New Topics in Sociology

Bikes and blossoms at 725 Spadina

New Topics in Sociology, 2019-20

SOC294H1S    New Topics in Sociology: Introduction to Social Networks

Instructor: TBA

Description

We’ve all heard it said, “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.” Social Network Analysis, is the study of who you know, who they know, and why it matters. You will learn how social network differ from one another, how networks with different structures form and how different kinds of networks relate to important sociological topics like inequality, crime, health, immigration, community, and work.

SOC350H1S    New Topics in Sociology: Social Policy and Housing

Instructor: Alicia Eads

Description

Affordable housing is a world-wide problem, the consequences of which are experienced particularly acutely by young people. This course will give students the tools to engage the complexities of this problem. We will consider what housing is—a consumption good, a social right, or an investment asset? We will consider how these different understandings of housing affect how societies develop the institutional structure of their housing systems. We will also consider how housing systems impact wealth distribution and preferences regarding social welfare policies. The first part of the course will cover housing finance systems and social housing policies—essential foundations for the rest of the course. We will examine who has access to mortgage credit and how lending is regulated, as well as subsidized and community housing programs. This is a program-only course and is restricted to sociology majors and specialists.

SOC351H1S    New Topics in Sociology: Xenophobia and Discrimination

Instructor: Claudia Diehl

Description

Central topics of this seminar are attitudes towards minorities, immigration, and social diversity on the one hand and acts of discrimination against ethnic minorities on the other hand. After clarification of the fundamental concepts we examine the question of how these attitudes and actions have developed in Europe and North America, how we can explain changes herein and which problems empirical research on these problems faces. We will read and discuss empirical studies that study these phenomena using different methodological approaches such as survey based research, analyses of “ethnic residuals”, audit studies, or reports of those affected by xenophobia and discrimination. This is a program-only course and is restricted to sociology majors and specialists.

SOC352H1S    New Topics in Sociology: Deconstructing “Muslim American” – Race, Nationalism and Religion

Instructor: Tahseen Shams

Description

Since the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Muslim Americans have been once again been cast as both threatening “outsiders” as well as examples of what makes the United States a “nation of immigrants.” What do these contestations teach us about how race, nationalism, and globalization shape immigrant identities? This course examines a range of topics, from everyday boundary-making to ongoing global politics pertaining to different Muslim groups in the United States, often drawing comparisons with Muslims in other Western countries. Course materials include theoretical overviews, research articles, survey reports, book chapters, newspapers, films, and T.V. shows. This is a program-only course and is restricted to sociology majors and specialists.

SOC353H1S    New Topics in Sociology: Debates in Contemporary Theory

Instructor: Jack Veugelers

Description

An introduction to selected thinkers and themes in sociological theory since 1945. Thinkers to be studied include Jurgen Habermas, Michel Foucault, Daniel Bell, Simone de Beauvoir, C. Wright Mills, and Anthony Giddens. Themes to be studied include the structure-agency debate, the history-sociology relationship, the direction of social change, and the relations between ideology and objectivity. Students will build on ideas and thinkers encountered in their studies of classical sociological theory. Active participation in seminars will be expected, as well as clear ability to construct written arguments. This is a program-only course and is restricted to sociology majors and specialists.

SOC354H1S    New Topics in Sociology: Sociology of Serial Homicide

Instructor: 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. This is a program-only course and is restricted to sociology majors and specialists.

SOC387H1F     New Topics in Sociology: Three Answers to the Jewish Question

Instructor: Robert Brym

Description

The Jewish Question asks how Jews ought to adapt to the modern world. Seeking answers, Jews formulated competing ideologies and joined social and political movements that, they believed, would help them realize their dreams. This course examines the origins, development, implementation, successes, and failures of the three main secular solutions Jews advocated: liberalism, Zionism, and communism.

SOC393H1S    New Topics in Sociology: Sociology of Hip Hop

Instructor: 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.

SOC394H1F     New Topics in Sociology: Sociology of LGBTQ+ Families

Instructor: S.W. Underwood

Description

This class will provide students with an in-depth understanding of the variety and lived realities of families within the LGBTQ+ communities of Canada and the USA. Students will critically examine normative notions of family across axes of gender, race/ethnicity, class, marital status, and kinship ties, giving particular attention to how LGBTQ+ families challenge these patterns. At the same time, we explore the material, institutional, and legal challenges faced by LGBTQ+ families.

SOC395H1F     New Topics in Sociology: Transnational Asia

Instructor: Yoonkyung Lee

Description

This course explores how transnational flows of capital, labor, ideas, and culture are reconstituting the ways in which we organize our political, economic, and cultural life by particularly focusing on Asia, the region that has been at the center of this global transformation. How has the notion of the “transnational” evolved and invited critical reevaluations? What has been the place of Asian countries in this global process and what political, economic, social, and cultural changes do they experience? By examining these questions, this course aims to enhance our understanding of contemporary Asian societies closely tied with each other and the rest of the world.

SOC397H1S    New Topics in Sociology: Sociology of Atrocities

Instructor: Ron Levi

Description

This course focuses on atrocities, violence, and international criminal justice. It includes attention to the sociological, legal, and broadly political aspects for responding to war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity, and terrorism. Readings will attend to the social dynamics that seek to explain this violence, the legal thinking at the core of international criminal justice, and the role of social institutions in responding to atrocities. Readings will include legal cases, social science research articles that provide insight into the social dynamics of these crimes, and articles from the media that provide representations of how we approach these atrocities. By combining these perspectives, this course will provide students with both sociological and legal tools for understanding atrocities and violence, and how we have come to respond to the worst atrocities and wartime violence over the 20th and 21st centuries.

SOC485H1F     New Topics in Sociology: Sexuality and Research Design

Instructor: 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. Restricted to 4th-Year sociology majors and specialists.

SOC489H1F     New Topics in Sociology: Sociology of Organizations

Instructor: Kim Pernell-Gallagher

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. Restricted to 4th-Year sociology majors and specialists.

SOC493H1S    New Topics in Sociology: Mental Health and Education

Instructor: Rachel La Touche

Description

In this course, we examine institutions of higher education as unique social contexts within which student mental health unfolds. In doing so, we will address mediating and moderating factors, which characterize the unique and varied socio-emotional experiences of students attending post-secondary. As such, we will distinguish and clarify social approaches to studying mental health – focusing on mentorship, funding, social support, academic demands and healthcare resources – from mental illness as characterized in medical disciplines. Students will be expected to read thoroughly and apply insights from the course to authentic mental health concerns facing institutions of higher education today. Restricted to 4th-Year sociology majors and specialists.

SOC494H1F     New Topics in Sociology: Researching Social Networks

Instructor: Alexandra Marin

Description

Social network analysts view the social world through a lens that focuses on connections. We study the origins of patterns in social networks and the consequences of those patterns. In this course, you will be the social network analyst. You will learn what social network data looks like, you will learn how to describe the properties of social networks and positions within social networks, and most importantly, you will learn how to use these skills to answer your own sociological questions.

You will collect and analyze social network data to uncover how the structure and composition of people’s social networks are related to other aspects of their lives. Each year this course will focus on a different population, social setting, or phenomenon. This year you will conduct original empirical research on the recent university graduates as a class to collect data and then analyzing it independently. You will each write an individual research paper to answer your own research question. No previous knowledge of social network analysis is required. Restricted to 4th-Year sociology majors and specialists.

SOC494H1S    New Topics in Sociology: Gender, Migration, and Citizenship

Instructor: Bahar Hashemi

Description

Within the past few decades, the field of gender and migration has expanded and flourished dramatically, shedding light on how gender and generational power relations within the family shape and are shaped by migration processes.  This scholarship not only places gender at the centre of migration analysis but also in intersection with other axis of inequality such as race, class, age, etc. In this class we will engage the scholarship on gender and migration in a productive dialogue with the scholarship on citizenship. We will examine how gender and generational relations intersect with citizenship to shape migrant experiences in different areas such as love, work, sex, and the family. Restricted to 4th-Year sociology majors and specialists.

SOC495H1S    New Topics in Sociology: Global Inequalities and Contentious Politics

Instructor: Yoonkyung Lee

Description

Global Inequality and Contentious Politics: This is a seminar course designed to understand global inequalities and contentious politics. Inequality has been one of the primary subjects in sociological inquiries and its scope naturally expands to a global dimension as our societies are increasingly shaped by international connections. This seminar focuses on understanding various manifestations of global inequalities intersected by international hierarchy, race, gender, and class. Yet, these divisions and injustices are neither static nor unchallenged as people react to these realities via divergent methods. This class will read major theoretical approaches to social movements and examine contentious mobilizations taking place in different geographies around the world to reshape the global order ridden with disparities. Empirical cases of contentious activism include anti-globalization protest, the Occupy movement, campaigns for migrant care workers, resistance against American military bases, and the Me Too movement. Restricted to 4th-Year sociology majors and specialists.

SOC496H1S    New Topics in Sociology: Sociology of Free Time

Instructor: Brent Berry

Description

We will first read and discuss several pieces that problematize contemporary life, focusing on problems with how free time is spent. Free time, often called leisure time, is spare time available for activities that you enjoy. It excludes time spent doing work, domestic chores, personal care, education, and sleeping. It is hard to discuss free time without discussing what constrains it. We will learn that lives, on average, are more work-centric than ever, with attention divided between various roles in ever more complex ways, affecting the quality and quantity of free time.

A number of observers raise concerns about the quantity and qualities of free time. Skidelsky and Skidelsky (2012) emphasize how capitalism has failed to return surplus free time to workers, instead creating a work centric life of insatiable consumer wants that keeps traditional notions of the “good life” out of reach. Hunnicutt (2013) suggests that a kind of collective amnesia has simply forgotten that free time was once core to the American Dream. Morozov (2013) reviews modern and post-modern views of distraction and information overload during free time, undermining capacity for uninterrupted contemplation. Gray (2011) and Henrick (2014) raise concerns about the loss of free time play for both children and adults.

The second part of the course is about how problems of free time manifest in aspects of home life and common household practices and habits we engage in at home. Restricted to 4th-Year sociology majors and specialists.

SOC497H1S    New Topics in Sociology: Cultural Objects and Materiality

Instructor: TBA

Description

Objects surround us. They fill in our environments and are integrated into our everyday lives. But just as objects hold an important place in social life, we commonly take for granted their power to shape and influence our thoughts and behaviours. In sociology, we tend to concentrate on the lives of people, and the importance of meanings, connections, thoughts and beliefs. Many areas in sociology treat objects as by-products of social relationships, under-theorizing their importance in understanding social life. This course asks instead, what can objects do? How do they shape the way we think and act? How do we take objects seriously as a subject in sociology? This course explores a variety of different theoretical and empirical approaches to the study of objects and materiality. Restricted to 4th-Year sociology majors and specialists.

SOC498H1S    New Topics in Sociology: Gender and Inequality in the Knowledge Economy

Instructor: Sharla Alegria

Description

Over the last half century the workforce has shifted toward more professional and service jobs as more women entered the paid labor force. Along with these changes have come increasing polarization and inequality. This class will examine how changes in the workforce, particularly the turn toward professional and service work, have shaped and reshaped gender-based inequalities and options for organizing family life. We will expand our analysis of gender-based inequalities to consider the intersection of race, class, and gender in workplace organizations, the gender pay gap, harassment, and work/life balance. Restricted to 4th-Year sociology majors and specialists.

SOC499H1F     New Topics in Sociology: Sociology of Disability

Instructor: 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. Restricted to 4th-Year sociology majors and specialists.

 

New Topics in Sociology, 2018-19

SOC293H1S – Sociology of Law

Instructor: Ron Levi

Description

This course asks students to think critically about the role of law in society, and to develop a sociological understanding of law and legal institutions. The course will include theoretical approaches to understanding the role of law and legal authority, and the constitutive ways in which law affects, shapes, and is negotiated in everyday life. In addition, attention will be paid to the legal profession, including empirical research on lawyers, legal careers, and their relationship to fields of practice, with an emphasis on the relationship between the structure of the legal profession and law as a democratic institution.

SOC351H1S – Transnational Asia

Instructor: Yoonkyung Lee

Description

This course explores how transnational flows of capital, labor, ideas, and culture are reconstituting the ways in which we organize our political, economic, and cultural life by particularly focusing on Asia, the region that has been at the center of this global transformation. How has the notion of the “transnational” evolved and invited critical reevaluations? What has been the place of Asian countries in this global process and what political, economic, social, and cultural changes do they experience? By examining these questions, this course aims to enhance our understanding of contemporary Asian societies closely tied with each other and the rest of the world. This is a program-only course and is restricted to sociology majors and specialists.

SOC352H1S – Social Psychology of Work

Instructor: Scott Schieman

Description

The Social Psychology of Work course will explore some of the main theoretical and research-based themes that relate to the individual and social experiences of work. We will focus on core questions around the characteristics and conditions of work and occupations that shape the experience of the self-concept and identity–including classic themes about job control, autonomy, challenge, complexity, and authority. Other features of the course will include the ways that interpersonal dynamics and organizational structures shape individual psychological and social experiences both at work and beyond the boundaries of the workplace. We will also address important questions about the aspects of health, well-being, and quality of life as they relate to the social psychology of work. This is a program-only course and is restricted to sociology majors and specialists.

SOC387H1S – Three Answers to the Jewish Question

Instructor: Robert Brym

Description

The Jewish Question asks how Jews ought to adapt to the modern world. Seeking answers, Jews formulated competing ideologies and joined social and political movements that, they believed, would help them realize their dreams. This course examines the origins, development, implementation, successes, and failures of the three main secular solutions Jews advocated: liberalism, Zionism, and communism.

SOC393H1F – Consumer Society

Instructor: Lorne Tepperman

Description

What makes people buy things? And what are the social effects of their buying patterns? Sociologists have been studying consumer behaviour for over a century, as social critics and as applied (marketing) researchers. In this course, we will examine both bodies of sociological research, pure and applied. We will consider what sociologists have found out about consumer motivation – what we might call the demographics and social psychology of buying behaviour. We will also review what sociologists have written about consumerism (or materialism) as a way of life, a tradition that goes back to Karl Marx and Thorstein Veblen.

SOC394H1S – Deconstructing “Muslim American” – Race, Nationalism, and Globalization

Instructor: Tahseen Shams

Description

Since the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Muslim Americans have been once again been cast as both threatening “outsiders” as well as examples of what makes the United States a “nation of immigrants.” What do these contestations teach us about how race, nationalism, and globalization shape immigrant identities? This course examines a range of topics, from everyday boundary-making to ongoing global politics pertaining to different Muslim groups in the United States, often drawing comparisons with Muslims in other Western countries. Course materials include theoretical overviews, research articles, survey reports, book chapters, newspapers, films, and T.V. shows.

SOC485H1S – Sexuality and Research Design

Instructor: 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. Restricted to 4th-Year sociology majors and specialists.

SOC489H1S – Gender and Work

Instructor: Irene Boeckmann

Description

Gender shapes how market work (i.e. paid work which we usually call “work”) and family work (such as managing a family household or caring for relatives) is organized, how it is rewarded and experienced. This course provides an overview of how gender inequalities in paid and unpaid work have developed over time and introduces key explanations for these inequalities debated by scholars in this field. We will consider how gender intersects with other axes of inequality – such as social class, race and ethnicity, sexuality or experiences of transnational migration – in shaping inequalities in the organization of work, and the rewards received for work. Restricted to 4th-Year sociology majors and specialists.

SOC493H1F – Mental Health and Education

Instructor: Rachel La Touche

Description

In this course, we examine institutions of higher education as unique social contexts within which student mental health unfolds. In doing so, we will address mediating and moderating factors, which characterize the unique and varied socio-emotional experiences of students attending post-secondary. As such, we will distinguish and clarify social approaches to studying mental health – focusing on mentorship, funding, social support, academic demands and healthcare resources – from mental illness as characterized in medical disciplines. Students will be expected to read thoroughly and apply insights from the course to authentic mental health concerns facing institutions of higher education today. Restricted to 4th-Year sociology majors and specialists.

SOC494H1S – Global Inequalities and Contentious Politics

Instructor: Yoonkyung Lee

Description

Global Inequality and Contentious Politics: This is a seminar course designed to understand global inequalities and contentious politics. Inequality has been one of the primary subjects in sociological inquiries and its scope naturally expands to a global dimension as our societies are increasingly shaped by international connections. This seminar focuses on understanding various manifestations of global inequalities intersected by international hierarchy, race, gender, and class. Yet, these divisions and injustices are neither static nor unchallenged as people react to these realities via divergent methods. This class will read major theoretical approaches to social movements and examine contentious mobilizations taking place in different geographies around the world to reshape the global order ridden with disparities. Empirical cases of contentious activism include anti-globalization protest, the Occupy movement, campaigns for migrant care workers, resistance against American military bases, and the Me Too movement. Restricted to 4th-Year sociology majors and specialists.

SOC495H1F – Corruption and Inequality

Instructor: Melissa Godbout

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. Restricted to 4th-Year sociology majors and specialists.

SOC496H1F – Gender, Race, Class, and the Politics of Medicine

Instructor: Brigid Burke

Description

This course and examines the relationships among sex, gender, race, class and modern medicine. It will look at how these relations relate to health and medicine, focusing on how medical systems and health practices affect race, class, and gender. Though, we will also look at how race, class, and gender organize medicine and health. It will explore the medicalization and biomedicalization of bodies, look at how sex became a subject of scientific study, and how race and gender became an analytic category. There will be also be a focus on health technologies, exploring the ways in which health technologies organize, create, and discipline human bodies. We will ask questions of how modern western medicine traditions view male and female bodies and define their health and illnesses accordingly. Restricted to 4th-Year sociology majors and specialists.

SOC497H1S – Sociology of Markets

Instructor: James Braun

Description

In contrast to economists’ assumption that markets are efficient, apolitical mechanisms for allocating resources, sociologists theorize markets as social arenas in which transactions are embedded within social networks, cultural logics and institutions.  This course will examine the role of markets in society by engaging key debates in the sociology of markets: What is a market, and why have markets become so prominent in organizing our material lives? What are the consequences of (re)organizing social life through markets? How do social forces influence the ways markets are created and exchange is conducted? Restricted to 4th-Year sociology majors and specialists.

SOC498H1S – The Hands That Feed Us: Labour and Social Movements Across the Food Chain

Instructor: Anelyse Weiler

Description

In this seminar course, we will investigate the labour arrangements that bring food from seas, fields and factories to our plates. Our analytical lenses will range from a broad political economy approach to ethnographic understandings of individual workers’ lived experiences. Core themes include racialized and gendered divisions of labour, intersections between labour and immigration policy, farm and restaurant workers, and the labour of non-human animals. In addition, we will focus on how workers in various parts of the globe have struggled to realize a food system in which harms and benefits are distributed more equitably. Restricted to 4th-Year sociology majors and specialists.

SOC499H1F – Sociology of Disability

Instructor: 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. Restricted to 4th-Year sociology majors and specialists.