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Christine L. Williams, Chair CLA 3.306, Mailcode A1700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-6300

Harel Shapira

Ph.D., Columbia University

Assistant Professor
Harel Shapira

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Biography

 

Harel Shapira is an ethnographer who writes about political identity with an emphasis on right wing politics in the United States. His book, Waiting for José: The Minutemen’s Pursuit of America (Princeton, 2013) examines the civilian volunteers who patrol the United States / Mexico border. He is currently writing a book on gun owners which explores how the notion of self-defense is deeply connected to group identity. Professor Shapira is also working on a project tracing the history of the concept of racism -- how it has been used and defined within American society, especially by state institutions. His articles and reviews have appeared in Contemporary Sociology, Public Culture, and Sociological Quarterly. Professor Shapira holds a PhD from Columbia University (2010) and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University before joining UT - Austin in the fall of 2013. 

SOC 302 • Intro To The Study Of Society

45955-45960 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 330pm-430pm BEL 328
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Descripton:

This course will introduce you to what it means to think about the world like a sociologist. Over the course of the semester, we will read a little bit about a lot of things: culture, race, the economy, crime, cities, to name just a few. In each case, our focus will be on understanding what a sociological analysis of the topic would entail. We will talk about how sociologists analyze big changes taking place in the world like large scale economic change, but also how they examine small everyday situations like going to a movie theatre. Along the way we will also talk about major theoretical approaches to the study of society developed by the “founding” fathers of sociology: Karl Marx, Max Weber, and Emile Durkheim. By the end of the course you should be able to think about the world in a sociological way, including being able to ask sociological questions and develop sociological schemes for acquiring answers.

Course Format, Requirements, and Grading

Three in class exams: 20% (each)

Three short paper (3 double spaced pages): 10% (each)

Participation in sections: 10%

Readings:

Foucault, Michel. 1995 (2nd Edition) [1973] Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. New York: Vintage Books.

Goffman, Erving. 1959. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. New York: Anchor Books.

Khan, Shamus. 2012. Privilege The Making of an Adolescent Elite at St. Paul’s School. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

* All other readings will be available online on our course website*

 

 

 

SOC 321K • Politics, Power, And Society

46175 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm CMA 5.190
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Course Description

Through reading classical works in political philosophy as well as contemporary sociological essays, fiction, and watching films, this class will explore the nature and dynamics of political life. We will wrestle with some of the most fundamental questions of human existence, including: what is the relationship between individual rights and state authority? What does it mean to be a citizen? What is power and who has it? Is violence compatible with democracy? How, when, and why do revolutions take place?

Although we will mostly read texts from the 19th and 20th century, throughout the course we will turn to contemporary politics in Texas as a guide for our discussions and students will be asked to apply concepts from the readings to political issues playing out around us.

Course Format, Requirements, and Grading

The requirements of the course and related grading scheme are as follows:

Class Presentations and Participation: 30%

Research Paper: 30%

Mid Term Exam: 20%

Final Exam: 20%

Readings

Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (Harcourt, 1973 Edition)

Erikson, Wayward Puritans (Prentice Hall, 2004 Edition)

Fanon, Wretched of the Earth (Grove Press, 1963 Edition)

Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents (Norton, 2010 Edition)

Orwell, Animal Farm (Signet, 1996 Edition)

Rousseau, The Basic Political Writings (Hackett, 2nd revised Edition 2012)

* All other readings will be available online on our course website*

 

SOC 302 • Intro To The Study Of Society

46155-46180 • Spring 2014
Meets MW 900am-1000am ART 1.102
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Description:

This course will introduce you to what it means to think about the world like a sociologist. Over the course of the semester, we will read a little bit about a lot of things: culture, race, the economy, crime, cities, to name just a few. In each case, our focus will be on understanding what a sociological analysis of the topic would entail. We will talk about how sociologists analyze big changes taking place in the world like large scale economic change, but also how they examine small everyday situations like going to a movie theatre. Along the way we will also talk about major theoretical approaches to the study of society developed by the “founding” fathers of sociology: Karl Marx, Max Weber, and Emile Durkheim. By the end of the course you should be able to think about the world in a sociological way, including being able to ask sociological questions and develop sociological schemes for acquiring answers.

Readings:

 Khan, Shamus. Privilege The Making of an Adolescent Elite at St. Paul’s School. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

 Manza, Jeff, Richard Arum, and Lynn Haney. 2013. The Sociology Project: Introducing the Sociological Imagination. New York: Pearson.

Venkatesh, Sudhir. Gang Leader for  Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets: New York: Penguin.

Grading:

3 in class exam (60%)

3 take home short papers (30%)

Participation in sections (10%)

SOC 388K • Field And Observational Meths

46565 • Spring 2014
Meets W 1200pm-300pm CLA 4.106
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Description:

This practice-intensive seminar is the second of a two-part sequence on ethnographic methods. Building on the first part of the sequence, Field and Observational Methods I: Readings in Ethnography (Fall 2013), this semester will focus not on reading ethnography but on doing ethnography. Our fieldsite will be the Rundberg neighborhood of North Austin, and students will be required to actively engage in ethnographic research in Rundberg, spending at least 5 hours in the field each week and writing up field notes for every class meeting. 

Although the specific topic of focus is open, students are required to concentrate on the Rundberg neighborhood. The choice of Rundberg is made for two reasons: (1) as a neighborhood in Austin with a vulnerable population it offers an opportunity for students to undertake research of critical policy implications; and (2) it will build on ongoing research and connections made by UT Sociologist David Kirk in Rundberg, which will facilitate access and offer students a rare chance to interact with public officials. 

Although there are no formal readings in the class, we will spend time reading about Austin through both academic sources and newspapers. Students who did not take Field and Observational Methods I: Readings in Ethnography (Fall 2013), require the instructor’s permission to take this course.

SOC 302 • Intro To The Study Of Society

45940-45955 • Fall 2013
Meets MW 1200pm-100pm BEL 328
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Description

The purpose of this course is to introduce you to what it means to think about the world like a sociologist. As a broad survey course, we will read a little bit about a lot of things: culture, race, the economy, crime, gender, to name a few. We will talk about how sociologists analyze big changes taking place in the world, but also how they examine small everyday situations.  Along with this we will read about some of the major theoretical approaches to study of society developed by the “founding fathers” of sociology: Karl Marx, Max Weber, and Emile Durkheim. By the end of the course you should be able to think about the world in a sociological way, including being able to ask sociological questions and develop sociological schemes for acquiring answers.

Required Texts

 Manza, J, R. Arum, and L. Haney. 2012. The Sociology Project. New York: Pearson.

 Coursepack/online readings.

Grading policy

The course will have an in-class midterm and in-class final exam, and you will complete 6 short (2pp., single-spaced, 12pt font) papers throughout the semester (details to be discussed in class). The exams will consist of multiple choice questions and short answer questions drawn from the readings and lectures. You are required to attend recitation sections every week that they meet. Grades will be based on mid-term (30%), papers (30%), final (30%), and section participation (10%).

 

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