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

Kristine Kilanski

M.A., University of Texas at Austin

Kristine Kilanski



Kristine Kilanski is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology and a graduate fellow in the Ethnography Lab at the University of Texas. Kristine draws on ethnography, interviews, and survey research to study her three core research interests: gender and racial inequality in the labor market, the evolution of work and workplaces (and the consequences for laborers), and poverty. 

Prior to entering the PhD program at the University of Texas, Kristine worked as a research assistant at the Urban Institute and a research associate at the Academy for Educational Development. 

SOC 307E • Contemp Us Social Problems

44865 • Spring 2015
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am CLA 1.106
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Course Description:

This course provides a survey of some of the most pressing social problems facing the United States today. Throughout the course you will learn how to apply sociological research methods, concepts, and perspectives to unravel a diverse array of contemporary social issues. Topics we will examine include: mass incarceration, widening economic inequality, work precariousness, and the proliferation of surveillance technologies in everyday life. We will take an intersectional approach to consider how race, gender, class, sexuality, and immigration status shape how these social trends and issues emerge, are experienced, and influence our individual and collective futures.

The discipline of sociology, when approached with a healthy understanding of its limitations, provides some of the best tools available for making sense of our social world. In addition to developing a strong grasp of important trends and issues in the contemporary U.S., successful students will leave this semester with a “sociological lens” or “sociological toolkit” that can be applied to critically examine social issues and experiences outside the scope of course.

Required Texts:

This course will draw on a variety of texts written by sociologists and social historians, provided via a course pack, and when possible, available for free via download from the university library. As the social problems under examination are not static, but rather, constantly evolving, students can expect to be assigned (with fair notice) relevant contemporary news articles and podcasts to enhance class discussion and understanding.  

Grading policy:

Grades for this course will be distributed as follows:

40% - Two in-class exams

30% - Final paper

30% - Short reflection assignments and in-class quizzes


Note: To facilitate collective engagement in the classroom, laptop and cellphone use will not be permitted during class time unless it is required for a specific classroom activity or as an assistive device for learning. (In the latter case, students will be required to provide a letter from Services for Students with Disabilities verifying the need for this technology in the classroom setting.)

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