Sociology

Department Office: 501 Knox Hall; 212-853-1909
http://www.sociology.columbia.edu

Director of Undergraduate Studies: Teresa Sharpe, 501 Knox; ts2785@columbia.edu

Director of Academic Administration and Finance: Teresa Aguayo, 501C Knox Hall; 212-854-9890; ta2015@columbia.edu

Student Program Coordinator: Kiamesha Wilson, 501B Knox; kw2510@columbia.edu

Sociology is the study of society. In examining patterns of association, sociologists explore the interactions of people, communities, and organizations. In this sense, sociology is not the study of people; it is the study of the relationships among people. This study includes the associations between people and the products of human interaction, such as organizations, technologies, economies, cities, culture, media, and religion. In the kinds of questions it asks, sociology is a deeply humanist discipline and sociologists demand the analytic rigor of scientific investigation.

In training students in our department, we encourage them to ask big questions and we work to give them the tools to provide answers. These tools might mean ethnographic observation, pouring through historical archives, looking at census data, analyzing social networks, or interviewing people from various walks of life.

As a bridging discipline that seeks the scientific exploration of questions that matter to human communities, such as inequality and social injustice, sociology addresses many of the same areas of life as our neighboring social science disciplines. Yet we often approach these areas quite differently. For example, problems of economic and political life are a central concern to sociologists. Rather than explore these as independent or particular features of society, we seek to embed them within the complex whole of the social world. Students will find the Department of Sociology to be a broad, demanding department that provides its students with the conceptual and methodological tools to make sense of the opportunities and social problems of the global communities in which we live.

Grading

A letter grade of C- or better is needed in all Sociology courses in order to satisfy the program requirements.

Departmental Honors

In order to be considered for departmental honors, majors must have a minimum GPA of 3.6 overall and 3.8 in courses in the Department of Sociology. In addition, students must produce an exceptional honors thesis in the two-semester Senior Seminar (SOCI UN3995-SOCI UN3996 Senior Seminar).

In order to register for the Senior Seminar, students must have completed SOCI UN3010 Methods for Social Research and have had their research project accepted by the faculty member teaching the Senior Seminar. Submissions of research projects are due by May 1 preceding the seminar. Normally no more than 10% of graduating majors receive departmental honors in a given academic year.

Professors

  • Peter Bearman
  • Courtney Bender (Religion)
  • Elizabeth Bernstein (Barnard)
  • Yinon Cohen
  • Jonathan R. Cole
  • Thomas A. DiPrete
  • Gil Eyal
  • Todd Gitlin (Journalism)
  • Shamus Khan (Chair)
  • Bruce Kogut (Business)
  • Jennifer Lee
  • Bruce Link (School of Public Health)
  • Debra C. Minkoff (Barnard)
  • Mignon Moore (Chair, Barnard)
  • Aaron Pallas (Teachers College)
  • Jonathan Rieder (Barnard)
  • Saskia Sassen
  • Seymour Spilerman
  • David Stark (also School of International and Public Affairs)
  • Julien Teitler (Social Work)
  • Diane Vaughan
  • Sudhir Alladi Venkatesh
  • Amy Stuart Wells (Teachers College)
  • Bruce Western
  • Andreas Wimmer

Associate Professors

  • Mark Hatzenbuehler (Sociomedical)
  • Jennifer Lena (Teachers College)
  • Desmond Upton Patton (School of Social Work)
  • Adam Reich (Director of Graduate Studies)
  • Emmanuelle Saada (French and Romance Philology)
  • Josh Whitford 

Assistant Professors

  • Maria Abascal
  • Debbie Becher (Barnard)
  • Christel Kesler (Barnard)
  • Yao Lu
  • Angela M. Simms (Barnard)
  • Gerard Torrats-Espinosa
  • Dan Wang (Business School)
  • Amy Yuan Zhou (Barnard)
  •  

Lecturers

  • Denise Milstein
  • Teresa Sharpe
  • Kristin Murphy

On Leave

  • Prof. Stark (2018 - 2019)
  • Prof. Whitford (2019 - 2020)

Major in Sociology

The major in sociology requires a minimum of 30-31 points as follows:

Core Courses
The following three courses are required (10 points):
The Social World
Social Theory
Methods for Social Research
Elective Courses
Select six courses (20-21 points) in the Department of Sociology, to include at least three lecture courses (2000- or 3000-level, 3 points each) and at least two seminars (4 points each). The sixth course could be either a lecture course (to a total of 30 points) or a seminar (to a total of 31 points). For students taking the two-semester Senior Seminar, the sixth course must be a seminar. Some examples of electives include: *
SOCI UN3020Social Statistics
SOCI UN3213Sociology of African American Life
SOCI UN3235Social Movements
SOCI UN3490Mistake, Misconduct, Disaster
SOCI UN3285Israeli Society and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
SOCI UN3264The Changing American Family
SOCI UN3900Societal Adaptations to Terrorism
SOCI UN3914Seminar in Inequality, Poverty, and Mobility
SOCI UN3931Sociology of the Body
SOCI UN3974Sociology of Schools, Teaching and Learning
SOCI UN3995Senior Seminar
SOCI UN3996Senior Seminar

Concentration in Sociology

The concentration in sociology requires a minimum of 20 points as follows:

Core Courses
The following three courses are required (10 points):
The Social World
Social Theory
Methods for Social Research
Elective Courses
Select three courses (10 points) in the Department of Sociology, one of which must be a seminar. Some examples of electives include:
SOCI UN3900Societal Adaptations to Terrorism
SOCI UN3914Seminar in Inequality, Poverty, and Mobility
SOCI UN3915Stigma and Discrimination
SOCI UN3931Sociology of the Body
SOCI UN3974Sociology of Schools, Teaching and Learning
SOCI UN3985Queer Practice
SOCI UN3995Senior Seminar
SOCI UN3996Senior Seminar

Spring 2020

SOCI UN1000 The Social World. 3 points.

Identification of the distinctive elements of sociological perspectives on society. Readings confront classical and contemporary approaches with key social issues that include power and authority, culture and communication, poverty and discrimination, social change, and popular uses of sociological concepts.

Fall 2020: SOCI UN1000
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 1000 001/11590 T Th 11:40am - 12:55pm
Online Only
Teresa Sharpe 3 334/210
Spring 2021: SOCI UN1000
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 1000 001/11266 M W 10:10am - 11:25am
Online Only
Adam Reich 3 0/200

SOCI UN3000 Social Theory. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Sophomore standing.

Required for all sociology majors.  Prerequisite: at least one sociology course of the instructor's permission.  Theoretical accounts of the rise and transformations of modern society in the19th and 20th centuries.  Theories studied include those of Adam Smith, Tocqueville, Marx, Durkheim, Max Weber, Roberto Michels.  Selected topics:  individual, society, and polity; economy, class, and status: organization and ideology; religion and society; moral and instrumental action.

Fall 2020: SOCI UN3000
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3000 001/00048 M T W Th 1:10pm - 2:25pm
Room TBA
Deborah Becher 4 41/70
Spring 2021: SOCI UN3000
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3000 001/00108 M T W Th 1:10pm - 2:25pm
Room TBA
Deborah Becher 4 0/65

SOCI UN3009 Contemporary Social Theory. 3 points.

This is a survey class that will familiarize students with the most important theoretical developments in post-war sociology.

Fall 2020: SOCI UN3009
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3009 001/21377 M W 6:10pm - 7:25pm
Online Only
Andreas Wimmer 3 11/60

SOCI UN3010 Methods for Social Research. 4 points.

Prerequisites: SOCI UN1000 The Social World or Instructor Permission

Required for all Sociology majors.  Introductory course in social scientific research methods. Provides a general overview of the ways sociologists collect information about social phenomena, focusing on how to collect data that are reliable and applicable to our research questions.

Fall 2020: SOCI UN3010
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3010 001/00049 T Th 4:10pm - 5:25pm
Room TBA
Amy Zhou 4 61/70
Spring 2021: SOCI UN3010
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3010 001/11280 M W 2:40pm - 5:25pm
Online Only
4 0/70

SOCI UN3011 METHODS FOR SOCIAL RESEARCH - DISC. 0 points.

Prerequisites: SOCI UN1000

Section Discussion for SOCI UN3010, METHODS FOR SOCIAL RESEARCH

Fall 2020: SOCI UN3011
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3011 001/10505 T 6:10pm - 7:00pm
Online Only
0 30/30
SOCI 3011 002/10504 M 10:10am - 11:00am
Online Only
Mireia Triguero Roura 0 29/30

SOCI UN3265 MINORITIES/ETHNIC GP-AMER LIFE. 3.00 points.

This course examines gender as a flexible but persistent boundary that continues to organize our work lives and our home lives, as well as the relationship between the two spheres. We will explore the ways in which gender affects how work is structured; the relationship between work and home; the household as a place of paid (and unpaid) labor; and how changes in the global economy affect gender and work identities.

Spring 2021: SOCI UN3265
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3265 001/11018 T Th 11:40am - 12:55pm
Room TBA
Teresa Sharpe 3.00 0/40

SOCI UN3297 Sociology of Transnational Market Making. 4 points.

The course will introduce core theories and key concepts in economic and political sociology, plus international political economy to provide a broad overview about the debates linked to the coming about and development of transnational markets. Classes are organized around three topics. We will start with the discussion of the works of classics like Weber, Durkheim and Polanyi on the emergence and evolution of national markets, followed by reading  recent applications of the works of classics on the evolution of transnational markets. The third part of the course will explore the question  of how can one apply these theoretical approaches to the study of the politics of the Single European Market and use their tools of analysis for the better understanding of the evolution of core-periphery relations in the EU.


Students taking this course will acquire the capacity for informed participation in debates on the politics of transnational market making. They will gain the analytical tools to start independent research on issues linked to the politics of economic integration in Europe

SOCI UN3915 Stigma and Discrimination. 4 points.

This course considers stigma and discrimination as general processes that apply to a broad range of phenomena, from mental illness to obesity to HIV/AIDS to racial groups. We will use a conceptual framework that considers power and social stratification to be central to stigma and discrimination. We will focus on both macro- and micro-level social processes and their interconnections, and we will draw on literature from both sociology and psychology.

SOCI UN3921 HIGHER EDUCATION AND INEQUALITY. 4 points.

Prerequisites: (SOCI UN1000)

Higher education in the U.S. is going through a period of rapid change.  State support is shrinking, student debt is increasing, full-time faculty are being replaced by adjuncts, and learning outcomes are difficult to measure, at best. This class will try to makes sense of these changes. Among other questions, it will ask whether higher education is a source of social mobility or a means of class reproduction; how the college experience differs by race, class, and type of college attended; how the economics of higher education have led to more expensive college and more student loans; and how we might make college better. We will consider several different points of view on the current state of U.S. higher education: that of students who apply to and attend college, that of colleges and universities, and that of society at large.  As part of this course, students will conduct research on their own universities: Columbia College or Barnard College.

SOCI UN3926 Race, Place and the United States . 4 points.

The course analyzes the relationship between race/ethnicity and spatial inequality, emphasizing the institutions, processes, and mechanisms that shape the lives of urban dwellers. It surveys major theoretical approaches and empirical investigations of racial and ethnic stratification in several urban cities, and their concomitant policy considerations.

Spring 2021: SOCI UN3926
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3926 001/11281 Th 6:10pm - 8:00pm
Online Only
Kristin Murphy 4 0/15

SOCI UN3937 Sociology of Human Rights. 4 points.

Sociology came to the study of human rights much later than law, philosophy, or political science. In this course, you’ll learn (1) what constitutes a sociology of human rights and (2) what sociology, its classics, and its diverse methods bring to the empirical study and theory of human rights.


We’ll explore the history, social institutions and laws, ideas, practices, and theories of human rights. We’ll become familiar with the social actors, social structures, and relationships involved in practices such as violation, claims-making, advocacy, and protection. We’ll consider how social, cultural, political, and economic forces affect human rights issues.


We’ll learn about the questions sociologists ask, starting with the most basic (but far from simple) question, “what is a human right?”


We’ll tackle key debates in the field, considering – for instance – whether human rights are universal and how human rights relate to cultural norms/values, national sovereignty, and national security.


Finally, we’ll apply the concepts we’ve learned to a wide range of issues (ex: how racial, ethnic, gender, and other social inequalities relate to human rights), rights (ex: LGBTQ rights, the rights of laborers, the rights of refugees), and cases (ex: enslavement, the separation of children from their families, circumcision, sterilization, the use of torture). We’ll consider human rights cases in the United States and across the globe, and how events and actions in one place relate to human rights violations in another.

Spring 2021: SOCI UN3937
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3937 001/11282 F 12:10pm - 2:00pm
Room TBA
Rosemary McGunnigle-Gonzales 4 0/20

SOCI UN3960 Law, Science, and Society. 4 points.

This course addresses basic contemporary social issues from several angles of vision: from the perspective of scientists, social scientists, legal scholars, and judges. Through the use of case studies, students will examine the nature of theories, evidence, "facts," proof, and argument as found in the work of scientists and scholars who have engaged the substantive issues presented in the course.

Spring 2021: SOCI UN3960
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3960 001/11279 T 10:10am - 12:00pm
Room TBA
Jonathan Cole 4 0/20

SOCI UN3974 Sociology of Schools, Teaching and Learning. 4 points.

In this class we will examine the school as a central institution in modern society, and we will grapple with an important question in the sociology of education: what role to schools play in reinforcing or challenging broader patters of social inequality? We will pay special attention to the ways in which students' class, race/ethnicity and gender shape their educational experiences. We will also look at how schools are organized, how schools construct differences among students, and how schools sort kids into different (and unequal) groups. Finally we will explore the types of interventions - at both the individual and organizational levels - that can mitigate inequality in educational achievement and help low-income students to succeed.


One such intervention that has shown promise is tutoring in academic and social and behavioral skills, and interventions that strengthen self-affirmation. A major component of this class is your experience as a tutor. You will be trained as tutors to work with students from local high schools both through in-person tutoring and through tutoring using social networking technologies. Throughout the semester we will combine our academic learning with critical reflection on our experience sin the field. Because you will be working with NYC high school students, we will pay special attention to how NYC high schools are organized and how current issues in education play out in the context of NYC schools.

Fall 2020: SOCI UN3974
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3974 001/11648 F 10:10am - 12:00pm
Online Only
Jacquelyn Duran 4 47/50

SOCI UN3980 Immigrant New York: The Changing American City. 4 points.

How has immigration transformed New York City? What are the major ethnic groups in the city? How are immigrants and their U.S.-born children incorporated into the city's schools, workplaces and neighborhoods? How will their integration reshape patterns of ethnic and racial inequality in the city? This course will focus on New York City as a case study to highlight how immigration has transformed the city's demographic, political, socioeconomic and spatial landscape.

SOCI UN3981 Migration and Development. 4 points.

This is a seminar course on the social structure of migration–the movement of people from place to place–and its developmental consequences.  The readings are organized by topic and include examples drawn from many countries, in order to highlight the commonality of migration processes across societies as well as specific societal differences that reflect national differences in social institutions, regional variations in economic development, etc.  Papers concerned both with internal migration and international migration are included; as we will see, the apparent distinction between these two forms of migration–the presence of institutional barriers with respect to international migration and the supposed absence of such barriers with respect to internal migration–breaks down in societies that impose institutional constraints on internal migration: China, the former Soviet Union, and apartheid-era South Africa, among others.

Spring 2021: SOCI UN3981
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3981 001/11283 Th 10:10am - 12:00pm
Online Only
Yao Lu 4 0/15

SOCI UN3996 Senior Seminar. 4 points.

Prerequisites: required methods and theory courses for the major, and the instructor's permission.

Students wishing to qualify for departmental honors must take W3996y. Students carry out individual research projects and write a senior thesis under the supervision of the instructor and with class discussion. Written and oral progress reports.

Fall 2020: SOCI UN3996
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3996 001/11651 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Online Only
Adam Reich 4 11/15
Spring 2021: SOCI UN3996
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3996 001/11267 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Online Only
Adam Reich 4 0/12

SOCI GU4701 CREATIVITY/TECH:WAR & COM. 4 points.

This course examines the ways that technological shifts have catalyzed innovation and social change in human societies. The focus is on the social basis for creativity. Analysis centers on the conflicts, disruptions and tensions that emerge in society when new and/or competing technologies are introduced. Students will explore two substantive spheres of social life. The first is war. Throughout recorded history, participants have sought to garner competitive advantages in battle via technological innovation. We look at several moments in which the development of a particular innovation helped bring about massive societal change. The second focus is on commerce. The class will examine the impact of digital technologies on those who work in creative industries undergoing transformation via technology and diffusion of tech-inspired ideas.The learning objectives for students are:

• To situate technology within a wider social and historical context.


• To consider creativity as a social activity, not only as individual aptitude.


• To place the contemporary period of so-called “fast paced technological progress” within a sociological framework of change and innovation.

Fall 2020

SOCI UN1000 The Social World. 3 points.

Identification of the distinctive elements of sociological perspectives on society. Readings confront classical and contemporary approaches with key social issues that include power and authority, culture and communication, poverty and discrimination, social change, and popular uses of sociological concepts.

Fall 2020: SOCI UN1000
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 1000 001/11590 T Th 11:40am - 12:55pm
Online Only
Teresa Sharpe 3 334/210
Spring 2021: SOCI UN1000
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 1000 001/11266 M W 10:10am - 11:25am
Online Only
Adam Reich 3 0/200

CSER UN1040 Critical Approaches to the Study of Ethnicity and Race. 0 points.

This course provides an introduction to central approaches and concepts animating the investigation of race and ethnicity. We will not treat either of these categories of difference as a given, nor as separable from other axes of social difference. Rather, we will apply an interdisciplinary and intersectional framework to illuminate how these concepts have come to emerge and cohere within a number of familiar and less familiar socio-cultural and historical contexts. We will consider how racial and ethnic differentiation as fraught but powerful processes have bolstered global labor regimes and imperial expansion projects; parsed, managed, and regulated populations; governed sexed and gendered logics of subject and social formation; and finally, opened and constrained axes of self-understanding, political organization, and social belonging. Special attention will be given to broadening students' understanding of racial and ethnic differentiation beyond examinations of identity. Taken together, theoretical and empirical readings, discussions, and outside film screenings will prepare students for further coursework in race and ethnic studies, as well as fields such as literary studies, women’s studies, history, sociology, and anthropology.

Fall 2020: CSER UN1040
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CSER 1040 001/15492 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Online Only
Jennifer Lee 0 17/22

SOCI UN2208 Culture in America. 3 points.

Not offered during 2020-21 academic year.

Corequisites: General Education Requirement: Social Analysis (SOC).

The values and meanings that form American pluralism. The three sections explore taste, consumption, and art; moral conflict, religion and secularism; identity, community and ideology. Examples range widely: Individualism, liberalism and conservatism; Obama's "transracial" endeavor; the food revolution; struggles over family and sexuality; multiculturalism; assimilation and immigration.

Fall 2020: SOCI UN2208
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 2208 001/00047 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
Room TBA
Jonathan Rieder 3 37/45

SOCI UN2235 Sexuality in Social Context. 4.00 points.

Despite the ubiquity of sexual imagery in contemporary Western popular culture, most people regard sexuality to be an intimate topic that concerns the drives, experiences and pleasures of individuals. In this course, we will examine the social and pluralistic character of sexual desires, meanings, practices and politics, their variations, cultural locations, institutional determinants and even geopolitical dimensions. We will begin by surveying some of the most influential theoretical works from psychoanalysis, sexology and early sociological writings on sexualities, paying particular attention to how they undergird more contemporary social thought. We then move on to examine the influence of queer theoretical critique on sociological thinking about heterosexuality, whiteness, sexual diversity, and cross-national differences in the interrelationships between gender and sexuality. We will end the course by looking at three discrete topics within the larger sociological subfield of sexuality studies: global sex work, the ethics of participants observation in sexual; communities and contemporary discourses of sexual consent (the last with a particular focus on campus sexual cultures)

Fall 2020: SOCI UN2235
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 2235 001/21520 Th 2:10pm - 6:00pm
Online Only
Tey Meadow 4.00 12/20

SOCI UN3000 Social Theory. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Sophomore standing.

Required for all sociology majors.  Prerequisite: at least one sociology course of the instructor's permission.  Theoretical accounts of the rise and transformations of modern society in the19th and 20th centuries.  Theories studied include those of Adam Smith, Tocqueville, Marx, Durkheim, Max Weber, Roberto Michels.  Selected topics:  individual, society, and polity; economy, class, and status: organization and ideology; religion and society; moral and instrumental action.

Fall 2020: SOCI UN3000
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3000 001/00048 M T W Th 1:10pm - 2:25pm
Room TBA
Deborah Becher 4 41/70
Spring 2021: SOCI UN3000
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3000 001/00108 M T W Th 1:10pm - 2:25pm
Room TBA
Deborah Becher 4 0/65

SOCI UN3001 Social Theory- DISC. 0.00 points.

Prerequisites: SOCI UN3000 Discussion section for Social Theory (SOCI UN3000)

Fall 2020: SOCI UN3001
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3001 001/10496 M W 10:10am - 11:00am
Online Only
Omar Montana 0.00 21/30
SOCI 3001 002/10497 T Th 3:10pm - 4:00pm
Online Only
Xue Lian Charlo Wang 0.00 18/30
Spring 2021: SOCI UN3001
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3001 001/00607 M W 10:10am - 11:00am
Room TBA
Xue Lian Charlo Wang 0.00 0/30
SOCI 3001 002/00608 T Th 3:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
0.00 0/30

SOCI UN3010 Methods for Social Research. 4 points.

Prerequisites: SOCI UN1000 The Social World or Instructor Permission

Required for all Sociology majors.  Introductory course in social scientific research methods. Provides a general overview of the ways sociologists collect information about social phenomena, focusing on how to collect data that are reliable and applicable to our research questions.

Fall 2020: SOCI UN3010
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3010 001/00049 T Th 4:10pm - 5:25pm
Room TBA
Amy Zhou 4 61/70
Spring 2021: SOCI UN3010
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3010 001/11280 M W 2:40pm - 5:25pm
Online Only
4 0/70

SOCI UN3011 METHODS FOR SOCIAL RESEARCH - DISC. 0 points.

Prerequisites: SOCI UN1000

Section Discussion for SOCI UN3010, METHODS FOR SOCIAL RESEARCH

Fall 2020: SOCI UN3011
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3011 001/10505 T 6:10pm - 7:00pm
Online Only
0 30/30
SOCI 3011 002/10504 M 10:10am - 11:00am
Online Only
Mireia Triguero Roura 0 29/30

SOCI UN3120 Trust and Mistrust in Science and Expertise. 4 points.

Skepticism about science and expertise is evident today in multiple arenas and clearly can no longer be considered a passing phenomenon. From climate change to vaccines; from mammograms to Coronavirus testing; from opposition to rules regulating acceptable levels of carcinogens to AI algorithms purporting to yield better decisions than human experts; the challenges to the authority of experts come from both sides of the political spectrum and take multiple forms. Most discussions of the challenges to expertise start from the question of mistrust. They ask why do people mistrust science and experts given their obvious and well-documented successes and their contribution to immense improvements in collective well-being? This way of posing the question inevitably leads to the conclusion that people mistrusting experts are irrational, uninformed or duped. This, however, may not be the most productive way to pose the question. For the social scientist, mistrust is not the puzzle, trust is. It is not surprising that people would tend to mistrust decisions taken in locales far removed from their daily lives, that are supported by forms of knowledge and technical arrangements that can be relatively opaque and difficult to grasp. It is not surprising especially since these decisions impact some individuals and groups adversely, while benefitting others. Finally, every now and then, but predictably so, it becomes obvious in hindsight that the wrong decisions were taken. Under these circumstances it is far more puzzling, counter-intuitive and difficult to understand why, how, and under what conditions people do trust science and experts. If we want to understand mistrust, and ultimately arrive at a more balanced arrangement of the relations between experts and laypeople, we need to begin by asking what is trust? How is it typically organized and secured? What sustains trust in experts and scientists? Only after we have some grasp of the mechanisms by which trust is cultivated, can we hope to have an explanation of the contemporary atmosphere of mistrust, that does not deteriorate into mere name- calling (“climate denial,” “anti-vaxxers,” etc.) This course will be organized, accordingly, in two parts. In the first part, we will consider different approaches to trust, and specifically for how trust in science and experts is elicited and secured. The second half of the course will be dedicated to examining contemporary case studies of mistrust in science and experts, while exploring different “engines of crisis”: the demand for parity between doctors and patients/parents, especially in the case of vaccinations; the emergence of “risk” as the central topic of the politics of expertise, especially as regarding environmental pollution; the strategic manufacturing of ignorance (“agnotology”) by tobacco manufacturers and by opponents of climate change research; the replacement of expert judgment with “black-boxed” algorithms in forensics and risk assessment; the legitimation crisis of regulatory science; and the rejection of dependence on experts in the name of an ethics of “care of self.”

Fall 2020: SOCI UN3120
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3120 001/14304 M W 10:10am - 11:25am
Online Only
Gil Eyal 4 57/75

SOCI UN3121 Trust and Mistrust in Science and Expertise - DISC. 0 points.

Discussion Section for SOCI 3120UN - TRUST AND MISTRUST IN SCIENCE AND EXPERTISE.


 Skepticism about science and expertise is evident today in multiple arenas and clearly can no longer be considered a passing phenomenon. From climate change to vaccines; from mammograms to Coronavirus testing; from opposition to rules regulating acceptable levels of carcinogens to AI algorithms purporting to yield better decisions than human experts; the challenges to the authority of experts come from both sides of the political spectrum and take multiple forms. Most discussions of the challenges to expertise start from the question of mistrust. They ask why do people mistrust science and experts given their obvious and well-documented successes and their contribution to immense improvements in collective well-being? This way of posing the question inevitably leads to the conclusion that people mistrusting experts are irrational, uninformed or duped. This, however, may not be the most productive way to pose the question. For the social scientist, mistrust is not the puzzle, trust is. It is not surprising that people would tend to mistrust decisions taken in locales far removed from their daily lives, that are supported by forms of knowledge and technical arrangements that can be relatively opaque and difficult to grasp. It is not surprising especially since these decisions impact some individuals and groups adversely, while benefitting others. Finally, every now and then, but predictably so, it becomes obvious in hindsight that the wrong decisions were taken. Under these circumstances it is far more puzzling, counter-intuitive and difficult to understand why, how, and under what conditions people do trust science and experts

Fall 2020: SOCI UN3121
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3121 001/14305 M 6:10pm - 7:00pm
Online Only
Julian Jurgenmeyer 0 35/35
SOCI 3121 002/14306 F 10:10am - 11:00am
Online Only
Daria Franklin 0 22/35

SOCI BC3219 Race, Ethnicity, and Society. 3 points.

Examines the social construction of race and ethnicity in the United States from colonial period to present. Analyzes how capitalist interests, class differences, gender, immigration, and who “deserves” the full rights and privileges of citizenship, shape boundaries between and within racial and ethnic groups. Also considers how racism affects resource access inequities between racial groups in education, criminal justice, media, and other domains. Explores factors underpinning major social change with an eye toward discerning social conditions necessary to create and sustain just social systems.

Fall 2020: SOCI BC3219
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3219 001/00050 M T W Th 1:10pm - 2:25pm
Room TBA
Angela Simms 3 35/45

SOCI UN3324 Global Urbanism. 3 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

Using classical texts about cities (do they still work for us?) and on the diverse new literatures on cities and larger subjects with direct urban implications, we ill use a variety of data sets to get a detailed empirical information, and draw on two large ongoing research projects involving major and minor global cities around the world (a total of over 60 cities are covered in detail as of 2008).  Students will need to register for a discussion section as well; details to be announced.

Fall 2020: SOCI UN3324
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3324 001/11609 W 6:10pm - 6:40pm
Online Only
Saskia Sassen, Lisa Owens 3 188/190
SOCI 3324 001/11609 M 6:10pm - 7:25pm
Online Only
Saskia Sassen, Lisa Owens 3 188/190

SOCI UN3235 Social Movements. 3 points.

Prerequisites: One introductory course in Sociology suggested.

Social movements and the theories social scientists use to explain them, with emphasis on the American civil rights and women's movements.  Topics include theories of participation, the personal and social consequences of social movements, the rationality of protest, the influence of ideology, organization, and the state on movement success, social movements, and the mass media.

Fall 2020: SOCI UN3235
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3235 001/00051 M T W Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
Room TBA
Debra Minkoff 3 28/45

SOCI UN3321 Global Urbanism Discussion Section. 0 points.

Discussion Section for "Global Urbanism" SOCI UN3324

Fall 2020: SOCI UN3321
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3321 001/11618 W 6:40pm - 7:30pm
Online Only
Amy Weissenbach 0 33/35
SOCI 3321 002/11619 W 6:40pm - 7:30pm
Online Only
Seungwon Lee 0 34/35
SOCI 3321 003/11620 W 6:40pm - 7:30pm
Online Only
Larry Au 0 34/35
SOCI 3321 004/11621 W 6:40pm - 7:30pm
Online Only
Alexander Aleksanyan 0 36/35
SOCI 3321 005/11622 W 6:40pm - 7:30pm
Online Only
Lisa Owens 0 34/35
SOCI 3321 006/11624 T 9:10am - 10:00am
Online Only
Alexander Aleksanyan 0 15/35

SOCI UN3675 Organizing Innovation. 4 points.

This course examines major innovations in organizations and asks whether innovation itself can be organized. We study a range of forms of organizing (e.g., bureaucratic, post-bureaucratic, and open architecture network forms) in a broad variety of settings: from fast food franchises to the military-entertainment complex, from airline cockpits to Wall Street trading rooms, from engineering firms to mega-churches, from scientific management at the turn of the twentieth century to collaborative filtering and open source programming at the beginning of the twenty-first. Special attention will be paid to the relationship between organizational forms and new digital technologies.

SOCI UN3900 Societal Adaptations to Terrorism. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Junior or Senior standing

Examines how countries have adjusted to the threat of terrorism. How the adaptation reflects the pattern of terrorist attacks, as well as structural and cultural features of the society. Adaptations by individuals, families, and organizational actors.

SOCI UN3914 Seminar in Inequality, Poverty, and Mobility. 4 points.

This is an undergraduate seminar in social stratification. The course focuses on the current American experience with socioeconomic inequality and mobility. The goals of the course are to understand how inequality is conceptualized and measured in the social sciences, to understand the structure of inequality in the contemporary U.S., to learn the principal theories and evidence for long term trends in inequality, to understand the persistence of poverty and the impact of social policies on American rates of poverty, and to understand the forces that both produce and inhibit intergenerational social mobility in the U.S. Given the nature of the subject matter, a minority of the readings will sometimes involve quantitative social science material. The course does not presume that students have advanced training in statistics, and any readings sections that contain mathematical or statistical content will be explained in class in nontechnical terms as needed. In these instances, our focus will not be on the methods, but rather on the conclusions reached by the author concerning the research question that is addressed in the text.

Fall 2020: SOCI UN3914
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3914 001/11644 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Online Only
Thomas DiPrete 4 18/25

SOCI BC3916 From Rhythm and Blues to Soul and Rock: The Sociology of Crossover Culture. 4 points.

The rise of crossover culture: racially segregated markets and genres; organizational environments and the rise of independent labels; the creative process and black-white conflict and connection; the emergence of rock as a "white" genre; civil rights, Black Power, and the politics of soul; cultural borrowing and the postracial ethos.

Fall 2020: SOCI BC3916
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3916 001/00053 T Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
Jonathan Rieder 4 8/15

SOCI BC3920 Advanced Topics in Gender and Sexuality. 4 points.

This research and writing-intensive seminar is designed for senior majors with a background and interest in the sociology of gender and sexuality. The goal of the seminar is to facilitate completion of the senior requirement (a 25-30 page paper) based on “hands on” research with original qualitative data. Since the seminar will be restricted to students with prior academic training in the subfield, students will be able to receive intensive research training and guidance through every step of the research process, from choosing a research question to conducting original ethnographic and interview-based research, to analyzing and interpreting one’s findings. The final goal of the course will be the production of an original paper of standard journal-article length. Students who choose to pursue their projects over the course of a  second semester will have the option of revisiting their articles further for submission and publications.

Fall 2020: SOCI BC3920
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3920 001/00054 Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Room TBA
Elizabeth Bernstein 4 10/16

SOCI BC3925 Advanced Topics in Law & Society. 4 points.

Law creates order. And yet, outlaws or lawbreakers are everywhere. Students will learn to ask and answer questions about living law, understanding that it involves law-followers and law-breakers. Students will read and discuss sociological investigations of the law and perform their own research into a significant question about law-in-action.

SOCI UN3926 Race, Place and the United States . 4 points.

The course analyzes the relationship between race/ethnicity and spatial inequality, emphasizing the institutions, processes, and mechanisms that shape the lives of urban dwellers. It surveys major theoretical approaches and empirical investigations of racial and ethnic stratification in several urban cities, and their concomitant policy considerations.

Spring 2021: SOCI UN3926
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3926 001/11281 Th 6:10pm - 8:00pm
Online Only
Kristin Murphy 4 0/15

SOCI UN3937 Sociology of Human Rights. 4 points.

Sociology came to the study of human rights much later than law, philosophy, or political science. In this course, you’ll learn (1) what constitutes a sociology of human rights and (2) what sociology, its classics, and its diverse methods bring to the empirical study and theory of human rights.


We’ll explore the history, social institutions and laws, ideas, practices, and theories of human rights. We’ll become familiar with the social actors, social structures, and relationships involved in practices such as violation, claims-making, advocacy, and protection. We’ll consider how social, cultural, political, and economic forces affect human rights issues.


We’ll learn about the questions sociologists ask, starting with the most basic (but far from simple) question, “what is a human right?”


We’ll tackle key debates in the field, considering – for instance – whether human rights are universal and how human rights relate to cultural norms/values, national sovereignty, and national security.


Finally, we’ll apply the concepts we’ve learned to a wide range of issues (ex: how racial, ethnic, gender, and other social inequalities relate to human rights), rights (ex: LGBTQ rights, the rights of laborers, the rights of refugees), and cases (ex: enslavement, the separation of children from their families, circumcision, sterilization, the use of torture). We’ll consider human rights cases in the United States and across the globe, and how events and actions in one place relate to human rights violations in another.

Spring 2021: SOCI UN3937
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3937 001/11282 F 12:10pm - 2:00pm
Room TBA
Rosemary McGunnigle-Gonzales 4 0/20

SOCI BC3946 GLOBAL HEALTH, POLITICS, AND SOCIETY. 4 points.

What is global health? Where do global health disease priorities come from, and how do the ways that we understand disease shape how we respond to it? What happens when good ideas and good intentions go wrong? This course critically examines the politics of global health and its impact on local institutions and people. Drawing on social science research, the course will address three main themes: 1) how global health priorities are defined and constructed, 2) how our understandings of disease influence our response to that disease, and 3) how efforts to respond to disease intersect with people on the ground, sometimes in unexpected ways. We will examine the global health industry from the vantage point of different institutions and actors – international organizations, governments, local healthcare institutions, healthcare workers, and people living with or at risk of various illnesses like HIV/AIDS, malaria, cancer, and Ebola. A primary goal of this course is to help you to develop skills in critical thinking in relation to global health issues and their impact on society. Students will demonstrate their knowledge through individual writing, class discussion, presentations, and a final research project.

Fall 2020: SOCI BC3946
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3946 001/00055 T 6:10pm - 8:00pm
Room TBA
Amy Zhou 4 15/16

SOCI UN3974 Sociology of Schools, Teaching and Learning. 4 points.

In this class we will examine the school as a central institution in modern society, and we will grapple with an important question in the sociology of education: what role to schools play in reinforcing or challenging broader patters of social inequality? We will pay special attention to the ways in which students' class, race/ethnicity and gender shape their educational experiences. We will also look at how schools are organized, how schools construct differences among students, and how schools sort kids into different (and unequal) groups. Finally we will explore the types of interventions - at both the individual and organizational levels - that can mitigate inequality in educational achievement and help low-income students to succeed.


One such intervention that has shown promise is tutoring in academic and social and behavioral skills, and interventions that strengthen self-affirmation. A major component of this class is your experience as a tutor. You will be trained as tutors to work with students from local high schools both through in-person tutoring and through tutoring using social networking technologies. Throughout the semester we will combine our academic learning with critical reflection on our experience sin the field. Because you will be working with NYC high school students, we will pay special attention to how NYC high schools are organized and how current issues in education play out in the context of NYC schools.

Fall 2020: SOCI UN3974
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3974 001/11648 F 10:10am - 12:00pm
Online Only
Jacquelyn Duran 4 47/50

SOCI UN3996 Senior Seminar. 4 points.

Prerequisites: required methods and theory courses for the major, and the instructor's permission.

Students wishing to qualify for departmental honors must take W3996y. Students carry out individual research projects and write a senior thesis under the supervision of the instructor and with class discussion. Written and oral progress reports.

Fall 2020: SOCI UN3996
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3996 001/11651 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Online Only
Adam Reich 4 11/15
Spring 2021: SOCI UN3996
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3996 001/11267 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Online Only
Adam Reich 4 0/12

SOCI GU4043 WORKSHOP ON WEALTH & INEQUALITY. 1 point.

This Workshop is linked to the Workshop on Wealth & Inequality Meetings. This is meant for graduate students, however, if you are an advanced undergraduate student you can email the professor for permission to enroll.

SOCI GU4801 Israell and the Palestinians. 4 points.

The seminar will examine the main political, economic, and social processes that have been shaping contemporary Israel. The underlying assumption in this seminar is that much of these processes have been shaped by the 100-year Israeli-Arab/Palestinian conflict. The first part of the course will accordingly focus on the historical background informing the conflict and leading to the Palestinian refugee problem and establishment of a Jewish, but not Palestinian, state in 1948.  The second part of the seminar focuses on Israel’s occupation of the West Bank (and Gaza) and the settlement project, as well as on USA's role and its impact on the conflict, the occupation, and Israel. These topics did not get much academic attention until recently, but as researchers began to realize that the Occupation and the West Bank settlements are among the most permanent institutions in Israel, they have come under the scrutiny of academic research. 


The third part the seminar will concentrate on the development of the conflict after the establishment of Israel and its effects on sociological processes and institutions in contemporary Israel.  Analyzing patterns of continuity and change in the past seven decades, we will discuss immigration and emigration patterns, as well as issue relating to ethnicity, gender, religion and politics, and the Israeli military.

Of Related Interest

African American Studies
AFAS GU4032
Colloquia, Interdepartmental Seminars, and Professional School Offerings
INSM W3950Friendship in Asian and Western Civilization
Journalism
JOUR UN3100
Sociology (Barnard)
SOCI BC3087Individual Projects for Seniors
SOCI BC3207Music, Race and Identity
SOCI BC3214Sociology of African American Life
SOCI BC3911The Social Contexts of U.S. Immigration Law and Policy
SOCI BC3920Advanced Topics in Gender and Sexuality
SOCI BC3932Climate Change, Global Migration, and Human Rights in the Anthropocene
SOCI BC3935Gender and Organizations
Women's and Gender Studies
WMST UN1001Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies