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        Aura Angelica Hernandez Cardenas

        Department of Sociology
        6 East 16th Street, 9th floor
        New York, NY 10003
        Tel: 212.229.5737 x3125
        Fax: 212.229.5595

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        New York, NY 10003

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        Dara Levendosky

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        Kirti Varma

        Sociology Student Handbook (PDF)

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    • Courses in the Department of Sociology explore how societies work, why societies change, and where societies will go next. These courses cover the theory behind societal transformation through rigorous research, critical thinking, and spirited debate.

      Please consult the New School Course Catalog for a full list of courses. Spring 2020 courses include:

      • Contemporary Sociological Theory, GSOC 5061
        Julia Sonnevend, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Communications

        This course introduces students to key thinkers and debates of contemporary sociology. The first part of the course will be dedicated to theorists of the 20th century, covering concepts of time, network, emotion, interaction, function, interpretation, communication, power, as well as critical race and postcolonial theory. The second part of the course involves in-depth discussions of recently published books in sociology on topics such as eviction, income inequality, climate change, the student debt crisis, social media’s influence on politics and everyday life, and the challenges of balancing parenthood with work. Overall, the course equips students with the ability to critically analyze contemporary sociological texts with a particular focus on how these texts apply theoretical frameworks to pressing issues of our time.

      • Historical Sociology, GSOC 5102
        Andrew Arato, Dorothy Hart Hirshon Professor of Political and Social Theory

        The course will introduce historical approaches to sociology around a single problem area: the formation of the modern state. We will consider the concept of the state as well as some of the main approaches dealing with its origins. While the first part of the course will deal with the development of European states, and the corresponding state system, as well as alternative polity formations in early modernity, the second half will focus on the different paths of state formation under collapsing empires, and post colonial settings. Time permitting we will have a topic on the European federation, as an alternative to the nation state.

      • Sociology of Organization and Disorganization, GSOC 6156
        Robin Wagner-Pacifici, University in Exile Professor of Sociology

        A central aim of sociology is to track the relationship between order and disorder, organization and chaos, normal time and emergencies. Organizations and institutions as small as the family and as large as the state experience moments of organization and experience manifold moments of breakdown, where the internal and external boundaries of the designated group dissolve. This course explores both the qualities and structures of organization (social, professional, military) and the phases and modes of organizational breakdowns. It approaches the latter via an analysis of specific standoffs, accidents, mistakes, miscommunications, conflicts, violent encounters, and social deviance.

      • Social Inequality, GSOC 6162
        Robin Wagner-Pacifici, University in Exile Professor of Sociology

        This course will examine social inequality in all of its manifestations and will pose the question of what it means to fare well or to fare badly in societies in which work, property, bodies and minds are differentially valued and rewarded. Readings, films, and images presented in the course focus on our contemporary society as well as extend historically and cross-culturally. The course takes a phenomenological approach. The goal is to understand social inequalities from the inside, through experience, rather than from the outside, pre-determined by conventional labels, such as class, race, and gender.

      • The Living Book: From Research to Manuscript, GSOC 6186
        Terry Williams, Professor of Sociology

        “A book has its absolute truths in its own time. It is lived like a riot or a famine, with much less intensity, of course, and by fewer people, but in the same way. It is an emanation of intersubjectivity, a living bond or rage, hatred, or love between those who have produced it and those who receive it”. -Jean Paul Sartre This course will examine the social construction of narrative embracing a multi-purpose perspective on writing as this relates to the process of becoming a manuscript. We will explore ways to see how the monographic infrastructure (sentence, paragraph, chapter, blurb), is woven together by linking the unity of science and art through various linguistic architectures. The course will examine the social function of the storyteller, the nature of anecdotes and the making of field notes from concept to the finely textured structured book-in-text. We use current manuscripts (in production) as the skeletal text paradigm which sets the foundation structure for the book and discuss scenes, characters, analysis, cover design and document the inner workings as they evolve in the making of the book.

      • Sociology and Socialism, GSOC 6219
        Andrew Arato, Dorothy Hart Hirshon Professor of Political and Social Theory

      • The Social Life of Stuff, GSOC 6220
        Catherine Murphy, Senior Research Associate, and Terry Williams, Professor of Sociology

        This course looks at the social world of objects, products, and people. We will engage critical thinking as it relates to ethics, aesthetics and the public good as we think through questions connecting various transactions intersecting these phenomena. Some key questions: What discoveries do we make when we trace the life of the objects that surround us? How do we understand craft? What does the spirit of capital mean in present-day life and the act of making and re-making? What responsibility do we have in addressing the impact products have on the world we live in? As we think about examining unusual materials and items of the sacred what remains sacred today? Where does the moral compass stand as it connects to the Internet and places like Silicon Valley? These and other questions will be examined as we establish a logical and causal connection between technology and responsibility to consider the socializing effects of things by examining the various impacts of objects on everyday life.

      • Nationalism Revisited, GSOC 6221
        Elzbieta Matynia, Professor of Sociology and Liberal Studies

        Whether defined as political concept, ideology, identity, claim, sentiment, or group’s state of mind, nationalism has continued to be a major political imaginary of the last two centuries, advancing the idea of popular sovereignty and leading to successive reconfigurations of the world’s map. The emergence of new transnational institutions, global markets, movements, and publics, along with the rise of new overlapping identities, have not tempered the tenacity of nationalism and ethnic attachments. Instead, as John Dunne points out, nationalism -- a common idiom of contemporary feeling -- remains the air we breathe daily. In this course we will examine the plurality of concepts and forms of both nation and nationalism, and try to understand the sources of the more recent alarming upsurge of a new nationalism -- a fusion of ethno-nationalism, xenophobia, ultra-populism and new articulations of fascism, that openly resort to violence. Informed historically and theoretically, our discussions will consider material from a variety of sources, and examine cases from different parts of the world.

      • The Theory and Politics of Councils: Past and Present, GSOC 6224
        Carlos Forment, Associate Professor of Sociology

        This seminar examines the political theory, institutional characteristics, and the socio-historical experiences related to councils (associations, communes, assemblies, federations, etc.) in order to understand the changing forms and alternative practices that democratic self-rule and self-representation has taken across the Global North and Global South. In addition to studying several theoretical texts pertaining to councils (i.e. Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Marx, Lenin, Gramsci, Anton Pannekoek, Hannah Arendt, Cornelius Castoriadis, Hardt and Negri, Judith Butler), we will analyze a variety of socio-historical experiences that are emblematic of each, including the Paris Commune; Soviets in Russia, Germany and Hungary; Maoist communes; Participatory Budgeting in Porto Alegre; Zapatista-held areas in Southern Mexico; Neighborhood Assemblies in Buenos Aires and several other recent and contemporary examples.

      • Wealth and Social Inequality, GSOC 6225
        Jens Beckert, Theodor Heuss Professor

        Wealth inequality has attracted great scholarly interest in the social sciences in recent years. Background to this (renewed) scholarly attention are the rising levels of wealth inequality over the last forty years and also the availability of more data. The privileges associated with high wealth and the social inequalities it expresses can be studied from very different perspectives. The seminar attempts to give an overview over recent and some historical debates on wealth inequality. It also aims at the identification of research gaps. Topics are the actual mapping of wealth inequality, mechanisms reproducing wealth inequality intergenerationally, the ways wealth is being used to influence political decisions, strategies of wealth preservation through financial instruments, the role of philanthropy, normative debates on the justification of wealth inequality, and the subjective perception of wealth and privilege among the wealthy. The seminar will mostly be organized as a joint discussion of the assigned readings.

      • Dissertation Pro-Seminar, GSOC 7005
        Benoit Challand, Associate Professor of Sociology

        In this seminar advanced students work together, and with the faculty member leading the seminar, in developing field statements and dissertation topics, with specific focus on the development of dissertation proposals and advancing dissertation research. Sociological questions, themes, interests and sub-fields are articulated and reconfigured as research questions and scholarly projects. Strategies for investigating and carrying out these projects are developed. Exemplary field statements and dissertation proposals are examined as structural models. The seminar proceeds as a workshop with students first presenting short research questions and plans, leading to more developed research proposals. The final requirement of the seminar is the submission of drafts of field statements and/or a dissertation proposal.
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