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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. Fall 2019 courses include:

      Ethnographic Field Methods, GSOC 5006
      Terry Williams, Professor of Sociology

      This course will outline the conceptual questions and debates associated with ethnographic methods and address the technical, ethical, and representational issues that arise in practicing these methods. During the semester, students will choose and gain access to a field site, conduct observations, write field notes, and code and analyze these data in order to write a final paper. As students progress through each stage of their project, we will discuss theory and study design, as well as strategies for gaining access, addressing the researcher’s social position, taking effective field notes, accurately representing subjects’ words and actions, and writing compelling accounts. We will consider a range of ethnographic forms, including, among others, institutional, organizational, and historicized ethnographies, and we will read examples of these works; however, the emphasis of the course will be on students gaining experience in field work and data analysis.

      Logic Of Inquiry, GSOC 5069

      This course is an introduction to principles of social science research, research design, and specific methods commonly used in Sociology. It is required for first-year MA students in Sociology.

      Classical Sociological Theory, GSOC 5101
      Carlos Forment, Associate Professor of Sociology

      This is a course in the foundations of modern social theory. It aims to help students master some of the most fundamental approaches to understanding society (including social structure, economics, politics, culture, and the interplay between them) that emerged during the ‘long’ 19th century as part of the effort to make sense of, and cope with, the emergence of modernity in the west—and that continue to shape scholarship and debates in sociology, politics, political economy, cultural inquiry, historiography, and everyday moral and political controversies. This will involve systematic, probing, and critical examination of five major theorists: Adam Smith, Tocqueville, Marx, Weber, and Durkheim. In the process, we will explore contrasting approaches to issues including capitalism, socialism, bureaucracy, citizenship, sovereignty, domination, authority, freedom, community, individualism, democracy, revolution, the logic of history, the ethical dilemmas of social and political action, and the nature and dynamics of “modern society” itself.

      Historiography And Historical Practice, GSOC 6054
      Oz Frankel, Associate Professor of History

      This course focuses on US history to examine current permutations of historiographical interests, practices, and methodologies. Over the last few decades, US history has been a particularly fertile ground for rethinking the historical, although many of these topics are applicable to the study of other nations and societies. American history has been largely rewritten by a generation of scholars who experienced the 1960s and its aftermath and have viewed America's past as a field of inquiry and contest of great political urgency. Identity politics, the culture wars, and other forms of organization and debate have also endowed history with unprecedented public resonance in a culture that has been notoriously amnesiac. We explore major trends and controversies in American historiography, the multicultural moment in historical studies, the emergence of race and gender as cardinal categories of historical analysis, the enormous preoccupation with popular culture, the impact of memory studies on historical thinking, and the recurrent agonizing over American exceptionalism and consequent recent attempts to break the nation-state mold and to globalize American history. Another focus will be the intersection of analytical strategies borrowed from the social sciences and literary studies with methods and epistemologies of historicization that originated from the historical profession. This course should be taken during a student's first year in the Historical Studies program.

      Discourse Analysis, GSOC 6142
      Robin Wagner-Pacifici, University in Exile Professor of Sociology

      This course provides the theoretical frameworks and the methodological tools to analyze social utterances, conversations, transcripts, and texts of a wide variety of kinds. Analysis will draw on socio-linguistics, conversation analysis, ethnomethodology, structuralism, critical legal studies and discourse analysis proper, among other approaches to articulate the relations between texts and contexts in social life.

      Political Sociology, GSOC 6144
      Andrew Arato, Dorothy Hart Hirshon Professor of Political and Social Theory

      The course will focus on the most important concepts and institutions of modern politics, including: state, constitution, rule of law, regime, party, and movement. We will consider the differences of authoritarian and democratic regimes, as well as the forms of transition between these. Our examples will be drawn from a wide range of political orders and regimes, including dictatorships and liberal democracies, as well as presidential and parliamentary forms. The place of civil society in politics will be a key topic throughout. We will read authors such as Marx, Weber, Schmitt, Kirchheimer, Neumann, Linz, Stepan, Habermas, Ackerman, Offe, Przeworski and O’Donnell.

      Conceptualization Of Culture, GSOC 6157
      Elzbieta Matynia, Professor of Sociology and Liberal Studies

      The preoccupation of many social thinkers with the phenomenon of "culture" long antedates J.G. Herder's remark that "nothing is more indeterminate than this word." Still, a preoccupation with culture has been widely shared ever since -- by historians, sociologists, and anthropologists. This seminar is addressed to those who are interested in the history of social thought, the sociology of knowledge, and studies of culture, and will explore the main debates surrounding the idea of culture and its development. Whether discussing the Greek notion of paidea, the Romantic ideal of genius, or the historiographic essays of the Annales historians of our own day, we shall trace the dynamics of two contrasting approaches to culture: the broadly empirical and anthropological approach, and the more narrowly normative and "humanistic" approach. The readings -- some of them passionate critiques of culture -- include works by Plato, Aristophanes, Vico, Rousseau, Herder, Goethe, Marx, Ferdinand de Saussure, Sigmund Freud, Fernand Braudel, J. Heuzinga, Ernst Cassirer, Mikhail Bakhtin, Kwame Anthony Appiah, and Samuel Beckett.

      Nationalisms in The Middle East And South Asia, GSOC 6173
      Aaron Jakes, Assistant Professor of History

      This reading-intensive course will offer an introduction to the vast and ever-growing scholarly literatures on nationalism in the Middle East and South Asia. The course will cover both key theoretical works that have helped to shape this body of historical writing and important monographs that exemplify particular approaches to the topic. This is also a course about comparison both as a historical practice and as a method of social-scientific inquiry. As we will see, the histories of colonial rule and of anti-colonial nationalism in the two regions were, at times, closely intertwined. More recently, scholars studying the two regions have frequently drawn on insights from each other’s work. Our study of the global emergence of multiple nationalisms in the late 19th century will therefore allow us to think more broadly about what it means to study historical transformations in a comparative framework. Open to: university graduate students; those outside of the major should seek permission from their program and the department of the course.

      Boundaries And Belonging, GSOC 6188
      Everita Silina, Assistant Professor of International Affairs

      This is a multi-disciplinary, inter-departmental course that will examine human mobility, the physical, legal and discursive construction of borders, the meaning(s) of membership, and immigrant integration. The course will be taught by faculty from across The New School, including NSSR, Milano, and Parsons. It is intended to introduce students to concepts and methodologies drawn from a number of disciplines. Students enrolled in the course will be recognized as Student Fellows of the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility.

      Economy And Society, GSOC 6210
      Jens Beckert, Heuss Professor

      Economic sociology has developed into one of the most vibrant fields of sociology. The field sets out to investigate economic behavior, the operation of markets, and the development of economic institutions from the perspective of sociology. It brings culture, networks, social norms, institutions, and politics to the center of the understanding of the economy. The goal of the course is to familiarize students with major theories, approaches, and topics that contribute to our understanding of the interrelations between economy and society. The readings range from works of classical sociology to contemporary analyses of financial markets. Introducing European and American scholarship, the course will pay attention to the micro level of decision making as well as to the macro-development of capitalism.

      Current Trends In Media Research, GSOC 6211
      Julia Sonnevend, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Communications

      This course will cover some of the most pressing issues in media research in the early twenty-first century. Discussed topics include the role of Facebook in shaping international politics and culture, the power of algorithms, the digital transformation of journalism, the increasingly online presence of children, and the challenges journalists face in illiberal contexts. We will read literature from multiple disciplines including sociology, communication studies, political science and psychology, while also discussing case studies in depth.

      Civil Society And Populism, GSOC 6212
      Andrew Arato, Dorothy Hart Hirshon Professor of Political and Social Theory

      The course will consider the related origins of civil society and populism in the late medieval estate-state, and the revolts against it. It will go on to examine the paradoxes of the concept of popular sovereignty and its alternative interpretations. It will locate modern populism as a movement of civil society that is opposed to its pluralistic principles. The distinction between populism as movement, as government and regime will be stressed. We will distinguish left and right versions of populism linked to different host ideologies. Final, we will examine the world wide reach of the phenomenon in terms of the paradoxes of hyper-globalization. We will read authors like Morgan, Canovan, Schmitt, Kelsen, Germani, Laclau, Mouffe, Mudde, Arato and Cohen, and Rodrik.

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