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Robert Crosnoe, Chair CLA 3.306, Mailcode A1700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-6300

Spring 2009

SOC 308 • Sociology and Literature

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
45520 TTh
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
PAR 101

Course Description

This course will trace the intersections between the emergence of the discipline of sociology in the U.S. and late nineteenth and early twentieth century American literature. The initial premise is that, following Susan Mizruchi, America is a "social scientific culture," evidenced not only in the formal disciplines of the social sciences within the academy, but in popular culture as well. While we will consider contemporary examples of this intersection (from the HBO television show, The Wire, to popular fiction by Toni Morrison), our focus in the course will be mostly historical. We will read fiction and sociology from the turn-of-the-century through mid-century as overlapping discourses, engaging with many of the same ideas and methodologies. How and why did early sociologists make use of culture in their scientific research? How and why did authors of naturalism, realism and protest fiction model their writing on social scientific techniques?

Grading Policy

Class participation 20%
Final presentation 10%
Ethnography 10%
Paper 1 20%
Paper 2 40%


Jane Addams, Hull-House Maps and Papers, (selections), Twenty Years at Hull House
Nelson Algren, Chicago: City on the Make, (selections), Never Come Morning
John Dewey, selected essays W.E.B. Du Bois, The Philadelphia Negro, (selections), The Soul of Black Folk
Robert Park, selected essays Richard Wright, Black Boy, (American Hunger)
Anzia Yezieska, All I Could Never Be
Louis Wirth, selected essays


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