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Regular version of the site
2019/2020

Sociological Reasoning: Journal Seminar

Type: Optional course (faculty)
Delivered by: School of Sociology
When: 3, 4 module
Language: English
ECTS credits: 6

Course Syllabus

Abstract

The course aims to introduce students to the reading of academic literature through a selection of key sociological works and by discussing the notion of reflexivity in the research process. Students will learn how to locate the academic texts read in class within a larger body of literature and how to efficiently read these texts by identifying their central theses and arguments. They will do this by engaging in self-reflection on their position as researchers and on the research process itself. In a first part of the course, students will learn how to read academic texts through the lens of reflexivity, by understanding how they are positioned as researchers both in relation to a particular body of literature and to their objects of study. They will learn how to situate sociology as an academic discipline when reading classical academic works. In addition, they will reflect on key sociological topics and concepts (rituals; boundaries; religion; the state; ethnicity) through the reading of academic texts combined with ethnographic observations. In a second part of the course, they will read and engage in more depth with academic texts in a range of topics (state formation in Europe and Asia; nation and nationalism; ethnicity and race).
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • Learn how to efficiently read academic literature by identifying central arguments and theses in academic texts.
  • Learn how to position sociology as an academic discipline and understand its historical formation.
  • Learned the centrality of the notion of reflexivity in the research process.
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • The students possess the skill to follow and critically engage in scholarly debates in the academic literature.
  • The student is able to reflect on key sociological concepts and topics based on the reading and discussion of key sociological works related to these topics.
  • The students are able to reflect on their own position as researchers both in relation to a particular body of literature and to objects of study.
  • The students are able to position sociology as an academic discipline and understand its historical formation.
  • The students possess the skill to identify and critically assess the empirical data used to develop arguments.
  • The students are able to reflect on key sociological concepts and topics (such as nation and nationalism, state formation, ethnicity and race, rituals and boundaries and religion), and have read and discussed key sociological works related to these topics.
  • learn how to interprete a text.
  • evaluate the idea of modernity critically, and learn how it shaped state forms in Europe and Asia.
  • learn theories of nation and nationalism.
  • learn how race is different from ethnicity, and how these concepts are intrinsically related to colonialism and nationalism.
  • learn, how ethnicity, though not a hierachical concept as race has its own problems and boundaries.
  • learn how to make a brief seminar presenataion.
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • SESSION ONE: Introduction
    The first session will introduce basic guidelines to read academic texts and lay out the course plan and requirements for student participation.
  • SESSION TWO: Reflexivity and Orientalism
    In this session, the emphasis will be put on the positioning of the researcher and the central role of reflexivity in the research process. We will discuss the notion of the Other through the lens of the concept of Orientalism.
  • SESSION THREE: Sociology and Religion
    This session continues the discussion about reflexivity by examining the position of sociology as an academic discipline in relation to the question of religion.
  • SESSION FOUR: Discussion of observation reports 1 in groups
    This session will discuss a first ethnographic observation report conducted by students on the basis of pictures and commentaries on those pictures (on the topic of boundaries) with the help of reading material.
  • SESSION FIVE: Boundaries and Rituals
    This session reflects on the topic of boundaries by using different angles: disciplinary boundaries; the boundary between the self and the Other in the research process; boundaries between the state and society; ethnic boundaries.
  • SESSION SIX: Presentation of final observation reports and essays in groups
    This final session is devoted to the presentation of individual essays and observation reports by groups of students on the literature read in class. The students discuss their final essays and ob-servation reports in groups in order to establish comparisons.
  • SESSION 7: Approaching a Text
    This session is about how to approach, and interpret a text, and how to situate it into its social, economic, historical and political context.
  • SESSION 8: State-formation in Europe and Asia
    This session discusses two different trajectories of state-formation in Europe and Asia. The idea of state (and its institutional and organizational forms) is the cornerstone of European modernity, and behind its ability to bring the rest of the world under colonial control.
  • SESSION 9: Nation and Nationalism
    Nation and Nationalism is a product of modernity and is constructed to reach certain political and economic ends.
  • SESSION 11: Ethnicity (and Race): two
    Whereas, ethnicity is much inclusive and is expressed through various cultural markers such as language, religion, customs, geography and heritage, there are increasing number of ethnic con-flicts throughout the world, making it an equally divisive category.
  • SESSION 10: Ethnicity (and Race) : one
    While race and ethnicity are both socially constructed, race is more hierarchical, unitary and ex-clusive in nature than ethnicity.
  • SESSION 12: Presentation of final observation reports and essays in groups
    This final session is devoted to the presentation of individual essays and observation reports by groups of students on the literature read in class. The students discuss their final essays and ob-servation reports in groups in order to establish comparisons.
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • Partially blocks (final) grade/grade calculation Two Essays
  • Partially blocks (final) grade/grade calculation Oral presentation and written assignment
  • non-blocking class participation
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (4 module)
    0.2 * class participation + 0.3 * Oral presentation and written assignment + 0.5 * Two Essays
Bibliography

Bibliography

Recommended Core Bibliography

  • DePouw, C. (2018). Critical Race Theory and Hmong American Education. Hmong Studies Journal, 1–40. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=asn&AN=131090399
  • GRENIER, F. (2016). How Can Reflexivity Inform Critical Pedagogies? Insights from the Theory versus Practice Debate. International Studies Perspectives, 17(2), 154–172. https://doi.org/10.1093/isp/ekv006
  • Harefa, S. (2019). Resistance to Japanese Nationalism: Christian Responses to Proposed Constitutional Amendments in Japan. Evangelical Review of Theology, 43(4), 330–344. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=asn&AN=139620310
  • Herva, S. (1988). The Genesis of Max Weber’s Verstehende Soziologie. Acta Sociologica (Taylor & Francis Ltd), 31(2), 143–156. https://doi.org/10.1177/000169938803100203
  • James V. Spickard. (2018). The Sociology of Religion in a Post-Colonial Era: Towards Theoretical Reflexivity. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.82886408
  • Kaviraj, S. (2018). Marx and postcolonial thinking. Constellations: An International Journal of Critical & Democratic Theory, 25(1), 3–17. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8675.12354
  • Kearney, M. (1991). Borders and Boundaries of State and Self as the End of Empire. Journal of Historical Sociology, 4(1), 52. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6443.1991.tb00116.x
  • LI, P. S. (1978). The stratification of ethnic immigrants: the case of Toronto. Canadian Review of Sociology & Anthropology, 15(1), 31. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=sih&AN=10809113
  • Schwartz-Shea, P., & Yanow, D. (2006). Interpretation and Method : Empirical Research Methods and the Interpretive Turn. Armonk, N.Y.: ME Sharpe, Inc. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=199779
  • Spickard, J. V. (2017). Alternative Sociologies of Religion : Through Non-Western Eyes. New York: NYU Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1367277
  • Varisco, D. M. (2017). Reading Orientalism : Said and the Unsaid (Vol. 2nd ed). Seattle: University of Washington Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1443943

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Colantone, I., & Stanig, P. (2019). The Surge of Economic Nationalism in Western Europe†. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 33(4), 128–151. https://doi.org/10.1257/jep.33.4.128
  • Kinnvall, C. (2016). The Postcolonial has Moved into Europe: Bordering, Security and Ethno-Cultural Belonging. Journal of Common Market Studies, 54(1), 152–168. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcms.12326
  • Mann, M. (2008). Infrastructural Power Revisited. Studies in Comparative International Development, 43(3/4), 355. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12116-008-9027-7
  • Rose, J. B. G. (2017). Toward a Critical Race Theory of Evidence. Minnesota Law Review, 101(6), 2243–2311. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=bsu&AN=123923960
  • Skinner, Q. (2014). Freedom of inclination: On the republican theory of liberty. Juncture, 21(2), 131–135. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2050-5876.2014.00792.x
  • Steen, S., Bader, C., Kubrin, C., Macheski, G., Pescosolido, B., & Delucchi, M. (1999). Rethinking the Graduate Seminar. Teaching Sociology, 27(2), 167–173. https://doi.org/10.2307/1318703