Urban Sociology


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Urban Sociology is an upper-division undergraduate elective that introduces students to the study of city life in the US and globally. The course examines social life in urban areas, with a focus on contemporary issues such as gentrification and development; segregation; immigration and ethnic enclaves; queer communities; poverty, affordable housing, and homelessness; crime and policing; environmental justice; street life, leisure, and culture; and global mega-cities. The course readings draw on classical and contemporary political economy, human ecology, urban ethnography, demography, critical geography, cultural sociology, and contemporary urban studies to provide students with a multi-faceted perspective on today’s cities. The carefully selected required reading list is complemented with an extensive bibliography of recommended readings for each topic. To enhance their understanding of urban sociological scholarship, students also conduct empirical research on urban neighborhoods in a carefully designed team project. Students have opportunities to demonstrate their understanding and application of the course materials in class discussions, a take-home midterm exam, in-class presentations, and in-class activities. This syllabus uses critical and collaborative pedagogies, including peer and active learning, making it especially well-suited for courses that emphasize student participation, but it can also be adapted for lecture-based courses. The neighborhood study guidelines and grading rubric are included in the appendix.


Resource Type(s):
Assignment, Syllabus 
Judith R Halasz 
Date Published:
Subject Area:
Urban Sociology 
Class Level:
College 300 
Class Size:

Usage Notes:

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This is a unique contribution since there is only one syllabus for a general Urban Sociology course on TRAILS and that course does not focus on current issues such as gentrification, queer communities, affordable housing and homelessness. Rather than rely on a reader, this course presents an up-to-date variety of...

Learning Goals and Assessments:

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Goal 1:
Define urban sociological concepts, such as segregation, gentrification, ethnic enclaves, and global cities
Assessment 1:
mid-term examination; group reading summary and presentation; individual summary of course reading for group project; neighborhood research paper and presentation
Goal 2:
Apply urban sociological concepts and theories to analyze historical and recent developments in urban life in the US and globally
Assessment 2:
mid-term examination; neighborhood research paper and presentation
Goal 3:
Analyze urban social problems relating to inequalities stemming from race, ethnicity, nationality, class, gender, sexuality, globalization, and the environment
Assessment 3:
mid-term examination; neighborhood research paper and presentation

Files for Download:

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Urban Sociology SYLLABUS Halasz TRAILS.pdf
Usage Notes urban sociology TRAILS Halasz revised.pdf