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

Alexander Weinreb

Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

Associate Professor
Alexander Weinreb

Contact

Biography

I work in two main substantive areas: social and political demography; and data collection methods in survey research.  I mainly focus on non-Western settings, especially countries in sub-Saharan Africa, though I also have important secondary interests in historical demography and in the sociology of Judaism.   

A list of recent papers is available on my CV. I also recently co-authored Religion and AIDS in Africa.

 

Interests

Social and political demography, data collection methods, sociology of Judaism

SOC 317M • Intro To Social Research

44585 • Fall 2015
Meets MW 900am-1000am CLA 0.118
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Description:

This “standard” sociological research methods course introduces students to the core professional challenge in sociology: how to collect the data that we use to answer our research questions. In this course we accomplish the same goal, but in a non-standard way. We employ a tag-team instructional approach involving two professors and a “flipped” classroom, meaning the emphasis will be upon learning outside the traditional classroom—via a series of online instructional modules—followed by in-person practical application during lab sequences.

Spanning what are known as “qualitative” and “quantitative” approaches, the course covers basic principles in a few main areas: the meaning of variables, understanding causation, study design, basic sampling, and modes and methods in data collection. Throughout, we draw on examples from published studies in sociology and other social sciences, looking at how other researchers have navigated commonplace methodological pitfalls. We also present brief modules featuring other University of Texas sociologists. They introduce their research programs and methods, and describe how they avoided some of the methodological pitfalls that might have damaged their research agendas.

By the end of the course, students should be able to both critically evaluate the methodological underpinnings of much social research. They should also be able to construct their own study, on paper at least, without falling into the most common and destructive traps. We also hope that this course will make students more skilled consumers of information in the real world. People are enveloped in data and arguments based in data. It is important to know how to evaluate the quality of those data. Engaged citizenship demands it.

SOC F317M • Intro To Social Research

86760 • Summer 2015
Meets MTWTHF 1000am-1130am CLA 0.118
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NOTE: All students need to receive permission to enroll in SOC 317M for a second attempt. Students are no longer allowed to enroll in SOC 317M for a third time. 

Course Description 

This course introduces students to the core professional challenge in sociology: how to collect the data that we use to answer our research questions. Spanning what are known as “qualitative” and “quantitative” approaches, the course covers basic principles in a few main areas: the meaning of variables, understanding causation, study design, basic sampling, and modes and methods in data collection. Throughout, we draw on examples from published studies in sociology and other social sciences, looking t how other researchers have navigated commonplace methodological pitfalls. 

By the end of the course, students should be able to both critically evaluate the methodological underpinnings of much social research. They should also be able to construct their own study, on paper at least, without unwittingly falling into the most common and destructive traps. More generally, I hope that this course will make students more skilled consumers of information in the real world. We are enveloped in data and arguments based in data. It is therefore incumbent on all of us to know how to evaluate the quality of those data. Good citizenship demands it. 

Since these are weighty goals, this is not the easiest course. We cover a relatively large range of material. And students are required not merely to recall information which they learn or read about, but also to develop and apply their newfound skills. That said, I have chosen to exclude things which often appear in such courses: there is minimal coverage of underlying epistemological debates or intellectual history; there is almost nothing on analytic approaches, and very little on research ethics. 

I will not formally take attendance (though I pay attention to who’s around). That said, I strongly encourage you to come to all lectures/classes. You miss them at your peril. We do not simply go over the reading materials for that week. Rather, key concepts and themes from those readings will be emphasized or embedded in a larger set of issues. Examples will be given, brought in from elsewhere in the social sciences. We will discuss those together and apply them in-class. Sometimes your questions lead to unplanned but highly informative revelations. 

Course Requirements 

Final grade is determined as follows: 

2 in-class exams, each worth 25% = 50% 

1 assignment = 15%  

1 research proposal = 25%

1 formal presentation = 10% 

The two exams will consist of multiple choice, true/false, and short essay questions, and will be closed book. They are scheduled to be given in class on Monday, June 23rd and Monday, July 7th. They will be based on materials from course reading, class powerpoints – though note that not everything is in the PPT – and class discussion. 

You will also submit two graded assignments. The first is due June 13th and is intended to help you apply selected concepts or techniques learned during the first section of the course. Details will be circulated early next week. 

The second assignment, worth 25% of the grade, is due on Friday July 11th, the day after class formally ends. Detailed instructions will be outlined in separate handouts and will also be posted on the course Blackboard website. In addition, you will be asked to present a version of this during the final days of class. Use comments from the presentation to improve your final assignment. 

Note that except for what I consider to be extreme circumstances, no late assignments will be accepted, and no extensions or makeup exams will be given. I also do not give extra credit assignments, though I offer extra credit in exams. 

More generally, the exams, assignments, and research proposal will often involve discussion, explanation, and interpretation. All involve writing. Because clarity of thought and clarity of writing are inseparable and important – perhaps even more important in social research than in creative writing – students are advised to pay close attention to their prose. Poor grammar and writing will invariably result in a lower grade. 

Grading Scale A 

95-100% 

Excellent grasp of subject matter; provides relevant details and examples; draws clear and interesting connections, exceptionally original, coherent and well-organized; explains concepts clearly; ideas clearly written/stated. 

A- 90-94% 

Very good grasp of subject matter; provides relevant details and examples; draws clear connections; explains concepts clearly; ideas clearly written/stated 

B+ 86-89% 

Good grasp of some elements above, others need work 

83-85% 

Satisfactory grasp of some elements abo 

B- 80-82% 

Uneven, spotty grasp of the elements above 

C+ 76-79% 

Limited grasp of the above 

73-75% 

Poor grasp of the above 

C-70-72% 

Very poor grasp of the above 

60-69% 

Little evidence of grasp of material, having done readings, attended class, or completed assignments 

0-59% 

Insignificant evidence of having done readings, attended class, or completing assignments 

SOC 317M • Intro To Social Research

46350 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 830am-930am CLA 0.122
show description

Asking questions, seeking answers: An introduction to research design and data collection

Description

This course introduces students to the core professional problem in sociology: how we go about asking and answering questions about patterns of social organization and human behavior. Spanning what are known as “qualitative” and “quantitative” approaches, it is organized into three core sections. First we deal with how to pose questions, including questions that threaten our own deeply held beliefs, as well as those of other important interests. Second, we deal with basic techniques of research design and data collection. Third, drawing on a sample of published studies from across several sociological subfields, as well as other types of social research, we critically evaluate the extent to which other researchers have navigated these methodological hurdles. By the end of the course, students should be able to both critically evaluate the methodological underpinnings of most social research, as well as design their own robust studies.

Text

H. Russell Bernard’s Social Research Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. E-copies of other readings will be made available by the Professor.

 

SOC 317M • Intro To Social Research

46140 • Fall 2013
Meets MW 100pm-200pm ENS 109
show description

Asking questions, seeking answers: An introduction to research design and data collection

Description

This course introduces students to the core professional problem in sociology: how we go about asking and answering questions about patterns of social organization and human behavior. Spanning what are known as “qualitative” and “quantitative” approaches, it is organized into three core sections. First we deal with how to pose questions, including questions that threaten our own deeply held beliefs, as well as those of other important interests. Second, we deal with basic techniques of research design and data collection. Third, drawing on a sample of published studies from across several sociological subfields, as well as other types of social research, we critically evaluate the extent to which other researchers have navigated these methodological hurdles. By the end of the course, students should be able to both critically evaluate the methodological underpinnings of most social research, as well as design their own robust studies.

Text

H. Russell Bernard’s Social Research Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. E-copies of other readings will be made available by the Professor.

 

SOC 321K • Anti-Semitism

46150 • Fall 2013
Meets MWF 900am-1000am CLA 0.102
(also listed as HIS 366N, J S 365 )
show description

Course description

Why have Jews been hated and mistrusted for so long? How, if at all, does judeophobia differ from other types of xenophobia or racism?  In which societies have we historically seen intense hatred or mistrust of Jews? Where do we see it today? And where do we see the opposite phenomenon: philosemitism?

In this upper-level undergraduate course, we tackle these and related questions. We identify distinct types of judeophobia/antisemitism over 2,500 years, identifying continuity and change in antisemitic discourse.

 

Although our primary focus is on antisemitism in contemporary and historical Christian and Muslim societies, we begin in the antisemitic bedrock—Ancient Greece and Rome. We also look at antisemitism in peripheral societies which have had few Jews, if any (e.g., Japan). Finally, we consider judeophobia among Jews themselves—that is, the enduring phenomenon in which some Jews have not only internalized anti-Semitic discourse but have become “self-hating.”

 

Throughout the course, we use antisemitism to explore more general ideas in social theory, including globalization, and the nature of conflict related to race, ethnicity, class, and ideology. Perhaps most surprising and disturbing—this being a university—we look at the repeated role of intellectual elites in generating and justifying new forms of judeophobia, and in so doing, perpetuating this ancient hatred.

 

 

SOC 317M • Intro To Social Research

45700 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 930am-1030am PAR 206
show description

Asking questions, seeking answers: An introduction to research design and data collectionDescription

This course introduces students to the core professional problem in sociology: how we go about asking and answering questions about patterns of social organization and human behavior. Spanning what are known as “qualitative” and “quantitative” approaches, it is organized into three core sections. First we deal with how to pose questions, including questions that threaten our own deeply held beliefs, as well as those of other important interests. Second, we deal with basic techniques of research design and data collection. Third, drawing on a sample of published studies from across several sociological subfields, as well as other types of social research, we critically evaluate the extent to which other researchers have navigated these methodological hurdles. By the end of the course, students should be able to both critically evaluate the methodological underpinnings of most social research, as well as design their own robust studies.

Text

H. Russell Bernard’s Social Research Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. E-copies of other readings will be made available by the Professor.

SOC 321K • Anti-Semitism

45520 • Fall 2012
Meets MWF 900am-1000am BUR 208
(also listed as HIS 366N, J S 365, MES 341 )
show description

Why have Jews been hated and mistrusted for so long? How, if at all, does judeophobia differ from other types of xenophobia or racism?  In which societies have we historically seen intense hatred or mistrust of Jews? Where do we see it today? And where do we see the opposite phenomenon: philosemitism?

In this upper-level undergraduate course, we tackle these and related questions. We identify distinct types of judeophobia/antisemitism over 2,500 years, identifying when and where new and discrete layers of antisemitic ideas developed and flourished. Although our primary focus is on antisemitism in contemporary and historical Christian and Muslim societies, we begin in the antisemitic bedrock—Ancient Greece and Rome. We also look at antisemitism in peripheral societies which have had few Jews, if any (e.g., Japan). Finally, we consider judeophobia among Jews themselves—that is, the enduring phenomenon in which some Jews have not only internalized antisemitic discourse but have become “self-hating.”

Throughout the course, we use antisemitism to explore more general ideas in social theory, including habitus, globalization, and the nature of conflict related to race, ethnicity, class, and ideology. Perhaps most surprising and disturbing—this being a university—we look at the repeated role of intellectual elites in generating and justifying new forms of judeophobia, and in so doing, perpetuating this ancient hatred.

 

Grading

To be provided by instructor. 

SOC 389K • Training Smnr In Demography

45725 • Fall 2012
Meets F 1000am-100pm BUR 214
show description

This is a professionalization course. Its main purpose is to provide practical training to developing a career in social demography. We'll focus on three tracks. The first covers the contemporary structure of academic and non-university labor markets, sources of financing for each, and intellectual fashions and fads. We'll look at how each of these affects publication prospects and hiring. We'll also try to take into account likely changes in each of them.

The second track is focused more narrowly on how to work. We'll cover questions like: what research questions merit research papers? How should work be best presented visually? How abstruse can one make one's scholarly prose? What are the relative advantages and disadvantages of working on one, two or three topics?

A third track is focused on technical topics, in particular project development and design, and grant-writing.

The training seminar is held Friday mornings. For one hour of the course, we are joined by colleagues throughout the University for the PRC brownbag lecture.

SOC 321K • Anti-Semitism

45350 • Fall 2011
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm CPE 2.206
(also listed as HIS 366N, J S 365, MES 322K )
show description

Description:

Why have Jews been hated and mistrusted for so long? Is Judeophobia like any other type of xenophobia or racism?  Where do we see hatred and mistrust of Jews today? And where do we see the opposite phenomenon: philosemitism?

In this upper-level undergraduate course, we tackle these and related questions. We survey trends in Judeophobia/anti-Semitism over 2,500 years, identifying continuity and change in anti-Semitic discourse. Although our primary focus is on anti-Semitism in contemporary and historical Christian and Muslim societies, we also explore the ancient anti-Semitic bedrock—Ancient Greece and Rome—as well as anti-Semitism in peripheral societies which had few Jews, if any (e.g., pre-modern Japan, contemporary Africa). Finally, we consider Judeophobia among Jews themselves—that is, the enduring phenomenon in which some Jews have not only internalized anti-Semitic discourse but have become “self-hating.”

Throughout the course, we use anti-Semitism to explore more general ideas in social theory about boundary-making, models of racial, ethnic and cultural conflict, and perhaps most surprising and disturbing—this being a university—the repeated role of intellectual elites in generating and justifying new forms of judeophobia, and in so doing, perpetuating this ancient hatred.

Texts/readings:

Excerpts from:

-        Peter Schafer’s Judeophobia: Attitudes toward the Jews in the Ancient World

-        Robert Wistrich’s A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad

-        Gavin Langmuir‘s Towards a Definition of Anti-Semitism

-        Jean Paul Sartre’s Anti-Semite and Jew

-        David Goodman’s Jews in the Japanese Mind: The History and Uses of a Cultural Stereotype

-        Stephen Norwood’s The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower: Complicity and Conflict on American Campuses

-        Donald Horowitz’s Ethnic Groups in Conflict

Grading/Assignments:

50% on exams and tests

40% on a group project (focusing on one aspect of anti-Semitism, historical or contemporary)

10% on class participation

Special notes:

In an effort to create a positive learning environment that is focused on lectures and exchanges in the classroom, the in-class use of laptops will be prohibited.

 

SOC 317M • Intro To Social Research

45476 • Fall 2010
Meets TTH 1230pm-130pm BUR 112
show description

Asking questions, seeking answers: An introduction to research design and data collection

This course introduces students to the core professional problem in sociology: how we go about asking and answering questions about patterns of social organization and human behavior. Spanning what are known as “qualitative” and “quantitative” approaches, it is organized into three core sections. First we deal with how to pose questions, including questions that threaten our own deeply held beliefs, as well as those of other important interests. Second, we deal with basic techniques of research design and data collection. Third, drawing on a sample of published studies from across several sociological subfields, as well as other types of social research, we critically evaluate the extent to which other researchers have navigated these methodological hurdles.

By the end of the course, students should be able to both critically evaluate the methodological underpinnings of most social research, as well as design their own robust studies.

 

Text

 

H. Russell Bernard’s Social Research Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. E-copies of other readings will be made available by the Professor.



 

SOC 321K • Sociology Of Africa-W

46364 • Spring 2010
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm BUR 136
(also listed as AFR 374C )
show description

Uploaded

Recent publications

Weinreb, Alexander A., jimi Adams and Jenny Trinitapoli. 2015. “AIDS and social networks,” in Robert A. Scott and Stephen M. Kosslyn (eds.) Emerging Trends in the Social and Behavioral Sciences. Wiley Publisher [forthcoming]

Derpic, Jorge, and Alexander Weinreb. 2014. “Undercounting urban residents in Bolivia: A small-area study of census-driven migration.” Population Research and Policy Review  [forthcoming] DOI: 10.1007/s11113-014-9321-1

Menashe, Ashira, and Alexander Weinreb. 2013. “Health care professionals and the determinants of fertility and child mortality in sub-Saharan Africa: A five-country study.” GENUS 69(3)

Manglos, Nicolette, and Alexander Weinreb. 2013. “Religion and interest in politics in sub-Saharan Africa.” Social Forces 92 (1): 195-219.

Trinitapoli, Jenny, and Alexander Weinreb. 2012. Religion and AIDS in Africa.  Oxford University Press.

Stecklov, Guy, and Alexander Weinreb. 2010. Improving the Quality of Data and Impact Evaluation Studies in Developing Countries. Impact Evaluation Guidelines No. 1: Strategy Development Division, Inter-American Development Bank. (66 pp)

Weinreb, Alexander, and Guy Stecklov. 2009. “Social inequality and HIV-testing: Comparing home- and clinic-based testing in rural Malawi.”  Demographic Research 21: 627-646

Weinreb, Alexander, and Mariano Sana. 2009. “The effects of questionnaire translation on demographic data and analysis.” Population Research and Policy Review 28(4): 429-454

Weinreb, Alexander, Patrick Gerland and Peter Fleming. 2008. “Hotspots and coldspots: Household and village-level variation in orphanhood prevalence in rural Malawi.” Demographic Research 19: 1219-1250

Weinreb, Alexander. 2008. “Characteristics of women in consanguineous marriages in Egypt, 1988 - 2000.” European Journal of Population 24: 185-210 

Sana, Mariano, and Alexander Weinreb. 2008. “Insiders, outsiders, and the editing of inconsistent survey data.” Sociological Methods and Research  36(4):  515-551 

Weinreb, Alexander. 2008. “Hottentot B-b-blues.” Ethnography 9(1): 123-131

 

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