Course Schedule

Part One: Concepts and Categories to Understand Classical Social Theory

Session 2, Session 3 and Session 4:

Part Two: About the Classics in Sociology

Session 5 and 6:

Session 7 and 8: Karl Marx’s Sociological Imagination

Session 9: Karl Marx’s Sociological Imagination

Session 10: First Group Presentation in-Classroom

  • Topic: Diagnosis of U.S. Capitalistic-Imperialism Through the Lens of Karl Marx’s Sociological Theory
  • Aim of the group presentation: Discuss intellectually the current state of U.S. Imperial-Capitalism Through the Lens of Karl Marx’s Sociological Theory;”
  • Focus and questions of Debate:
    According to many experts in the field, Karl Marx’s sociological theory and critical analysis on capitalism is more relevant today than yesterday to understand the ‘greedy power elites’ in the United States of America, a very unequal society where:
    1. 69 percent of the total wealth is owned by the top 10 percent (U.S. Wealth Distribution by Statista),
    2. 11 million children live in poverty, including 1 in 7 of color and 1 in 6 children under 5 (The State of America’s Children 2013, by Child Defense Funds),
    3. As of 2023, 548.462 individuals are experiencing homelessness, an increase of about 2,000 people since the last Census of 2020 (National Homelessness Facts & Statistics), and
    4. Guns and ammunitions are among the most lucrative business. Over the last 5 years, its manufacture revenue grew to $21.0 billions (Guns & Ammunition Manufacturing in the U.S.).
  • Based upon these data and your own experience on American imperialism, to what extent can Karl Marx’s original political economy of modern society help us to understand American capitalism in its neoliberal, corporatist, and oligarchic phase? Please, use statistical data and well-articulated arguments to defend your intellectual position.

Session 11, 12, 13 and 14: Theoretical and Methodological Sociology in Emile Durkheim

  • Milbrant, Tara & Frank Pearce. “Émile Durkheim.” In The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Major Social Theorists. Edited by George Ritzer and Jeffrey Stepnisky. First published 15 April, 2011. [CUNY item. Off-campus login needed]

Session 15: Second Group Presentation in-Classroom

  • Topic: The Actuality of Durkheimian Categories in the Twenty-First Century
  • Focus and questions of debates [to be provided to the group’s members]

Part Three: Beyond the Traditional Canon

Session 16: In-Class discussion on Individual Reading Report

  • Aim of the report: To develop in students the sense of argumentation and synthesis. To make them mindful of the historical roots of racism and how lawmakers have used law to promote anti-blackness and foster, in the United States of America, a political and social system anchored in caste and racism.

Read/Listen to:

  • Wells, Ida B. (2005). Southern Horrors. Lynch Law in All Its Phases (Produced by Suzanne Shell, Melissa Er-Raqabi and the PG Online Distributed Proofreading Team) [E-book]. Project Guttenberg (Original work published 1892) [Open Access item]
  • Wells, Ida B. (2013). Southern Horrors. Lynch Law in All Its Phases (James K. White and Laura Victoria., Narr.) [Audiobook]. LibriVox (Original work published 1892) [Open Access item]

Student individual assignment:

  • What are your general opinions on the lynching of black people in the United States of America during the nineteenth century?
  • Why did the great classics of sociology not address that problem?
  • Are there contemporary forms of lynching institutionalized against black people in the United States? If yes, please give concrete examples.
  • How to effectively fight contemporary forms of lynching?

The reading’s report should not be more than three pages long. It must be typed using Times New Roman or Arial, font size 12, and 1.5 line spacing.

Session 17, 18 and 19: Georg Simmel as a Thinker of Modernity

  • Frisby, David. “Georg Simmel: First Sociologist of Modernity.” Theory, Culture & Society. 1985. Vol 2 (3): 49-67. [CUNY item. Off-campus login needed]

Session 20 and 21: Max Weber’s Contribution to Sociology

Session 22, 23 and 24: Sociological Thought in the Intellectual Work of Anna Julia Cooper

Session 25 and 26: W.E. B. Du Bois: Sociological Thought in a Context of Institutional Racism

Session 27: Third Student Group Presentation in-Classroom

  • Topic: Anna Julia Cooper and Ida B. Wells are now recognized as figureheads of the historical struggles to challenge racism and anti-blackness.
  • Focus and questions of Debate:
    • After reading their works, how do they compare?
    • What are the possible similitudes and differences in their intellectual points of views?
    • What are the possible lessons that you can take from their public intellectualism and activism?

** Final exams: Students must turn in their final papers to the Professor on the date marked for the final exams. The final paper must be turned in by email. The Guidelines of this term paper will be provided over the semester.