Race and Inequality (UNM)
As an upper division undergraduate course, this class is structured as a preparation for graduate level coursework examining the sociology of race, ethnicity, and inequality. This course is structured in a seminar format that will introduce students to core theories, concepts, and debates in the sociology of race, ethnicity, and inequality in the U.S. and around the world. In addition to covering core scholarly works, this class will also engage current events and social movements (e.g. Black Lives Matter, Standing Rock DAPL Protests).
There are two primary aims for this course. First, students who successfully complete the course will understand race and ethnicity as mutable, or changeable, social constructs that are linked to society-wide inequalities through interpersonal, institutional, and structural forms of racism. Race, ethnicity, and inequality have been and are constructed through historic and contemporary struggles over economic resources, political power, and cultural identity. Second, students who successfully complete this course will understand the close relationship between race and inequality as de-constructible. From everyday acts of resistance to big-picture public policy changes, the unequal effects of race can be un-made.
Sociological Theory (UNM)
This course covers a spectrum of sociological theory from both the Classical & Contemporary eras. The theorists with whom we engage in this course help comprise the foundations of our field; extensions beyond, as well as critiques of, their ideas help us do a better job explaining human social worlds and action. We should not treat any of them—even the ‘canon’—as infallible nor intellectually perfect. These theorists wrote of their time and place (i.e. their social and historical context) and developed ideas and explanations based on pre-existing social discourse, all within the methodological, political, and social constraints of their time. We should, therefore, approach their work with a respectful, yet critical, eye. These readings cover issues of power and inequality, social structure, economies, identity, social behavior, and more. We will examine some of the contemporary legacies of classical theories and theorists to see how ideas and explanations have grown, been challenged, or otherwise utilized in our current sociological day and age.
There are two primary aims for this course. First, students will read and comprehend the primary works of various social theorists from the 19th century to the present. Comprehension means students will be able to use their own words to describe and interpret the contributions of each theorist. Second, students will use their comprehension of these readings to facilitate their interpretation and analysis of current social experiences and surroundings, including their own. They will be able to use their interpretation and analysis to contextualize and explain how social worlds work, and why they work the way they do.
Inequality and Urban Life (Graduate Instructor - Rice University)
We studied urban development and the lives of city-dwellers. We paid particular attention to the ways in which cities generate race, class, and gender inequality, and how these are experienced by a variety of city stakeholders. We did so not only through readings and discussion, but also by weekly time spent in local neighborhoods. We explored issues of justice and human capabilities.
Through this course, students 1) cultivated an understanding of urban systems of inequality; 2) learned about wealth and poverty creation and why poverty always exists; 3) gained an understanding of life in different parts of the city through experience and systematic research; and 4) saw and felt inequality through research and local internships in a low-income neighborhood.