Case studies in Inequality - A Sociology of Success

This class takes a critical perspective on the concept of meritocracy by examining social scientific explanations for success.  We will examine empirical literature concerning what it takes to be successful in multiple arenas of social life ranging from schooling, home life, work, dating, music, sports, and even happiness.  Although we survey a large range of empirical worlds, students will gain insight into core processes of sorting and stratification, which enable the reproduction of ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ in society.


Art, Culture, and Inequality

This 4th year advanced seminar examines how the world of art and popular culture is implicated in reproducing inequality. Topics include the relation between race and genre, gender and artistic legitimacy, as well as class and consumption. Readings are drawn from a variety of fields including cultural sociology, economic sociology, and organizational studies; readings will also reflect multiple methodological approaches to develop students’ literacy of both quantitative and qualitative research. This course is primarily oriented towards students with a strong interest in art and culture, but will also be useful to those interested in meaning-making and the role of culture in race, class, and gender stratification.

note: this course will not be offered in 2016-2017

Sociology of culture

Culture. It is an intrinsic part of our daily lives: we see it, we think it, we shape it, and are shaped by it.   Yet, exactly what culture is and how it works is notoriously difficult to pin down. This is partially because culture can mean so many different things. It can refer to the cultural norms, habits, and values shared by communities of people. It can also refer to cultural products such as art, aesthetics, and the offerings of mass media.   What this course aims to do is to provide an overview of the sociological tools developed to systematically study this fuzzy yet significant thing we call “culture”; and to help us better understand the social underpinnings and consequences culture has in our every day lives.

Gender, Globalization, and Social Change

This seminar course provides an interdisciplinary perspective on the role that gender plays in organizing society with a focus on how gender structures the uneven effects of globalization. We begin by analyzing initial approaches to gender which sought to identify universals in sexual status and ideas of womanhood and the subsequent critiques of this early approach. We then move on study feminist approaches and methodologies that have developed in the social sciences. To contextualize the theories of gender, we examine geographically and culturally diverse empirical studies of how gender has contributed to social change in the social arenas of households, labour markets, global agriculture, industrialization, development projects, and health care on global and local scales.

Social Inequality Graduate Seminar

This is a new course under development