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        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. Spring 2022 courses include:

      • Contemporary Sociological Theory, GSOC 5061
        Benoit Challand, Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of Graduate Studies

        This course offers an introduction to influential ways of thinking sociologically that emerged in the 20th and 21st centuries, and which develop on, and transform, original themes of the foundational period of “classical sociology”. Away from positivism and holism, interpretivist contemporary theories shed new light on the micro-foundations of “society” and of the self, with a growing attention to gender, race, fluid identity, questions of social reproduction and ecology. The course covers American and Continental sociological theory, as well as critical race and postcolonial theory. Overall, the course equips students with the ability to critically analyze contemporary sociological texts with a particular focus on how these texts apply theoretical frameworks to pressing issues of our time.

      • Historical Sociology, GSOC 5102
        Andrew Arato, Dorothy Hart Hirshon Professor of Political and Social Theory

        Studying history and thinking historically have been sources of inspirations for sociologists of theory building and theory elaboration, since the days of Max Weber. Great thinkers in sociology have always combined their analysis of contemporary societies with that of history. This course gives an introduction to historical approaches in contemporary sociology. Students are encouraged to read the assigned readings, not simply to analyze them as completed works, but to find inspirations for developing their own future research projects. In other words, this introductory seminar intends to help students not to become “consumers of theories,” but to develop the abilities to make their own theoretical elaboration through engaging original historically-informed research projects. For this purpose, these reading materials include diverse approaches to history.

      • Gender and Global Capitalism, GSOC 5205
        Laura Y Liu, Associate Professor of Global Studies and Geography

      • Discourse Analysis: Theories and Methods, GSOC 6142
        Robin Wagner-Pacifici, University Professor

        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.

      • Colonialism, Modernity and Their Afterlives: Perspectives from Central Core & Peripheral Fringe, GSOC 6239
        Carlos Forment, Associate Professor of Sociology

        This seminar introduces students to some of the most influential interpretations of colonialism (broadly understood) that have been advanced by thinkers in different intellectual-political traditions from across the central core and peripheral fringe. Studying the writings of Anglo-European authors (i.e.: uneven and combined development, imperialism, southern question, global color line, boomerang effect) alongside those of their Latin American, Indian and Pan-African counterparts (i.e.: nationalism, dependency, subaltern, post-colonial, de-colonial feminism) provides an opportunity to explore their many shared and divergent concerns as well as some of the subterranean continuities and discontinuities that have defined the boundaries of the age-old dispute on colonialism. In examining their writings, we focus on how each thinker analyzed the material and symbolic links between colonialism and modernity (i.e.: capitalism, liberal democracy, rational and universal principles), and the way their interpretation of them conditioned their depiction of and the differential hierarchies they established among and between countries, peoples, institutions and practices of the Global North and South. The purpose of this exercise, however, is not to ‘provincialize,’ ‘universalize’ or ‘particularize’ any one aspect or either region, as is commonly done by scholars today. Instead, it is to encourage us to reflect critically on the following two questions (and others closely related to them): A) does the anti-colonial perspective provide a convincing counter-narrative of the emergence and development of modernity (capitalism, liberal democracy, rational and universal principles), and is it capable of challenging the image it has of itself? and B) what are the consequences of relying on a ‘concept-interpretation’ that has been developed to analyze a specific issue or problem that surfaced in a given ‘place-time’ to make sense of a similar but somewhat different socio-political-cultural formation?

      • The Sociology of Max Weber, GSOC 6255
        Andrew Arato, Dorothy Hart Hirshon Professor of Political and Social Theory

        "The course will attempt a comprehensive survey of the sociology of Weber with a primary focus on his comparative and historical political sociology. We will discuss his writings on method first, followed by a study of major themes of his magnum opus, Economy and Society. The bulk of our readings and discussions however will concentrate on the reconstruction of Weber’s large scale civilizational studies each concentrating on a world religion (Confucianism, Hinduism, Ancient Judaism, Protestantism and the fragments on Islam). In each case comparisons with other major authors will be made. We will analyze in detail major Weberian concepts such as domination, rationalization, secularization, and legitimation. Here, we will be interested in his debate with Marx, his dialogues with Toennies, and Simmel as well as his influence on thinkers such as Lukacs, W.E.B. Dubois, Marcuse, and Habermas Students will be encouraged to produce a sustained study and reconstruction of one major Weberian text, possibly drawing out in light of contemporary scholarship its deficiencies, potential contributions or both."

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