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    The New School for Social Research
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    212.229.5600 or 800.523.5411
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    Aria Vaghayenegar

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

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    Charles Whitcroft

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    Chang Liu

    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. Fall 2024 courses include: 

    Logic of Inquiry, GSOC5069
    Rachel Sherman
    , Gellert Professor 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.

    Classical Sociological Theory, GSOC5101
    Andrew Arato
    , Hirshon Professor of Political and Social Theory

    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.

    Current Trends in Media Research, GSOC6211
    Julia Sonnevend
    , Associate Professor of Sociology and Communications

    This course will cover some of the most pressing issues in media research in the early twenty-first century. Discussed topics include the role of Facebook in shaping international politics and culture, the power of algorithms, the digital transformation of journalism, the increasingly online presence of children, and the challenges journalists face in illiberal contexts. We will read literature from multiple disciplines including sociology, communication studies, political science and psychology, while also discussing case studies in depth.

    Settlers, Natives, Migrants: A Global History of Racialized Mobilities, GSOC5126
    Emmanuel Guerisoli
    , Postdoctoral Fellow, Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility

    This course explores how settler colonialism and imperial formations have shaped citizenship and migration regimes. Throughout the course, we will compare, by adopting a global historical perspective, the way that colonial regimes developed differential legal rights legitimated by racial discourses, and how settler societies and empires incentivized and limited human mobility and immigration. The course will look at how racial capitalism and settler colonialism led to the displacement, dispossession, and segregation of indigenous populations, migrants, and other racialized subjects, and how former colonies and imperial metropoles developed inclusionary and exclusionary citizenship regimes. We will focus on the development of tribal and indigenous jurisdictions, and legal pluralism in United States, Canada, and Australia; the transition from transatlantic slavery to Indian and Chinese indentured labor migration; the emergence of anti-immigration laws in the Americas; the rise of eugenics, whitening policies, and racial systems of domination; the internal colonization of Brazil, Russia, and China; the effects of the world wars and their respective population transfers in the setting up of the modern refugee system; how decolonization shaped European citizenship; the impact of globalization and neoliberalism in reproducing racialized global labor supply and extractivist processes; and the reemergence of white nationalist and nativist forces. The course will draw from politics, sociology, anthropology, critical geography, and intersectionality to offer an interdisciplinary perspective complementing its global historical framing.

    Power & Domination in the Middle East, GSOC5160
    Benoit Challand
    , Associate Professor of Sociology 

    This graduate course, mixing lectures and seminar discussions, will assess how notions of power and authority have been diachronically conceived, exercised, and debated within Muslim majority societies of the Middle East. The focus will be placed on the Arab worlds, with passing references to Turkey and Iran. In the vein of historical sociology, the course engages with theories of empire and state-formation in the region and of incorporation into the world system. The course will offer an in-depth comprehension of evolving forms of domination, and claims over conflicting religious and secular legitimacy from the 19th century (nascent capitalism; solidification of positive law; internal debates around Islamic modernity) to the 21st century (neo-imperialism, return of the Caliphate). The course will explore various arguments putting the stress on forms of power and domination specific to the region as opposed to the lasting impact of external forms of domination over the region. What does it mean to have power “in” or “over” the “Middle East? What have been historical forms of bottom up political participation? What are epistemological issues that need being tackled to follow these questions? How do classical sociology and its theories about forms of authority and power (e.g. Max Weber; Karl Marx; Pierre Bourdieu) fare when applied to the Middle East? Assignments include a couple of class presentations on weekly readings and a final paper.

    Historiography & Historical Practice, GSOC6054
    Oz Frankel
    , Associate Professor of History

    This course focuses on US history to explore 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 and themes have shaped 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 contestation of great political urgency. Identity politics, the culture wars, and other forms of organization and debate have also endowed US historiography with unprecedented public resonance in a culture that had been notoriously amnesic. We examine major trends and controversies in American historiography, the history of the historical profession, the emergence of race and gender as cardinal categories of historical analysis, popular culture as history, the impact of memory studies on historical thinking, the recurrent agonizing over American exceptionalism, as well as the current efforts 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 of historicization that originated from the historical profession. This course should be taken during a student's first year in the Historical Studies program.

    Theory of Hannah Arendt, GSOC6251
    Andrew Arato
    , Hirshon Professor of Political and Social Theory

    Dissertation Pro-Seminar, GSOC7005
    Carlos Forment
    , Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of Graduate Study

    In this seminar advanced students work together, and with the faculty member leading the seminar, in developing field statements and dissertation topics, with specific focus on the development of dissertation proposals and advancing dissertation research. Sociological questions, themes, interests and sub-fields are articulated and reconfigured as research questions and scholarly projects. Strategies for investigating and carrying out these projects are developed. Exemplary field statements and dissertation proposals are examined as structural models. The seminar proceeds as a workshop with students first presenting short research questions and plans, leading to more developed research proposals. The final requirement of the seminar is the submission of drafts of field statements and/or a dissertation proposal.

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