Selected topics of contemporary interest taught by a sociologist active in the field. Topics vary and may be substantive, theoretical, or methodological.
This course provides students with the opportunity to delve into research on the nature of life in American cities. Topics include the changing social meaning of community, the effects of the urban setting on social interactions and attitudes, urban poverty, residential segregation, and the neighborhood dynamics of crime. We will explore these issues by assessing research from a variety of sources, considering theoretical perspectives used to explain urban dynamics, and developing and testing hypotheses derived from these perspectives. Since this is a designated writing course, assignments and activities will focus on the development of critical reading and writing skills, as well as basic statistical literacy.
Student learning goals
Interpret and critique major theoretical debates related to the dynamics of urban life and neighborhood dynamics.
Develop theoretically-driven hypotheses about urban processes and demonstrate an understanding of the rules of evidence for testing these hypotheses.
Perform basic analyses of available data on neighborhood composition and social attitudes related to urbanism.
Produce clear, compelling, and well-organized written arguments.
General method of instruction
This course will be conducted as a seminar, with limited lecturing and an emphasis on group work, discussion, and in-class exercises.
Prior completion of SOC 221 and SOC 300 recommended but not required.
Class assignments and grading
Research proposal/paper, short writing and data assignments, class participation, and quizzes.