Courses - Spring 2021

SOC 1101 Introduction to Sociology

This course is a broad introduction to the field of sociology.  Course materials are designed to illustrate the distinctive features of the sociological perspective and to start you thinking sociologically about yourself and the broader social world.  To think sociologically is to recognize that being embedded in the world constrains behavior, and that individuals are both social actors and social products.  To think sociologically is also to recognize that our contemporary world, with its enduring cultural, political, and economic institutions, is as much a social product as we are.  We will begin by covering theoretical and methodological foundations of the sociological perspective.  We will go on to explore the concept of social stratification and will survey primary axes of social difference.  In the second half of the course we will look more closely at how individuals relate to each other, how social inequality is enacted and reinforced in everyday life, and at the way in which the organization of social life shapes individuals and groups, such as through social networks, residential neighborhoods, schooling, families, and on-line communication.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Landon Schnabel (ls964)
Full details for SOC 1101 : Introduction to Sociology
SOC 1110 FWS: Writing Computers and Society
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Joseph Sullivan (jfs325)
Full details for SOC 1110 : FWS: Writing Computers and Society
SOC 1290 American Society through Film

Introduces students to the sociological analysis of American society through the lens of film. Major themes involve race, class, and gender; upward and downward mobility; incorporation and exclusion; small town vs the big city; and cultural conflicts over individualism, achievement, and community. We match a range of movies like American Graffiti (Lucas), Ace in the Hole (Wilder), The Asphalt Jungle (Houston), Do the Right Thing (Lee), The Heiress (Wyler), High Noon (Zinnemann), Mean Streets (Scorsese), Nashville (Altman), The Philadelphia Story (Cukor), and A Streetcar Named Desire (Kazan). Each film is paired with social scientific research that examines parallel topics, such as analyses of who goes to college, the production of news, deviant careers, urban riots, the gendered presentation of self, and the prisoner's dilemma.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: David Strang (ds20)
Full details for SOC 1290 : American Society through Film
SOC 2030 Population and Public Policy

Population and Public Policy exposes students to the logic and skills of demographic research and policy analysis. The course emphasizes the nature, collection, and interpretation of demographic data, the application of demographic techniques, the major components (i.e., fertility, mortality, and migration) of national and global population change, and contemporary population problems (e.g., population aging, teen childbearing, the rise in non-marital childbearing, immigrant adaptation). The course also emphasizes public policies that can influence demographic change. The format primarily involves lectures and class discussion. Students are expected to attend each class and be prepared to discuss assigned materials.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Sharon Sassler (ss589)
Full details for SOC 2030 : Population and Public Policy
SOC 2190 Introduction to Economic Sociology

Economic sociology extends the sociological approach to the study of the economy. The goal is to understand the relationship between social structure and economic action. We explore how people find jobs, rely on networks to share knowledge and information, acquire and utilize cultural, social and political capital, why individual actors cooperate with strangers; and the question of rational action in economic life. At the macro-level, the course addresses the question of why and how institutions enable, motivate and guide economic action; the social dynamics of institutional change; and explore the role of norms and networks in the capitalism of the United States and China.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Victor Nee (vgn1)
Full details for SOC 2190 : Introduction to Economic Sociology
SOC 2202 Population Dynamics

Introduction to population studies. The primary focus is on the relationships between demographic processes (fertility, mortality, and immigration) and social and economic issues. Discussion covers special topics related to population growth and spatial distribution, including marriage and family formation, population aging, changing roles and statuses of women, labor force participation, immigrations, urban growth and urbanization, resource allocation, and the environment.

Distribution: (CA-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Alaka Basu (ab54)
Full details for SOC 2202 : Population Dynamics
SOC 2208 Social Inequality

This course reviews contemporary approaches to understanding social inequality and the processes by which it comes to be seen as legitimate, natural, or desirable. We address questions of the following kind: what are the major forms of stratification in human history? Are inequality and poverty inevitable? How many social classes are there in advanced industrialism societies? Is there a "ruling class"? Are lifestyles, attitudes, and personalities shaped fundamentally by class membership? Can individuals born into poverty readily escape their class origins and move upward in the class structure? Are social contacts and "luck" important forces in matching individuals to jobs and class positions? What types of social processes serve to maintain and alter racial, ethnic, and gender discrimination in labor markets? Is there an "underclass"? These and other questions are addressed in light of classical and contemporary theory and research.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SCD-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Kim Weeden (kw74)
Full details for SOC 2208 : Social Inequality
SOC 2580 Six Pretty Good Books: Explorations in Social Science

This course is modeled after "Great Books" literature courses in the humanities, but with two important differences: we read non-fiction books in the social sciences rather than the humanities, written by highly prominent contemporary social scientists. The course title refers to the fact that the books are new, hence their potential greatness has yet to be confirmed by the test of time. We choose living authors to give students a unique opportunity: to interact with each of the six authors in Q&A sessions in person or via video conferencing. This fall some of the authors will appear in person for Q&A and the others will Skype with the class.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Stephen Ceci (sjc9)
Michael Macy (mwm14)
Full details for SOC 2580 : Six Pretty Good Books: Explorations in Social Science
SOC 2650 Latinos in the United States

Exploration and analysis of the Hispanic experience in the United States. Examines the sociohistorical background and economic, psychological, and political factors that converge to shape a Latino group identity in the United States. Perspectives are suggested and developed for understanding Hispanic migrations, the plight of Latinos in urban and rural areas, and the unique problems faced by the diverse Latino groups. Groups studied include Mexican Americans, Dominicans, Cubans, and Puerto Ricans.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SCD-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Hector Velez (hv13)
Full details for SOC 2650 : Latinos in the United States
SOC 2710 America's Promise: Social and Political Context of American Education

This course is a blending of the Sociology of Education and Public Policy. Front and center in this course is the question of why consistent differential educational and economic outcomes exists in American society. We explore the broad sociological functions of schooling (socialization, sorting, caretaking, training) as well as local, state, and federal policies and court decisions.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: John Sipple (jws28)
Full details for SOC 2710 : America's Promise: Social and Political Context of American Education
SOC 2810 Migration: Histories, Controversies, and Perspectives

This introductory course introduces students to issues and debates related to international migration and will provide an interdisciplinary foundation to understanding the factors that shape migration flows and migrant experiences.  We will start by reviewing theories of the state and historical examples of immigrant racialization and exclusion in the United States and beyond.  We will critically examine the notions of borders, citizenship/non-citizenship, and the creation of diasporas.  Students will also hear a range of perspectives by exposing them to Cornell guest faculty who do research and teach on migration across different disciplines and methodologies and in different world areas. Examples include demographic researchers concerned with immigrant inequality and family formation, geographic perspectives on the changing landscapes of immigrant metropolises, legal scholarship on the rights of immigrant workers, and the study of immigrant culture from a feminist studies lens.  Offered each fall semester.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Shannon Gleeson (smg338)
Full details for SOC 2810 : Migration: Histories, Controversies, and Perspectives
SOC 3060 High Tech Regions in Comparative Perspectives
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Joseph Sullivan (jfs325)
Full details for SOC 3060 : High Tech Regions in Comparative Perspectives
SOC 3150 Research Design, Practice, and Policy

Examines systematic approaches for addressing questions about poverty, family life, racial inequality, and a range of other issues central to public policy. It emphasizes the logic and methods of social science research, including the measurement of social phenomena, generalizing results to groups of interest, establishing cause and effect, social experiments, survey research, and qualitative methods. It develops skills to critically evaluate the research of others and provides hands-on experience applying research methods to policy-related problems.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: William Trochim (wmt1)
Full details for SOC 3150 : Research Design, Practice, and Policy
SOC 3240 Environmental Sociology

Humans have fraught relationships with the animals, plants, land, water—even geological processes—around us. We come together to revere, conserve, protect the things many call nature. We struggle over who gets to use what, which resources to use or to keep intact, which scientific claims are true and worthy of action. Every environmental concern is on some level a social concern, and more social concerns than we often realize are environmental concerns. In this course, we will examine how people make and respond to environmental change and how groups of people form, express, fight over, and work out environmental concerns. We will consider how population change, economic activity, government action, social movements, and changing ways of thinking shape human-environmental relationships. The fundamental goal of this course is to give you knowledge, analytical tools, and expressive skills that make you confident to address environmental concerns as a social scientist and a citizen. 

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: John Zinda (jaz65)
Full details for SOC 3240 : Environmental Sociology
SOC 3570 Schooling, Racial Inequality, and Public Policy in America

After examining alternative explanations for why individuals obtain different amounts and types of educational training, the course focuses on how an individual's family background and race affect his or her trajectory through the educational system. The course covers the specific challenges that have confronted urban schooling in America since the 1960s, including the classic literature on the effects of school and community resources on student achievement as well as the development and later evaluation of school desegregation policies. The course also considers case studies of current policy debates in the US, such as housing segregation and school resegregation, voucher programs for school choice, the motivation for the consequences of the establishment of state-mandated testing requirements, and the prospects of charter schooling.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SCD-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Steven Alvarado (sa792)
Full details for SOC 3570 : Schooling, Racial Inequality, and Public Policy in America
SOC 3580 Big Data on the Social World

This course showcases frontier research that uses big data and graphical analysis to understand our social world. Topics include inequality and opportunity, success in higher education, the gender wage gap, taxing the rich, Chinese censorship, the spread of false news, online dating, and other issues relevant to contemporary society. Although this is not a statistical methods course, prior training in data science (e.g., CS 1380/ORIE 1380/STSCI 1380) or quantitative methods for the social sciences is highly recommended.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SDS-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Cristobal Young (cy469)
Full details for SOC 3580 : Big Data on the Social World
SOC 3680 Comparative Corruption

Corruption, and the perception of corruption, pervades many aspects of society and has become a source of political protest around the world. This course focuses on the similarities and differences between forms, causes, and effects of corruption in various environments. The course starts with a discussion of the definitions, causes, and effects of corruption across countries, and then turns to particular forms and contexts where corruption is observed: for example, developed and developing countries, conflict-ridden societies, and international investment. We will also discuss some of the potential solutions to corruption and their costs and benefits for political and civil society.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, GLC-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Patricia Young (pty6)
Full details for SOC 3680 : Comparative Corruption
SOC 3710 Comparative Social Inequalities

This course offers a sociological understanding of social inequality and the social construction of difference. Designed from the perspective of comparative historical analysis, we will examine the ways in which class, gender, race/ethnicity, religion, and sexuality differences work across place and time within a shared set of global dynamics. The course will pay special attention to how difference is constructed, institutionalized, and experienced. Thus, the course will not only address inequality based on economic and labor relations, but also emphasize complicated notions of difference and identity to offer an analysis that links inequality to power and forms of rule.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SCD-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Parfait Eloundou-Enyegue (pme7)
Full details for SOC 3710 : Comparative Social Inequalities
SOC 3750 Classical Sociological Theory

Introduction to the classics in sociology, primarily works by Karl Marx, Max Weber, Emile Durkheim, and Georg Simmel. Students also study the works of Alexis de Tocqueville, Montesquieu, and Joseph Schumpeter. Special emphasis is put on the concepts, ideas, and modes of explanation that characterize the classics. Students also look at these writers' empirical material, and what may be termed the social construction of the classics. Course requirements include active class participation and three tests in class.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Mabel Berezin (mmb39)
Full details for SOC 3750 : Classical Sociological Theory
SOC 4010 Diasporic and Indigenous Health

Rates of chronic disease and other health conditions, including mental illness and substance use disorders, have surged over the past three decades, owing largely to structural factors associated with the fragmentation of national healthcare systems, diminished social support networks, and government subsidization of unhealthy foods and hazardous pharmaceuticals. These issues are especially amplified in ethnoracial communities: for example, Blacks and Latinos typically have higher rates of disease in comparison to their non-Black counterparts, even after adjusting for factors such as income and education level. This course investigates the complex political, economic and cultural forces which contribute to health inequities. Students will be exposed to case studies throughout various diasporas—from Harlem to Cape Town—to understand the intricate ways in which race and health interact.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Jerel Ezell (jme246)
Full details for SOC 4010 : Diasporic and Indigenous Health
SOC 4120 Health and Social Context

This course examines how the social world gets "under the skin." We'll examine the associations between various aspects of social context – including stratification and inequality, social networks and support, and social environments – and physical health. There are two main components of this course. First, we'll read and discuss previous research on the health effects of social status, patient-physician interactions, employment/work, stress, social networks, social support, loneliness, culture and religion, and the neighborhood context. We'll consider both qualitative and quantitative research on social life and health, with an eye toward identifying the strengths and weaknesses of various methodological approaches and gaps in current knowledge. The second component of this course is focused on the development of your own research regarding the relationship between social context and health. You'll explore this using data from a population-based social survey. Class instruction for this portion of the course will cover research question development, the statistical analysis of survey data, and social scientific writing. Three research reports written during the semester will provide you with a foundation from which you will write and present a final paper that considers how health is shaped by the social world.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SCD-AS, SDS-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Erin York Cornwell (eyc46)
Full details for SOC 4120 : Health and Social Context
SOC 4160 The Ethnography of Poverty and Inequality

This course explores poverty and inequality in American society through the lens of ethnographic and other field-based research. We will read classic and contemporary texts which have shaped our understanding of how social inequality and exclusion constrain people's daily lives and how groups develop innovative responses to these constraints.

Distribution: (SBA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Maureen Waller (mrw37)
Full details for SOC 4160 : The Ethnography of Poverty and Inequality
SOC 4330 Seminar in Economy and Society

Economic sociology extends the sociological perspective to the study economic life. The seminar examines the view that social networks, norms, beliefs and rules motivate and enable economic action in market and nonmarket settings. It integrates the study of ideas and theory in economic sociology with a practicum providing training in the craft of research. Designed for advanced undergraduates interesting in research and graduate students who seek training in economic sociology, the seminar offers a year-long workshop environment enabling and guiding independent and collaborative research.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Victor Nee (vgn1)
Full details for SOC 4330 : Seminar in Economy and Society
SOC 4580 The Science of Social Behavior

This is a capstone seminar for seniors who are interested in graduate or professional study in scientific disciplines that focus on human behavior and social interaction. The intent is to provide seniors with an opportunity to summon, integrate, and apply insights that they have acquired over the course of their undergraduate education, and give prospective graduate students the opportunity to lead discussions in a large introductory lecture course, "Six Pretty Good Books" (HD/ILRLR/SOC 2580). Each seminar member is part of a two or three-person team that leads the discussion together, under the supervision of a graduate teaching assistant. Seminar meetings are devoted to building lesson plans for leading an effective discussion of each of the six books. The authors vary from year to year but include Malcolm Gladwell, Michelle Alexander, Nate Silver, and Nicholas Christakis. All authors have agreed to participate in a "Q&A" session with the students which seminar members are required to attend. The course meets Cornell's SBA distribution requirement.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Stephen Ceci (sjc9)
Michael Macy (mwm14)
Full details for SOC 4580 : The Science of Social Behavior
SOC 4910 Independent Study

This is for undergraduates who wish to obtain research experience or to do extensive reading on a special topic.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Kendra Bischoff (kb536)
Full details for SOC 4910 : Independent Study
SOC 4950 Honors Research

Students choose a sociology faculty member to work with on research to write an honors thesis. Candidates for honors must maintain a cumulative GPA at least an A- in all sociology classes.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Kendra Bischoff (kb536)
Full details for SOC 4950 : Honors Research
SOC 4960 Honors Thesis: Senior Year

Continuation of SOC 4950.  Continue to work with honors supervisor and work on and write an honors thesis.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Kendra Bischoff (kb536)
Full details for SOC 4960 : Honors Thesis: Senior Year
SOC 5020 Basic Problems in Sociology II

Continuation of SOC 5010. Emphasis is on the logical analysis of theoretical perspectives, theories, and theoretical research programs shaping current sociological research. The course includes an introduction to basic concepts used in the logical analysis of theories and examines their application to specific theories and theoretical research programs. Theoretical perspectives include functionalism, social exchange, and interactionism.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Benjamin Cornwell (btc49)
Full details for SOC 5020 : Basic Problems in Sociology II
SOC 5400 Organizational Research

This seminar focuses on contemporary sociological research on organizations. It centers theoretically on the interplay of institutional, ecological, and choice-theoretic accounts of organizational structure and action. Subjects include organizational founding and mortality, change in organizational practices over time, the relationship between organizations and their legal, social, and cultural environment, and stratification and mobility within organizations.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: David Strang (ds20)
Full details for SOC 5400 : Organizational Research
SOC 5710 America's Promise: Social and Political Context of American Education

Examines the goals, roles, inputs, and outcomes of schooling in American society, and the policy environment in which schools operate. Analyzes controversies and tensions (e.g., equity, market forces, state control) surrounding public education at local, state, and federal levels. Includes current and historical, urban, and rural issues and problems.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: John Sipple (jws28)
Full details for SOC 5710 : America's Promise: Social and Political Context of American Education
SOC 6000 Doing Research With Marginalized Populations

This course covers the basic epistemology for social sciences research, integrating an explicit focus on applied mixed methods approaches (quantitative and qualitative) for conducting original "real world" research on humans. While these cognates will be approached theoretically, the course's primary concentration will be on the praxis of quantifying and contextualizing the experiences, attitudes, and social/health outcomes of historically marginalized and "hidden" populations, including people who are Black, Latino and indigenous, LGBTQ+, and individuals with a disability, mental illness or substance use disorder, with an intersectional lens. While not offering an exhaustive review of individual quantitative or qualitative methodologies, students will learn the fundamentals of curating a substantive research framework on marginalized and hidden populations, ethically engaging and recruiting people into their studies, collecting and analyzing data, and meaningfully disseminating research findings. 

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Jerel Ezell (jme246)
Full details for SOC 6000 : Doing Research With Marginalized Populations
SOC 6020 Intermediate Statistics for Sociological Research

This course provides the second part of a two-semester introduction to quantitative methods in sociological research. It is designed for first-year graduate students in sociology. The course covers intermediate topics in linear regression, and provides an introduction to models for categorical and count data, the analysis of time data, and longitudinal data. We'll also discuss data-related issues such as missing data and weighting, and data that are complicated by issues of non-random design. While statistical modeling is the focus of the course, we proceed with the assumption that models are only as good as the theoretical and substantive knowledge behind them. Thus, in covering the technical material, we will spend considerable time discussing the link between substantive knowledge and statistical practice.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Vida Maralani (vm343)
Full details for SOC 6020 : Intermediate Statistics for Sociological Research
SOC 6030 Graduate Research Practicum

This course is designed to assist the student's professional development on a "learning by doing and feedback" basis. The course is organized around presentation and discussion of ongoing research projects. The course is suitable for second and third year students who are writing or expanding their qualifying papers and for advanced graduate students who have dissertation results to share, as well as a venue for independent research pursued by individual or collaborating students. Weekly meetings are typically organized around a student paper draft distributed to the group. As a general rule the course welcomes auditors and all members of the sociology community interested in the variety of research being pursued at Cornell, though participation is with the permission of the instructor(s). In most semesters, two faculty members will jointly lead the course.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Cristobal Young (cy469)
Full details for SOC 6030 : Graduate Research Practicum
SOC 6080 Proseminar in Sociology

Discussion of the current state of sociology and of the research interests of members of the graduate field; taught by all members of the field.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Erin York Cornwell (eyc46)
Full details for SOC 6080 : Proseminar in Sociology
SOC 6110 Social Networks Theory and Applications

Social Network Analysis (SNA), or the mathematical analysis of webs of relationships, is a thriving part of sociology and an active research area for numerous other disciplines. This course is intended to introduce students to the basics of SNA and help them apply it to a variety of research questions. We will discuss the theoretical underpinnings of the area, basic concepts used in SNA analyses, and finally methods for describing and interpreting network data. At the completion of this course students should have a basic understanding of social networks and be able to carry out a variety analyses on their own.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Barum Park (bp522)
Full details for SOC 6110 : Social Networks Theory and Applications
SOC 6250 Gender, Sexuality and Religion
Academic Career: GR Instructor: Landon Schnabel (ls964)
Full details for SOC 6250 : Gender, Sexuality and Religion
SOC 6300 Cultural Sociology
Academic Career: GR Instructor: Mabel Berezin (mmb39)
Full details for SOC 6300 : Cultural Sociology
SOC 6450 Neighborhoods, Schools and Education

This course will examine the literature on social context effects on educational outcomes in the United States. Specifically, students will learn how residential neighborhoods, schools, and peer networks independently affect educational outcomes as well as explore the connections between these spheres of influence. The class will provide an overview of the most robust findings on educational outcomes such as ability scores, school dropout, and college application and enrollment. Students will also apply the major lessons from the literature to their own empirical  assessment of an educational outcome of their choice.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Steven Alvarado (sa792)
Full details for SOC 6450 : Neighborhoods, Schools and Education
SOC 6910 Independent Study

For graduates who wish to obtain research experience or to do extensive reading on a special topic. Permission to enroll for independent study is granted only to students who present an acceptable prospectus and secure the agreement of a faculty member to serve as supervisor for the project throughout the semester.

Academic Career: GR Full details for SOC 6910 : Independent Study
SOC 8920 Graduate Research

Work with a faculty member on a project that is related to your dissertation work.

Academic Career: GR Full details for SOC 8920 : Graduate Research
SOC 8960 Thesis Research

Work with chair of your committee on your dissertation work.

Academic Career: GR Full details for SOC 8960 : Thesis Research