The course catalog is constantly evolving. For more detailed scheduling information about these courses, please visit the registrar's office.

 

PLANNED  COURSE  OFFERINGS  2019-20

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. Autumn.

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. This course is required for first-year Sociology PhD students. Hoang. Autumn.

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. Raudenbush. 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, 30007  Second/Third Year Writing Seminar-1, 2. A required seminar that will meet over two quarters.  Doctoral students in Sociology are required to take this seminar in both their second and third years.  Second-year students will focus on developing a project for their Qualifying Paper.  Third-year students will start from a completed Qualifying Paper and revise it for presentation at professional meetings and possible publication.  Some students may move on to developing grant proposals or a first draft of a dissertation proposal.    Garrido, McRoberts. Winter and Spring.

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. Winter.

SOCI 30104  Urban Structure & Process. This course reviews competing theories of urban development, especially their ability to explain the changing nature of cities under the impact of advanced industrialism. Analysis includes a consideration of emerging metropolitan regions, the microstructure of local neighborhoods, and the limitations of the past American experience as a way of developing urban policy both in this country and elsewhere. Garrido. 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 feedback's within nation-states, both democratic and non-democratic; and considers how transnational politics and globalization may reorder political relations. Clemens. Autumn.

SOCI 30112  Application of Hierarchical Linear Models. A number of diverse methodological problems such as correlates of change, analysis of multi-level data, and certain aspects of meta-analysis share a common feature--a hierarchical structure.  The hierarchical linear model offers a promising approach to analyzing data in these situations.  This course will survey the methodological literature in this area, and demonstrate how the hierarchical linear model can be applied to a range of problems. Raudenbush. Spring.

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 are also acceptable for this course, but proposals for secondary analysis of existing data are not. Students in the course turn in 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. Offered in both Autumn and Winter.

SOCI 30120  Urban Policy Analysis. This course addresses the explanations available for varying patterns of policies that cities provide in terms of expenditures and service delivery. It also covers  urban and ethnic reading materials for the Ph.D. Prelim exam in Sociology. Topics include theoretical approaches and policy options, migration as a policy option, group theory, citizen preference theory, incrementalism, economic base influences, and an integrated model.  Also examined are the New York fiscal crisis and taxpayer revolts, measuring citizen preferences, service delivery, and productivity. Clark. Autumn.

SOCI 30125  Rational Fdns 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. Winter.

SOCI 30126  Japanese Society: Functional/Cultural Explanations. The objective of this course is to provide an overview of social structural characteristics, and the functioning of contemporary Japanese society by a juxtaposition of universalistic functional (or rational) explanations and particularistic cultural (and historical) explanations.  As well become clear as complementary to each other.  Substantively, the course primarily focuses on 1) the forms of social interaction and structure, 2) work organization and family, and 3) education, social inequality  and opportunity.  The course also presents discussions of the extent to which Japan is "unique" among industrial societies.  In covering a broad range of English-language literature on Japanese Society, the course not only presents reviews and discussions of various alternative theoretical explanations of the characteristics of Japanese society, but also a profound opportunity to critically review and study selected sociological theories. Yamaguchi. Spring.

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. From at least the Renaissance until some time 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. Martin, 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, Kolak. Autumn.

SOCI 30258  Maverick Markets: Cultural Economy and Cultural Finance. What are the cultural dimensions of economic and financial institutions and financial action? What social variables influence and shape 'real' markets and market activities? 'If you are so smart, why aren't you rich?' is a question economists have been asked in the past. Why isn’t it easy to make money in financial areas even if one knows what economists know about markets, finance and the economy? And why, on the other hand, is it so easy to get rich for some participants? Perhaps the answer is that real markets are complex social and cultural institutions which are quite different from organizations, administrations and the production side of the economy. The course provides an overview over social and cultural variables and patterns that play a role in economic behavior and specifically in financial markets. The readings examine the historical and structural embeddedness of economic action and institutions, the different constructions and interpretations of money, prices and other dimensions of a market economy, and how a financial economy affects organizations, the art world and other areas. Knorr Cetina. Spring.

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 30293  Global Family Change. This course examines sociological perspectives on changes in marriage and childbearing that have swept the globe from 1850-today.  We will examine changes in arranged marriage, marriage timing, first birth timing, contraception to limit childbearing, family size and divorce.  We will review theories of family change, research designs for studying family change, and empirical data about family change. We will investigate family changes in specific sites in Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe and the European diaspora.  The course will also investigate specific factors likely to produce family change, including industrialization, mass education, mass media, health care, migration, and attitudes and beliefs. Finally, the course will consider some of the important consequences of these changing families around the world. Students will prepare an in-depth study of family change in one specific place and time.  Course examples will highlight family changes in South Asia, but students are welcome to select any region and time period for their own study. Axinn. Autumn.

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 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 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 40137  Introduction to Science Studies. This course explores the interdisciplinary study of science as an enterprise. During the twentieth century, sociologists, historians, philosophers, and anthropologists all raised interesting and consequential questions about the sciences. Taken together, their various approaches came to constitute a field, “science studies.” The course provides an introduction to this field. Students will not only investigate how it coalesced and why, but will also experience the practical application of science-studies perspectives in asking and answering questions about science today. Among the topics we may examine are: the sociology of scientific knowledge and its applications; actor-network theories of science; constructivism and the history of science; images of normal and revolutionary science; and accounts of research in the commercial university. Knorr Cetina, Johns. Autumn.

SOCI 40142  Library Methods for Social Sciences. This course is an introduction to the methods involved in "research with records:" 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 40156  Hermeneutic Sociology. The core ideas of a social hermeneutics, expanding textual hermeneutics, began to be developed in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. They can be summarized in a few intertwining propositions: First, discursive, emotive and sensory modalities of sense making, conscious and unconscious, characterize and differentiate social life forms. Second, sense making is acting, thus entangled in institutions. Third, sense making proceeds in diverse media whose structures and habits of use shape its process rendering form and style important. Fourth, sense making is structured by the relationships within which they take place. Fifth, sense making is crucial for the reproduction of all aspects of life forms. Sixths, sense making, life forms, and media are dialectically intertwined with each other. Seventh, social hermeneutics is itself sense-making. The course will explore these ideas by reading classical statements that highlight the core analytical concepts that social hermeneuticists employ such as symbolization, interpretation, mediation, rhetoric, performance, performativity, interpretive community, institutionalization. Every session combines a discussion of the readings with a practicum using these concepts. Authors read include: Herder, Aristotle, Burke, Austin, Ricoeur, Schütz, Bourdieu, Peirce, Panofsky, Ranciere, Lakoff, Mackenzie, Latour. Glaeser, Silverstein. Spring.

SOCI 40164  Involved Interviewing: 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. Offered in both Autumn and 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. Offered in both Winter and Spring.

SOCI 40192  Seminar: The Family. The family is a key social institution in all human societies, although its structure and functions vary over time and place. Families are responsible for producing, raising and socializing children into social roles. Families are often the site of religious practice, responsible for much of what is produced and consumed, provide shelter, transmit resources across generations and within them, inculcate members, especially the young, with values and beliefs, provide companionship and entertainment, and the location for much of the sexual activity that takes place. Changes in the structure of the economy, social policies, and social organization all affect the family, with demographic forces also playing a key role. We will discuss these issues through the lens of the classic and recent literature on the family as seen from a sociological perspective. PhD students in the Department of Sociology may use this course to satisfy the requirement for an exam in the family.  All students can develop a research paper based on course materials, which might serve as the basis for a thesis or qualifying paper. Waite. Autumn.

SOCI 40216  Politics and Political Knowledge Ancient and Modern. This course begins by wondering what aspect and dynamic of human acting in relation to others we may wish to grasp as political. To pursue this question we will engage classical and contemporary texts on the political by Weber, Schmitt, Arendt, Lefort, Ranciere and Laclau. Pursuing the question of the political will inevitably raise another: that of the modalities of knowing required for conducting politics. This will lead us to supplement the first set of readings with texts interested in the sources of this knowledge including some of the classics in the sociology of knowledge from Lukacs and Mannheim to Foucault and Scott. In the third part of this class, we will let this panoply of theorists meet history by exploring forms of politics and political knowing developed and critiqued in classical Athens—the traditional terminus a quo for Europeanoid reflections on politics. It is in there that we will not only find illuminating historical materials to interrogate the interplay between political practices and knowledge, but in Plato’s work as a response to the political crisis brought about by the trauma of war, we will find a vision of a modality of knowing that sets out to eclipse politics in knowledge as expertise. And that will throw us right back into the modern. Glaeser. Spring.

SOCI 40217  Spatial Regression Analysis. This course covers statistical and econometric methods specifically geared to the problems of spatial dependence and spatial heterogeneity in cross-sectional data.  The main objective of the course is to gain insight into the scope of spatial regression methods, to be able to apply them in an empirical setting, and to properly interpret the results of spatial regression analysis.  While the focus is on spatial aspects, the types of methods covered have general validity in statistical practice.  The course covers the specification of spatial regression models in order to incorporate spatial dependence and spatial heterogeneity, as well as different estimation methods and specification tests to detect the presence of spatial autocorrelation and spatial heterogeneity.  Special attention is paid to the application to spatial models of generic statistical paradigms, such as Maximum Likelihood, Generalized Methods of Moments and the Bayesian perspective.  An important aspect of the course is the application of open source software tools such as R, GeoDa and PySal to solve empirical problems. Staff. 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 40234  Race and Ethnicity in Comparative Perspective. CANCELLED. This graduate seminar seeks to cover the main topics in this vast field from an international comparative perspective. We will compare the U.S. context, where race is typically seen as the fundamental social division, to other societies in Latin America and Europe in which ethnoracial boundaries have also emerged. Topics include: conceptual foundations of race and ethnicity, racial and ethnic identities, racial classification, race and inequality, racial attitudes and public opinion, and race and public policy. Class is designed to encourage graduate students to develop their own race and ethnicity research projects. We will pay special attention to research design and methodological issues. Flores. Spring.

SOCI 50076  Logic of Social Science Inquiry. Largely drawing on the literature of social movement, revolution, and historical sociology, this seminar surveys the methodologies that social scientists use to construct stories for the cases that interest them, including deductive reasoning, simulation, correlative thinking, mechanism-based analysis, case-based comparison, historical method, dialectics, conceptualization, hermeneutics, and more. The course discusses the pros and cons of each of these methods and ways to combine these methods to achieve better strategies for telling stories about ourselves and about the past and present. Zhao. Winter.

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 50116  Seminar: Economy and Law. CANCELLED. This course examines major theoretical perspectives and social science research on the relationship between law, economics, and society. It explores the relationship between law and economy in an increasingly globalized world via international flows of capital, commodities, and people and the ways that transactions and relationships are supported or regulated by various legal structures. We will focus on legal developments in emerging markets and transitional economies to examine how different laws at the level of the nation state cohere and conflict with one another. Hoang. Autumn.

SOCI 50118  Seminar: Population. This course provides a substantive overview of the field of demography -- the study of human populations, past, present and future. We focus on trends and causes and consequences of change in the three the basic components of population change: mortality, fertility, migration. We will also cover a few sub-fields outside the big three, including segregation and population health. By the end of the quarter, students will have been introduced to the major substantive issues, debates, and methods of the field. The course is non-technical but assumes graduate-level literacy in statistics and quantitative reasoning. We will focus on understanding general trends in global population, the inter-related nature of fertility, mortality, migration, and age structure, and how the demographic explanations of social phenomena are critical for understanding political, economic, and cultural changes. Trinitapoli. Winter.

SOCI 50119  Seminar: Politics of Media: From the Culture Industry to Google Brain. Media theory frequently focuses on issues of technology as opposed to, or at the cost of, politics and culture. This course reorients attention to the intersection of media and cultural theory. We begin by reviewing key media theories from the Frankfurt School and the Birmingham School. Following a historical introduction, we explore the contemporary field of cultural media theory as it has unfolded in both the humanities and the social sciences. Students will think through how the sites of race, class, gender, and sexuality might frame and always already influence the ways that we think of media — from the broadcast media of Adorno and Horkheimer’s culture industry that included radio, film, and television to contemporary pointcasting that is made up of digital and networked technologies. Alongside readings in an expanded media theory, we will engage artistic and cultural works, including literature, films, television serials, smart phone apps, video games, social media, and algorithms. We also explore methodological differences in media studies between the humanities and the social sciences. Schilt, Jagoda. Winter.

SOCI 50122  Seminar: Theories of Race and Racism. This course is designed for to provide an overview of sociological perspectives on race and racism in the US. While we will read classic and contemporary theory and research on race in the United States, our focus will be on getting up to date on the contemporary state of the study of race and racism in sociology and closely related fields. Throughout, our goal will be to consider race both as a source of identity and social differentiation as well as a system of privilege, power and inequality affecting everyone in society, albeit in different ways. By taking up several important debates in the literature, the course will offer you a solid entry point into the study of race and racism in the US. Bell. Autumn.

SOCI 50123 Seminar: Elegant Models for Social Structure, Probability and Non-Probability Applications. We investigate attempts to use relational data to build mathematically compelling models of social structure.  Beginning with Harrison White’s mathematization of Levi-Strauss, we investigate role algebras, before turning to probabilistic models.  We examine attempts to specify a null distribution for network graphs, and then ways of linking observed graph statistics to models of structure.  We then examine the idea of Markov graphs, relying on Besag, and then the application to networks.  At this point, we shift to an exploration of the practical applications of different means of looking at probability models with structural and nonstructural covariates, relying on example data sets and simulation, to compare the capacity of pseudo-likelihood and MCMC maximum likelihood methods to produce correct answers to realistic questions, for conventional network data, for multinetwork data, and for temporal data.  This last part will be a learning experience for all of us.Martin. Autumn.