Special Topics & Advanced Seminars



SOCD10H3S Advanced Seminar in Gender and Family
Course Description:
This course offers an in-depth examination of selected topics in Gender and Family. This course sets out from the notion that we live in a time of change in family life. Throughout this course, we will explore marriage patterns, cohabitation, divorce rates, couples, blended and single-parent families, lesbian and gay couples (and parents), living alone, juggling employment and family life, children living at home, gendered work in the home, as well as love and monogamy. In this course, we will challenge and problematize some of what is considered “natural” in terms of family life.

SOCD21H3, Immigrant Scarborough
Course Description:
This course examines Scarborough as an immigrant gateway.  Students will have the opportunity to conduct in-depth empirical research of their own and link the data they have collected to theoretical debates about migration, transnationalism and multicultural communities. This discussion-centered seminar course will pay particular attention to the themes of social change, social exclusion and social inequality.  

SOCC40H3S Contemporary Sociological Theory
Course Description: This course covers key topics and theorists in contemporary sociological theory. It provides an introduction to major contemporary social theorists, focusing on their sociology and theories in historical context. It will introduce you to key perspectives of Functionalism; Symbolic Interactionism, Ethnomethodology; Social Constructionism, Structuralism, Postmoderism, Postcolonial Theory, and Intersectionality. We will address key themes, such as the tensions between political/public engagement and scholarship, the micro-meso-macro level of analysis issue, and the question of excluded/marginalized/optimal marginal creative thinkers. While the span of contemporary theory is vast, and continues to grow, this course provides an in-depth snap shot of many of the main theorists and schools of thought.

FALL 2018

SOCD05H3F: Advanced Seminar in Criminology and Sociology of Law - L. Williams
Why are some careers viewed as legitimate while others are not? Why do individuals opt into work which may be seen as illegitimate by many? How do these individuals think about their work and what it means for their broader identities and lives? To address these questions, this course examines a series of occupations which vary from being non-normative to widely stigmatized. From professional gamblers to more traditional “career criminals” such as persistent thieves, students will learn how different career paths become feasible for individuals due to a complex intersection of factors such as socio-economic status, race, gender, and ongoing life experiences.

SOCD15F:  Advanced Seminar in Critical Migration Studies - J. Harold
This course examines critical policies, processes and practices as they relate to migration, belonging, identity, inequality, work & labor, and citizenship. The course examines these in relation to race, class, and gender to better understand the interlocking systems of power, privilege, and inequality embedded in migration policy and practice. Key questions addressed in this course are: How does the patchwork of immigration policies affect migration flows and the daily realities of immigrants in Canada? How do contexts of entry and exit shape the identity, citizenship, and experiences of immigrants? How is inequality associated with the social, political, and economic integration of immigrants? The course engages students with theoretical and empirical work around these questions and others. It also aims to develop students’ ability to engage critically with scholarly work and media discourse, and to participate in action-oriented research.


SOCD44H3 Y – Advanced Seminar on Issues in Contemporary Sociology
The Sociology of Contemporary Visual Art.  This course focuses on all forms of visual art (painting, drawing, sculpture, etc.) and examines the social arrangements and individuals that produce art, the dealers, museums, and economic arrangements responsible for distributing and selling art, and the people that look at, engage with, and buy art.


SOCC59H3 Special Topics in Social Inequality: The Sociology of Food and Diets
When we grab a snack, prepare a dish, or visit a restaurant, we tend to think that our selections reflect our preferences.  In this course, we will challenge preference-based assumptions by examining how our food environments are structured and how social inequalities manifest in diets.  We will examine how global and national political and economic workings shape local food systems, how people resist these workings and actively re-define their food environments, how taste preferences are constructed, and how people use food to express their social relationships.

SOCD10H3 ~ Advanced Seminar in Gender and Family
In this course, we will read and evaluate recent research related to the sociology of families and gender with a focus on North America. We will explore the diversity of family forms and processes, highlighting specific topics that demonstrate how social forces shape gender and family relations.  Topics covered include marriage, cohabitation, parenting, childhood, work-family conflict, divorce, religion, foster care, residential schools, and family violence. Students are encouraged to suggest topics of interest not currently covered by the course schedule.

SOCD25H3 ~ Advanced Seminar in Economy, Politics and Society
This seminar course provides students with the tools to apply a sociological interpretation to economic phenomena with a focus on firms, labor markets, consumption, underground economies, and globalization, among others.  Throughout the course, we examine these phenomena through three competing perspectives: economic, structural, and cultural

FALL 2017

SOCC54 ~ Special Topics in Sociology of Culture
Although shopping is described as a pastime, a closer look reveals that it involves more than leisurely checking out deals or grudgingly buying one's needs.  In fact, our habits of buying goods and services - our practices of consumption - are heavily influenced by our social world. In this course, we will examine how people reproduce social divisions through consumption, and how people use consumption to challenge the status quo. We will draw on sociological theories to make sense of how consumption is structured, how social desires are transformed, and how shopping involves identity politics.

SOCC46H3 ~ Special Topics in Sociology of Law
This course draws on sociological theory as well as Canadian and international research to explore the purchase, use, sale, production and trafficking of illicit substances including, but not limited to, heroin, cocaine, cannabis, psychedelic drugs and methamphetamines. Topics that will be covered include: addiction; the incidence and prevalence of illicit drug use in Canada and around the world; the relationship between drugs and crime; and both domestic and international drug policies.

SOCD05H3 ~ Advanced Seminar in Criminology and Sociology of Law
This seminar explores the topic of drug policy (both domestic and international) drawing on an historical-comparative sociological framework. Topics that will be covered include the historical development of drug prohibition in Canada, the War on Drugs in the US, international drug treaties, and alternatives to drug prohibition such as harm reduction and cannabis legalisation. Critical evaluation of the effectiveness of drug policies will be a major focus of this seminar.  


SOCD44H3, Advanced Seminar on Issues in Contemporary Sociology
“This changes everything”: Debates in sociology of mass media

Why do mass media systems all over the world differ from each other? Does this matter for the quality of life of their respective audiences? Are the “new media” really as new as marketing tells us they are? Do they empower us to turn from consumers to creators, or wrap us into cozy cocoons of information that protect our chosen identities? The course will address these and other questions through a review of current issues and debates in Canadian and international sociology of mass media.