Courses Offered

photo of students talking on a walkway at York surrounded by Autumn colours

Summer 2017

Letters of permission to enrol in these courses will not be granted until April 1, 2017.

SOCI 6090 3.0A: Selected Topics in Empirical Methods

Instructor: Professor Himani Bannerji
Course Title: Selected Topics in Empirical Methods: Rethinking the Empirical: Conducting Inquiry Through Institutional Ethnography and Social Organization of Knowledge
Date: May 1, 2017 - June 12, 2017
Time: Mondays/Wednesdays 4:00-7:00
Room: S202 Ross Building
Course Outline:  SOCI 6090 3.0A (.pdf)

This course offers a method of inquiry from an anti-racist, feminist and historical materialist perspective. It reads the notion of the 'empirical' in terms of material organization of the social including the various ways of knowing it. Its purpose is to devise a critical epistemology with a historical purview and the complex and multiple social relations and forms of consciousness that are imbricated in the phenomena we call 'empirical'. The method of inquiry that results from this is meant to challenge research that either skips over the concrete aspects of the empirical phenomena or treats their formative moments separately adding up to 'intersectionality'.

Reading material will consist of the writings of Dorothy Smith, feminist, anti-racist critical theorists and Marx's critique of ideology.

Evaluation will consist of at least one assignment taking into account the critical standpoint of the course and some response papers on the required readings and the presentations in the class.

SOCI 6200 3.0A: Contemporary Topics in Social Theory

Instructor: Professor Harris Ali
Course Title: Contemporary Topics in Social Theory: Exploring the Dark Side of Late Modernity
Date: May 2, 2017 - June 8, 2017
Time: Tuesdays/Thursdays 11:30-2:30
Room: S202 Ross Building

This course will examine those sociological perspectives involved in the analysis of some of the key social processes that are integral to life in late modernity. These inter-related social processes serve to establish the social and political context for late modernity and include such specific processes as: globalization, urbanization, neoliberalization, digitalization and securitization. We will explore the issues and implications arising from understanding how the intensification of these processes over the last few decades have resulted in new and vexing issues for sociology, particularly in relation to: the changing nature of the environment-society relationship in an age of peak oil and global climate change; the changing relationship between rurality and the urban in a world in which for the first time over half the population lives in cities; the changing relationship between the economy and society in a post-Fordist, neoliberal era and the changing nature of social control and intensified securitization and surveillance in a post-911 era characterized by hyper-vigilance and heightened fear of the other. In particular, questions and issues examined in this context will include: how new forms of inequality have developed and the implications these have had for identity politics and social control in the contemporary era, especially in related to the real and perceived risks of all kind we face today in an epoch defined by crisis politics. To address such concerns we will consider numerous perspectives that draw from various strands of the sociological and social scientific literature on late modernity, including the work of Ulrich Beck and Anthony Giddens on risk and reflexive modernization, John Urry on the new mobility paradigm, Saskia Sassen on global cities, Manuel Castells on the networked society; Duncan Watts and others on network and complexity theory, Zygmunt Bauman on liquid modernity, Bruno Latour on Actor-Network Theory, Michel Foucault on social control and governance, David Lyon on the surveillance society, Naomi Klein on disaster capitalism and the work of various environmental sociologists on critical realism and social constructionism.

SOCI 6664 3.0A: Economic Sociology - CANCELLED

Instructor: Professor Norene Pupo
Course Title: Economic Sociology
Date: May 1, 2017 - June 12, 2017
Time: Mondays/Wednesdays 11:30-2:30
Room: S202 Ross Building

THIS COURSE HAS BEEN CANCELLED.

 

Fall/Winter 2017-2018

Letters of permission to enrol in methods courses will not be granted until July 1, 2017.

Workshop Requirement

Instructor: Graduate Director
Time: Mondays  11:30-2:30
Room: Sociology Common Room, 2101 Vari Hall

All incoming MA, PhD and advancing MA to PhD students are required to meet the program workshop requirement. The workshop will not count as a course which can meet any of the course requirements. In order to meet the workshop requirement, students must attend a minimum of twelve workshop sessions over the course of their degree program. Of these twelve, a minimum of two must be from the professional orientation sessions. PhD students who advance from the Graduate Program in Sociology at York and who have already completed the MA workshop requirement, will be expected to attend two of the designated PhD sessions in order to fulfil this requirement at the PhD level.

Sessions will be held weekly. In order to maximize their usefulness and to allow for flexibly coordinating relevant topics with the rhythms of the academic term, the intellectual and professional orientation sessions will be interspersed over the course of the year. It is anticipated that the sessions will be divided into about one-third professional and two-thirds intellectual orientation.

SOCI 5901 3.0A (F)—Key Debates in Sociological Theory (MA sociology students only)

Instructor: Fuyuki Kurasawa
Time: T 11:30-2:30
Room: N836A Ross Building

Course Description
*this course is open only to MA sociology students

This course, designed for M.A. students in the Graduate Program in Sociology, consists of a survey of some of key questions, paradigms, and concepts in sociological theory, with a specific emphasis on critical modes of theorizing. Rather than adopting a conventionally chronological structure in the mold of a history of ideas (from classical to contemporary theory), the course is designed thematically around a series of core debates and oppositions that have defined—and continue to define—the field of critical sociological theory. As such, the course is organized around three central themes:

  1. meta-theoretical debates, about the character of theory, how to understand theoretical knowledge, and the constitution of a field or object of study known as ‘sociological theory’;
  2. paradigmatic debates, about the various theoretical paradigms, intellectual currents or schools of thought that have formed through relations of conflict and complementarity amongst each other within critical sociology;
  3. conceptual debates, about which sociological concepts and notions are suited to describe, analyze, and produce a critique of the various dimensions of the social.

At the conclusion of the course, students should be conversant with these three dimensions of sociological theory and, therefore, be able to locate and map out a variety of positions within the theoretical field.

SOCI 5995 3.0A (F)—M.A. Seminar (MA sociology students only)

Instructor: Kathy Bischoping
Time: R 11:30-2:30
Room: N836 Ross Building

Course Description
*this course is open only to MA sociology students

This seminar is a “hands-on” workshop for MA students in Sociology. Based on a cohort model, it provides a supportive peer environment that is designed to help students acquire the knowledge and skills needed to successfully negotiate the transition from undergraduate to graduate education.
The major task of this course is the development of the MA Thesis or Research Review Paper (RRP) proposal. Through a series of small assignments and opportunities for presentation and discussion, students will work to develop a clear, feasible, and intellectually engaging proposal. The objective is to focus on the process of scholarly inquiry and acquiring the necessary skills to effectively facilitate that process. Formulating a question, situating research in the literature, finding, using and evaluating sources, and presenting coherent arguments--such are the issues to be covered.

Writing a thesis or Research Review Paper (RRP) can be an isolating experience; comparing approaches, exchanging advice, and learning about the work of your peers helps to reduce the confusion and anxiety often encountered by writers at any level. Indeed, collegiality and intellectual exchange are at the heart of any academic seminar, and those can be the most rewarding aspects of this course.

In the final weeks of the course, the emphasis will be on oral presentation skills and understanding the conventions through which scholarly work is presented. Students will present their research proposals in a simulated conference setting and will prepare a formal commentary on the work of their colleagues.

Format
This course is organized as a graduate seminar; students are expected to attend all classes. Given the process-based and collaborative focus, active and engaged participation is central to its success.

We will have some formal lecture time but the emphasis will be on interaction, discussion, and presentation. The purpose here is to provide students with ample opportunities to discuss the progress and problems they are encountering in their MA projects. In this way, the seminar encourages students to think about what it means to write for others, whether for a class, for a discipline, or for a much broader community.

Readings
Empirical examples and exemplars, "how to" articles--as well scholarship relevant to student's research interests and their own "works-in-progress"--will be used to highlight substantive and practical matters related to the research and writing process.
The readings will be in the form of books, chapters from books, handouts, and journal articles. They will either be distributed in class or made available for download from Moodle or the library.

Specific Objectives

  • assist students in the selection of a research topic; the formulation of specific research questions; and the development of a conceptual framework;
  • facilitate the development of the major MA project, with a focus on preparation of the MA thesis or RRP proposal;
  • encourage the development of oral presentation and commentary skills for appropriate academic presentations (conferences and seminars);
  • develop awareness of the academic research and writing process and of the nature of sociological scholarship;
  • strengthen academic skills, including the ability to review and synthesize relevant theory and research findings.

SOCI 6060 3.0A (F)—Qualitative Methods

Instructor: Amber Gazso
Time: W 8:30-11:30
Room: S202 Ross Building

Course Description

This course is intended to introduce students to a range of methods currently being used in sociological field research. It will include interviewing techniques, content analysis and selected ethnographic techniques. Instruction will be through demonstration, role-playing and field study experience, as well as the critical reading of selected texts.

SOCI 6090 3.0M (W)—Selected Topics in Empirical Methods: Historical Methods

Instructor: Andy Dawson
Time: F 11:30-2:30
Room: S156 Ross Building

Course Description

Comparative historical methods have a long tradition within sociology. Sociologists such as Karl Marx, Max Weber, Theda Skocpol, Immanuel Wallerstein, Charles Tilly and Michael Mann (to name but a few) have relied on comparative historical methods to advance their propositions about society. Analyses using comparative historical methods have produced some of the most provocative and well-known works within the social sciences. The course will consider the methods behind the claims made in the comparative historical research tradition. We will review the dominant methodological techniques in the field and will also analyze the methodological foundations of some of its major works. The objective of this course is to provide students with the tools to transform comparative historical data into cogent sociological arguments and to craft a research proposal using comparative historical methods for MA or PhD research.

SOCI 6112 6.0A (Y)—Quantitative Analysis

Instructor: Mike Ornstein
Time: R 2:30-5:30
Room: S501 Ross Building

Course Description

This course is designed to teach the skills to write a journal article, thesis or dissertation using quantitative social data. The regression models covered in this course are the standard analytical tool of contemporary quantitative social research, an essential element of a broad knowledge of quantitative methods, a pre-requisite for reading and evaluating published empirical research and the basis of more advanced methods, including structural equation models and models for longitudinal and hierarchical data.

The course incorporates many examples from across the social sciences, emphasizing survey data. Data analysis is approached as a craft that combines statistics, an understanding of social science data and their limits, a feeling for the translation of theoretical questions into models and the ability to interpret and write about analytical results.

The fall term provides a rapid review of elementary statistics and teaches basic data management and statistical computing using Stata. The main part of the course covers regression models, beginning with a detailed discussion of ordinary least squares regression, then considering models for categorical and count data.The course requires three graded assignments and two drafts of paper based on a dataset in students area of research.

Course Syllabus (.pdf)

SOCI 6180 3.0M (W)—Sex and Gender in Social Theory

Instructor: Amber Gazso
Time: W 8:30-11:30
Room: S801 Ross Building

Course Description

At one time, sociology made clear distinctions between sex and gender. Sex was understood as biological and gender as social. Today there are multiple theoretical debates about how we understand sex and/or gender, and about whether it makes sense to talk about the concepts as in any way distinct. There is a rejection of simple dichotomies and a call to understand genders and intersectionality. At the same time, it is increasingly argued that sex and gender always have to be part of a research question, the research design, the analysis, and of strategies to share research. In this course, we will begin with these theoretical debates. We will then move on to look at how our understandings of sex/genders can be applied in social science research, in medical research, and in statistical analysis. Finally, we will look at the application of sex/genders theories to specific topic areas such as childcare, sexualities, and social movements.

SOCI 6181 3.0A (F)—Studies in Sexual Regulation

Instructor: Sheila Cavanagh
Time: W 2:30-5:30
Room: S202 Ross Building

Course Description

This course is designed to introduce graduate students to the critical study of gender and sexual regulation. Adopting an interdisciplinary approach to sociological critique, we focus on queer theory, trans* studies, postcolonial and critical race studies along with feminisms and psychoanalysis. Central and important works by Sigmund Freud, Michel Foucault, Judith Butler and Jasbir Puar will frame the course. Students unfamiliar with queer theory are advised to read Nikki Sullivan’s (2003) A Critical Introduction to Queer Theory (especially chapters 1, 3 and 4) and Steven Seidman’s (1996) Queer Theory/Sociology.

Course Outline (.pdf)

SOCI 6200 3.0A (F)—Contemporary Topics in Social Theory: Rediscovering Marx

Instructor: Marcello Musto
Time: T 2:30-5:30
Room: 220 Stong College

Course Description

Despite the predictions that consigned it to eternal oblivion, Karl Marx’s thought has returned to the limelight in recent years. Faced with a deep new crisis of capitalism, many are again looking to an author who in the past was often wrongly associated with the Soviet Union, and who was too hastily dismissed after 1989. After the waning of interest in the 1980s and the “conspiracy of silence” in the 1990s, new or republished editions of his work have become available almost everywhere. The literature dealing with Marx, which all but dried up twenty-five years ago, is showing signs of revival in many countries.

Marx’s writings are presently being published in German under the auspices of the Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe (MEGA²) project, the critical historical edition of the complete works of Marx and Engels, which resumed serial publication in 1998. The purpose of this course is to reconstruct the stages of Marx’s thought in the light of the textual acquisitions of MEGA², and hence to provide a more exhaustive account of the formation of Marx’s conceptions than has previously been offered.

The great majority of researchers have considered only certain periods, often jumping straight from the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 to the Grundrisse (1857-58). But, as will be shown, this is to overlook the crucial importance of less well-known stages – from his early intellectual formation through the Paris manuscripts of 1844 to the studies of political economy in the 1850s, the first preparatory drafts for Capital and the writing of the polemical work Herr Vogt. The study of priceless manuscripts, and of interesting interim results, has remained the preserve of a narrow circle of scholars capable of reading the German-language volumes of MEGA². One of the aims of this course is to make these texts more widely known, and to debate on the genesis and unfinished character of Marx’s works.

Altogether, the Marx that emerges from this examination of his work in the areas of post-Hegelian philosophy, the materialist conception of history, scientific method, alienation and political thought at the time of the International Working Men’s Association is a thinker very different from the one presented for such a long time by his detractors as well as many ostensible followers.

If we bear in mind not only the well-known works, but also the manuscripts and notebooks of extracts in MEGA², the immensity and richness of Marx’s theoretical project appear in a clearer light. The notebooks of excerpts and the recently published preparatory drafts of Capital show the huge limitations of the “Marxist-Leninist” account – an ideology that often depicted Marx’s conception as something separate from the studies he conducted, as if it had been magically present in his head from birth – but also of the debate in Europe in the 1960s and 1970s. In fact, the participants in that debate could not consider the totality of Marx’s texts, and even some of these they treated as thoroughly finished works when that was far from being the case.

Marx’s researches between the period of the Economic-Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 and the Grundrisse have finally become accessible to scholars through the volumes of MEGA². This has made it possible to follow the many intermediate stages in the evolution of his ideas, both in the 1840s and 1850s, which suggest a more critical and open interpretation of his theory. The picture that emerges from MEGA² is of an author who left a large part of his writings unfinished, in order to engage until his death in further studies that would verify the correctness of his theses. A brand new picture of the International Working Men’s Association – Marx’s most important political experience – will be also provided.
At a time when Marx’s ideas have finally been liberated from the chains of Soviet ideology, and when they are again being investigated for the sake of analysing the contemporary world, a more faithful account of the genesis of his thought may not be without important implications for the future – not only for Marx studies, but also for the re-founding of a critical thought that aims to transform the present.

SOCI 6200 3.0M (W)—Contemporary Topics in Social Theory: New Materialisms

Instructor: TBA
Time:  T 2:30-5:30
Room: S803 Ross Building

Course Description

This course offers an introduction and collective examination of a stream that has become popular in social theory in the past decade. Traveling under the moniker of “New Materialism” the field draws from Feminist Science Studies, philosophy and from posthumanism. It is a post-positivist and post-constructivist field that re-encounters the real, material and biological not as received-facts, but complex naturecultures. Bodies – human and otherwise - are not static and (only) discursive, but lively, dynamic and emergent. We will read prominent theorists associated with this field such as Donna Haraway, Karen Barad, Jane Bennett and Bruno Latour, Mel Chen and Elizabeth Grosz. Together we will explore what new materialisms mean for old ones, and what this field has to offer Sociology.

SOCI 6204 3.0A (F)—Indigenous Theory

Instructor: Bonita Lawrence
Time: M 7:00-10:00
Room: S202 Ross Building

Course Description

This course addresses the complex range of social, political, historical and legal thought that contemporary Indigenous theorists are engaging with. Through exploring Indigenous writing on identity, racism, community, land, cultural survival, and law, this course will provide students with an opportunity to learn about Indigenous resurgence, with a primary focus on Canada. All students are welcome.

Course Outline (.pdf)

SOCI6312 3.0M (W) - Critical Political Ecologies

Instructor:  TBA
Time:  M 10:00-1:00
Room:  2043 Vari Hall

For information on this course, please contact the Graduate Program in Anthropology at 416-736-5007, or gradanth@yorku.ca.

SOCI 6535 3.0A (F) - Critical Sexuality

Instructor:  Frances Latchford
Time:  R 10:00-1:00
Room:  201 Founders College

For information on this course, please consult the course director, Frances Latchford, at flatch@yorku.ca.

SOCI 6614 3.0M (W)—Migration and Transnationalisms

Instructor: Christopher Kyriakides
Time: W 2:30-5:30
Room: S202 Ross Building

Course Description

Cross-border movements of people, capital, goods, and ideas raise challenging theoretical, methodological and policy questions about the social, political, economic and cultural organization of life lived in multiple national contexts. This course will explore social, economic, cultural, and political transnational processes. Topics may include: nation-building and membership, theories of migration and incorporation, transnationalism, diasporas, citizenship and legal status, racialization, identity, gender, remittances, second generation, and cross-border political participation.

SOCI 6667 3.0M (W)—Capitalism and Social Provisioning

Instructor:  Ann Porter
Time:  R 2:30-5:30
Room:  335 Calumet College

For details about this course, please consult the course director, Ann Porter, at aporter@yorku.ca.

SOCI 6683 3.0M (W)—The Political Economy of Work and Welfare

Instructor:  Leah Vosko
Time:  M 11:30-2:30
Room:  S101 Ross Building

For details about this course, please consult the course director, Leah Vosko, at lvosko@yorku.ca.

SOCI 6745 3.0M (W)—The Making of Asian Studies: Critical Perspectives

Instructor: Laam Hae
Time: F 2:30-5:30
Room: S501 Ross Building

For details about this course, please consult the course director, Laam Hae, at lhae@yorku.ca.

SOCI 6760 3.0M (W) - Race and Ethnicity

Instructor: T. Das Gupta
Time: R 11:30-2:30
Room: S156 Ross Building

Course Description

What kinds of things did former P.M. Harper’s government target with his “Barbaric Cultural Practices Act”? What does Conservative leader hopeful Kellie Leitch mean by “Canadian values”? What does U.S. President Trump mean by saying “Make America Great Again”? And, what does P.M. Justin Trudeau uphold when he says “diversity our strength”? On their face value, they appear to be directed at everyone and no-one. Yet, they have hidden and not-so-hidden sub-texts and audiences, references to ancient discourses of race, racism and colonialism. While such subliminal conversations carry on, we are living in the midst of global capitalism in which the exploitation of migrants, immigrants and racialized peoples intensify to maximize profits and lands inhabited by Indigenous Peoples continue to be encroached and poisoned for capitalist development. This course will examine classic texts that deal with “race” and “ethnicity” to see if they can shed light on what we are witnessing around us today.

The class will be held on a seminar format with active participation of students.
Half of the grade will be based on a research paper which will be due at the end of the course. Halfway through the term, students will be asked to develop a brief proposal of their research paper. Towards the end of the term, students will prepare a research seminar on their paper topic. A short handout should accompany this presentation.

In addition, students will volunteer to present synthesized summaries of assigned readings and leading class discussions on them.

Grading will be as follows:

Student presentations on readings -10%
Informed class participation - 20%
Seminar presentation of research - 20%
Research paper - 45% (approx. 20 pages)
Research Proposal - 5% (approx. 2-3 pages)

SOCI 6794 3.0A (F) - Space, Place and Capitalism

Instructor:  Raju Das
Time:  T 11:30-2:30
Room:  S536 Ross Building

For details on this course, please consult the course director, Raju Das, at
rajudas@yorku.ca.

SOCI 6805 3.0M (W) - Bodies and Biotechnologies

Instructor:  TBA
Time:  W 10:00-1:00
Room:  2043 Vari Hall

Information on this course is not yet available.

SOCI 6831 3.0A (F) - Health and Illness

Instructor: E. Mykhalovskiy
Time: M 2:30-5:30
Room: S202 Ross Building

Course Description

This course offers students an opportunity to critically explore novel trajectories of
theoretico-empirical inquiry in the sociology of health, illness and biomedicine. The
course is designed as a survey course covering key areas of investigation and styles of
analysis. An important focus will be to examine how arcs of investigation are established
around key concepts, approaches to problem formation, styles of critique, and strategies
for empirical research. We will pay careful attention to how established traditions of
inquiry have served as a basis for critical engagement and response by sociologists,
anthropologists and other scholars. Some of the areas of research we will explore are: sociological critiques of biomedical power; research on biomedicalization; Foucauldian and related work on health, risk governance and biological citizenship; research on social suffering, structural violence and drug use; work on environmental racism; and emerging research in the sociology of diagnosis.

SOCI 6885 3.0A (F) - Politics of Security and Regulation

Instructor:  James Sheptycki
Time:  R 2:30-5:30
Room:  215 McLaughlin College

For details on this course, please consult the course director, James Sheptycki, at jshep@yorku.ca.

SOCI 6893 3.0A (F)—Colonialism, Race and the Law: Sociological Implications

Instructor: C. Murdocca
Time:  W 11:30-2:30
Room: 09/13 - 280A York Lanes; 09/20 - 901 Kaneff Tower; 09/27 - 280A York Lanes; 10/04  and 10/11 - 626 Kaneff Tower; 10/18 - 280A York Lanes; 10/25 - 626 Kaneff Tower; 11/01, 11/08, 11/15,  11/22, 11/29 - 280A York Lanes; 12/06 - 280A York Lanes

Course Description

This course examines the complex relationships between colonialism, race and the law. The course works from the premise that law is central to the constitution of social life, political meaning and cultural relations. Law plays a central role in producing histories of violence and social marginalization as it does in maintaining and challenging contemporary social and political relations. As such, law is understood as a complex set of discourses, representations, institutions, practices, identities, obligations and affective commitments. Through an examination of law as a field of interaction, negotiation and coercion, we will focus on the ways in which liberal forms of governance rely on practices of racialized control and discipline. The course will survey thinking in this direction in critical race theory, anti-colonial theory, cultural studies of law, legal anthropology, feminist theory and other points of departure. Though other colonial formations will be referenced, the empirical context of the course will mainly be anchored in the context of white settler societies.

Independent Reading Courses

Independent reading courses are normally open to graduate sociology students only.  However, with permission, students from other programs may enrol in this course.

Graduate students in sociology must have their reading course supervised by a faculty member in the Graduate Program in Sociology.

All students who wish to enrol in a sociology reading course (5900/6900) must submit to the program office, a reading course form (.pdf) by the following deadlines:

April 1 for summer term reading courses

August 1 for fall term and fall/winter term reading courses

December 1 for winter term reading courses