Graduate Courses by Department


Urban Ethnography 

The everyday experiences and cultural contours of urban life have long been a focal point for sociological study. Through weekly readings and discussion of influential texts, this course surveys the development of urban ethnography from the First Chicago School of the early twentieth century through current-day research. We will explore the substantive issues that have historically shaped urban life—from community dynamics to poverty to social control—as well as the epistemological and methodological concerns faced by those who study urban populations. The aim is to ground students in the foundational literature while preparing them to conduct their own urban ethnographies in the future.

Price Theory and Market Design

This course teaches students to apply the classical tools of price theory in the Marshallian tradition to provide simple and elegant treatment of a range of economic problems typically considered to be on the frontiers of empirical and theoretical microeconomics. We will focus particularly on applications to the efficient design of market institutions, including, but not limited to, procedures for allocating private goods efficiently and equitably, determining the appropriate level of public goods and ensuring markets remain competitive while encouraging beneficial innovation. While the course will cover a wide range of challenging applications, a primary goal will be to develop an appreciation among students for the underlying analytic unity of the field and an ability to convey economic ideas with a minimum of technical formalism and maximal clarity. (=ECON 24210)

Failed States in International Politics

This course addresses theories and empirical realities of state weakness and failure in comparative perspective and its implications for international politics in terms of security, human rights, and political transitions. The defining characteristics of statehood and state-society dynamics that contribute to collapse will be the first topic addressed, and will provide the essential theoretical framework from which we can predict and understand the subsequent security and development implications. The second topic will cover the relationship between failed states and repression and violence, specifically those that prompt international intervention. The third topic will address the imminent and perceived transnational threats that stem from state collapse, specifically terrorism. The final topic will cover various engagement and containment options available to the international community to respond to weak and failed states, to both prevent threats and strengthen state-society relations

In the College: The “Mind” 

Faculty and Graduate students work together in the college, drawing from psychology, anthropology, philosophy, and linguistics to examine mental processes such as perception, memory, and judgment and the relationship between language and thought. The course focuses on the issue of what is innate versus what is learned, the development of thought in children, and the logic of causal, functional, and evolutionary explanations. One theme of the course is the problem of rationality vis-à-vis the canons that govern the language and thought of the “ideal scientist” and how those canons compare to the canons that govern ordinary language and thought, the language and thought of other cultures, and the language and thought of actual scientists.

Processes of Judgment and Decision Making

  • W. Goldstein
  • 43600

    This course offers a survey of research on judgment and decision making, with emphasis placed on uncertainty and (intrapersonal) conflict. An historical approach is taken in which the roots of current research issues and practices are traced. Topics are drawn from the following areas: evaluation and choice when goals are in conflict and must be traded off, decision making when consequences of the decision are uncertain, predictive and evaluative judgments under conditions of uncertain, incomplete, conflicting, or otherwise fallible information.

    The Anthropology of Democracy

    • J. Sosa
    • 21321
    • From protest crowds around the world to participatory budget meetings around the corner, democratic projects appear to be emerging in diverse corners of the globe.  And yet, the diversity of political and social practices that are called democratic demands that we explore what we mean by democracy.  This course explores democracy from an anthropological perspective, and considers projects that treat democracy as descriptive (analyzing existing political systems), aspirational (democracy as a horizon of ideal politics) and discursive/historical (the circulation of democracy as a historically-determined global project).  In this course we will read texts that operate in and between these paradigms as we explore the political and ethical stakes involved in different approaches to democracy.