This course examines the theoretical perspectives and empirical research in the sociology of aging.   It is designed to develop the student’s “gerontological imagination” by reviewing the theoretical background and major propositions of current sociological theories of aging.  Various theoretical traditions are covered including: social constructionism, phenomenology, age stratification, life course inequality, feminist theory, political economy, critical theory and welfare state theory.  The class discussion of the assigned readings considers how these theories can be employed to understand the aging process and age-based public policy.  The last portion of the course is devoted to exploring a range of student-selected topics, such as retirement, economic status, health, social support, the aging body, and variation in the aging experience based on race, class, gender, and sexuality. 


This course provides an overview of theory, research, and policy concerning family relations in adulthood and later life.  It will summarize the major findings, concepts, research methods, and policy considerations for understanding and helping older families.  Family theory, research, and their practical implications will be examined from multidisciplinary perspectives: sociology, psychology, demography, public policy, biology, and social work. 


What does it mean to be American today? Large scale immigration, multiculturalism, and globalization have fundamentally transformed the meaning of national identity in the U.S. and other Western countries. This course will deal with theories of postmodernism, globalization, transnationalism, postnationalism, the global rise of religious and ethnic movements, multiculturalism, immigrant incorporation, and identity politics with a special focus on how these issues affect racial and ethnic groups in the U.S.


The course intends to discuss the ways that education systems both maintain and challenge social inequality. Students will read and discuss topics such as racial inequality in school achievement, inequality in college admission, gender equity and inequity in schooling, children of immigrants' education outcomes, debates on college-for-all, the equity in access and attainment in STEM fields, etc. While most of the topics are in the U.S setting, we will also discuss issues related to international education. We will explore these issues by reading books and journal articles. This class intends also to advance students’ own research projects through frequent discussions and evaluations of students’ own work by the instructor and their peers. 


This combined graduate/undergraduate course provides a history of second- and third-wave feminisms, and an opportunity to read and produce case studies of feminist activism.  Drawing on feminist theory and history, social movement theory, and intersectional sociological perspectives, we explore the production of grass-roots and organizational activism, the distinctively feminist structures of activist groups, and the institutional forces that shape (and sometimes co-opt) activist efforts.  We use oral history and participatory methods to conduct case-study research.


In this course, we explore feminist strategies for planning, conducting, and reporting on empirical research studies.  There is no standard “recipe” for feminist method; indeed, most feminist researchers would resist any such orthodoxy.  Still, we have a strong, lively, and growing literature about the distinctive challenges that scholars confront when they set out to do feminist research.  This class, conducted as a seminar/workshop, is designed for students with training in the research methods of their disciplinary fields and with some previous exposure to feminism; our work is to explore possibilities at the intersection/s of such commitments.


This seminar is designed to introduce students to fundamental questions and approaches related to the study of complex, formal organizations.  It will provide a thorough grounding in the “classic” and (mostly sociological) literature on the theory of organizations.  The readings are organized more or less historically.  This will enable students to understand the intellectual development of theory and the various shifts in emphasis: from workers to managers, from organizational processes to outputs, from studies of a single organization and its environment to studies of populations of organizations, new institutionalism and culture, organizational networks, and so on.


This seminar engages the debates that continue to swirl around “globalization,” both as a set of contested practices and as a contested term. The overall objective of the course is to examine some of the key thinkers on globalization as well as some of the key practices and processes that are broadly assumed to constitute its defining moments. We begin by considering the historical origins of globalization (and the neoliberal theory that “normalizes” it) as a portal through which to enter the “great globalization debates.”  Is “globalization” too neutral a term to carry the weight of all that has been attributed to it by its advocates, detractors and opponents alike? Is the nation-state dead and are we now entering a phase of predominantly transnationalist social and institutional realities and identities? Do the various deployments of the term suppress – to a greater or lesser extent – the reality of globalization as driven by an overarching system of imperialist domination whose roots extend all the way back to the age of formal colonialism?

HEALTH AND PLACE (The Geography of Life and Death) (SOC 600)

This interdisciplinary course provides an overview of the concepts, measurement, and study of population health and health inequalities across multiple geographic scales, including inter- and intra-national, regional, urban/rural, and neighborhood-level differences. Course material will cover temporal trends and spatial patterns in the nature, causes, and consequences of health outcomes and inequalities, with particular emphasis on associations between economic, social, environmental, and policy factors and health. Emphasis will be on the social determinants of health (the conditions where people are born, live, and work) and on measurable health indicators, including mortality and morbidity, communicable and non-communicable diseases, health behaviors, and mental health. Students will be exposed to population health data and basic spatial analysis methods and will acquire skills to interpret, evaluate, and design basic spatial population health research.


This class will provide an overview of issues related to immigration to the United States. In the first part of the course students will focus on the history of immigration and immigration policy.  Because immigration to the United States is often driven by labor market processes, students will also learn about various aspects of immigrant labor including farm labor, domestic labor, and immigrant enclaves.  In addition students will learn about sociological theories of immigrant incorporation as well as specific issues related to the second-generation children of immigrants including their educational, labor-market and transnational experiences.


This course is designed to introduce students to a range of topics relevant to discussions of inequality in health and health care.  Drawing on a range of source materials, we will address such topics as: whether and how inequalities matter for the health of populations; race-, class-, gender-, and sexuality-related health inequalities; life course, cumulative disadvantage, and double-jeopardy perspectives on aging and health inequalities; neighborhood disadvantage and health; infections and inequalities; inequalities in access, diagnosis, and treatment; and health-related carework and inequality.


Although LGBT Studies is a burgeoning, multidisciplinary field, it is useful to focus at times on scholarly contributions from particular disciplines.  This course is designed to provide an introduction to recent sociological research in LGBT Studies. We will read selected peer-reviewed journal articles and three books that address questions related to identity, community, representation, politics, social change and their inter-relations.  Readings will be supplemented with films, documentaries, and presentations by guests.


This course is designed to provide an overview of some major topics in the Sociology of Medicine (a.k.a. the Sociology of Health and Health Care).   Topics covered might include: medical socialization; historical perspectives on the profession of medicine; the epidemiological transition; population health; the stress paradigm; social epidemiology; social construction of disease and illness; labeling, stigma, and their consequences; medicalization and demedicalization; conceptualizations of the sick role; doctor-patient interaction; health care systems and policy; the research-policy linkage; and the state of the field and future directions for the sociology of health and health care (medical sociology).


This seminar is designed to provide a graduate introduction to political sociology.  We begin with its classical foundation, reviewing a few of the key contributions by some of major architects of sociology as a discipline – Karl Marx/ Frederick Engels, Max Weber, Emile Durkheim/ Alexis de Tocqueville along with other prominent thinkers of old such as Antonio Gramsci and Karl Polyani. We continue by reviewing the authors and their writings that shape four general contemporary theories of political sociology – Pluralism Theory/Theories, Elite Theory, Class Domination Theory, and State Autonomy Theory/Historical Institutionalism.  We conclude by looking more closely at other key dimensions of the sub-discipline, including civic society & engagement, social movements/ social change as well as more post-structural contributions of Michel Foucault as well as other more cutting edge thinking.


Causes and consequences of three fundamental population processes-mortality, fertility, migration- and topics related to health, aging, families, segregation, and ecological demography.  Estimation and interpretation of basic demographic measures. 


This course provides directed readings on the intersecting dimensions of inequality that are woven through life in contemporary societies.  Our collective goal will be movement away from unidimensional analyses and toward thought and scholarship that consider the multiple effects of simultaneous cross-cutting oppressions and privileges.  We will consider sexualities and ability/disability issues as well as the intersections of race, class, and gender.  The course content emphasizes North America's history and institutions, but we will move toward more global analyses and interested students may develop international/transnational projects. 


Covers topics in medical sociology including: epidemiological transition, medicalization, social determinants of health, fundamental cause theory, health disparities and inequalities, sick role, narratives of health and illness, and organization of the US medical system.


This class will provide an overview of issues related to immigration.  In the first part of the course students will focus on the history of immigration and immigration policy.  In addition, students will learn about sociological theories of immigrant incorporation as well as specific issues related to the second-generation children of immigrants including their educational, labor-market, and transnational experiences.


This course is both an advanced introduction to animating concepts in sociological theory, and a selective intellectual history that situates theories of society within concrete political, cultural, and economic contexts. Questions we will bring to the readings include: What theoretical stories are told about the relations between individual experiences and broader social structures or forces? How is power theorized? How does the theory address (or ignore) gender, racial/ethnic, class, sexual, or national differences? What are the epistemological assumptions of the theory: what gets to count as 'real,' 'true' or 'valuable' knowledge? What aspects of the social world does the theory make central and visible, and what aspects does it exclude or render invisible? How can contact with this intellectual history influence our own practices of research and sociological storytelling? back to the top


Exploration of the impact of military service on early, mid, and late adult life course outcomes inclusive of socioeconomic standing and health. Consideration of variation in outcomes by characteristics such as age at time of entry into military, biological sex, race-ethnicity, branch of service, and birth cohort.

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