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  • Current Courses

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        General Admission Contact
        The New School for Social Research
        Office of Admission
        79 Fifth Avenue, 5th floor
        New York, NY 10003
        212.229.5600 or 800.523.5411

        Admissions Liaison
        Aria Vaghayenegar

        Department of Sociology
        6 East 16th Street, 9th floor
        New York, NY 10003
        Tel: 212.229.5737 x3125
        Fax: 212.229.5595

        Mailing Address
        79 Fifth Avenue, 9th floor
        New York, NY 10003

        Rachel Sherman

        Student Advisor
        Aura Angelica Hernandez Cardenas

        Sociology Student Handbook

        Admission Links

    • 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. Fall 2021 courses include:

      • Ethnographic Field Methods, GSOC 5006
        Terry Williams, Professor of Sociology

        This course will outline the conceptual questions and debates associated with ethnographic methods and address the technical, ethical, and representational issues that arise in practicing these methods. During the semester, students will choose and gain access to a field site, conduct observations, write field notes, and code and analyze these data in order to write a final paper. As students progress through each stage of their project, we will discuss theory and study design, as well as strategies for gaining access, addressing the researcher’s social position, taking effective field notes, accurately representing subjects’ words and actions, and writing compelling accounts. We will consider a range of ethnographic forms, including, among others, institutional, organizational, and historicized ethnographies, and we will read examples of these works; however, the emphasis of the course will be on students gaining experience in field work and data analysis.

      • Logic of Inquiry, GSOC 5069
        Rachel Sherman, Professor and Chair of Sociology

        This course is an introduction to principles of social science research, research design, and specific methods commonly used in Sociology. It is required for first-year MA students in Sociology.

      • Society and the Event, GSOC 5079
        Robin Wagner-Pacifici, University Professor

        Social life is framed (and re-directed) increasingly not just by institutions and processes but by events. Recent theorizing of events in philosophy, history, anthropology, political theory, and sociology discuss their qualities of rupture,surprise, and incomprehension, the way events elude the present, act as turning points, require recognition by subjects, and prompt the appearance, focusing or reconstitution of individual subjects themselves. Indeed events are shape-shifters, now appearing as letters and treaties, now paintings and maps, now political constitutions, now handshakes etc. In this course we will rethink and reconceptualize ‘event’, its deployment of performatives, its actors and publics as a key political and sociological category that illuminates the understanding both our present and our future. The readings will include Alain Badiou, William Sewell, Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault, Reinhart Koselleck and others.

      • Classical Sociological Theory, GSOC 5101
        Faculty TBA

        This is a course in the foundations of modern social theory. It aims to help students master some of the most fundamental approaches to understanding society (including social structure, economics, politics, culture, and the interplay between them) that emerged during the ‘long’ 19th century as part of the effort to make sense of, and cope with, the emergence of modernity in the west—and that continue to shape scholarship and debates in sociology, politics, political economy, cultural inquiry, historiography, and everyday moral and political controversies. This will involve systematic, probing, and critical examination of five major theorists: Adam Smith, Tocqueville, Marx, Weber, and Durkheim. In the process, we will explore contrasting approaches to issues including capitalism, socialism, bureaucracy, citizenship, sovereignty, domination, authority, freedom, community, individualism, democracy, revolution, the logic of history, the ethical dilemmas of social and political action, and the nature and dynamics of “modern society” itself.

      • Historiography and Historical Practice, GSOC 6054
        Oz Frankel, Associate Professor and Chair of History

        This course focuses on US history to examine current permutations of historiographical interests, practices, and methodologies. Over the last few decades, US history has been a particularly fertile ground for rethinking the historical, although many of these topics are applicable to the study of other nations and societies. American history has been largely rewritten by a generation of scholars who experienced the 1960s and its aftermath and have viewed America's past as a field of inquiry and contest of great political urgency. Identity politics, the culture wars, and other forms of organization and debate have also endowed history with unprecedented public resonance in a culture that has been notoriously amnesiac. We explore major trends and controversies in American historiography, the multicultural moment in historical studies, the emergence of race and gender as cardinal categories of historical analysis, the enormous preoccupation with popular culture, the impact of memory studies on historical thinking, and the recurrent agonizing over American exceptionalism and consequent recent attempts to break the nation-state mold and to globalize American history. Another focus will be the intersection of analytical strategies borrowed from the social sciences and literary studies with methods and epistemologies of historicization that originated from the historical profession. 

      • Conceptualization of Culture, GSOC 6157
        Elzbieta Matynia, Professor of Sociology and Liberal Studies

        The preoccupation of many social thinkers with the phenomenon of "culture" long antedates J.G. Herder's remark that "nothing is more indeterminatethan this word." Still, a preoccupation with culture has been widely shared ever since -- by historians, sociologists, and anthropologists. This seminar is addressed to those who are interested in the history of social thought, the sociology of knowledge, and studies of culture, and will explore the main debates surrounding the idea of culture and its development. Whether discussing the Greek notion of paidea, the Romantic ideal of genius, or the historiographic essays of the Annales historians of our own day, we shall trace the dynamics of two contrasting approaches to culture: the broadly empirical and anthropological approach, and the more narrowly normative and ""humanistic"" approach. The readings -- some of them passionate critiques of culture -- include works by Plato, Aristophanes, Vico, Rousseau, Herder, Goethe, Marx, Ferdinand de Saussure, Sigmund Freud, Fernand Braudel, J. Heuzinga, Ernst Cassirer, Mikhail Bakhtin, Kwame Anthony Appiah, and Samuel Beckett.

      • Capitalism & Settler Colonial Present in NYC, GSOC 6240
        Benoit Challand, Associate Professor of Sociology

        The relationship between slavery and capitalism has become a renewed topic of scholarly debate, made even more complex with the growing literature on settler colonialism and critical race studies. The course explores these entanglements by focusing on the history of sugar and cotton, two key commodities that are also associated with the economic activities of colonial New York City. This course is an experiment in humanities and applied historical sociology, offering a journey through the history of racial and class exclusion in New York City, from the colonial era to the end of the Civil War, the time when Clinton Castle was replaced by Ellis Island and new immigration laws that shape contemporary NYC. The course will combine regular seminar sessions with a series of walking tours with visual artist Kamau Ware, organizer of groundbreaking historical tours of colonial NYC. The class studies the legacy of the two commodities and how they shaped the communitarian contours and the urban landscape of lower Manhattan. It explores how indigenous populations in and around Manhattan / Manahatta have been dispossessed and almost completely eliminated, while Dutch and British settlers used slavery to build the actual infrastructure of NYC. With the help of three civic partner associations, Black Gotham Experience, the Lenape Center, and the American Indian Community House, the class will confront the absence of indigenous peoples’ and slavery’s memory in the New York City / Lenapehoking landscape, architecture and monuments. Students will be asked to write two essays as part of the requirements, an argumentative essay on a political issue of these times, and a narrative essay, helping us to recreate the contours of social life in historical NYC. Readings will include among others: Michel-Rolph Trouillot on the Haitian revolution; Sidney Mintz on sugar; Sven Beckert on Cotton; John Clegg on Capitalism and Slavery; Tuck & Yang, Garba & Sorentino or Nandita Sharma on the indigeneity, slavery and migration. Note that this course benefits from a small grant from the Mellon Foundation (Periclean Faculty Leadership in the Humanities) that requires a parallel undergraduate course. 

      • Sociology of Fascism(s), GSOC 6248
        Andrew Arato, Dorothy Hart Hirshon Professor of Political and Social Theory

      • Marxist Feminism: A Genealogy of U.S. Feminist Theory, GSOC 6249
        Kathi Weeks, Visiting Professor at NSSR, Associate Professor of Women's Studies at Duke University

        The course explores the U.S. Marxist feminist theoretical tradition. We will consider the past, present, and future of a variety of post-1960 feminist reformulations of Marxist concepts and methods designed to theorize and contest heteropatriarchal racial capitalism. Topics may include the domestic labor debate, social reproduction theory, prison abolitionism, wages for housework, transgender Marxism, postwork feminism, gestational labor, sex work, and queer Marxism. 

      • Money, Sex, Power: Feminist Theories of Work, GSOC 6250
        Kathi Weeks, Visiting Professor at NSSR, Associate Professor of Women's Studies at Duke University

        This course is organized around the theme of work. In the first part of the course we consider a variety of theoretical orientations towards work, from early liberal feminist prescriptions of waged work for women to Marxist feminist and postwork critiques of work under capitalism. In the second part of the course we turn our attention to recent developments in the organization of work, focusing on particular forms and modes of feminized labor including waged domestic work, aspirational labor, sex work, emotional labor, gestational labor, care work, and precarious work.

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