Summer 2024 Courses

SOC 1101 – Introduction to Sociology 

Instructor: Jaeun Lim

June 24 - July 12, Online (async)

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.

SOC 1104/AMST 1104 – Race and Ethnicity in the United States: Social Constructs, Real World Consequences 

Instructor: Katherine Zaslavsky

June 3 -21, Online (async)

June 24 - July 12, Online (async)

This course will examine race and ethnic relations between Whites, Blacks, Latinos, and Asians in the United States. The goal of this course is for students to understand how the history of race and ethnicity in the U.S. affects opportunity structures in, for example, education, employment, housing, and health. Through this course students will gain a better understanding of how race and ethnicity stratifies the lives of individuals in the U.S.

SOC 2090/ECON 2040 – Networks 

Instructor: Anna Ectushenko

June 3 - 21, Online (async)

This interdisciplinary course examines network structures and how they matter in everyday life. The course examines how each of the computing, economic, sociological and natural worlds are connected and how the structure of these connections affects each of these worlds. Tools of graph theory and game theory are taught and then used to analyze networks. Topics covered include the web, the small world phenomenon, markets, neural networks, contagion, search and the evolution of networks.

SOC 2380 – Media and Society 

Instructor: Reid Ralston

June 24 - July 12, Online (async) 

This course will examine the intersections of media, culture, and society. The goal of this course is for students to apply a sociological perspective to the production, content, and reception of various forms of media such as the news, television, film, social media, etc. Through this course students will gain a broad understanding of the role of media in our lives and engage in topics such as the social and power dynamics of the media, issues of consumption and status, the production and social organization of media, and representation in the media.

SOC 3620/ PUBPOL 3620 – Population Controversies Europe - (taught in Turin)

Instructors: Matt Hall, Sharon Sassler, and Laura Tach 

May 28 - June 14, In-person, 9:30am-12:30pm

Population problems are central to societal change in numerous areas- inequality, immigration and diversity, race relations, family life, health and aging, and social welfare systems. This class explores the causes and consequences of population change, paying particular attention to how population processes interact with the social, economic, and political context in which they play out. Particular attention will be paid to contemporary debates unfolding in Europe, how population “problems” are defined, and the policies intended to solve them. 

Outcome 1: Develop cognitive skill: increase understanding of social scientific perspectives on the causes and consequences of population change. Evaluate models of explanations for population changing, including fertility and family building, migration and immigration, morbidity and mortality, and aging, comparing the United States with European countries, and drawing from approaches in demography, sociology, and economics.

Outcome 2: Evaluate current social and political processes: critically assess existing policies on immigration and immigrant adaptation, family well-being, Poverty, aging, and work-family balance, and develop empirical and cost/benefit tools to evaluate their impacts.

Outcome 3: Collect and analyze data: assignments require use and examination of census data from across different countries, and uses basic descriptive statistical tools.

Outcome 4: Improve professional writing skills: assignments require writing oriented toward professional audiences, including demographic descriptions, a comparative paper, and a policy brief.

Outcome 5: Develop interpersonal skills: group discussions; group-based presentation of supplemental reading increase oral communication and interpersonal relationship skills.

SOC 3740 – Analyzing Complex Data Structures: network, spatial, multilevel, and text data 

Instructor: Ben Rosche

June 3 - 21, Online (sync): M-F 8:30-9:50am and M-F 1-2:20pm

Not only the world but also data about the world is becoming increasingly complex. Examples of complex data structures include network data that represent connections among individuals (e.g., friends on social media platforms), spatial data that represents geolocations (e.g., smartphone location data), data collected at multiple levels (e.g., employees in organizations), and text data (e.g., interviews, speeches, online comments).
These data structures pose several interesting challenges in how to extract meaningful and actionable knowledge from them. This course aims to provide students with a comprehensive set of tools for extracting knowledge from complex data structures: from forming research questions, over preparing and analyzing the data, to reporting and visualizing conclusions.
This course takes a "learning by doing" approach with lectures in the morning in which students will learn about the unique challenges of each type of data and ways to analyze them appropriately. In the afternoon, students will apply this knowledge in lab sessions to gain hands-on experience. Topics include an introduction to R and the tidyverse, network formation and effect models, spatial regression models, multilevel models, and natural language processing.
In the beginning, students will choose a dataset (several options are provided) and then develop and examine their own research questions. Lab sessions and homework are designed such that students can work on their own datasets and research questions to complete the exercises. Lab sessions and homework thus naturally culminate in a final report. In this way, students experience the full process of data science: from research question to final report.

SOC 4780/ ASRC 4606 – Family and Society in Africa

Instructor: N'Dri Assie-Lumumba 

June 3 - 21, In-person: M-F 11am-12pm and M-F 1-3:35pm/ Uris Hall G24

The family, as a social institution, is structured according to historical, socio-economic, political, and cultural factors. Course topics include the concepts of the nuclear and extended family, the roles, rights and obligations of different age groups and generations; and marriage and its related issues, including parenthood, childrearing, and gender roles. Other issues examined are reproductive health, family planning, sexuality and fertility (particularly during adolescence), family codes, and legal implications. The course deals also with structural change and continuity, the impact of westernization, urbanization, formal education, and the contemporary economy on the structure and challenges of the family in Africa. Finally, the legacy of African family values and traditions in the African Diaspora, with a focus on the African-American experience, is discussed.