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Summary of topics and readings

Week Dates Topic Required readings Supplemental readings
1 Feb 25 Introduction to the seminar: The relevance of social theory
2 Mar 3 The material conditions of human life Marx ([1844b] 1972) Marx ([1848] 2000); Marx ([1844a] 1972); Marx ([1845] 1972); Fleck (1999); Vora (2009)
3 Mar 10 The rationality of the social actor Weber ([1904] 1946) Brenner (1996); Gerth and Mills (1946)
4 Mar 17 Society as collective consciousness Durkheim ([1895] 1966) Lukes (1973)
5 Mar 24 How does it feel to be a problem? Du Bois (1903); Du Bois (1921) Omi and Winant (2014)
6 Mar 31 Exchange as a social, not economic, fact Mauss ([1925] 1990) Piot (1999)
7 Apr 7 Sex and gender as social constructs and social process Rubin (1975)
B Apr 14 Mandatory school closure due to the public recognition of a religious festival
8 Apr 21 Rules as resources Bourdieu (1990) Bourdieu (1977); Swartz (2012b); Swartz (2012a)
9 Apr 28 Social remittances Levitt (1998); Levitt and Lamba-Nieves (2011)
10 May 5 Power as relationship and flow Foucault (1982) McNay (1994); Schirato, Danaher, and Webb (2012)
11 May 12 Neoliberalism and the making of subjects Gershon (2018); Danaher, Schirato, and Webb (2000); Rabinow (1984)
12 May 19 Society as distributed consciousness Latour (2005b); Latour (2005c); Latour (2005a) Latour (2005d)
13 May 26 What is social theory for?


Bourdieu, Pierre. 1977. “The Objective Limits of Objectivism.” In Outline of a Theory of Practice, translated by Richard Nice, 1–71. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/CBO9780511812507.

———. 1990. “Structures, Habitus, Practices.” In The Logic of Practice, 52–65. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press.

Brenner, Suzanne. 1996. “Reconstructing Self and Society: Javanese Muslim Women and ‘The Veil’.” American Ethnologist 23 (4): 673–97. doi:10.1525/ae.1996.23.4.02a00010.

Danaher, Geoff, Tony Schirato, and Jen Webb. 2000. “Technologies of Governmentality & the Liberal Attitude.” In Understanding Foucault, 1st ed., 89–95. London: Sage Publications. http://trove.nla.gov.au/version/43921210.

Du Bois, W. E. B. 1903. “Of Our Spiritual Strivings.” In The Souls of Black Folk: Essays and Sketches, 1–12. Chicago: A. C. McClurg. http://books.google.com?id=11SMCwAAQBAJ.

———. 1921. “The Souls of White Folk.” In Darkwater: Voices from Within the Veil, 29–52. New York: Harcourt, Brace. http://archive.org/details/darkwatervoicesf00duborich.

Durkheim, Emile. (1895) 1966. ““What Is a Social Fact” and “Rules for the Observation of Social Facts”.” In The Rules of the Sociological Method, edited by George E. G. Catlin, translated by Sarah A. Solovay and John H. Mueller, 1–13, 14–46. New York: The Free Press.

Fleck, Jack Lucero. 1999. “ABCs of Change.” Dialectics for Kids. http://home.igc.org/~venceremos/ABCS.htm.

Foucault, Michel. 1982. “The Subject and Power.” Critical Inquiry 8 (4): 777–95. doi:10.1086/448181.

Gershon, Ilana. 2018. “Employing the CEO of Me, Inc.: US Corporate Hiring in a Neoliberal Age.” American Ethnologist 45 (2): 173–85. doi:10.1111/amet.12630.

Gerth, H. H., and C. Wright Mills. 1946. “Intellectual Orientations.” In From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology, edited by H. H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills, 45–74. New York: Oxford University Press.

Latour, Bruno. 2005a. “Conclusion: From Society to Collective—Can the Social Be Reassembled?” In Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network Theory, 247–62. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

———. 2005b. “Introduction: How to Resume the Task of Tracing Associations.” In Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network Theory, 1–17. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

———. 2005c. “On the Difficulty of Being an ANT: An Interlude in the Form of a Dialog.” In Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network Theory, 141–56. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

———. 2005d. Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Levitt, Peggy. 1998. “Social Remittances: Migration Driven Local-Level Forms of Cultural Diffusion.” The International Migration Review 32 (4): 926–48. doi:10.2307/2547666.

Levitt, Peggy, and Deepak Lamba-Nieves. 2011. “Social Remittances Revisited.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 37 (1): 1–22. doi:10.1080/1369183X.2011.521361.

Lukes, Steven. 1973. “Introduction.” In Emile Durkheim, His Life and Work: A Historical and Critical Study, 1–36. London: Penguin Books.

Marx, Karl. (1844a) 1972. “Estranged Labour [a Section from Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844].” In The Marx-Engels Reader, edited by Robert C. Tucker, translated by Martin Milligan, 70–81. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

———. (1844b) 1972. “Feuerbach: Opposition of the Materialistic and Idealistic Outlooks— Preface & Ideology in General, German Ideology in Particular [Sections from the German Ideology, Part I].” In The Marx-Engels Reader, edited by Robert C. Tucker, translated by S. Ryazanskaya, 147–75. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

———. (1845) 1972. “Theses on Feuerbach.” In The German Ideology, edited by C. J. Arthur, 121–23. New York: International Publishers Company. http://books.google.com?id=DujYWG8TPMMC.

———. (1848) 2000. “The Communist Manifesto [Parts I, II, and IV].” In Karl Marx: Selected Writings, edited by David McLellan, 245–55, 270–71. Oxford: Oxford University Press. http://books.google.com?id=yTWcAQAAQBAJ.

Mauss, Marcel. (1925) 1990. “Selections from Introduction, Chapters 1-2, and Conclusion.” In The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies, translated by W. D. Halls, 1–14, 39–46, 78–83. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

McNay, Lois. 1994. “Introduction.” In Foucault: A Critical Introduction, 1–12. Cambridge: Polity Press. http://books.google.com?id=ARYNAAAAQBAJ.

Omi, Michael, and Howard Winant. 2014. “The Theory of Racial Formation.” In Racial Formation in the United States. London: Routledge. http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/usyd/detail.action?docID=1715791.

Piot, Charles. 1999. “Exchange: Hierarchies of Value in an Economy of Desire.” In Remotely Global: Village Modernity in West Africa, 52–75. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Rabinow, Paul. 1984. “Introduction.” In The Foucault Reader, edited by Paul Rabinow, 3–23. New York: Pantheon Books. http://books.google.com?id=cG5gQgAACAAJ.

Rubin, Gayle. 1975. “The Traffic in Women: Notes on the “Political Economy” of Sex.” In Toward an Anthropology of Women, 157–210. New York: Monthly Review Press.

Schirato, Tony, Geoff Danaher, and Jen Webb. 2012. “Glossary of Theoretical Terms.” In Understanding Foucault: A Critical Introduction, 2nd ed., xvii–xxviii. Sydney: Allen and Unwin.

Swartz, David. 2012a. “Chapter 5: Habitus: A Cultural Theory of Action.” In Culture and Power: The Sociology of Pierre Bourdieu, 95–116. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. http://books.google.com?id=pNcnAgAAQBAJ.

———. 2012b. “Chapter 6: Fields of Struggle for Power.” In Culture and Power: The Sociology of Pierre Bourdieu, 117–42. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. http://books.google.com?id=pNcnAgAAQBAJ.

Vora, Kalindi. 2009. “Indian Transnational Surrogacy and the Commodification of Vital Energy.” Subjectivity 28 (1): 266–78. doi:10.1057/sub.2009.14.

Weber, Max. (1904) 1946. “The Protestant Sects and the Spirit of Capitalism.” In From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology, edited by C. Wright Mills, 302–22. New York: Oxford University Press.

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