Liza Weinstein, PhD
Associate Professor of Sociology and Chair

900 Renaissance Park
617.373.2688 (fax)

CSSH Graduate Programs General Regulations

Uncertainty about the economy, healthcare, and the labor market. Ethnic conflicts in an era of rapid globalization. Concern for the environment. Shifting gender arrangements as work and family come into conflict. Violence in school and even in houses of worship.

Never has there been a greater need for sociological research focused on the problems and issues of our time.

The Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Northeastern University offers a PhD degree in sociology within a flexible program attractive to students interested in both academic and nonacademic careers. Students pursuing the PhD degree earn an MA degree en route to completing the doctorate, unless they earned the MA in sociology elsewhere. The program seeks to provide students with the theoretical foundation and research skills needed to engage in a career in teaching and research, in the public sector, or in industry. Thirty-two faculty members bring a wide range of substantive interests, organized around four specialization areas: the sociology of gender; globalization; environment and health; and urban sociology. Apart from these formal areas of concentration, the department has extraordinary strengths in inequality and social movements.

Our faculty have won numerous prizes for excellence in the classroom, and many have also played leadership roles in establishing prestigious centers and interdisciplinary programs on Northeastern’s campus.

The Department of Sociology and Anthropology is a founding unit of Northeastern’s School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, which is dedicated to providing advanced research opportunities in a multidisciplinary environment. The department also maintains strong ties with the Brudnick Center for the Study of Conflict and Violence; the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program; the Kitty and Michael Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy; the Northeastern Environmental Justice Research Collaborative; the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute; and PhD in Public Policy program.

Doctor of Philosophy

Sociology Courses

SOCL 5240. Feminist Resistance. 4 Hours.

Engages students in the study of a variety of forms of feminist resistance in recent history, emphasizing the United States in the context of cross-cultural examples. Examines key feminist texts and manifestos and studies feminist activism in coalition with other social movements. Students identify and analyze unique features of gender-based activism in itself and in its intersections with other social movements, including movements and activism focused on race, class, sexuality, and physical ability.

SOCL 6962. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions. May be repeated without limit.

SOCL 7100. Queer Theory: Sexualities, Genders, Politics. 4 Hours.

Introduces the core texts and key debates that have shaped queer theory and examines the intersections between queer theory and feminism and critical race theory. Seeks to provide an understanding of expansive and radical contemporary queer politics by analyzing foundational queer and feminist texts, pushing beyond narrow constructions of identity politics, anti-discrimination policy, and rights-based reforms. Engages queer theory by means of a rich philosophical and political interrogation of the meaning and content of “queer.” SOCL 7100 and WMNS 7100 are cross-listed.

SOCL 7200. Foundations of Social Theory 1. 4 Hours.

Studies the classic theorists including Durkheim, Weber, Marx, and others.

SOCL 7201. Foundations of Social Theory 2. 4 Hours.

Reviews the dominant theoretical traditions in contemporary sociology, examining the key assumptions, terminology, weaknesses, and strengths of the pluralist, managerialist, neo-Marxist, feminist, and postmodern paradigms. Strives not only to expose students to the giants in the field but, more important, to give students the intellectual tools to situate entire theoretical traditions vis-à-vis one another. Introduces students to various schools of thought. Offers students the opportunity to learn “how to think” sociologically and theoretically—that is, to go beyond simplistic and descriptive accounts of social phenomena to offer more systematic and insightful explanations.

SOCL 7220. Seminar in Qualitative Analysis. 4 Hours.

Studies qualitative techniques of analysis. Examines social-structure process and meaning in interacting groups. Students study a face-to-face group by means of participant observation using symbolic interaction concepts.

SOCL 7221. Globalization, Development, and Social Justice. 4 Hours.

Explores the rise of neoliberal globalization and its impact on local and national communities around the world. Examines complex patterns of resistance, including place-based struggles and transnational social movements. Combines theoretical analysis of global capitalism, development, the politics of resistance, and reformist/radical alternatives with the study of concrete struggles in defense of land, labor and human rights, indigenous cultures and identities, and ecological sustainability.

SOCL 7225. Gender and Social Movements. 4 Hours.

Offers an in-depth examination of the sociological literature on the gender dynamics of social movements, both nationally based and transnational. Covers key questions, conceptual tools, and methodological frameworks in the study of social movements; the interplay of gender, the state, and social movements, including feminist and women’s movements; how social institutions and social norms may affect the course and outcomes of movements; and globalization, transnational social movements, and gender. Geared toward students who plan to do research on social movements or global social movements but also designed to be useful to those with interests in related fields.

SOCL 7227. Race and Ethnic Relations. 4 Hours.

Offers a graduate-level seminar in the sociology of race and ethnic relations. Explores the key social, economic, political, and ideological forces shaping race and ethnic relations in the United States, past and present, and the main theoretical, methodological, and substantive debates in the “race and ethnicity” subfield of sociology. Course topics include, but are not limited to, the conceptual and intellectual foundations of the study of race and ethnic relations; the sources and consequences of ethnic and racial identities; urban poverty and dynamics of racial residential segregation; the role of wealth in creating and perpetuating racial inequality; the “new black middle class”; and contemporary debates regarding racial prejudice, discrimination, and redistributive public policies in the United States.

SOCL 7235. Urban Sociology. 4 Hours.

Discusses theories of the development of urban life. Compares preindustrial and industrialized urban areas. Presents methods for the study of urban social structure and change, and evaluates contemporary metropolitan action programs.

SOCL 7243. Sociology of Health and Illness. 4 Hours.

Studies social aspects of illness and medicine, historically and cross-culturally. Focuses on illness and the medical profession in modern society and their structural settings: the community, the hospital, the medical school. Critically examines research studies in the field and specifies problems for future research.

SOCL 7257. Contemporary Issues in Sociology. 4 Hours.

Discuss contemporary issues in sociology. Include supervised readings and written reports on special problems. May be repeated without limit.

SOCL 7259. Contemporary Issues in Sociology. 4 Hours.

Discuss contemporary issues in sociology. Include supervised readings and written reports on special problems. May be repeated without limit.

SOCL 7263. Social Psychology of Stratification. 4 Hours.

Explores the social psychological dimensions of structured social inequality. Overviews the “social psychologies” embedded in the classical social theorists, then explores the literature on sociological social psychology (as opposed to its psychological cousin), identifying key theoretical frameworks and focusing on “social structure and personality” (or “social structure and attitudes”) research. Explores relevant literatures on various “subjective” responses to stratification including the self-concept, stratum (that is, race, class, or gender) identification and consciousness, the process of legitimation, stratification beliefs (or stratification ideology), racial attitudes, and links between these phenomena and various policy attitudes and preferences (support for affirmative action, wealth redistribution, and so on). Also explores the ways in which such responses may contribute to the maintenance and reproduction of the status quo (social reproduction), and social change.

SOCL 7265. Sociology of Gender. 4 Hours.

Examines the origins of feminist sociology, its contributions to gender studies and to sociology, and directions of research. Covers feminist critiques of mainstream sociology, i.e., Parsonian structural functionalism, as well as of critical or Marxist sociology. Theoretical debates include critique of “sex role” theory and its replacement by multilayered notions of gender. That is, we conceptualize gender as macro-institutional and ideological, as an interactional accomplishment, and an aspect of identity. Includes intersectional theories and research, global/transnational concerns, studies of masculinities, and the place of the body and sexuality studies. This is a graduate seminar.

SOCL 7267. Environment, Health, and Society. 4 Hours.

Studies contested illnesses, which are diseases or conditions in which there is dispute over environmental causation. For many diseases and conditions attributed to environmental and occupational exposure, the disease or condition and/or its causes are discovered by laypeople in workplaces and communities, with considerable attention to chemical exposures. This seminar synthesizes a diverse set of fields, encompassing environmental sociology, medical sociology, medical anthropology, science studies, history of medicine, history of science, environmental health, community-based participatory research, environmental justice, and environmental public health. Emphasizes both political economic and ideological factors as determinants of contestation. Also examines issues of interdisciplinary collaboration between social scientists and environmental health scientists.

SOCL 7268. Globalization and the City. 4 Hours.

Considers the conditions of cities and their residents in the era of globalization. Cities have always been located at the center of regional and global networks of trade, capital, and culture. Even so, urban sociology has tended to treat cities as closed systems, defined more by internal logics than by broader social and economic forces. Since the early 1990s, however, shifts under way in the global economy, information and communications technologies, political movements, and cultural processes have altered the way that scholars (and policy makers, planners, architects, urban residents, etc.) look at cities. Increasingly, the world’s cities are regarded as nodes in global networks; and correspondingly, urban social and spatial processes are being viewed through global lenses.

SOCL 7270. Sociology of Work and Employment. 4 Hours.

Examines the ways in which work organizations powerfully shape individual and social life. Traces such influences with particular emphasis on how organizations differentially affect the distribution of job rewards across class, gender and racial/ethnic lines. Topics include the historical evolution of the management/worker relationship, job segregation by both race and gender, the impact of new technologies on social inequality, the relation between gender and professional careers, govermental efforts to ensure equal opportunity, and the impact of workplace transformation on racial and gender inequalities at work.

SOCL 7273. Gender and Social Policy. 4 Hours.

Provides an introduction to gender and social policy, with emphasis on intersections of inequalities based on class, race, and sexuality. The focus is on equality policies in employment including family-friendly measures and antidiscrimination policies. Includes those focused on child care, poverty, reproduction, and sexuality. Examines the intersections of family, economy, sexuality, and state from a variety of perspectives including cross-national and comparative analysis.

SOCL 7287. Social Movements in Health. 4 Hours.

Offers a graduate seminar centering on health social movements. Also explores general social movement theory and research. Uses concepts from science and technology studies and covers some core medical sociology concerns such as health inequalities; personal experience of illness; and lay-professional disputes over disease identification, causation, prevention, and treatment. Among the movements covered are disability rights, breast cancer activism, medical activism, black health movements, environmental justice, community health centers, patients’ rights, and health access movements.

SOCL 7962. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions. May be repeated without limit.

SOCL 7976. Directed Study. 1-4 Hours.

Comprises reading and research directed by a faculty member. May be repeated without limit.

SOCL 7990. Thesis. 1-4 Hours.

Offers thesis supervision by members of the department. May be repeated without limit.

SOCL 8960. Exam Preparation—Doctoral. 0 Hours.

Taken while completing one of two PhD field statements under faculty supervision.

SOCL 8984. Research. 1-4 Hours.

Offers an opportunity to conduct research under faculty supervision. May be repeated without limit.

SOCL 8986. Research. 0 Hours.

Offers the student the opportunity to conduct full-time research. May be repeated without limit.

SOCL 9000. PhD Candidacy Achieved. 0 Hours.

Indicates successful completion of the doctoral comprehensive exam.

SOCL 9986. Research. 0 Hours.

Offers the student the opportunity to conduct full-time research. May be repeated without limit.

SOCL 9990. Dissertation Term 1. 0 Hours.

Offers theoretical and experimental work conducted under the supervision of a departmental faculty.

SOCL 9991. Dissertation Term 2. 0 Hours.

Offers dissertation supervision by members of the department.

SOCL 9996. Dissertation Continuation. 0 Hours.

Offers continued thesis work conducted under the supervision of a departmental faculty.