Undergraduate Courses/Yale Bulletin

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Sociology Undergraduate Courses

Introductory Courses


* SOCY 018b, The Sociological Imagination 

Introduction to the linked study of sociology and modernity. Topics include the dramatic rise of capitalism; colonialism and empire; the advent of democracy and bureaucracy; the world-historical invention of the individual; and the contested role of religion in modernity. Readings from classical and contemporary authors. Enrollment limited to freshmen. Preregistration required; see under Freshman Seminar Program.  SO
TTh 9am-10:15am

* SOCY 086a, China in the Age of Xi Jinping 

An overview of the major social institutions in contemporary China, with a focus on the changing relationship between individual and society. Use of print and visual sources to explore the social consequences of China’s recent retreat from socialism and its rapid integration into the global economy. May count toward the Sociology major as an intermediate course. Enrollment limited to freshmen. Preregistration required; see under Freshman Seminar Program.  SO
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

SOCY 133a, Computers, Networks, and Society 

Comparison of major algorithm-centered approaches to the analysis of complex social network and organizational data. Fundamental principles for developing a disciplined and coherent perspective on the effects of modern information technology on societies worldwide. Software warfare and algorithm sabotage; blockmodeling and privacy; legal, ethical, and policy issues. No prior experience with computers required.  SO  RP
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

Courses in Sociological Theory

Open to all students without prerequisite.


* SOCY 151a / PLSC 290a, Foundations of Modern Social Theory 

Major works of social thought from the beginning of the modern era through the 1920s. Attention to social and intellectual contexts, conceptual frameworks and methods, and contributions to contemporary social analysis. Writers include Adam Smith, Alexis de Tocqueville, Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, and Max Weber.  SO

* SOCY 152b, Topics in Contemporary Social Theory 

In-depth introduction to recent developments in social theory, with particular emphasis on the last twenty years. Focus on three distinct areas of study: the building blocks and contrasting understandings of human persons and social action; the competing theories of the social structure of markets, institutions, cultures, social fields, and actor-networks; and the theoretical controversies concerning nations, states and empires, ethnic and racial identity, and the relation between facts and values in social research. Authors include Judith Butler, Michel Foucault, Jurgen Habermas, Pierre Bourdieu and Bruno Latour. None. Though “Foundations of Modern Social Theory” or equivalent is strongly recommended.  SO

Courses in Sociological Methods


* SOCY 160a, Methods of Inquiry 

The theory and practice of social inquiry. How social scientists—and aspiring social scientists—actually do their work, including designing research, sampling and measuring, and interpreting results. Examination of thesis proposal writing; ethical quandaries involved in social research. No background in social research assumed.  SO
MW 11:35am-12:50pm

* SOCY 162a, Methods in Quantitative Sociology 

Introduction to methods in quantitative sociological research. Topics include: data description; graphical approaches; elementary probability theory; bivariate and multivariate linear regression; regression diagnostics. Students use Stata for hands-on data analysis.  QRSO
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

SOCY 167a, Social Networks and Society 

Introduction to the theory and practice of social network analysis. The role of social networks in contemporary society; basic properties of network measures, matrices, and statistics. Theoretical concepts such as centrality and power, cohesion and community, structural holes, duality of persons and groups, small worlds, and diffusion and contagion. Use of social structural, dynamic, and statistical approaches, as well as network analysis software. No background in statistics required.  SO
TTh 9am-10:15am

* SOCY 169b, Visual Sociology 

Introduction to themes and methods in visual sociology. The role and use of visual information in social life, including images, objects, settings, and human interactions. Ethnographic photography, the study of media images, maps and diagrams, observation and coding of public settings, unobtrusive measures, and the use of internet resources.  SO

Intermediate Courses

The prerequisite for intermediate courses is one introductory Sociology course or permission of the instructor.


SOCY 155b / JDST 323b / MMES 160b / NELC 155b, State and Society in Israel 

The interplay between the state and society in Israel. Current Israeli discourse on controversial issues such as civil rights in a Jewish-democratic state, Jewish-Arab relations, and right and left politics. Issues of orthodoxy, military service, globalization, and multiculturalism in Israel. Sociopolitical changes that have taken place in Israel since the establishment of the state in 1948 and that have led to the reshaping of Israeli Zionist ideology.  HU
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

SOCY 170b / LAST 214b / PLSC 378b, Contesting Injustice 

Exploration of why, when, and how people organize collectively to challenge political, social, and economic injustice. Cross-national comparison of the extent, causes, and consequences of inequality. Analysis of mobilizations for social justice in both U.S. and international settings. Intended primarily for freshmen and sophomores.  SO

SOCY 172b / PLSC 415b, Religion and Politics 

Challenges to the view of religion as an archaic force destined to dwindle away in a secularized society. A historical and comparative investigation of the relationship between religion and politics in Europe and the United States, with comparisons to the Muslim world.  SO

Advanced Courses

Courses in this category are open to students who have completed one intermediate course and any other specified requirement, or by permission of the instructor. Preference is given to Sociology majors in their junior and senior years.


* SOCY 307b / ER&M 376b / MGRK 304b / PLSC 376b, Extreme and Radical Right Movements

Extreme and radical right movements and political parties are a recurrent phenomenon found in most parts of the world. Discussion of their foundational values and the causes of their continuous, even increasing, support among citizens and voters.    SO

* SOCY 313a, Sociology of the Arts and Popular Culture 

An advanced introduction to sociological perspectives on the arts and popular culture. Emphasis on the conceptualization of culture within social theory, with the aim of interpreting cultural expressions and artifacts—artworks, music, television, film, and literature.  SO
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

* SOCY 317a / ENGL 228a, Sociological Imagination in African Literatures 

Introduction to a variety of literary, oral, and visual narratives by artists from countries as diverse as Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria, Sudan, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. Integration of literary and sociological approaches to African texts.  HU
T 9:25am-11:15am

* SOCY 319a / AFAM 390a / ER&M 419a, Ethnography of the African American Community 

An ethnographic study of the African American community. Analysis of ethnographic and historical literature, with attention to substantive, conceptual, and methodological issues. Topics include the significance of slavery, the racial ghetto, structural poverty, the middle class, the color line, racial etiquette, and social identity.  SO

* SOCY 322a / PLSC 351a, European Fascism 

Fascism in Europe, in its variety of national manifestations, between 1918 and 1945. Topics include the range of theories about the social, intellectual, and political origins of Fascism; regime forms implemented by Fascists; crimes perpetrated by Fascist movements in Europe; and the long-term effects of Fascism on political debates in contemporary Europe.  SO
Th 3:30pm-5:20pm

* SOCY 330a / AFST 303a / EP&E 303a, Civil Sphere and Democracy 

In dialogue with normative and empirical approaches to civil society, this course examines civil sphere theory. The sacred and profane binaries that animate the civil sphere are studied, as are such civil sphere organizations as polls, mass media, electoral system, law, and office. Topics include: United States presidential elections, immigration and its controversies, the civil rights movement, the crisis of contemporary journalism, recent controversies over church pedophilia, the financial system, telephone hacking, and the challenge of de-provincializing civil sphere theory. one intermediate sociology course, or by permission of the instructor.  HUSO
T 3:30pm-5:20pm

* SOCY 352a / HUMS 247a, Material Culture and Iconic Consciousness 

How and why contemporary societies continue to symbolize sacred and profane meanings, investing these meanings with materiality and shaping them aesthetically. Exploration of “iconic consciousness” in theoretical terms (philosophy, sociology, semiotics) and further exploration of compelling empirical studies about food and bodies, nature, fashion, celebrities, popular culture, art, architecture, branding, and politics.  HUSO
Th 2:30pm-4:20pm

* SOCY 365b / PLSC 241b, The Making of Political News 

The processes through which political news gets made. How the form and content of political news are shaped in and through the ongoing relationships between political operatives and journalists; ways in which these actors attempt to structure and restructure such relationships to their benefit.  SO

* SOCY 369b / EP&E 258b / PLSC 446b, Welfare States across Nations 

How different societies counterbalance capitalism and deal with social risks. Welfare state regimes and their approaches to inequality, unemployment, poverty, illness, disability, child rearing, and old age. Why the United States has an exceptionally small welfare state.  SO

* SOCY 395a / EAST 408a / EP&E 269a, Wealth and Poverty in Modern China 

The underlying causes and consequences of the changing distribution of income, material assets, and political power in contemporary China. Substantive focus on inequality and stratification. Instruction in the use of online Chinese resources relevant to research. Optional weekly Chinese language discussions. Prerequisite: a previous course on China since 1949.  SO
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

Individual Study and Research Courses


* SOCY 471a and SOCY 472b, Individual Study 

Individual study for qualified juniors and seniors under faculty supervision. To register for this course, each student must submit to the director of undergraduate studies a written plan of study that has been approved by a faculty adviser. 

* SOCY 491a or b, Senior Essay and Colloquium for Nonintensive Majors 

Independent library-based research under faculty supervision. To register for this course, students must submit a written plan of study approved by a faculty adviser to the director of undergraduate studies no later than the end of registration period in the term in which the senior essay is to be written. The course meets biweekly, beginning in the first week of the term.

* SOCY 493a and SOCY 494b, Senior Essay and Colloquium for Intensive Majors 

Independent research under faculty direction, involving empirical research and resulting in a substantial paper. Workshop meets biweekly to discuss various stages of the research process and to share experiences in gathering and analyzing data. The first meeting is in the second week of the term. 
W 9:25am-11:15am