SemesterSpring Semester, 2020
DepartmentMA Program of Sociology, First Year PhD Program of Sociology, First Year MA Program of Sociology, Second Year PhD Program of Sociology, Second Year
Course NameSeminar in the Sociology of Education
Course TypeSelectively
Course Objective
Course Description
Course Schedule

Course Schedule


  1. 1. Feb. 21 Course introduction


Week 2. Feb. 28 Holiday (No class)


Week 3. Mar. 6 Theoretical foundations (1): Functionalism, Conflict theory

1. (Weber 1946) The "rationalization" of education and training

2. (Collins 1971) Functional and conflict theories of educational stratification

3. (Shavit and Blossfeld 1993) Persisting barriers: changes in educational opportunities in thirteen countries


Week 4. Mar. 13 Theoretical foundations (2): Educational stratification

1. (Sorokin 1959) Social and cultural mobility

2. (Haller and Portes 1973) Status attainment processes

3. (Bowles, Gintis, and Meyer 1999) The long shadow of work


Week 5. Mar. 20 The institution of education

1. (Turner 1960) Sponsored and contest mobility and the school system

2. (Meyer, Ramirez, and Soysal 1992) World expansion of mass education, 1870-1980

3. (Raftery and Hout 1993) Maximally maintained inequality: Expansion, reform, and opportunity in Irish education, 1921-75.

4. (Lucas 2001) Effectively maintained inequality: Education transitions, track mobility, and social background effects.


Week 6. Mar. 27 Education as capital

1. (Becker 1975) Human capital (Arum, Beattie, and Ford 2015)

2. (Coleman 1988) Social capital in the creation of human capital

3. (Stevens 2008) Culture and education


Week 7. Apr. 3 Holiday (No Class)


Week 8. Apr. 10 Cultural capital: Social reproduction

1. (Bourdieu 1973) Cultural reproduction and social reproduction

2. (Bourdieu 1986) The forms of capital

3. (Lareau and Weininger 2003) Cultural capital in educational research: a critical assessment


Week 9. Apr. 17 Cultural capital: Research application

1. (Lareau 1987) Social class differences in family-school relationships: the importance of cultural capital

2. (Calarco 2011) “I Need Help!” Social Class and Children’s Help-seeking in Elementary School.

3. (DiMaggio 1982) Cultural capital and school success: the impact of status culture participation on the grades of U.S. high school students


Week 10. Apr. 24 Turn in paper proposal (No Class)

**Please submit your proposal for the final paper before 5PM to the instructor’s mailbox at the sociology office (8th floor).**


Week 11. May 1 Family and education

1. (Calarco 2014) Coached for the classroom: Parents’ cultural transmission and children’s reproduction of educational inequalities.

2. (Chiang 2018) When Things Don’t Go as Planned: Contingencies, Cultural Capital, and Parental Involvement for Elite University Admission in China.

3. (Chin 2000) Sixth Grade Madness” Parental Emotion Work in the Private High School Application Process.


Week 12. May 8 Race, ethnicity, and education

1. (Jao and McKeever 2006) Ethnic inequalities and educational attainment in Taiwan.

2. (Fordham and Ogbu 1986) Black students’ school success: coping with the burden of ‘acting white’

3. (Tyson, Darity, and Castellino 2005) It's not “a Black thing”: understanding the burden of acting white and other dilemmas of high achievement

4. (Suárez-Orozco et al. 2011) Migrations and schooling


Week 13. May 15 Education and adolescent well-being

**Turn in second assignment in class**

Guest Lecture: Prof. Chin-Chun Yi

Distinguished Research Fellow, Institute of Sociology, Academia Sinica


  1. Course readings TBA


Week 14. May 22 Gender and Education

1. (Buchmann, DiPrete, and McDaniel 2008) Gender inequalities in education

2. (Charles and Bradley 2009) Indulging our gendered selves? Sex segregation by field of study in 44 countries

3. (Grant and Behrman 2010) Gender gaps in educational attainment in less developed countries

4. (Park, Behrman, and Choi 2013) Causal effects of single-sex schools on college entrance exams and college attendance: random assignment in Seoul high schools


Week 15. May 29 Individual meetings

This is your final opportunity to discuss your final paper and prepare for your presentation in the following week.


Week 16. Jun 5 Mini-conference

You will each have 20 minutes to present your final paper, followed by 10 minutes for Q&A.


Week 17. Jun. 12 Turn in final paper

**Turn in your final paper on Moodle before noon. If you choose to submit through email, you must obtain an email of confirmation from the instructor.**

Teaching Methods
Teaching Assistant

Course requirements

  1. Course Participation

Since this class takes the format of a seminar, classroom participation is necessary. You are strongly encouraged to participate in classroom discussions by raising questions, responding to others, and providing your thoughts about the course materials. Through classroom discussions, you will not only get to know your classmates, but also enhance each other's understanding of the materials under discussion. Together, we will create a friendly atmosphere in which all feel welcomed.


  1. Discussion Leader

Starting in the third week, each student will lead discussion for the readings. You will be divided into groups by the instructor and will lead discussion on multiple weeks. Please prepare discussion handouts to facilitate participation. You can submit your handouts for the class the night before on moodle, in which case the instructor will print them out for the class. Otherwise, you are responsible for bringing hard copies to the classroom.


  1. Final Paper

The final paper should take the format of a journal article. The goal is to produce a paper that you can present at an international conference, and after revision you can submit to journals. The paper is due on week 17, which is finals week. To help students submit well-written final papers, it is necessary to have multiple checkpoints. You will have three checkpoints before submitting the final paper.

  1. Proposal: The proposal is due on Week 10. The proposal should include a research question, significance of the study, and data and methodology (analytical strategy). The proposal should answer three things in a succinct manner:

  1. Research question: it must be a question worth pursuing. In other words, please avoid descriptive or google-able questions.

  2. Significance of study: You must explain to readers the value of your paper. In sociological layman terms, if must answer a “so-what” question. What does this paper add to existing knowledge, what does it challenge? Sociology students must have a proposal firmly grounded in theory, and emphasize the conceptual contribution.

  3. Data and methods: How are you going to answer your question? Why is the chosen method most suitable for the purpose of your paper?

  1. Outline of final paper: The outline of your final paper is due on May 15 in class.

  2. In-class presentation: The presentations will take the format of a mini conference on week 16.

Textbook & Reference

see Moodle

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