Graduate Courses

Classical Social Theory (SOCIO 809)

This is an intensive reading and discussion seminar, covering selected writings from four classical social theorists:  Karl Marx (1818-1883), Max Weber (1864-1920), Emile Durkheim (1858-1917), and Georg Simmel (1858-1918), as well as some comparative readings from early American sociologists.  Each of the four main classical theorists continues to influence sociological scholarship and analysis today.  Through careful, critical reading and discussion of their work, this seminar aims to provide you with a solid background, not only in what Marx, Weber, Durkheim, and Simmel had to say about the social world, but also, and more importantly, with a sense of their "intellectual craftsmanship" and how they went about their work.  These four theorists were scholars of the highest caliber, masters at their "craft"; therefore, careful study of their work is important both for understanding the enduring influence of their work on contemporary scholarship, as well as for what it may teach us about how we conduct, and strive to conduct, our own work.

Contemporary Social Theory (SOCIO 810)

This course provides a graduate level survey of contemporary sociological theory. We will review the major schools of structural functionalism and neo-Marxism, as well as some of the major perspectives, including symbolic interactionism, post structuralism, and post modernity (among others). Our goal is to gain a critical understanding of these perspectives that have shaped sociology, which includes understanding their emergence, strengths and weaknesses, the critiques of them, and their evolution.

Quantitative Methods (SOCIO 825)

The objective of this course is to provide theoretical knowledge and practical experience in using regression analysis as a quantitative method in social research. Regression analysis is arguably the most commonly used advanced statistical technique in the social sciences. As a key foundation of social research, it is important that students have an understanding of this technique and the ability to use it in their own research. This course will cover material concerning the key theoretical underpinnings of regression analysis as a quantitative method. This will be supplemented with practical experience in using regression analysis by estimating regression models with the SAS statistical software program. It is assumed that students already have substantial knowledge of basic statistics. The key objectives are for students to come away from the course with the ability to use regression analysis in their own research as well as the ability to critically evaluate the use of regression analysis in research conducted by others.

Sociology of Agriculture (SOCIO 831)

In this course we will survey the subfield of sociology of agriculture, including an examination of its intellectual roots, growth and current theoretical and substantive directions. The framework of the course is built around exploring the linkages between agriculture, food, environment and social justice. Among the substantive topics to be examined are: the globalization of agrifood systems, agricultural policy, labor issues, the role of science and technology in transforming agrifood systems, and the environmental and social consequences of current agrifood systems.

Sociology of Community (SOCIO 832)

The objective of this course is to provide knowledge of the major theoretical paradigms and research debates in the field of community sociology. The examination of community represent one of the oldest fields of inquiry within the discipline of sociology. The course will survey some of the "classic" pieces of literature in the field as well as provide an overview of more recent theoretical developments and debates in community sociology. We will critically examine "community" as a scientific concept, the historical transformation of community, the ecological and the urban political-economy paradigms, and the social forces that are currently effecting community change in advanced industrial nations.

Technology and Social Development (SOCIO 842)

This course provides a survey of theoretical perspectives and current research on the role of technology in social development. Among the topics to be examined are: the conceptualization of technology in national development, the relationships between ideologies/values and technological choices, the role of technology in developing countries, the role of technologies in producing and maintaining social inequalities, notions of technological progress, technology and risk, and the role of the public in shaping technological choices. Generally, we will be drawing on the broad literature in development studies and science/technology studies to examine the ways in which these two bodies of literature interact, and consider how they might better inform each other.

Introduction to Social Analysis (SOCIO 822)

Addresses Salkind's idea:  Statistics for People Who (Think They) Hate Statistics.  Introduces the beginning or continuing graduate student to quantitative methodology in social science research and supports the student in constructing a research project.

Political Sociology of Developing Countries (SOCIO 853)

This seminar focuses on core theoretical debates about politics, development, and social change in contemporary (post WWII) Asian, African, and Latin American societies.Discussion in the early part of the course will be oriented toward unpacking, comparing and contrasting core theoretical approaches to development. Subsequently, we will question the relationship between the prevailing assumptions underlying development theories and current understandings of development in a changing global context: How have early theories of development affected our understanding of changing global patterns of finance and production, and how do such recent events affect the assumptions underlying development theory and strategy today? Finally, what is the relationship between changing global patterns of production and internal struggles over sovereignty, democracy, migration,and labor rights, and how do these processes relate to development?

Criminological Theory (SOCIO 862)

"A man got to have a code."  --Omar, The Wire
Chronicles the codes of crime theories, including classical to contemporary; students develop a working knowledge of what makes crime work in modern society.

Labor History (SOCIO 901)

The purpose of this seminar is to introduce students to the fascinating field of U.S. labor history and to encourage the development of graduate research projects in this area.  The course focuses on the history of American workers, their organizations and struggles, as well as on working-class life and culture more generally (over, roughly, the past two centuries).  However, some influential work from other contexts – for example, E. P. Thompson's classic study on The Making of the English Working Class – and a closing consideration of labor in the broader, global context will also be included.  Students examine important debates on approaches to labor history, e.g., the "new" vs. the "old" labor history, as well as on particular topics and periods, e.g., "workers' control," or the Knights of Labor in the late 19th century and the I.W.W. in the early 2oth, as well as the CIO versus the AFL in the 1930s and 40s.  The course fosters an interdisciplinary dialogue about differing perspectives on the study of labor, working-class issues and history.

Gender and Society (SOCIO 933)

Examines gender as a cultural and social construction, using media to trace development and change across time and space.  Majors and non-majors welcome.

Crime, Inequality & Justice (SOCIO 962)

Warning label:  This course faces the worst elements of our criminal justice system. Students study those most vulnerable and those most powerful in our society; includes a focus on cultural criminology.