Instructor Experience

Immigration and the New Second Generation

Today, nearly one quarter of all children under 18 belong to an immigrant family. As this population continues to grow, how they are adapting to US society has important consequences. This course will focus on the children of contemporary immigrants in the United States. This course will highlight the experiences of Asian, Latino, and Black immigrant children to understand how today’s second generation adapts and incorporates into their host societies. Topics include education, gender, language, racial and ethnic hierarchy, and ethnic identity.

Immigrant Assimilation and Adaptation: International Perspectives

What happens to immigrants and their descendants when they arrive in the host country? How do they adapt to their new surroundings and how does their experience differ across host countries? While much of these questions have been addressed using the US as the central focus, examining other host countries can help contextualize the US experience and test the generalizability of assimilation theories. This is particularly important as other immigrants and their children become a larger share of the population in many Western countries. The course focuses primarily on the experience of the children of immigrants, whose outcomes will have the greatest social and economic impacts on their host countries. The first half of the class is devoted to the US experience. After an introduction to major assimilation theories, we will examine cases in Europe and Canada. We will also discuss the role of immigration policy and history in shaping the experiences in each of the host countries. 

Sociology of Education

Does education promote socioeconomic opportunities or maintain socioeconomic inequalities? Focusing on the U.S. educational system, we begin by examining theoretical perspectives on the role of education. We then examine the ways in which class, race, and gender affect educational achievement and attainment. Thereafter, we explore the effects of education on socioeconomic attainment. We conclude with an examination of the higher education process.

Sociology of Work and Occupations

How are work and occupation organized in modern society? Focusing on western societies, this course examines how work and occupations have evolved over time and reinforce existing inequalities in society. We examine the ways that class, race, and gender shape occupational attainment and how occupations also shape health and well-being. We also consider the role of the state in shaping occupations. We conclude be examining how globalization and technological changes shape the future of work.

Social Difference and Inequality

Contemporary societies are characterized by social differences and inequalities. Many differences are linked to social categories such as social class, gender, ethnicity, age, religion and disability. They indicate not only different life style decisions but fundamental inequalities of life chances and are responsible for systematic inequalities in income, health and life expectancy. Many of these inequalities are seen as unjust even though they continue and sometimes even increase. This subject will give a comprehensive overview about central social inequalities on a national and international level. It will discuss major sociological approaches to understand the existence and reproduction of these inequalities and how the understanding and theorizing of social inequalities has changed in recent decades.

Contemporary Social Problems

The aim of the subject is to give students a good understanding of the social dimension of social problems as well as insights into the social construction and negotiation of social problems. A number of different approaches and ways to see social problems will be introduced to sharpen the awareness of the influence of specific world views of our selection, understanding and responses to social problems. On this basis a number of recent social problems and a shift in understanding and dealing with social problems will be discussed.