Areas of Expertise

The Sociology Department offers a comprehensive set of introductory and advanced courses through which students can acquire a range of research and theoretical skills. The department also offers a range of courses in 6 areas (pillars) where we have significant strengths: Globalization & Development; Organizations and Economic Sociology; Population, Health and Family; Race, Class, Gender and Inequality; Sociology of the Environment; Urban Sociology. Concentrators are encouraged to develop some specialization in at least one of these pillars. For all these pillars we offer introductory-level courses and well as more advanced courses. Introductory courses to these pillars are bolded below.

Globalization & Development

Courses in Globalization and Development explore processes of economic, social, demographic, cultural and political transformation at the global and national level. What drives development and how has globalization shaped opportunities for development?  How is globalization reshaping the distribution of wealth and power and how is it impacting the environment and national institutions? Can globalization be governed and made more inclusive?  A range of courses explore the interaction of globalization with race, migration, population, national development and environmental sustainability.

SOC 0150 Economic Development and Social Change
ENVS 0150 Climate Futures and a Sociology of Just Transition
SOC 1040 World Population Problems
URBN 1250 The Political Foundations of the City
SOC 1270 Race, Class and Ethnicity in the Modern World
SOC 1281 Migration in the Americas
ENVS 1415 Power, Justice and Climate Change
SOC 1620 Globalization and Social Conflict
ENVS 1755 Globalization and the Environment
SOC 1870K Demographics and Development
SOC 1871D Sociology of Development
SOC 1871R Knowledge Networks and Global Transformations

Work, Organizations and Economy

The Work, Organizations and Economy pillar centers on the study of organizations — whether for-profit firms, public agencies, or non-profits — and the occupational, economic, and political institutions that surround them.  Many sociologists in this area examine the dynamics of the modern workplace, from career structures, to workplace inequality, to work conditions and demands.  Others focus on organizations as wholes, examining how organizations emerge, grow, and thrive or fail — as well as how organizational structures, cultures, and conflicts shape policies and practices.  The area also encompasses research on the workings of the larger economy — labor markets, industries, professions, finance, consumption, and economic thought.  Organizations, occupations, markets, and industries are complex social phenomena; the Work, Organizations, and Economy pillar investigates how they function and how they fail.

SOC 0300 Organizations and Society
SOC 1060 Leadership in Organizations
SOC 1114 Law & Society
SOC 1115 The Enlightened Entrepreneur
SOC 1116 Criminal Courts and the Law in an Era of Mass Incarceration
SOC 1311 Micro-Organizational Theory
SOC 1315 Macro-Organizational Theory
SOC 1871C The Legal Profession
SOC 1871O Law, Innovation and Entrepreneurship
SOC 1872H The Sociology of FIRE: Finance, Insurance and Real Estate
SOC 1872B Sociology of Money

Population, Health and Family

Courses in Population, Health, and Family provide students an opportunity to study various population issues pertaining to population explosion and very low fertility; mortality, morbidity, and health; internal and international migration; population aging; and growing diversity in union formation and families. Demographic, comparative, and historical perspectives are employed to explore these issues at both aggregate and individual levels for both developed and developing world populations. These courses focus on changes, compositions, and structures by age, race, gender, and social class and highlight how social, economic, and political factors affect these issues, and vice versa.

SOC 0170 The Family
SOC 0230 Sex, Gender and Society
SOC 0300K Inequalities and Health
SOC 1040 World Population Problems
SOC 1281 Migration in the Americas
SOC 1420 Violence and Society
SOC 1440 Intimate Violence
SOC 1550 Sociology of Medicine
SOC 1870K Demographics and Development

Race, Class, Gender and Inequality

Courses in Race, Class, Gender and Inequality explore the myriad ways in which inequality is produced and reproduced. Focusing on the core analytic categories in sociology, these courses explore how social categories interact with institutions, policies and social systems to shape the distribution of power, opportunity and outcomes at the national and global level. The topic of inequality is explored across a range of sectors such as education and health and by exposing students to different methodological  and theoretical approaches.

SOC 0030 Race, Immigration, and the Making of Inequality
SOC 0230 Sex, Gender and Society
SOC 0300F Unequal From Birth
SOC 0300K Inequalities and Health
SOC 1116 Criminal Courts and the Law in an Era of Mass Incarceration
SOC 1270 Race, Class and Ethnicity in the Modern World
SOC 1290 Experiments on Race, Class and Gender
SOC 1620 Globalization and Social Conflict
SOC 1871V American Society Update
SOC 1871S Legacies of Inequality: The U.S. and Beyond
SOC 1872C Race and Ethnic Relations, Identity and Inequality
SOC 1872F Solidarity and Social Change

Sociology of the Environment

Environmental Sociology examines the complex relationships between people, nature, and the natural environment. It focuses on questions such as: how environmental issues are known, defined and acted upon; why certain environmental issues are largely ignored or denied; the role of institutions and economic systems in shaping relationships with the non-human environment; how different social groups are affected by environmental change and problems; human-animal relations; human conceptions and cultural representations of the natural world; and the role of social movements in promoting environmental reform. Brown's Sociology department has one of the largest teams of environmental sociologists in the country. ​

ENVS 0150 Climate Futures and a Sociology of Just Transitions
SOC 0250 An Environmental Sociology for a Rapidly Warming World
ENVS 0705 Equity and the Environment: Movements, Scholarship, Solutions
ENVS 1415 Power, Justice and Climate Change
ENVS 1574 Engaged Climate Policy in the U.S.: Rhode Island and Washington, D.C. 
ENVS 1755 Globalization and the Environment
ENVS 1920 Methods for Interdisciplinary Environmental Research
SOC 2385 Environmental Sociology

Urban Sociology

Courses in urban sociology provide theoretical insight and substantive knowledge of the processes that define urban life, as well as methodological tools for the study of such processes. These courses explore topics like race, immigration, labor markets, urban policy and politics, neighborhood change, cities and the environment, comparative urbanization and methods like urban ethnography and GIS. Analysis of urban life provides insight into various contemporary social problems and their solutions.

URBN 1000 S01 Fieldwork in the Urban Community
​URBN 1250 The Political Foundations of the City
SOC 1330 Remaking the City
SOC 1340 Principles and Methods of Geographic Information Systems
SOC 1871V American Society Update