariates on the duration until a certain even occurs. Applications of these methods will be discussed i.e., duration until marriage, social mobility processes organizational mortality, firm tenure, etc. Yamaguchi. Spring.
SOCI 40112 Ethnographic Methods. This course explores the epistemological and practical questions raised by ethnography as a method -- focusing on the relationships between theory and data, and between researcher and researched. Discussions are based on close readings of ethnographic texts, supplemented by occasional theoretical essays on ethnographic practices. Students also conduct original field research, share and critique each other's field notes on a weekly basis, and produce analytical papers based on their ethnographies. McRoberts. Winter.
SOCI 40133 Computational Content Analysis. A vast expanse of information about what people do, know, think, and feel lies embedded in text, and more of the contemporary social world lives natively within electronic text than ever before. These textual traces range from collective activity on the web, social media, instant messaging and automatically transcribed YouTube videos to online transactions, medical records, digitized libraries and government intelligence. This supply of text has elicited demand for natural language processing and machine learning tools to filter, search, and translate text into valuable data. The course will survey and practically apply many of the most exciting computational approaches to text analysis, highlighting both supervised methods that extend old theories to new data and unsupervised techniques that discover hidden regularities worth theorizing. These will be examined and evaluated on their own merits, and relative to the validity and reliability concerns of classical content analysis, the interpretive concerns of qualitative content analysis, and the interactional concerns of conversation analysis. We will also consider how these approaches can be adapted to content beyond text, including audio, images, and video. We will simultaneously review recent research that uses these approaches to develop social insight by exploring (a) collective attention and reasoning through the content of communication; (b) social relationships through the process of communication; and (c) social states, roles, and moves identified through heterogeneous signals within communication. The course is structured around gaining understanding and experimenting with text analytical tools, deploying those tools and interpreting their output in the context of individual research projects, and assessment of contemporary research within this domain. Class discussion and assignments will focus on how to use, interpret, and combine computational techniques in the context of compelling social science research investigations. Evans. Winter.
SOCI 40164 Involved Interviewing. Subtitle: Strategies for interviewing hard to penetrate communities and populations. Imagine that you must interview someone who hails from a background unlike your own; perhaps you need to interview an incarcerated youth, or gather a life history from an ill person. Maybe your task is to conduct fieldwork inside a community that challenges your comfort level. How do we get others to talk to us? How do we get out of our own way and limited training to become fully and comfortably engaged in people and the communities in which they reside? This in-depth investigation into interviewing begins with an assumption that the researcher as interviewer is an integral part of the research process. We turn a critical eye on the interviewer’s role in getting others to talk and learn strategies that encourage fertile interviews regardless of the situational context. Weekly reading assignments facilitate students’ exploration of what the interview literature can teach us about involved interviewing. Additionally, we critically assess our role as interviewer and what that requires from us. Students participate in evaluating interview scenarios that are designed to explore our assumptions, sharpen our interviewing skills and troubleshoot sticky situations. We investigate a diversity of settings and populations as training ground for leading effective interviews. The final project includes: 1) a plan that demonstrates knowledge of how to design an effective interviewing strategy for unique field settings; 2) instructor’s feedback on students’ personal journals on the role of the interviewer. Hicks-Bartlett. Autumn, Winter.
SOCI 40177 Coding and Analyzing Qualitative Data: Using Open-Source Computer Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Software (CAQDAS). This is a graduate level course in coding and analyzing qualitative data (e.g., interview transcripts, oral histories, focus groups, letters, and diaries, etc). In this hands-on-course students learn how to organize and manage text-based data in preparation for analysis and final report writing of small scale research projects. Students use their own laptop computers to access one of two free, open-source software programs available for Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems. While students with extant interview data can use it for this course, those without existing data will be provided text to code and analyze. This course does not cover commercial CAQDAS, such as AtlasTi, NVivo, The Ethnograph or Hypertext. Hicks-Bartlett. Winter, Spring.
SOCI 40233 Sociology of Immigration. This graduate seminar seeks to cover the main topics in this vast field. Topics include: determinants of migration, immigrant assimilation, transnationalism, immigration and race, immigration policies, immigration attitudes and public opinion, and illegality. We will also devote some time to immigrant-receiving contexts outside of the U.S. especially Western Europe. The purpose of the class is to encourage graduate students to develop their own immigration research projects. We will pay special attention to research design and methodological issues. Flores. Autumn.
SOCI 40241 Global Social Theory. Traditional social theory operates from a series of assumptions; e.g. that modernity originated in something called “Europe” and then spread to the rest of the world, that social relations are contained by nation-states, that social theories seeking to apprehend those social relations can best be developed through reference to European societies, and that such social theories represent universal principles, laws or forms applicable across different societies. This is in part due to social theory’s historical emergence in the context of modern empire and its related historical positionality as a body of thought embedding the concerns of metropolitan elites. This seminar further explores these assumptions and explores writers and schools of thought that challenge them. The texts we will study all register critiques of social theory’s biases and imperial inheritances while offering the possibility of alternative social theories, concepts, epistemologies and approaches. Readings include various forms of anticolonial thought, Postcolonial Theory/Decolonial Thought, the tradition of Black Marxism/Black Radicalism/Caribbean social thought, “Southern Theory” and a spate of recent sociological works dealing with these same themes. Go. Winter.
SOCI 40243 Race and Urban Science. CANCELLED. This course provides an overview of how race has been a fundamental principle of urban research in Chicago and other cities from the 20th century through today. Through a focus on research on Chicago, students will learn how the legacies of scientific racism in urban research continue to shape the field and urban policy to this day. The course will also introduce students to several anti-racist and social justice oriented urban research paradigms. Vargas. Winter.
SOCI 40244 Climate Change and Social Theory. This course considers some of the major approaches to climate change and society that have been elaborated by contemporary social and environmental theorists. Key topics include the legacies of environmental thought in classical social theory; the histories and geographies of environmental crises under capitalism; the conceptualization of “nature” in relation to societal dynamics; the role of capitalism and fossil capital in the production of “metabolic rifts”; questions of periodization and associated debates on the “Anthropocene,” the “Capitalocene” and the “Plantationocene”; the interplay between urbanization and climate emergencies; the (geo)politics of decarbonization; insurgent struggles for climate justice; and possible post-carbon futures. Brenner. Autumn.
SOCI 50092 Seminar: Religion and Politics. In this seminar we will consider meanings of religion and politics, and examine their interactions from a comparative perspective. After digesting alternative theoretical understandings of the relationship between religion, states, and political processes, we will turn to empirical accounts that illuminate historical and local issues at points around the globe. Among other phenomena, students will explore patterns of secularization, religious nationalism, fundamentalisms, and policy-oriented religious social movements. McRoberts. Winter.
SOCI 50106 Seminar: The Social Process. This course sets forth a general analysis of the social process, based on the exposition of a processual theoretical system. It begins with desiderata for the theory, then proceeds through the topics of orders, events, locality, lineage, stability, and entity processes to the usual micro and macro analyses of social life. Abbott. Winter.
SOCI 50112 Seminar: Health and Society. A long and healthy life is a widely sought after human goal. But not everyone has equal chances of achieving this goal. This course focuses on the role played by society in differential access to physical, psychological, cognitive health and well-being. We will discuss the role of parental characteristics and childhood circumstances in later-life health, differences in health and well-being for men and women, for racial and ethnic groups, by characteristics of our neighborhoods and communities, and by regions or countries. Each class meeting we will read and discuss three or four journal articles or sections of a book, with class participants presenting each reading, summarizing it, and then critiquing it. The class will then discuss. We will add to and subtract from the readings to match the interests of participants on each topic; the syllabus will list readings as a starting point for this process. Waite. Autumn.
SOCI 50120 Seminar: Ethnography-1. In this two-quarter seminar practicum, students will gain first-hand experience in theoretically grounded and critically reflexive ethnographic research methods. This first quarter provides an overview of the key issues in the epistemology, practice, ethics, and the politics of participant observation. Through weekly readings and discussion students will be exposed to a variety of different techniques, traditions, and modalities for analyzing the everyday experiences and cultural contours of social life. This will include grounded theory, intuitive theorizing, the extended case method, abductive analysis, phenomenology, and processual sociology, among others. Through a series of preliminary field work exercises, students will learn how to propose a research question, formulate an empirical puzzle, determine the rationale for using ethnographic or interview methods, develop effective interview questions, write field notes, code observational and interview data, and satisfy human subjects review boards. Schilt. Winter.
SOCI 50121 Seminar: Ethnography-2. In this two-quarter seminar practicum, students will gain first-hand experience in theoretically grounded and critically reflexive ethnographic research methods. This second quarter will provide students with a “hands-on” experience in the practical tasks, rules, and tricks of the trade in ethnographic research. Students will carry out an original research project requiring them to gain access, recruit respondents, build rapport, and collect and analyze data. As projects develop, students will learn how to use their intimate and embodied engagements in the field to generate rigorous theoretical contributions. We will discuss the range of “styles” of writing ethnographic research papers, as well as the varied ways that authors discuss, problematize, and “use” their positionality while in the field, as well as how they write up analyses and present their work to academic and public audiences. Hoang. Spring.
SOCI 50128 Seminar: Critical Race Theory. This is a readings course designed to be an introduction to Critical Race Theory (CRT). CRT is a school of thought that seeks to understand the relationship between race and the law, which grew out of the legal academy. Since its inception in the 1970s, the tenets of Critical Race Theory have gone on to inform theory and empirical research in many disciplines. In this course we will read several of the founding texts of CRT. We will then move into reading the kinds of race-based critical theory that sociologists have developed. On a rotating basis in different quarters we will be reading such authors as: Derrick Bell, Kimberly Crenshaw, Cheryl Harris, Richard Delgado, Mari Matsuda, Patrica Williams, W.E.B. Du Bois, Eduardo Bonilla Silva, Joe Feagin, Ian Haney Lopez, and Patricia Hill Collins, among others. Bell. Winter.
SOCI 50129 Seminar: Sociology of Democracy. CANCELLED. What does a sociological approach to study of democracy look like? How is it different from the dominant approaches in political science and political theory? The course takes up this question. We will consider relevant theories and examine several cases of democracy, particularly in the Global South. Garrido. Autumn.
SOCI 60020 1st-Year Pro-seminar: Research Questions and Design. A required, non-credit colloquium for first-year doctoral students in Sociology. The pro-seminar addresses how to generate research questions and design projects through the current work of department faculty. Staff. Autumn.