The sociology department invites Honors students to consider taking one or more of their graduate courses. With your advisor’s approval, graduate courses may be included in your Honors Final Plan of Study for graduation. They also count toward your Honors participation requirements.
SOCI 5201 THE LOGIC OF SOCIAL RESEARCH
How do social scientists decide which methods enable them to find the best answers to their research questions? How do different epistemologies lead to diverse methodological frameworks and different methods of social enquiry? This course will provide you with the tools to understand and weigh a variety of methodologies and methods of social inquiry. You will develop the ability to critically assess research methods. I will expect you to design your own research proposal and ensure it is consistent with the ethical standards of research required by our university.
SOCI 5231 QUALITATIVE RESEARCH I
How do sociologists observe social life? How do they gather evidence through conversation and observation? What is the difference between scientific evidence and anecdotal evidence or opinion? What constitutes rigorous empirical qualitative research? This course aims to answer these, and other questions. To do so the course will familiarize students with both classic and contemporary ethnographies; it will acquaint studies with the methodological tenets of ethnography, life stories, in-‐depth interviewing and visual sociology; it will consider theoretical and epistemological issues in ethnographic research and will put some of the data production techniques into practice. Looking at sources, focusing especially on the fit between evidence and analysis, the course will intertwine questions about the theoretical and practical dimensions of practicing qualitative sociology. Theoretically, we will consider questions such as the following: What is “qualitative” research? What are the roles of induction and deduction? Can qualitative research verify hypotheses, or only generate them? Practically, we will consider questions such as the following: What is a good key informant? How does one write good fieldnotes? What is snowball sampling? What is the difference between good and bad ethnographic evidence? How many interviews are enough? In considering multiple means of observation, students will develop an analytic vocabulary with which to critique social inquiry. Written assignments are exercises in data collection and analysis, and some of each week’s class time will address the very practical concerns that researchers must consider when conducting any study. The skills gained in this course should be applicable to an extended research project, either individually or in collaboration with others.
SOCI 5251 CORE THEORISTS
For better or worse, contemporary sociology rests largely on a foundation of concepts, observations, and procedures developed by a variety of European and North American thinkers in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. In the eighteenth century, sociology was not yet institutionalized as a distinct point of view or profession. Rather, social reflection and observation were styles of thought within philosophy and letters more broadly. By the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, however, a number of thinkers began to identify social science—if not yet sociology in particular—as a distinctive enterprise with unique procedures, concepts, and theoretical points of view. Any understanding of sociological projects in the contemporary period thus rests on a comprehension of the origins and outlines of the field as they formed in these contexts. By the same token, the ideas, attitudes, and terms propagated by thinkers from the Enlightenment, the Romantic Age, and the Industrial Era, and the sociological theories built on them, provide enduring resources for, as well as origins of, the self-‐concept of the modern world. These are the terms of our self-‐understanding and referents of our sociological discourses. A central question is whether, and in what ways, they still contribute to our understanding of the world in which we live and the ways we practice sociology.
SOCI 5425 TOPICS IN STRATIFICATION AND INEQUALITY
This course focuses on the social stratification processes that affect people’s life chances over life course—from childhood to old age. Understanding life course processes of stratification will require students to develop deeper analytical understandings of the social stratification system, to theorize ways in which this system shapes different life trajectories, and to recognize the system itself is a product of series of life-‐course status distinctions. We will focus on a range of topics from the early formation of values, attitudes, and aspirations during the formative years; educational opportunities and human capital acquisition; the effects of local-‐labor market conditions on young adults as they transition to adulthood; intragenerational mobility; poverty exposure and the process of “aging off the street”; intergenerational transmissions of status attainment; wealth accumulation; and health and quality of life issues among the elderly and disabled. This course will also provide supplemental material for students taking a social stratification comprehensive exam.
SOCI 5605 GENDER AND SEXUALITIES
This course explores the social organization, construction, and politics of sexualities with a particular focus on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (lgbtq) experiences and the intersection of sexualities, gender, race, age, and class. We look at how institutions, identities, and discourses interact with, are regulated by, and produce sexual meanings. We examine the ways in which sexuality and desire are constituted through the state and the political economy as well as the ways in which sexuality serves as an axis of domination. Other topics include sexuality and immigration, sex work, transnational sexuality, sexuality and masculinity, and adolescent sexuality.
SOCI 5612 FEMINIST THEORY AND SOCIAL SCIENCE
This course introduces you to the intellectual background and contemporary context for diverse feminist theoretical debates in the social sciences. We will explore these debates with reference to transnational and intersectional feminist perspectives on politics, science, socialization, sexuality, economics, postmodernism, postcolonialism, and globalization. Group discussion is the primary format for the course. I will offer background information and provide direction for the discussion, but we will work together to create an atmosphere that maximizes participation.
SOCI 5801 POLITICAL SOCIOLOGY
This course introduces graduate students to the sociological study of politics. More specifically, it will investigate the ways in which political institutions, processes and norms shape (and are shaped by) a variety of social and economic inequalities. We will explore this general theme by reviewing important theoretical debates about power, political struggles and the state; as well as classical and contemporary scholarship on welfare state development and the politics of social policymaking. We will pay particular attention to questions about the unique character of the American welfare state, the gendered dimensions of social policy, and the historical and enduring ways in which race, immigration and cultural distinctions between deserving and undeserving groups shape (and constrain) social policymaking. Throughout, we will consider the theoretical and methodological issues that drive major debates within this subfield. Although this course is open to students of all interests and backgrounds, it is particularly designed to provide a conceptual and theoretical foundation for graduate students who are thinking of taking a comprehensive examination in the field of political sociology and/or conducting original research that relates to this field.
SOCI 5895 INVESTIGATION OF SPECIAL TOPICS: CONTESTING DEVELOPMENT
In this seminar we will examine the history of International Development as theory and praxis, from modernization to its current formulation as a rights based discourse in the era of neoliberal globalization. Along the way we will study how race, gender, indigeniety, sexuality, and disability became embedded in its re-‐imaginings and the current, critical struggles around and against development, post-‐development, rights and justice.
SOCI 6203 QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH II
SOCI 6203 is the second course in sociology’s graduate sequence in applied statistics. The first course, SOCI 5203, deals with models in which the dependent variable is continuous. These include the linear regression model, seemingly unrelated regressions, and systems of simultaneous equations. SOCI 6203 deals with regression models in which the dependent variable is limited or categorical. Such models include probit, logit, ordered logit, and Poisson regression, among others. The course assumes a good working knowledge of the linear regression model for continuous variables, as well as elementary knowledge of matrix algebra.