New Topics in Sociology

New Topics in Sociology, 2017-18

Bikes and blossoms at 725 SpadinaSOC293H1 Sociology of Education

Instructor: TBA

Description

This course will examine how social institutions and individuals’ experiences within these institutions affect educational processes and social development. This may include various levels of analysis, ranging from the individual to the structure of relations among social and educational institutions. In an increasingly complex Canadian society, important educational issues arise throughout the life cycle. The course examines different stages and types of education at the individual, institutional, and organizational levels.

SOC294H1 Introduction to Social Networks

Instructor: Professor Fedor Dokshin

Description

This course introduces students to the field of social network analysis (SNA). The social networks perspective emphasizes the essential role of relationships among social actors in shaping the social world. We will consider how different social relationships (and patterns of relationships) form and the consequences of this emergent social structure for individuals, groups, and society. Some questions we will consider include: How does the company one keeps affect one’s preferences, political views, and health outcomes? How does one’s position in a social network influence her/his opportunities for finding a job? How can every person in the world be connected to every other through just six steps (six degrees of separation)? By the end of the course students should be able to: (1) describe the major ideas in SNA, (2) use the major ideas in SNA to gain insight into real-world phenomena, and (3) begin to identify the major strategies for measuring and analyzing social networks.

SOC386H1 Sexuality and Gender

Instructor: Professor Adam Green

Description

In this course, we will examine questions related to the intersection of gender and sexuality in the modern West, with a special focus on alternative (non-heteronormative) identities, practices, communities and desires.  To do so, we proceed self-consciously with a critical analysis of the modern study of sexuality, and the ways in which sexual science, as a kind of social practice, has affected the construction and regulation of gender and sexual orientation.  We also consider how social structures such as capitalism and patriarchy, and social stratification—including race, class, and age—shape the sphere of sexuality, gender and intimate life.  The goal of the course is to link modernity, as a particular epochal moment in history, to the development of gender and sexuality in Western societies over the past 150 years.

SOC387H1 Sociology of Disability

Instructor: Professor Tanya Titchkosky

Description

This Disability Studies course treats disability as a socio-cultural phenomenon of growing import to sociology.  It examines competing definitions and conceptions of disability and their social and political consequences in everyday life through three themes.

Theme One: Traditional Conceptions of Disability: We will learn to think sociologically about bio-medical, economic, individualistic, bureaucratic, and deviance conceptions of disability; this includes examining everyday ways we are told we “should” articulate disability.

Theme Two: The Social Model of Disability: We will learn what it means to conceive of disability as a complex social phenomenon produced by capitalism and often used to feed its enterprise.

Theme Three: Disability as a Critical Space for Critical Inquiry into the Human Condition.

These three interrelated themes will help us to re-think normalcy while revealing how disability is used within contemporary power arrangements to manage matters of race, class, gender, sexuality and conceptions of undeserving people at the limits of life and death.

SOC393H1 Sociology of Serial Homicide

Instructor: Professor Jooyoung Lee

Description

Jack the Ripper. The Zodiac Killer. The Grim Sleeper. This course will introduce you to some of the world’s most notorious serial homicide cases.  Along the way, we’ll challenge many of the misconceptions about serial homicide.  Our readings and class discussions will cover topics including: The social construction of evil, the advent of FBI profiling, popular media representations of serial killers, moral panics, violence against sex workers, hybristophilia, cold cases, and criminal justice responses to killers. The course will draw from sociological and criminological theories, psychology, true crime readings, podcasts, documentaries, and film.

SOC394H1 Sociology of Hip Hop

Instructor: Professor Jooyoung Lee

Description

What is Hip Hop?  How does a sociological lens enhance our understanding of Hip Hop?  This is a “mash up” course.  Like musical mash ups that blend different—and often quite distinct—musical genres together, this course will bring together different research traditions in Hip Hop studies and Sociology. This pairing will produce a nice dialogue between complementary fields of research.  There are two goals in this course:  (1) to give you a basic footing in some Hip Hop scholarship; (2) to show how a sociological lens can help us better understand and analyze Hip Hop culture.

This is not a comprehensive study of Hip Hop culture.  Although time will be spent reading and thinking about different dimensions of Hip Hop culture, substantive focus will be spent on rapping and bboying/bgirling.  Although graffiti art and turntablism will make cameo appearances throughout the course, there is simply not enough time in a 12-week course to really delve into all “4 elements” of Hip Hop culture.

As well, keep in mind that you do not have to be a seasoned Hip Hop fan or practitioner to do well in this course.  While a basic familiarity with Hip Hop is always welcomed and may enhance in-class discussions, the course is designed so that the devout Hip Hop “head” and complete outsider can both thrive and walk away with fresh insights from the course. In other words, much like Hip Hop culture, this course is designed for everyone.

SOC485H1 Sexuality and Research Design

Instructor: Professor Adam Green

Description

Research designs are much like jigsaw puzzles, but harder: they require scholars to carefully connect a variety of distinct yet intricately linked pieces into a thematically consistent, practical and defensible whole.  Few tasks in the research process are as commonplace and as riddled with difficulty. This course will provide a forum for students to compose a research design on the topic of sexuality using qualitative approaches that include in-depth interview and ethnography.  Students will read a variety of works that describe the goals, procedures, and underlying logic of research design.  At the conclusion of the course, students will have a research design in hand, a working knowledge of in-depth interview and/or ethnographic methodologies, and the tools to analyze/critique/propose future research designs.

SOC489H1 Sociology of Organizations

Instructor: Professor Kimberly Pernell

Description

This course covers central issues in the field of organizational sociology. It explores why organizations look and operate the way that they do, and examines the social consequences of their behavior. The first part of the course will focus on the evolution of the modern firm. Students will trace the history of different models of management and strategy, and evaluate their relative efficacy. The second part of the course will examine how organizations shape, and are shaped by, their environments. The third part of the course will explore how organizational behavior influences social inequality, and how social inequality shapes the way that modern organizations function.

SOC493H1 Gender Inequality Today

Instructor: Professor Bonnie Fox

Description

This course will examine the nature of gender inequality across a wide range of contemporary activities, social relations and institutions – while paying attention to social class, race and sexual diversity. Topics include body images, ideals and work; sexuality, dating and hooking up; the paths young adults take into relationships and paid work; ongoing workplace inequalities; the social relations of parenthood and family; work/family conflict; and violence against women. It will explore both the ways gender inequality is institutionalized (or systemic) and a product of popular culture.

SOC494H1 Advanced Studies in Contemporary Theory

Instructor: Professor Jack Veugelers

Description

Partly a selective introduction to the work of postwar social thinkers whose ideas have achieved wide influence, partly an inquiry into the nature and purposes of sociological analysis, this course combines attention to the historical context in which ideas were formed with close reading of the primary sources and scrutiny of theorists’ assumptions and arguments. Along the way, connections will be drawn with sociology’s classic tradition on one hand, empirical research on the other. In terms of its substantive focus, this course is organized around contrasting outlooks on historical development and social change. The thinkers studied in this course are: C. Wright Mills, Robert Putnam, Daniel Bell, Jürgen Habermas, Michael Mann, Anthony Giddens, Simone de Beauvoir, Michel Foucault, and Pierre Bourdieu.

SOC495H1 Social Psychology of Inequality

Instructor: Professor Geoff Wodtke

Description

Social inequalities hinge to a significant degree on perceptions and beliefs, fears and desires, and antipathies and affections. This course explores questions related to inequality that lie at the intersection of sociology and psychology. How and why do individuals identify themselves with different social groups? How do beliefs, values, and norms shape social interactions? What institutions, events, and structures in turn influence beliefs, values, and norms? How do intergroup stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination develop and evolve? What engenders social conflict and aggression? In this course, we will explore how social psychological theory and research can help explain a wide range of social inequalities.

SOC496H1 Corruption and Inequality

Instructor: TBA

Description

This course aims to provide a sociological understanding of corruption with a specific focus on its complex relationship to inequality. Beginning with theoretical perspectives of corruption, this course will examine ways in which political, ideological, economic, and cultural processes facilitate corruption in a nation. Taking a cross-national comparative approach, this course will explore how and why these processes are connected to levels of inequality. Attention will be paid to different historical and contemporary examples in order to evaluate the varying ways in which inequality may be viewed as both a cause and consequence of corruption. Furthermore, significant anti-corruption approaches will be critically examined and assessed.

SOC497H1 Policy and Inequality in Post-Secondary Education

Instructor: TBA

Description

The course would begin by exploring the function and mission of post-secondary education with a historical and philosophical lens.  This would include discussions of meritocracy, equality of opportunity, the history and expansion of Post-secondary education in Canada, and the benefit or higher education to individuals and society. Next theories and empirical studies on inequality in post-secondary education would be explored with an emphasis on race/ethnicity/nationality, class, and gender inequality and theories of social, cultural, and financial capital. This section would include discussions on financing education, choice of institution and field of study, experiences while in university, and transitions out of university and to the workforce. Finally, the course would look at cross-national post-secondary education policies and institutions and explore how post-secondary education may be improved. This would include comparing policies and how post-secondary education systems are financed and structured in other developed countries.

SOC498H1 Social Determinants of Health and Policy

Instructor: TBA

Description

A Social Determinants of Health (SDH) framework provides the analytical tools to address structural challenges that affect people’s health outcomes. This course will examine and critique the health care system utilizing an SDH framework, enhancing students’ ability to engage with solutions to systemic healthcare challenges.  Students will:  1.) Develop a historically grounded understanding of healthcare systems as social and political institutions, that is, the product of compromises amongst competing social actors; 2.) Develop the sociological imagination as useful tool for understanding the connections between individuals’ health outcomes and the social forces that surround them; 3) Develop foundational theoretical knowledge to enhance students’ ability to provide intellectual critiques as well as solutions to systemic healthcare challenges.

SOC499H1 “Deviant” Careers

Instructor: TBA

Description

Why do certain individuals enter lines of work which may be seen as illegitimate by many? How do these individuals think about their work and what it means for their broader identities and lives? To address these questions, this course examines a series of occupations which vary from being non-normative to widely stigmatized in contemporary Canada. From professional gamblers to more traditional “career criminals” such as persistent thieves, we will study how different career paths become feasible for individuals due to a complex intersection of factors such as socio-economic status, race, gender, and ongoing life experiences.