Archive for August, 2017

For Thursday, 8/31 (SOC 1102)

August 29, 2017



  • Introductory Discussion: ‘What Is Sociology? What Is Urban Sociology?’ (cont’d)
  • Pecha Kucha (Mini-Lecture): ‘On Pecha Kuchas’

Ground Rules for the Classroom

August 23, 2017
  • Put your phone down. In fact, once we get into class business, turn it off (or at the very least, put it on vibrate), and put it away for the duration of class (note: putting it on your lap does NOT count). Any unauthorised use of electronic devices will torch your class participation grade, meaning your grade automatically dives down to zero, and won’t recover for a while (if it ever does). If you need to do something important during class time, please ask me first. That includes pulling it out for any reason (checking the time, checking on your dying grandmother, snapping photos of slides on the main projector screen, whatever). Such is the frequency of students ignoring these instructions that I’m afraid I must consider you guilty until proven innocent: I will assign this zero if your phone is in your lap, or if it’s on your desk, or if your bag obscures my line of sight and you’re moving your hands in a way that resembles texting. These are draconian rules, admittedly, so read carefully before you commit to being in this class. Smartphones are a ‘productivity killer’ and I would like for our time together to be productive.
  • How to respect your professor. Late in life, the virtuoso pianist Vladimir Horowitz is said to have informed his longtime manager that the latter was now like family and no longer had to call him ‘Mr. Horowitz’ — he could call him ‘Maestro’. At the risk of matching Horowitz in grandiosity without the corresponding level of achievement, I ask you to please call me ‘Professor Murray’: I’ve learned from experience that students need to be reminded at every turn of the special nature of the college-level teacher-student relationship, and observing the proper forms of address can help with that.
  • How to email your professor
  • Attendance is vital; more than a few unexcused absences can result in a failing grade.
  • If you will be forced to miss any classes for religious observances, please inform me of this within the first three weeks of the semester.
  • Excused absences require a doctor’s note or suchlike; bring it to the next class, at the latest.
  • I give pop quizzes on reading assignments at random; these are a component of your class participation grade, and may not be made up at a later time/date.
  • Cheating and plagiarism will be punished according to official policy.
  • Read my emails (note, e.g., the ‘reply-to’ address…) and instructions for assignments carefully; oversight is no excuse.

I have read this syllabus as well as its accompanying links, and I understand that a passing grade requires full compliance with class rules. I am aware that if any assignment is not completed, I may fail the entire course.

Please print this page; sign and date it on the line below, and return it to me by the third week of class.


For Tuesday, 8/29 (SOC 1102)

August 22, 2017

Welcome to Urban Sociology.

Before (this is what you need to do to prepare for class)

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 as to how you might do that.

During (this is a rough outline of our agenda for that class)

  • Introductory Remarks
  • Personal Introductions
  • Introductory Discussion: What Is Sociology? What Is Urban Sociology?
  • The Community Question

After (this is what you need to do to prepare for the next class)

  • HW: TBA

For Monday, 8/28 (SOC 3250)

August 21, 2017

Welcome! Diving back into academic work with a three-and-a-half hour seminar can be a bit bracing, so I don’t want to overwhelm you guys on the first day. Having said that, however, there are a few things I’d like you to skim before our first meeting.

This post also contains a description of our agenda for the day, which I’ll update as necessary in the coming days.

Before (this is what you need to do to prepare for class)

*If you aren’t able to buy the book before class, then please read David S. Meyer, ‘How Social Movements Matter’, Contexts 2(203): 30-35. You should read Goodwin and Jasper’s intro as soon thereafter as you can.

During (this is a rough outline of our agenda for that class)

  • Course Introduction: What are social movements, and why should we study them?
  • Introductions/Paper Topics
  • How to Read (Closely)

After (this is what you need to do to prepare for the next class)

  • HW: TBA



Goodwin, Jeff, James M. Jasper, eds. 2015. The Social Movements Reader: Cases and Concepts, 3rd Edition. Wiley Blackwell.