Students are responsible for submitting short commentaries on six of the twelve weeks’ readings (2-3 double spaced pages). Reaction papers should consist of limited summary, focusing instead on an evaluation of the readings (their strengths and limitations, the key issues, etc.). Students may focus on all the readings from each week, comparing and contrasting, or students may meet with the instructors 1-2 weeks in advance and identify 2-3 readings of individual interest. Within their papers students should identify the main unit of analysis (i.e. individuals, communities, cities, nation, or globe), the key urban problems (i.e. social or spatial isolation, inequality, unemployment, etc.), and the explicit or implicit normative solutions proposed (i.e. planning, policy, or social action). Reaction papers are due at the beginning of the class for that week’s readings! On those weeks when students submit short papers, they will be responsible for leading a short discussion based on their commentaries. Student should be prepared to offer a 5-minute summary of the readings and identify key arguments and questions.
Additional Core Readings Summary
Class readings are listed in three general categories: required core readings, “additional” core readings, and suggested readings. Given that the “additional core readings” are intended primarily for advanced doctoral students who are pursuing the urban sociology field, we can assume that not everyone in class will have these works. In order to offer a general familiarity with them, each student will volunteer to read one week’s “additional core readings” and offer a 10 minute summary for the class. The summary should include the basic argument and research design, as well as some discussion of how the argument diverges from or complements the required core readings.
Focusing on a project of individual interest, the final paper can take the form of a research proposal or a paper (15-20 double spaced pages). Students are encouraged to apply the contents of the course to their own work; however, the final paper must be more than a basic literature review. Students must demonstrate how urban sociology is integrated into their own research, propose new research, or report the results of a study that makes a unique research contribution. Ideally, the final paper/proposal should be based on an empirical study of urban/community life. DUSP PhD students who plan to take the general exam in Urban Sociology may complete their exam proposal in place of the final paper. PhD students interested in substituting the general exam proposal in place of a final paper should meet with the DUSP graduate coordinator for length and content guidelines when preparing their proposal.