Sociology

Department Office: 501A Knox; 212-854-2973
http://www.sociology.columbia.edu

Director of Undergraduate Studies: Teresa Sharpe, 501 Knox; ts2785@columbia.edu

Director of Academic Administration and Finance: Teresa Aguayo, 501 Knox Hall; 212-854-9890; ta2015@columbia.edu

Student Program Coordinator: Kiamesha Wilson, 501A Knox; kw2510@columbia.edu

Sociology is the study of associational life. In examining patterns of association, sociologists explore the interactions of people, communities, and organizations. In this sense, sociology is not the study of people; it is the study of the relationships among people. This study includes the associations between people and the products of human interaction, such as organizations, technologies, economies, cities, culture, media, and religion. In the kinds of questions it asks, sociology is a deeply humanist discipline and sociologists demand the analytic rigor of scientific investigation.

In training students in our department, we encourage them to ask big questions and we work to give them the tools to provide answers. These tools might mean ethnographic observation, pouring through historical archives, looking at census data, analyzing social networks, or interviewing people in various walks of life.

As a bridging discipline that seeks the scientific exploration of questions that matter to human communities, such as inequality and social injustice, sociology addresses many of the same areas of life as our neighboring social science disciplines. Yet we often approach these areas quite differently. For example, problems of economic and political life are a central concern to sociologists. Rather than explore these as independent or particular features of society, we seek to embed them within the complex whole of the social world. Students will find the Department of Sociology to be a broad, demanding department that provides its students with the conceptual and methodological tools to make sense of the opportunities and social problems of the global communities in which we live.

Grading

A letter grade of C- or better is needed in all Sociology courses in order to satisfy the program requirements.

Departmental Honors

In order to be considered for departmental honors, majors must have a minimum GPA of 3.6 overall and 3.8 in courses in the Department of Sociology. In addition, students must produce an exceptional honors thesis in the two-semester Senior Seminar (SOCI UN3995-SOCI UN3996 Senior Seminar).

In order to register for the Senior Seminar, students must have completed SOCI UN3010 Methods for Social Research and have had their research project accepted by the faculty member teaching the Senior Seminar. Submissions of research projects are due by May 1 preceding the seminar. Normally no more than 10% of graduating majors receive departmental honors in a given academic year.

Professors

  •  
  • Peter Bearman
  • Courtney Bender (Religion)
  • Yinon Cohen
  • Jonathan R. Cole
  • Thomas A. DiPrete
  • Gil Eyal
  • Priscilla Ferguson (emerita)
  • Todd Gitlin (Journalism)
  • Shamus Khan (Chair)
  • Bruce Kogut (Business)
  • Jennifer Lee
  • Bruce Link (School of Public Health)
  • Debra C. Minkoff (Chair, Barnard)
  • Alondra Nelson
  • Aaron Pallas (Teachers College)
  • Jonathan Rieder (Barnard)
  • Saskia Sassen
  • Seymour Spilerman
  • David Stark (also School of International and Public Affairs)
  • Julien Teitler (Social Work)
  • Diane Vaughan
  • Sudhir Alladi Venkatesh
  • Amy Stuart Wells (Teachers College)
  • Bruce Western
  • Andreas Wimmer

Associate Professors

  • Elizabeth Bernstein (Barnard)
  • Jennifer Lena (Teachers College)
  • Mignon Moore (Barnard)
  • Emmanuelle Saada (French and Romance Philology)
  • Josh Whitford (Director of Graduate Studies)

Assistant Professors

  • Maria Abascal
  • Debbie Becher (Barnard)
  • Christel Kesler (Barnard)
  • Yao Lu
  • Adam Reich
  • Carla Shedd
  • Van Tran
  • Dan Wang (Business School)

Lecturers

  • Denise Milstein
  • Teresa Sharpe

On Leave

  • Prof. Stark, (2018-2019)
  • Prof. Spilerman, (Spring 2019)

Major in Sociology

The major in sociology requires a minimum of 30-31 points as follows:

Core Courses
The following three courses are required (10 points):
The Social World
Social Theory
Methods for Social Research
Elective Courses
Select six courses (20-21 points) in the Department of Sociology, to include at least three lecture courses (2000- or 3000-level, 3 points each) and at least two seminars (4 points each). The sixth course could be either a lecture course (to a total of 30 points) or a seminar (to a total of 31 points). For students taking the two-semester Senior Seminar, the sixth course must be a seminar. Some examples of electives include: *
SOCI UN3020Social Statistics
SOCI UN3213Sociology of African American Life
SOCI UN3235Social Movements
SOCI UN3490Mistake, Misconduct, Disaster
SOCI UN3285
SOCI UN3264The Changing American Family
SOCI UN3900Societal Adaptations to Terrorism
SOCI UN3914Seminar in Inequality, Poverty, and Mobility
SOCI UN3931Sociology of the Body
SOCI UN3974Sociology of Schools, Teaching and Learning
SOCI UN3995
SOCI UN3996Senior Seminar

Concentration in Sociology

The concentration in sociology requires a minimum of 20 points as follows:

Core Courses
The following three courses are required (10 points):
The Social World
Social Theory
Methods for Social Research
Elective Courses
Select three courses (10 points) in the Department of Sociology, one of which must be a seminar. Some examples of electives include:
SOCI UN3900Societal Adaptations to Terrorism
SOCI UN3914Seminar in Inequality, Poverty, and Mobility
SOCI UN3915Stigma and Discrimination
SOCI UN3931Sociology of the Body
SOCI UN3974Sociology of Schools, Teaching and Learning
SOCI UN3985Queer Practice
SOCI UN3995
SOCI UN3996Senior Seminar

Fall 2018

SOCI UN1000 The Social World. 3 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 2019: SOCI UN1000
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 1000 001/26786 M W 11:40am - 12:55pm
417 International Affairs Bldg
Adam Reich 3 200/250
Fall 2019: SOCI UN1000
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 1000 001/42383 T Th 11:40am - 12:55pm
Room TBA
Teresa Sharpe 3 173/200

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.

SOCI UN3000 Social Theory. 3 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Reason and Value (REA)., BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Social Analysis (SOC I)., BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Ethics and Values.

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 2019: SOCI UN3000
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3000 001/01266 T Th 4:10pm - 5:25pm
504 Diana Center
Deborah Becher 3 45/70
Fall 2019: SOCI UN3000
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3000 001/42225 M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
Room TBA
Gil Eyal 3 59/60

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 2019: SOCI UN3010
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3010 001/02425 M 4:10pm - 5:25pm
Room TBA
Marnie Brady 4 65/70
SOCI 3010 001/02425 W 4:10pm - 5:25pm
504 Diana Center
Marnie Brady 4 65/70
Fall 2019: SOCI UN3010
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3010 001/42384 T Th 4:10pm - 5:25pm
Room TBA
Maria Abascal 4 46/70

SOCI UN3011 METHODS FOR SOCIAL RESEARCH - DISC. 0 points.

Prerequisites: SOCI UN1000

Section Discussion for SOCI UN3010, METHODS FOR SOCIAL RESEARCH

Spring 2019: SOCI UN3011
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3011 001/73705 M 1:10pm - 2:00pm
307 Pupin Laboratories
Estela Diaz 0 22/30
SOCI 3011 002/08994 M 6:10pm - 7:00pm
307 Pupin Laboratories
Helia Faezipour 0 30/30
Fall 2019: SOCI UN3011
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3011 001/42280 Th 6:10pm - 7:00pm
Room TBA
0 18/30
SOCI 3011 002/42281 Th 6:10pm - 7:00pm
Room TBA
0 2/30

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 2019: SOCI UN3324
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3324 001/42347 M W 6:10pm - 7:25pm
Room TBA
Saskia Sassen 3 190/190

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.

Fall 2019: SOCI UN3900
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3900 001/42258 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Room TBA
Seymour Spilerman 4 18/18

Spring 2019

SOCI UN1000 The Social World. 3 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 2019: SOCI UN1000
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 1000 001/26786 M W 11:40am - 12:55pm
417 International Affairs Bldg
Adam Reich 3 200/250
Fall 2019: SOCI UN1000
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 1000 001/42383 T Th 11:40am - 12:55pm
Room TBA
Teresa Sharpe 3 173/200

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. 3 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Reason and Value (REA)., BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Social Analysis (SOC I)., BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Ethics and Values.

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 2019: SOCI UN3000
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3000 001/01266 T Th 4:10pm - 5:25pm
504 Diana Center
Deborah Becher 3 45/70
Fall 2019: SOCI UN3000
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3000 001/42225 M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
Room TBA
Gil Eyal 3 59/60

SOCI UN3009 Contemporary Social Theory. 3 points.

This is a survey class that will familiarize students with the most important theoretical developments in post-war sociology.

Spring 2019: SOCI UN3009
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3009 001/26944 M W 6:10pm - 7:25pm
413 Kent Hall
Andreas Wimmer 3 12/60

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 2019: SOCI UN3010
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3010 001/02425 M 4:10pm - 5:25pm
Room TBA
Marnie Brady 4 65/70
SOCI 3010 001/02425 W 4:10pm - 5:25pm
504 Diana Center
Marnie Brady 4 65/70
Fall 2019: SOCI UN3010
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3010 001/42384 T Th 4:10pm - 5:25pm
Room TBA
Maria Abascal 4 46/70

SOCI UN3011 METHODS FOR SOCIAL RESEARCH - DISC. 0 points.

Prerequisites: SOCI UN1000

Section Discussion for SOCI UN3010, METHODS FOR SOCIAL RESEARCH

Spring 2019: SOCI UN3011
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3011 001/73705 M 1:10pm - 2:00pm
307 Pupin Laboratories
Estela Diaz 0 22/30
SOCI 3011 002/08994 M 6:10pm - 7:00pm
307 Pupin Laboratories
Helia Faezipour 0 30/30
Fall 2019: SOCI UN3011
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3011 001/42280 Th 6:10pm - 7:00pm
Room TBA
0 18/30
SOCI 3011 002/42281 Th 6:10pm - 7:00pm
Room TBA
0 2/30

SOCI UN3020 Social Statistics. 3 points.

This course introduces methods of empirical social research for describing and drawing inferences from quantitative data. Emphasis is on basic but very serviceable methods of statistical analysis for information drawn from surveys or archives. The course includes several exercises in analysis of sample survey data.

SOCI UN3265 Sociology of Work and Gender. 3 points.

This course examines gender as a flexible but persistent boundary that continues to organize our work lives and our home lives, as well as the relationship between the two spheres. We will explore the ways in which gender affects how work is structured; the relationship between work and home; the household as a place of paid (and unpaid) labor; and how changes in the global economy affect gender and work identities.

Spring 2019: SOCI UN3265
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3265 001/77414 T Th 11:40am - 12:55pm
501 Northwest Corner
Teresa Sharpe 3 86/147

SOCI UN3490 Mistake, Misconduct, Disaster. 3 points.

How Organizations Fail - the fundamental principles of organizations, examining how and why organizations fail, producing harmful outcomes.  Studying failures opens up parts of organizations for public view that are seldom seen; studying the dark side is especially revealing. Students will examine cases to identify the causes of failures and think about what kind of strategies can be developed that prevent failure.

Spring 2019: SOCI UN3490
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3490 001/15950 M W 4:10pm - 5:25pm
601 Fairchild Life Sciences Bldg
Diane Vaughan 3 48/70

SOCI UN3915 Stigma and Discrimination. 4 points.

This course considers stigma and discrimination as general processes that apply to a broad range of phenomena, from mental illness to obesity to HIV/AIDS to racial groups. We will use a conceptual framework that considers power and social stratification to be central to stigma and discrimination. We will focus on both macro- and micro-level social processes and their interconnections, and we will draw on literature from both sociology and psychology.

SOCI UN3921 HIGHER EDUCATION AND INEQUALITY. 4 points.

Not offered during 2019-20 academic year.

Prerequisites: (1000)

Higher education in the U.S. is going through a period of rapid change.  State support is shrinking, student debt is increasing, full-time faculty are being replaced by adjuncts, and learning outcomes are difficult to measure, at best. This class will try to makes sense of these changes. Among other questions, it will ask whether higher education is a source of social mobility or a means of class reproduction; how the college experience differs by race, class, and type of college attended; how the economics of higher education have led to more expensive college and more student loans; and how we might make college better. We will consider several different points of view on the current state of U.S. higher education: that of students who apply to and attend college, that of colleges and universities, and that of society at large.  As part of this course, students will conduct research on their own universities: Columbia College or Barnard College.

SOCI UN3929 Collaboration, Resistance, Retribution: Western and Eastern Europe Between Nazism and Comm. 3 points.

The Nazi occupation of Western and East-Central Europe during World War II elicited a variety of national and local responses ranging from accommodation to collaboration to outright resistance. How did variations in practices of political, social, and economic domination exercised by the Nazis shape patterns of collaboration and resistance? How did this vary between Western and Eastern Europe? What individual factors/aspects of personal biography shaped decisions about whether or not to collaborate? In the immediate postwar period, how did efforts to identify and punish collaborators reflect prerogatives of national regeneration and state-building? Forty-five years later, the collapse of the socialist dictatorships of East-Central Europe unleashed calls for retribution against “communist collaborators.” How did practices of collaboration and resistance with socialist regimes differ from earlier patterns of collaboration with the Nazis? Have efforts to punish communist collaborators been more successful in righting the wrongs of the past than previous efforts to punish Nazi collaborators? If so, what might account for this? Do „legacies” from earlier efforts to punish Nazi collaborators inform these more recent projects of justice-seeking? How do unresolved justice issues from the immediate postwar period continue to haunt both Western and East-Central Europe?

SOCI UN3960 Law, Science, and Society. 4 points.

This course addresses basic contemporary social issues from several angles of vision: from the perspective of scientists, social scientists, legal scholars, and judges. Through the use of case studies, students will examine the nature of theories, evidence, "facts," proof, and argument as found in the work of scientists and scholars who have engaged the substantive issues presented in the course.

Spring 2019: SOCI UN3960
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3960 001/74617 T 10:10am - 12:00pm
807 Green Hall Law Building
Jonathan Cole 4 24/22

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.

SOCI UN3985 Queer Practice. 4 points.

Is there a particularly “queer” way to live? Does a queer perspective mitigate for certain forms of social, interpersonal or political action? Are there sets of vocations, engagements or relationship formations that are, in and of themselves, distinctly queer? Or is queerness something that can infuse or transform pre-existing modes of personal or relational action? How does any of this relate to the version of “queer” one learns in college? Is a university education necessary, or even useful, for living a queer life? Does academic queer theory have any relevance to “real-world” politics, affects or activisms? Do classroom projects within Gender & Sexuality Studies prepare us to engage in projects of social change, political efforts, or in any meaningful way, to work more closely with others on shared goals related to social justice? Does a liberal arts education prepare us to navigate ideological, intellectual and interpersonal differences? To move from a critical gaze at social institutions into institutional change? To become more robust citizens of a world that includes a multiplicity of viewpoints, perspectives and values? Finally, at its best, what should the university classroom do to prepare students to forge their own social and political perspectives, and to move from gaze and consideration into movement and action?

SOCI UN3996 Senior Seminar. 4 points.

Prerequisites: required methods and theory courses for the major, and the instructor's permission.

Students wishing to qualify for departmental honors must take W3996y. Students carry out individual research projects and write a senior thesis under the supervision of the instructor and with class discussion. Written and oral progress reports.

Spring 2019: SOCI UN3996
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3996 001/65736 M 4:10pm - 6:00pm
501d Knox Hall
Van Tran 4 6/20
Fall 2019: SOCI UN3996
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3996 001/42361 M 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
Adam Reich 4 12/18

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SOCI BC3087Individual Projects for Seniors
SOCI BC3207Music, Race and Identity
SOCI BC3214Sociology of African American Life
SOCI BC3911The Social Contexts of U.S. Immigration Law and Policy
SOCI BC3920Advanced Topics in Gender and Sexuality
SOCI BC3932Climate Change, Global Migration, and Human Rights in the Anthropocene
SOCI BC3935Gender and Organizations
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WMST UN1001Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies