Courses Offered

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

Summer 2022

Priority for this course will be given to sociology students.  Letters of permission from students in other programs will be accepted starting late March.

SOCI 6090 3.0A–Selected Topics in Empirical Methods—Text Mining for Social Scientists

Instructor: Professor Muyang Li
Term: S1
Time: Mondays/Thursdays 2:30–5:30

This course provides an overview of various methods for collecting and analyzing text data. In addition to introducing computational techniques for data mining and representing text quantitatively, a key objective is to show how such techniques can be applied to social science research questions. The lectures will be complemented by practical sessions in which students will build their own programs for collecting and analyzing real-world datasets. The programming language for the course will be R. A basic initial familiarity with it is not required but will be helpful.

Fall/Winter 2022–2023

Letters of permission from students in other disciplines will be considered as of July 1, 2022.

SOCI 5901 3.0A: Key Debates in Sociological Theory

Instructor: Fuyuki Kurasawa
Term: Fall 2022
Day/Time: Wednesdays 2:30–5:30

This course, designed for MA students in the Graduate Program in Sociology, consists of a survey of some of the key questions and concepts in classical and contemporary sociological theory, with a specific emphasis on critical modes of theorizing.

SOCI 5995 3.0A: M.A. Seminar

Instructor: Luin Goldrin
Term: Fall 2022
Day/Time: Mondays 11:30–2:30

The MA Workshop is a discussion-based seminar for first-year graduate students in Sociology. Based on a cohort model, the course 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 goal is both to foster a critical awareness of the range of approaches in Sociology and to assist students in thinking critically about their engagement in research and especially about the nature of the questions that they wish to explore. Situating research in the literature, finding, using and evaluating sources, and presenting coherent arguments--such are the issues to be covered.

The major task of this course is the development of the MA Thesis or Research Review Paper (RRP) Proposal. Over the course of the semester, students will prepare a detailed proposal which will be completed in stages through a series of small assignments.

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 proposals in a simulated conference setting and will prepare a formal commentary on the work of their colleagues.

SOCI 6001 3.0A: Doctoral Seminar I: Professional Development Workshop

Instructor: Lorna Erwin
Term: Fall 2022
Day/Time: Mondays 11:30–2:30

The overall objectives of this workshop-based course are: (i) the development of professional skills for the academic and non-academic labour market; (ii) to facilitate timely progress through the program; and (iii) to contribute to the development of a research culture in the cohort and beyond.

SOCI 6002 3.0M: Doctoral Seminar II: Professional Development Workshop

Instructor: Lorna Erwin
Term: Winter 2023
Day/Time: Mondays 11:30–2:30

The objectives of this workshop-based course are to: (i) help students develop professional skills for the academic and non-academic labour market; (ii) facilitate students’ timely progress through the program; and (iii) contribute to the development of a research culture in the Ph.D. cohort and beyond.

This course is designed specifically for students in the second year of the Ph.D. Program in Sociology at York University. The course is based on a cohort model and will provide a supportive peer environment to help students orient to the demands of the doctoral program and acquire the knowledge and skills needed to successfully negotiate Ph.D. graduate education.

SOCI 6060 3.0M: Qualitative Methods

Instructor: Amber Gazso
Term: Winter 2023
Day/Time: Mondays 2:30-5:30

A course description will be distributed when the course director has been assigned.

SOCI 6090 3.0A: Selected Topics in Empirical Methods: Narrative Analysis Strategies

Instructor: Katherine Bischoping
Term: Fall 2022
Day/Time: Tuesdays 11:30–2:30

In this course, we examine a wide range of strategies for analyzing narratives and narration -- or, if you like, stories and story-telling. A first group of these, coming from the intersection of humanities and the social sciences, focuses on interpreting how meanings are conveyed by the finer details of how stories are told. A second group of strategies concentrates on the interplay of story tellers and listeners, for example, in reflexive analysis of the role of the researcher in co-producing interview narratives, or in studying how mass media audiences receive narratives. A third group of strategies is informed by broad questions about the past and its relation to the present, about structure and agency in the life course, about the self, and about how discourses and narratives connect. Throughout the course, strategies are located in relation to ontology and epistemology, and in relation to their wider applicability to non-narrative data.

SOCI 6112 6.0A: Quantitative Analysis

Instructor: Ann Kim (Fall) and Cary Wu (Winter)
Term: Fall/Winter 2022/2023
Day/Time: Tuesdays 2:30–5:30

This course is designed to develop the student’s quantitative literacy and analytical skills. A key objective is for students to learn how to apply appropriate statistical tests to data in response to a social research question for presentation and publication. The course emphasizes the analysis of survey data and the idea that models represent patterns in data, and statistical ideas are taught using examples from across the social sciences. The first term of the course deals with basic descriptive and inferential statistics, significance tests, measures of association, and covers univariate and bivariate analyses, including linear regression. In the second term, we dive into multivariate analyses. Also in the second term, we extend knowledge of classical OLS techniques to different types of outcomes including those with binary or ordered categories. Good data analysis entails developing sound theory, locating appropriate data sources, operationalizing key concepts, and building models that address research questions. To practice these skills, students will be required to complete a research project. The project will involve identifying and analyzing social science data utilizing the techniques covered in class and presenting the findings in a presentation (fall) to be developed into a paper (winter). In the end, the goal should be to produce a publishable research paper.

SOCI 6180 3.0A: Sex and Gender in Social Theory

Instructor: Sheila Cavanagh
Term: Fall 2022
Day/Time: Thursdays 8:30–11:30

This course is designed to introduce graduate students to a wide range of theories used to interpret sex and gender in social theory. The course is designed to be critical and inclusive of a wide range of historical and contemporary approaches to understanding gender and sexual difference in social theory. Our approach to gender, sexuality, and body studies is not only intersectional but interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary, meaning that we will analyze sex and gender from multiple conceptual angles. Students will read primary and secondary materials in feminist theory, queer theory, transgender studies, psychoanalytic theory, postcolonial theory, critical race theory, indigenous theory and more. Special focus will be placed on racialization and indigeneity, sexuality, the body, and psychosocial studies. Upon completion students will have (a) an understanding of intersecting theoretical frameworks shaping sex and gender studies in social theory, and (b) an understanding of the heteronormative and cisgender biopolitics and white settler colonial logics underpinnings normative sex and gender systems.

SOCI 6181 3.0M: Studies in Sexual Regulations

Instructor: Sheila Cavanagh
Term: Winter 2023
Day/Time: Thursdays 2:30–5:30

Please contact Professor Cavanagh, sheila@yorku.ca, for more information on this course.

SOCI 6200 3.0A: Contemporary Topics in Social Theory: Postcolonial and Third World Feminisms

Instructor: Syliva Bawa
Term: Fall 2022
Day/Time: Fridays 11:30–2:30

Theories are not constructed in a vacuum. Theories speak to histories and emerge from particular if not peculiar realities (lived or observed). Postcolonial feminisms are, arguably, by and large both counter narrative and pioneering in knowledge production of the third world from the perspective of women and thus unintentionally become one of many voices for women in postcolonial societies. This course will provide a platform for exploring postcolonial and third world feminisms in their varied iterations. Mindful of the tenuous reception of feminism in the third world, the course aims to examine its contributions to understanding paradoxes in the postcolonial world and how these inform social justice activism for women’s rights and empowerment. Postcolonial feminists, and theory, engage with issues of inequality at multiple levels; through historical analyses of colonialism and the international political economy and a critical engagement with local/national patriarchal oppressions. Thus, participants in the course will examine the ways in which postcolonial feminisms engage orthodox discourses on globalization, development and gender. Some themes to be explored are: tensions in the constructions of gender and identity in the postcolonial nation state; religious and cultural ideologies on gender inequality, global rights and women’s individual rights discourses and culture in ‘developing countries’.

SOCI 6200 3.0M: Contemporary Topics in Social Theory: Theorizing Transbiologies: Embodiments, Ecologies and Global Governance/Empire

Instructor: Lorna Weir
Term: Winter 2023
Day/Time: Wednesdays 2:30–5:30

In a rare consensus, social theorists from Donna Haraway to Jean-Luc Nancy have agreed that contemporary bioscience/biomedicine combines and recombines the natural and the artifactual, the given and the made. Sarah Franklin has called these ‘transbiologies,’ that is, biologies (as knowledge) and living beings (as outcomes) which are both made (through bioscience) and born. The forms of power and control exerted over the biosciences/biomedicine determine their research trajectories and realizations in the biological lives of species, creating heritable and noninheritable interventions not previously found in the order of nature/evolutionary time.

This course begins with an overview of recent social theory about transbiologies in the work of Donna Haraway, Mel Y. Chen and Sarah Franklin. We then explore the gendered, racialized and neocolonial ordering of transbiologies through three purposely heterogeneous case studies. first, we compare two distinct transbiological human embodiments: assisted human reproduction in the global South and medical gender transitions in the global North. The third case study focuses on ecology and investigates the polarized North-South debate, ongoing since 2010, at the UN Convention on Biodiversity around the risk assessment and patenting of synthetic “living modified organisms. ” In the final section of the course the 3 case studies will be used to analyze power/knowledge relations and the place of what be called empire in the governance of transbiologies.

SOCI 6204 3.0M: Indigenous Theory

Instructor: Wendy Geniusz
Term: Winter 2023
Day/Time: Tuesdays 11:30–2:30

Information on this course can be obtained from Professor Geniusz (email TBD) after July 1.

SOCI 6535 3.0A: Critical Sexuality Studies

Instructor: Frances Latchford
Term: Fall 2022
Day/Time: Tuesdays 11:30–2:30—REMOTE

Please contact Professor Latchford at flatch@yorku.ca for more information on this course.

SOCI 6614 3.0A: Migration and Transnationalisms

Instructor: Guida Man
Term: Fall 2022
Day/Time: Thursdays 2:30–5:30

Please contact Professor Man at gman@yorku.ca for more information on this course.

SOCI 6665 3.0M: Sociologies of Global Capitalism

Instructor: Mark Thomas
Term: Winter 2023
Day/Time: Thursdays 11:30–2:30

This course constructs a sociological analysis of the economy by combining developments in the fields of economic sociology, political economy, and global sociology to study contemporary global capitalism. The social organization of capitalist markets, the social implications of economic processes, and the sociological bases of economic power are explored through Marxist, feminist, postcolonial, network, and critical race perspectives. Beginning with the assertion that economic relations have a social basis, the course examines the interrelationships between ‘the social’ and ‘the economic’, the power relations that characterize capitalism, and the tensions, contradictions and conflicts that shape the social organization of capitalist economies.

In the first half of the course, we cover several foundational sociological theorists of the economy (Marx, Weber, Polanyi) and their legacies. Through the concept of ‘embeddedness’, a key concept in economic sociology, we investigate the ways in which processes of capital accumulation are embedded in a range of social relations and processes. In the second half of the course, using the work of contemporary social theorists of the economy we investigate a series of topics related to global capitalism, including the spatial reorganization of the global economy, the feminization of global production, the social organization of consumerism, and alternatives to contemporary capitalism.

SOCI 6675 3.0M: Political Sociology

Instructor: Andy Dawson
Term: Winter 2023
Day/Time: Fridays 11:30–2:30

Political sociology is the study of the relationship between politics and society. At its core, political sociology analyzes the nature of power within society and how power is distributed and legitimated. While the syllabus is not yet finalized, the seminar will be divided into two sections. I envision the first section to be separated into six major themes: 1) states; 2) nationalism; 3) the nature of power; 4) the sources of power; 5) legitimacy/public opinion; and 6) democracy. The course will draw upon both classical and contemporary works in the field, with the second section focusing on in-depth analyses of recent research on various topics. This section will potentially include readings such as Paschel’s Becoming Black Political Subjects: Movements and Ethno-Racial Rights in Colombia and Brazil, Laxer’s Unveiling the Nation: The Politics of Secularism in France and Quebec, Smith’s Contradictions of Democracy: Vigilantism and Rights in Post-Apartheid South Africa.

SOCI 6745 3.0: Asian Studies: Critical Perspectives

Instructor: Radhkia Mongia
Term: Winter 2023
Day/Time: Tuesdays 11:30–2:30

Please contact Professor Mongia at rmongia@yorku.ca for more information on this course.

SOCI 6760 3.0M: Race and Ethnicity

Instructor: Laura Kwak
Term: Winter 2023
Day/Time: Wednesdays 8:30–11:30

The recent global health pandemic has revealed and exacerbated the manifold forms of racial violence, confirming that what W.E.B. Du Bois (1903) called “the problem of the color line” remains a problem of the twenty-first century. Yet, how does racial animus endure in a context that has been putatively “post-racial”? This seminar explores this curious juncture wherein explicit racial violence has intensified while the language of diversity, inclusion, equity, and even decolonization has become ubiquitous. With a focus on the Canadian racial landscape, we examine this liberal paradox and trace the evolution of racial governance in liberal democracies committed to equality, freedom, and narratives of racial progress or neutrality and the implications this has had on anti-racist organizing.

By drawing from critical perspectives in sociology, feminist, queer, and critical race studies, this interdisciplinary course engages with theories, intellectual concerns, and historical and contemporary debates in the study of race, racism, and racialization. The seminar emphasizes a critical analysis of social processes, structures, institutions, orders, and systems of representation that shape and are shaped by racialized, gendered, capitalist, and other normative discourses and ideologies. That is, the course examines race as it intersects with gender, ethnicity, sexuality, class, disability and citizenship not merely as categories of difference and accommodation but as sites of social and political critique. We draw from a range of materials including scholarship, news media, and cultural production from BIPOC scholars and activists to examine how a collective struggle for liberation involves identifying and challenging local and global forces that simultaneously thrive on the brutal dispossession of Indigenous people, anti-Black racial violence, and Orientalist imperialism. Topics covered include: racial capitalism; settler-colonialism, decolonization, and Indigenous resurgence; imperialism, militarization, and war; migration, displacement, and Diaspora; policing, the prison-industrial complex, and the carceral state; anti-racist resistance and mutual aid.

This seminar requires active student participation. Students will submit four short reading-based discussion papers and lead three seminars on the assigned readings. At the end of the term, students will participate in a seminar conference to present how course materials might animate their Major Research Papers and Dissertations.

SOCI 6795 3.0A: Public Space and Political Culture

Instructor: Emily Laxer
Term: Fall 2022
Day/Time: Thursdays 11:30–2:30

Political culture is very much bound up in the division between private and public space. Whereas the former is demarcated by state regulation of private property and framed as a (gendered) sphere of reproductive labour, the latter is conceived as a site of citizen engagement, participation, and productive labour. Yet, access to, and experience of, the public space is highly variegated. For some groups and in some instances, it is an emancipatory arena in which public deliberation and collective action occur, strengthening social solidarity. For others and in other instances, public space is a site of exclusion, surveillance, and control. In this course, we consider the political cultural implications of these variegations. Based on theory and in-depth case studies, we pay special attention to the classed, gendered, and racializing meanings of public space that are constructed by states—for example, through the banning of (mainly Muslim) religious signs in public venues—and by citizens—for example, through the protest activities of social movements in the COVID-19 context and beyond.

SOCI 6805 3.0A: Bodies and Biotechnologies in Anthropology

Instructor: TBD
Term: Fall 2022
Day/Time: Wednesdays 2:30–5:30

Please contact the Graduate Program in Science and Technology for more information on this course.

SOCI 6831 3.0A: Sociology of Health and Illness

Instructor: Eric Mykhalovskiy
Term: Fall 2022
Day/Time: Mondays 2:30–5:30

This course uses health, illness, and health care as points of departure for exploring sociological questions about human suffering and embodiment, identity formation, expertise and professionalization, the organization and consequences of structural inequalities, the exercise of power, and the relationship between discourse and action. We will take a “critical” approach to our exploration of health, illness, and health care. Among other things, that means taking a reflexive relationship to scholarship and its object, challenging established ways of knowing, including those that prevail within the academy, committing to decolonizing knowledge and practice, and recognizing the potential for health scholarship to contribute to projects of social justice and progressive social transformation.

We will pay close attention to how sociological research on health is organized
by key concepts, approaches to problem formulation, styles of critique, and strategies for empirical research. We will examine how that scholarship has been informed, but also challenged, by interdisciplinary perspectives encompassing medical anthropology, feminist political economy perspectives, critical race theory, governmentality perspectives, and Indigenous health research, among others.

The course will cover a range of substantive areas within the sociology of health and illness and students will be invited to contribute suggestions to the syllabus. Among the topics we will examine are: early research on medicalization and its critique by scholars working on biomedicalization; Foucauldian research on risk, health and subjectivity; research on biological and therapeutic citizenship; novel contributions to scholarship on the social, economic, political and environmental determinants of health; research on health and intersectionality; and new contributions to the sociology of public health including work on viral politics, infectious disease, drug use, and the medico-legal borderland.

Students will be encouraged to develop their research interests through the course and will give at least one oral presentation and complete required written assignments, including one major paper.

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