Chair: Mignon Moore (Professor)

Professors: Elizabeth Bernstein, Debra Minkoff (Miriam Scharfman Zadek Family Professor), Mignon Moore, Jonathan Rieder

Associate Professor: Debbie Becher

Assistant Professor: Angela Simms, Amy Zhou

Requirements for the Major

There are no special admissions requirements or procedures for students interested in majoring in sociology. Students are assigned a major adviser on declaring the major; prior to that, students are encouraged to consult with any member of the department regarding their choice and sequence of courses.

The Sociology major is comprised of a minimum of 10 courses (a minimum of 35 credits). These include:

Foundations (3 courses):

SOCI UN1000 THE SOCIAL WORLD (recommended no later than the sophomore year)

SOCI UN3000 Social Theory

SOCI UN3010 Methods for Social Research (no later than the junior year)

Electives (5 courses):

Of the five electives required for the major, no more than one can be at the 2000 level and at least one must be a seminar at the 3900 (or 4000) level.

With the exception of the senior thesis or designated research seminar (see below) the Foundations and Elective courses may be taken at either Barnard or Columbia

Senior Requirement (2 courses):

There are two ways to satisfy the senior requirement.

Research Paper Option: two upper level seminars, including enrollment in (1) a designated research seminar (3900 level) in the Barnard Sociology Department that requires a 25- to 30-page paper, including some primary research; and (2) any additional upper level seminar (3900 or 4000 level).

Thesis Option: two-semester senior thesis, involving original sociological research and analysis on a topic of the student’s choice, in consultation with an advisor; requires enrollment in SOCI BC3087-3088.

Additional Information about the senior requirement

Research Paper Option: This option is intended for majors who are interested graduating with a broader exposure to the discipline of sociology, with more limited experience in conducting original research. Each semester the department offers 2-3 designated research seminars, which are listed on the department’s website prior to the Spring program planning period. These seminars vary in content and format and are open to all students, with priority given to senior sociology majors taking the course to meet their senior requirement.

Prerequisites for students taking the designated research seminar to meet the senior requirement include successful completion of: (1)SOCI UN1000 THE SOCIAL WORLD; (2) SOCI UN3000 Social Theory or SOCI UN3010 Methods for Social Research; and (3) at least one elective course related to the focus of the seminar.  Instructors may waive some aspect of the prerequisites.

Students may also enroll in these seminars prior to their senior year for elective credit.

Thesis Option: The two-semester senior thesis involves original sociological research and analysis on a topic of the student’s choice, in consultation with an advisor.  This option is intended for majors who want the opportunity to explore a sociological subfield in depth and conduct independent primary research as their senior capstone experience. Students interested in writing a senior thesis must submit a 2-3 paragraph proposal, along with a brief letter of endorsement from a faculty member in the department who has agreed to serve as their thesis advisor to the Department Chair, no later than the advanced program planning deadline for the student’s first semester of their senior year. Decisions will be made in consultation with the student’s program and thesis advisors prior to the final program planning deadline for that semester. In exceptional cases, students may apply for and receive permission to enroll in the two-semester option before the deadline for final program approval in the first semester of their senior year. 

Prerequisites:  (1) SOCI UN1000 THE SOCIAL WORLD; (2)SOCI UN3010 Methods for Social Research; and (3) at least one elective course related to the proposed thesis topic must be completed before the first semester of the senior year to be eligible for the two-semester thesis.   

Students approved for the senior thesis will enroll in SOCI BC3087 Individual Projects for Seniors and SOCI BC3088 Individual Projects for Seniors with their selected adviser.

Special note:  If a student taking a designated one-semester senior seminar in the first semester of their senior year would like to extend that work into a senior thesis in their final semester, they may petition for special permission to enroll in SOCI BC3088 Individual Projects for Seniors to do so, with approval of their program adviser and a faculty member willing to advise them. Petitions must be received one week prior to the advance program filing deadline of their final semester and will only be granted in rare circumstances.

All seniors must submit a final, bound copy of the research paper or senior thesis to the Department no later than the last day of classes of the second semester of their senior year in order to receive credit (Pass or Pass with Distinction) for the senior requirement.

Use this link to identify the major requirements that you have completed.

Requirements for the Minor

5 courses are required for the minor in Sociology, including SOCI UN1000 THE SOCIAL WORLD, SOCI UN3000 Social Theory and three elective courses (no more than one at the 2000-level), to be selected in consultation with the Sociology Department Chair.

SOCI UN1000 THE SOCIAL WORLD. 3.00 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

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, Teresa Sharpe 3.00 138/150
Fall 2021: SOCI UN1000
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 1000 001/12112 M W 4:10pm - 5:25pm
301 Pupin Laboratories
Lisa Owens 3.00 240/272

SOCI UN1203 The Social Animal in the Digital Age. 3 points.

This course re-examines central theories and perspectives in the social sciences from the standpoint of digital technologies. Who are we in the digital age? Is the guiding question for the course. We consider the impact of modern technology on society including, forms of interaction and communication, possibilities for problem solving, and re-configurations of social relationships and forms of authority. The course integrates traditional social science readings with contemporary perspectives emerging from scholars who looking at modern social life.

The course is an introductory Sociology offering.

Fall 2021: SOCI UN1203
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 1203 001/12019 M W 1:10pm - 2:25pm
209 Havemeyer Hall
Sudhir Venkatesh 3 86/100

SOCI UN2208 Culture in America. 3 points.

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 2021: SOCI UN2208
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 2208 001/00176 T Th 11:40am - 12:55pm
323 Milbank Hall
Jonathan Rieder 3 39/45

SOCI UN2240 Economy and Society. 3 points.

An introduction to economic sociology.  Economic sociology is built around the claim that something fundamental is lost when markets are analyzed separately from other social processes.  We will look especially at how an analysis of the interplay of economy and society can help us to understand questions of efficiency, questions of fairness, and questions of democracy.

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.

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 65/65
Fall 2021: SOCI UN3000
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3000 001/12114 M W 1:10pm - 2:25pm
413 Kent Hall
Ryan Hagen 4 71/70

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.

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
Gerard Torrats-Espinosa 4 62/70
Fall 2021: SOCI UN3010
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3010 001/00177 T Th 4:10pm - 5:25pm
405 Milbank Hall
Amy Zhou 4 67/70

SOCI BC3087 Individual Projects for Seniors. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Meets senior requirement. Instructor permission required.

The instructor will supervise the writing of long papers involving some form of sociological research and analysis.

Fall 2021: SOCI BC3087
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3087 001/00179  
Deborah Becher 4 1
SOCI 3087 002/00180  
Elizabeth Bernstein 4 0
SOCI 3087 003/00181  
Angela Simms 4 1
SOCI 3087 004/00182  
Debra Minkoff 4 1
SOCI 3087 005/00183  
Mignon Moore 4 0
SOCI 3087 006/00184  
Jonathan Rieder 4 3
SOCI 3087 007/00185  
Amy Zhou 4 3

SOCI BC3088 Individual Projects for Seniors. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Meets senior requirement. Instructor permission required.

The instructor will supervise the writing of long papers involving some form of sociological research and analysis.

Spring 2021: SOCI BC3088
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3088 001/00040  
Deborah Becher 4 1
SOCI 3088 002/00041  
Elizabeth Bernstein 4 1
SOCI 3088 003/00042  
Debra Minkoff 4 0
SOCI 3088 004/00043  
Mignon Moore 4 0
SOCI 3088 005/00044  
Jonathan Rieder 4 2
SOCI 3088 006/00045  
Angela Simms 4 0
SOCI 3088 007/00046  
Amy Zhou 4 2

SOCI BC3202 Structural Determinants of Health. 3.00 points.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made the underlying health disparities that exist in the United States more apparent. The traditional biomedical model places the responsibility of these disparities on the choices that an individual makes. The model assumes that one’s smoking, eating and exercising habits are based on personal choice. Therefore, the prevalence of morbidities such as high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes is the result of an individual’s poor decisions. This course will explore how the conditions under which individuals live, work, play and pray impact their health outcomes. Collectively these conditions are referred to as the Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) and often they reveal the systemic inequalities that disproportionally affect marginalized communities. The development of the SDoH has challenged health care providers to look beyond the biomedical model that stresses an individual’s behavior as the main predictor of adverse health conditions. Instead the SDoH focuses on an “upstream” approach that examines the underlying systemic and racial inequalities that impact communities of color and their health outcomes. An analysis that focuses upstream reveals that government policies and social structure are at the core of health disparities. Through the lens of New York City and its health systems, this course will cover a wide range of topics related to race and health, including: racial inequalities in housing and homelessness, biases in medical institutions, and the unconscious bias that lead providers to have racialized perception of an individual’s pain tolerance. In addition to exposing these inequalities the course will also provide innovative solutions that seek to mitigate these barriers including: home visiting programs, medical respite programs for homeless patients and food as medicine in health care systems. Students will demonstrate their knowledge through individual writing, and class discussion. The course revolves around important readings, lectures, and podcasts that illustrates how one’s class position and the color of one’s skin can influence the access to healthcare one has as well as their experience of it

SOCI BC3207 Music, Race and Identity. 3 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Social Analysis (SOC I)., BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: The Visual and Performing Arts (ART)., BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Social Analysis (SOC II).

Analysis of the complex relationship among race, art, organizations, economics, social movements and identity. Emphasis is on shifting conceptions of identity and changing roles of race and racism in the spirituals, gospel music, minstrelsy, rhythm and blues, rock'n'roll, soul music, Hip Hop and contemporary popular music.

SOCI BC3214 Sociology of African American Life. 3 points.

Emphasizes foundations and development of black communities post-1940, and mechanisms in society that create and maintain racial inequality. Explores notions of identity and culture through lenses of gender, class and sexual orientation, and ideologies that form the foundation of black politics. Primarily lecture with some discussion.

Spring 2021: SOCI BC3214
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3214 001/00047 M W 1:10pm - 2:25pm
405 Milbank Hall
Mignon Moore 3 36/45

SOCI UN3217 Law and Society. 3 points.

Examines how people use law, how law affects people, and how law develops, using social scientific research.  Covers law in everyday life; legal and social change; legal subjects such as citizens and corporations, and the legitimacy of law.  Recommended for pre-law and social-science majors.  No required prerequisites or previous knowledge.

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.

SOCI UN3225 Sociology of Education. 3 points.

All of us have spent many years in school and understand that schools impact our lives in important ways. But how exactly does formal schooling shape young people? And how do students make sense of their lives in the context of schools and educational systems more broadly? In this class we will examine education as a central institution in modern society, and we will grapple with an important question: What role does education play in reinforcing or challenging broader patterns of social inequality and mobility?   Particular emphasis will be placed on higher education as a critical site in which these processes take shape.

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 2021: SOCI UN3235
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3235 001/00186 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
207 Milbank Hall
Debra Minkoff 3 41/45

SOCI UN3246 Medical Sociology. 3 points.

Prerequisites: None

Examines the ways sociologists have studied the field of medicine and experiences of health and illness. We cannot understand topics of health and illness by only looking at biological phenomena; we must consider a variety of social, political, economic, and cultural forces. Uses sociological perspectives and methods to understand topics such as: unequal patterns in health and illness; how people make sense of and manage illness; the ways doctors and patients interact with each other; changes in the medical profession, health policies and institutions; social movements around health; and how some behaviors but not others become understood as medical problems. Course is geared towards pre-med students as well as those with general interests in medicine, health and society.

Spring 2021: SOCI UN3246
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3246 001/00048 M T W Th 4:10pm - 5:25pm
Room TBA
Amy Zhou 3 42/45

SOCI UN3285 Israeli Society and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. 3 points.

The purpose of the course is to acquaint students with Israeli society through the lens of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict. The underlying assumption in this course is that much of the social, economic, political, and cultural processes in contemporary Israel have been shaped by the 100-year Israeli- Arab/Palestinian conflict.

SOCI UN3302 Sociology of Gender. 3 points.

Prerequisites: One introductory course in Sociology suggested.

Examination of factors in gender identity that are both universal (across time, culture, setting) and specific to a social context. Social construction of gender roles in different settings, including family, work, and politics. Attention to the role of social policies in reinforcing norms or facilitating change.

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 2021: SOCI UN3324
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3324 001/12091 M W 6:10pm - 7:25pm
301 Pupin Laboratories
Saskia Sassen, Lisa Owens 3 206/200

SOCI UN3701 Sociology of Energy. 4 points.

This course explores many of the social forces that determine how energy is produced and what the consequences are. The course will focus in particular on how geographic communities, social identities, and related economics, cultures, and politics shape energy production. 


Many of us are drawn to sociology because we care about making the world more just. One important promise of the discipline is that social research can help direct efforts toward progressive social change. And yet, people and organizations on the front lines of grassroots action are often not privy to social-science research and vice versa. This course will create an opportunity for active engagement between students doing sociology and a local organization working for social change. Before the semester begins, the instructor(s) will have secured a commitment to a partnership with a community organization and planned a research or action project for the students to complete over the course of a semester. During the class, students will be expected to actively study and/or participate in the project designed by the instructor and organization leaders. The action/research may take the form of participant observation (taking part in the activities of the organization/campaign and analyzing your experiences); interviews (conducting interviews with members and leaders from an organization or campaign); historical analysis (studying the origins and development of the organization(s) or campaign(s)); or something else entirely. Students will also read, discuss, and write about literature on scholarly-community partnerships, collective-action models, and relevant social issues. We will study a combination of scholarly work, practical organizing advice, and case studies. This course is intended to be one semester of a two-semester course. Students may take either Part I or II or both. The opportunity to take two semesters (and engage with two different projects) should allow students to engage more deeply and broadly with the material and relationship with the organization

SOCI BC3750 How Race Gets Under Our Skin: The Sociology of Race, Health, and Biomedicine. 4 points.

One of the glaring forms of inequalities that persists today is the race-based gap in access to health care, quality of care, and health outcomes. This course examines how institutionalized racism and the structure of health care contributes to the neglect and sometimes abuse of racial and ethnic minorities. Quite literally, how does race affect one’s life chances? This course covers a wide range of topics related to race and health, including: racial inequalities in health outcomes, biases in medical institutions, immigration status and health, racial profiling in medicine, and race in the genomic era.

Spring 2021: SOCI BC3750
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3750 001/00049 T Th 10:10am - 12:00pm
Room TBA
Amy Zhou 4 19/20

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 UN3901 The Sociology of Culture. 4 points.

Prerequisites: SOCI BC1003 or equivalent social science course and permission of the instructor. Enrollment limited to 15 students.

Drawing examples from popular music, religion, politics, race, and gender, explores the interpretation, production, and reception of cultural texts and meanings. Topics include aesthetic distinction and taste communities, ideology, power, and resistance; the structure and functions of subcultures; popular culture and high culture; and ethnography and interpretation.

Spring 2021: SOCI UN3901
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3901 001/00050 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
Jonathan Rieder 4 13/15
Fall 2021: SOCI UN3901
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3901 001/00187 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
502 Diana Center
Jonathan Rieder 4 10/15

SOCI BC3907 Communities and Social Change. 4 points.

Examines how changes in the economy, racial composition, and class relations affect community life-how it is created, changed and sometimes lost-with a specific focus on the local urban context. Student research projects will address how contemporary forces such as neoliberalization, gentrification and tourism impact a community's social fabric.

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.

SOCI BC3919 Transitions to Adulthood. 4 points.

Prerequisites: SOCI W 1000 and SOCI W3010 or permission of instructor. Meets senior requirement.

Adolescence and early adulthood is a critical period in our lives. This research-intensive seminar explores how adolescent transitions are studied, how they compare across different national contexts, and how individual, family, and community factors affect the type and timing of different transitions.

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.

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.


Examines processes of immigrant incorporation in the U.S. and other advanced democracies, with a focus on how immigration intersects with categorical inequalities (such as citizenship, social class, race, ethnicity, gender, and religion) in major institutional realms. Under instructor's supervision, students conduct a substantial research project related to course themes

Fall 2021: SOCI BC3927
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3927 001/00756 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
403 Barnard Hall
Randa Serhan 4.00 6/15

SOCI BC3928 Advanced Topics: Politics & Society. 4 points.

Research and writing intensive seminar on civic and political engagement in contemporary American society, along with critical evaluation of methods used to collect and analyze data on political and social life. Requirements include a final research paper based on independent data collection and analysis. Seminar limited to sociology majors with senior standing (except in exceptional circumstances). Fulfills the Research Paper Option for the senior requirement in sociology at Barnard.

SOCI BC3930 Advanced Topics: Race and Ethnicity. 4 points.

Discusses theories of race and ethnicity, distinctions between prejudice, discrimination, and racism, and the intersectionality paradigm. Under instructor’s guidance students design a research proposal, conduct their own fieldwork and write a research paper on a sociological question relating to race and/or ethnicity.

Spring 2021: SOCI BC3930
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3930 001/00051 Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
Angela Simms 4 13/15
Fall 2021: SOCI BC3930
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3930 001/00188 Th 12:10pm - 2:00pm
306 Milbank Hall
Mignon Moore 4 13/15

SOCI BC3931 Seminar for Internships in Social Justice and Human Rights. 4 points.

Corequisites: Students must have an internship related to social justice or human rights during

This class is intended to complement and enhance the internship experience for students working in internships that relate to social justice and human rights during the Spring 2016 semester. This course will meet bi-weekly to provide an academic framing of the issues that students are working on and to provide an opportunity for students to analyze their internship experience.

SOCI BC3932 Climate Change, Global Migration, and Human Rights in the Anthropocene. 4 points.

While the existence of processes of anthropogenic climate change is well established, predictions regarding the future consequences of these processes are far less certain. In no area is the uncertainty regarding near and long term effects as pronounced as in the question of how climate change will affect global migration. This course will address the issue of climate migration in four ways.  First, the course will examine the theoretical and empirical literatures that have elucidated the nature of international migration in general.  Second, the course will consider the phenomena of anthropogenic climate change as it relates to migration.  Third, the course will consider how human rights and other legal regimes do or do not address the humanitarian issues created by anthropogenic climate change.  Fourth, the course will synthesize these topics by considering how migration and climate change has arisen as a humanitarian, political, and economic issue in the Pacific.  Human Rights elective.  

SOCI BC3933 Sociology of the Body. 4 points.

This seminar examines the ways in which the body is discursively constituted, and itself serves as the substratum for social life. Key questions include: How are distinctions made between "normal" and "pathological" bodies, and between the "psychic" and "somatic" realms? How do historical forces shape bodily experience? How do bodies that are racialized, gendered, and classed offer resistance to social categorization?

Spring 2021: SOCI BC3933
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3933 001/00052 T Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Room TBA
Elizabeth Bernstein 4 27/35

SOCI BC3934 Global Activism. 4 points.

This seminar explores social movements and political protest on the global stage. We will bring together the literatures on social movements and the sociology of globalization and transnationalism to explore the emergence, development, dynamics and consequences of global activism.

SOCI BC3935 Gender and Organizations. 4 points.

This course examines the sociological features of organizations through a gender lens. We will analyze how gender, race, class, and sexuality matter for individuals and groups within a variety of organizational contexts. The course is grounded in the sociological literatures on gender and organizations.

SOCI UN3944 Work, Life, Time and Space: From the Factory to the Gig Economy. 4 points.

This 4-credit class will explore experiences and perspectives of work, life, and the often blurred boundary between them. We will focus on how work is situated in, and shaped through, space and time. We will begin with a set of theoretical and historical texts, and then turn to case studies of work and life. The goal is to understand and make sense of how work, and its relationship to home, has evolved historically and how it is experienced today. The theories of space, time, and work which we begin with provide frameworks for making sense of the varied cases we will explore.

The course as a whole will offer a lens for analyzing the world of work, along with the relationship between work and the rest of our lives. It may serve a springboard for you to tackle such questions as: What is the relationship between meaning and money, work time and leisure time? (Or, will I work to live or live to work?) How do historical and relatively fixed work temporalities and geographies compare to new structures of work? (or, what is my Uber driver’s life like, and why is it so different from my grandfather’s experience as a mail carrier?) What do changing structures of work mean for our future, in and beyond work? (or, will robots take all of our jobs? And if so, what should we do about it?)


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.

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.


In-depth, critical exploration of  changing expectations and patterns of socialization for women and men in contemporary U. S. families.  Draws from family studies, gender studies, and LGBT studies to understand how gendered forces work to structure relations between and among family members.  Readings highlight socioeconomic, racial and ethnic variations in patterns of behavior, at times critiquing assumptions and paradigms drawn from the experiences of traditional, middle-class nuclear families. Topics include division of household labor in same-sex and different-sex couples, adolescent experiences growing up disadvantaged, what happens to undocumented immigrant children when they reach adulthood, gender inequality in wealthy white families, and ethnic differences in men’s expected roles in families. 


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 GU4370 Processes of Stratification and Inequality. 3 points.

The nature of opportunity in American society; the measurement of inequality; trends in income and wealth inequality; issues of poverty and poverty policy; international comparisons.

Fall 2021: SOCI GU4370
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 4370 001/12096 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
509 Knox Hall
Yinon Cohen 3 17/18

SOCI GU4411 Politics and Society in Central Eastern Europe. 3 points.

The goal of the course is to discuss different approaches to the study of developmental pathways in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) in a broad historical perspective drawing on various approaches from political science, sociology and economic history.  Students participating in the seminars will get an overview on the various approaches to explaining divergence in political, social and economic developments between the Eastern and Western parts of Europe, and within the region. The course aims to establish a dialogue between three types of scholarships: one dealing with the pre-regime change developmental pathways in the region, another dealing with factors that could account for persistent post-communist and post- enlargement developmental divergence and a third one that deals with issues of backwardness and core-periphery relations in transnational and global perspective.

 The course starts with a discussion of broad historical perspectives on East-West divergence in Europe. The second bloc deals with the various great transformations in the region: the remaking of states, polities and economies. The third bloc is devoted to the discussion of the transnationalization of states and economies in the region. Finally, the forth bloc deals with hybrid regimes and problems of democratic backsliding in the region.

SOCI GU4600 Mystifications of Social Reality . 4 points.

The late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries were marked by the discovery of a new object of systematic inquiry in addition to Nature and the Individual:  Society.  First Economics, then Anthropology, Sociology, and Political Science developed strikingly new understandings of the actions, beliefs, and institutional arrangements of men and women in society, which were seen as obeying regular laws not derivable from, or reducible to, either the laws of nature or the laws of individual behavior.  But these new disciplines, which came to be called the Social Sciences, were different from their predecessors in one fundamental and centrally important way:  They revealed the study of society, and indeed society itself, to be mystified, ideologically encoded, shaped and distorted by the interests and beliefs of men and women even though those living in society or studying it often were oblivious of this fact.

In this course we shall read in depth a series of texts by authors who explored the ideological mystifications of social reality in their disciplines.  The goal of the course is not merely to inform students of these authors and their ideas but to strengthen the ability of students to understand their own involvement in, indeed complicity in, ideological mystification.

Cross-Listed Courses

Urban Studies


Not offered during 2021-22 academic year.

Prerequisites: Students must attend first class.
What is ethnography and what makes ethnography “urban”? This course explores how social scientists use ethnography to analyze questions and dilemmas often associated with urban settings. We will combine close readings of ethnographies with field-based inquiry, including our own studies of urban public space. Through both our readings and our field exercises, we will focus on the methods at the heart of ethnography: observation and participant-observation. As we read other scholars’ work, we will ask how the author uses ethnographic tools to explore issues that are suitable for intensive fieldwork. We will assess which kinds of research problems and theoretical perspectives are a good fit with ethnography and the roles that ethnography can play in transdisciplinary research projects. You will apply what you have learned about research to design your own pilot fieldwork. The ethnographies that we read together will examine intersections of housing, race, and class in urban communities. You are welcome to extend this focus to your own fieldwork, but it’s not required to do so. This is a writing-intensive course, and we will devote a considerable portion of class time to workshop your individual projects

URBS UN3315 Metropolitics of Race and Place. 3 points.

Prerequisites: Students must attend first class.

This class explores how racism and racialized capitalism and politics shape the distribution of material resources among cities and suburbs in metropolitan areas and the racial and ethnic groups residing in them. Readings and discussion focus on the history of metropolitan area expansion and economic development, as well as contemporary social processes shaping racial and ethnic groups’ access to high-quality public goods and private amenities. We address racial and ethnic groups’ evolving political agendas in today’s increasingly market-driven socio-political context, noting the roles of residents; federal, state, and local governments; market institutions and actors; urban planners, activist organizations, foundations, and social scientists, among others. Here is a sample of specific topics: race/ethnicity and who “belongs” in what “place;” inequitable government and market investment across racial and ethnic communities over time and “sedimentation effects” (for example, the “redlining” of Black communities leading to their inability to access loan and credit markets and the resulting wealth gap between Blacks and Whites); gentrification processes; creating sufficient, sustainable tax bases; and suburban sprawl. Assignments will include two short response papers, mid-term and final exams, and another project to be determined.

URBS UN3420 Introduction to Urban Sociology. 3 points.

Prerequisites: Students must attend first class.

Examines the diverse ways in which sociology has defined and studied cities, focusing on the people who live and work in the city, and the transformations U.S. cities are undergoing today. Sociological methods, including ethnography, survey research, quantitative studies, and participant observation will provide perspectives on key urban questions such as street life, race, immigration, globalization, conflict, and redevelopment.


Prerequisites: Non-majors admitted by permission of instructor. Students must attend first class. Enrollment limited to 16 students per section. General Education Requirement: Historical Studies.
Prerequisites: Non-majors admitted by permission of instructor. Students must attend first class. Enrollment limited to 16 students per section. Introduction to the historical process and social consequences of urban growth, from the middle of the nineteenth century to the present

Spring 2021: URBS UN3545
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
URBS 3545 001/00526 T Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Room TBA
Angela Simms 4.00 17/16
Fall 2021: URBS UN3545
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
URBS 3545 004/00457 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Ll001 Milstein Center
Nick Smith 4.00 9/16
URBS 3545 005/00456 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Ll016 Milstein Center
Angela Simms 4.00 12/16
URBS 3545 006/00458 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Ll017 Milstein Center
Mary Rocco 4.00 7/16

URBS UN3546 Junior Colloquium: Contemporary Urban Issues. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Non-majors admitted by permission of instructor. Students must attend first class. Enrollment limited to 16 students per section.

Evaluation of current political, economic, social, cultural and physical forces that are shaping urban areas.

URBS UN3830 Eminent Domain and Neighborhood Change. 4 points.

Not offered during 2021-22 academic year.

Prerequisites: Intro to Urban Sociology or equivalent or permission of the instructor. Students must attend first class for instructor permission.

An examination of how the politics of eminent domain, as a government strategy for neighborhood change, plays out in the courts, city councils, administrative agencies, media, and the street. Readings drawn from law, history, planning, politics, economics, sociology, and primary sources. Emphasis on the U.S., with some international comparisons. This course will count toward Requirement A of the Urban Studies curriculum as a Sociology course.