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        The New School for Social Research
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        Aura Angelica Hernandez Cardenas

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        Rachel Sherman

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        Kirti Varma

        Sociology Student Handbook

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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 2020 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
        Virag Molnar, Associate Professor of Sociology

        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, GSCO 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 explore 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 and themes have shaped 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 contestation of great political urgency. Identity politics, the culture wars, and other forms of organization and debate have also endowed US historiography with unprecedented public resonance in a culture that had been notoriously amnesic. We examine major trends and controversies in American historiography, the history of the historical profession, the emergence of race and gender as cardinal categories of historical analysis, popular culture as history, the impact of memory studies on historical thinking, the recurrent agonizing over American exceptionalism, as well as the current efforts 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 of historicization that originated from the historical profession. This course should be taken during a student's first year in the Historical Studies program.

      • Market Culture: An Introduction to Economic Sociology, GSCO 6100
        Eiko Ikegami, Walter A. Eberstadt Professor of Sociology

        The power of capitalist markets has permeated into every aspect of our lives. Conversely, the dynamics of social relations, cultures and values are deeply embedded in the operations of contemporary market economy. It is in this context that sociology can make a distinctive contribution to a realistic understanding of our economic life. This course is designed to provide an introduction to the field of new economic sociology, and to prepare students to be able to pursue research in this field. Special emphasis will be placed on learning contemporary organizational and network theories, developing an understanding of the historical rise of capitalism, and becoming sensitive to global variations in styles of capitalism. By taking this course students will be introduced to organizational and institutional theories. The course provides students with tools to develop their own critiques of cultural dimensions of capitalism. The course is run as a participatory seminar.

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

        This is a course that focuses on the analysis of discourse in a wide variety of social contexts (journalistic, legal, political, medical, familial). Discourse analysis examines both verbal and non-verbal communication to explore the making of claims of meaning, truthfulness, authority, in everything from political speech to advertising to scientific reports. The goal of the course is to provide a solid grounding in both the theories of speech, writing, symbols, and images, and in the empirical studies that have grown out of these theoretical frameworks. As well, the course provides a range of methodologies for carrying out systematic discourse analysis. This course is affiliated with "Discourse Analysis: Case Studies of Contemporary Crises" and the two courses may be taken in sequence or separately. Undergraduate juniors and seniors are permitted to take this course only with the permission of the instructor.

      • Sociology of Work and Labor, GSOC 6143
        Rachel Sherman, Professor of Sociology

        This course will address the politics and organization of work during the 20th century and into the 21st. Topics include: historical transformations in work, including industrialization, globalization, and the rise of service, finance, and information technology; labor market issues including migration and discrimination; forms of managerial control and worker consent or resistance; and the role of labor unions and the state in shaping employment and shop-floor relations. We will look closely at manufacturing, service, and finance workplaces, primarily in the U.S., but with a comparative emphasis on Europe. We will also cover a number of important theoretical perspectives on work. This course counts toward the Gender Studies minor.

      • 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. The course is the core requirement for the Migration Studies graduate minor.

      • Current Trends in Media Research, GSOC 6211
        Julia Sonnevend, Associate 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.

      • Global Critical Theory, GSOC 6288
        Chiara Bottici, Associate Professor of Philosophy, and Benoit Challand, Associate Professor of Sociology

        Critical theory is often presented as a tradition rooted in the Western philosophical canon and thus hardly applicable to non-Western contexts. Some strands of postcolonial theories are presented as an opposition to that tradition, while revived interests in theories from the Global South or in Third Worldism provide yet another angle to the objectives of emancipation and liberation. This course provides an introduction to global critical theory, that is to a body of thought produced by thinkers from all around the globe and that starts with epistemological questions around conceptions of geographical space (what does it mean to speak about north and south, and east and west? can there be a center in a globe?) and time (what does it mean to divide it into categories such as ancient, modern or contemporary?). Thinkers in the European tradition of critical theory such as Adorno and Horkheimer will be discussed and put to the challenge of ideas raised by thinkers from or of the global south such as He Chen, Mahdi Amel, Anibal Quijano, Gloria Anzaldua, Maria Lugones, and intellectuals who have worked to span across these artificial geographical divides, such Frantz Fanon, Enrique Dussel, and Sylvia Wynter. We will be paying particular attention to the intersections of class, gender, race and “critical-colonial approaches”, that is theories from the de-colonial, post-colonial and settler colonial studies that try to build up a critical theory of society by focusing on the persistence of our colonial past.

      • Virtual Worlds and Human Civilization: Online Reality, GSOC 6236
        Eiko Ikegami, Walter A. Eberstadt Professor of Sociology

        The pandemic of the new coronavirus has quickly accelerated adaptations of online virtual methods of communication in everyday life and in education. What does this development mean for human civilizations? This seminar questions conventional understandings of "the virtual and real" through examinations of materials derived from philosophical, literary, and artistic classics as well as from digital-online perspectives. Human communication has always already used "virtual" dimensions: language itself lends itself to telling stories about what goes beyond the real here and now. The course helps students to rethink the most contemporary developments of virtual communications in historical-sociological and philosophical contexts. It also will present tangible experiences in communications in online and virtual realities. In addition to reading materials, each student is asked to engage in a virtual-online communication world of their own choice, and examine their own experiences. We will discuss how new technologies can be used to enhance human capabilities rather than flattening and polarizing them. Active participation is required.

      • Gender, Politics, and History, GSOC 6237
        Elaine Abelson, Associate Professor of History

        This seminar explores various aspects of women's history and the history of gender in the United States over the past two centuries. The course stresses the themes of difference among women and between women and men as a means of examining the social construction of gender and the logic of feminist analysis and activity. Students discuss the major themes in gender history, develop critical and analytical skills, and appreciate current and on-going theoretical (and controversial) debates. The course analyzes such key conceptual and methodological frameworks as gender, class, sexuality, power, and race. Thematically organized, readings include both primary and secondary material. Students complete two papers and participate in student-led discussions. Cross-listed with Lang; open to juniors and seniors only.
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