Archive for November, 2016

For Thursday, 12/1 (SOC 1103)

November 30, 2016
  • Jane Austen, Pride & Prejudice (1813), Vol. II

If you haven’t finished Vol. I of Pride & Prejudice, you should do so, and then read at least up to the end of Vol. II. If you have time, review chapter 8 of the textbook (‘Dating & Mate Selection’); focus in particular on theories of, and changes in, mate-selection (Sections 8.4, 8.5).


For Thursday, 12/1 (SOC 1101)

November 30, 2016

We haven’t really dug into the details of the Gladwell essay, so we’ll do that next Tuesday; in order to fully understand the rhetorical context of the essay, however, we’ll first take a look at this famous mid-1990s jeremiad:

For Tuesday, 11/29 (SOC 1103)

November 23, 2016
  • Benokraitis (2015), Ch. 8 (‘Dating and Mate Selection’)
  • Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (1813), Vol. I
    • HW: Imagine that your favorite director is planning to make a movie of this story and has consulted you for advice on casting. Bring to class your list, identifying at least one actor or actress who would be suitable for the following characters, along with a short justification for each choice:
      • Mr. Bennet
      • Mrs. Bennet
      • Jane Bennet
      • Eliza Bennet
      • Mr. Bingley
      • Mr. Darcy
    • Please also identify your favourite director and tell me why they’re your favorite

Try to finish the whole novel over the Thanksgiving break; on Tuesday, however, we’ll limit ourselves to Vol. I, comparing Austen’s ideas about courtship, marriage, ideal partners, and observations about human pecking orders, etc., with the sociological ones presented in our textbook.

For Tuesday, 11/29 (SOC 1101): The Office — ‘Iron Cage’ or Chuck E. Cheese’s?

November 23, 2016


Lunch tables at King in Stockholm, designed by Adolfsson & Partners. Julian Faulhaber for The New York Times.

Yesterday we discussed Weber’s analysis of bureaucracy, and I mentioned that he saw the kind of rationality associated with it, and with office life in general, as forming an ‘iron cage’ in which we find ourselves increasingly entrapped. Sounds pretty bleak, no? But in recent years employers have sought to create offices that are a lot more like playgrounds, on the theory that bright, fun-filled workplaces will produce more creative, more productive workers. We’ll discuss the ideas behind recent workplace design, look at some examples in both the public and (mostly) the private sector, and consider how much of this can be blamed on Jane Jacobs.

For Friday, 12/2 (SOC 303)

November 18, 2016

As we sift through more and more of the exit polling data, we start to see more and more of the big picture that can (hopefully) show us how Trump pulled off his surprise victory. Two writers at the conservative opinion journal National Review, for example, tell us that ‘Trump outperformed Mitt Romney, John McCain, George W. Bush, Bob Dole, and George H. W. Bush in the working-class and rural precincts of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, and Ohio’. So does that mean that thousands of voters who’d previously voted for Democrats changed their minds? Post your conclusions here—but read the material in Chapter 6 of Schutt (2015) on units of analysis and especially the ecological fallacy (pp. 188-91) before you do!


  • HW due: Research Proposal (Draft)
    • PLEASE NOTE: You must first run your draft through the Safe Assign plagiarism-detection software (in the link attached to the Blackboard announcement); only then should you submit the draft (in a separate link—I’ll attach that in a subsequent announcement just to make sure you can find it)!!!
  • Schutt, Chapter 6 (‘Research Design and Causation’)
  • Patten (2014), Topics 45-49


  • LAB:  Does Random Assignment Work?


  • HW: Incorporating Literature

For Tuesday, 11/22 (SOC 1103)

November 18, 2016
  • Benokraitis (2015), Ch. 8 (‘Dating and Mate Selection’)
  • You should also be reading Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (1813) with an eye towards finishing it by the end of Thanksgiving, as we’ll start discussing that book (finally!!!) after we come back from T-giving break.

For Tuesday, 11/22 (SOC 1101)

November 17, 2016

This is very short, but you’ll likely find it very dry. Try to read it with the following current issues in mind:

  • Trump transition team news (4,000 new hires, a federal workforce of 2.8 million, and an annual federal budget of 3.8 trillion dollars), reports of disarray
  • longstanding GOP critiques of government ‘overregulation’

For Tuesday, 11/15 (SOC 1103)

November 11, 2016

For Tuesday, 11/15 (SOC 1101)

November 11, 2016

We’ll continue our discussion of Jane Jacobs and the ‘ballet of the sidewalk’ as well.

Reading Notes

Many of you will find this to be difficult and technically dense reading. If you’re able to describe the Community Question in your own words—however roughly—along with the Community Lost, Community Saved, and Community Liberated arguments, consider it a win.This is really interesting stuff, so try not to get lost in the details. Here’s a quick guide to how you might do that (you should also review your notes from the Erdmans essay we read at the beginning of the semester).

For Friday, 11/18 (SOC 303)

November 11, 2016


  • HW due: Choosing a Data Collection Method
  • Schutt Chapter 7
  • Schutt (2015), Ch. 13, pp. 474-95 (on comparative-historical research)
  • Patten (2014), Topics 45-49


  • LAB: Up Movies


  • HW: Research Proposal (Draft)