Seminar Descriptions – MA and PhD Programs

For accessibility reasons, the French and English seminar descriptions are now presented on separate pages. View the French descriptions.


ANT 5100 Comparative Theoretical Approaches in Anthropology: the French and Anglo-American Traditions (3 units)

Professor: Gandsman, Ari Edward
Fall 2018


ANT 5141 Research Methodology in Anthropology (3 units)

Professor: Sick, Deborah
Fall 2018

Official Course Description

Methodological approaches specific to anthropology: ethnographic fieldwork methods; validation problems; content analysis; relationship between research question, methods, theoretical framework, and results. Debates about the analysis of anthropological data collected in “traditional” and “modern” societies around the world; the qualitative-quantitative continuum; objectivity, involvement of the researcher and reflexivity; research ethics and responsibilities of the researcher.

General Course Objectives

This course is designed to provide students with a solid understanding of anthropological research methods and to stimulate critical thinking regarding the selection and use of various methods of data collection and research design in anthropological studies.   In addition to critically examining a variety of standard data collection methods, we will also examine the relationship between theory, research objectives, participant selection, data collection methods, analysis, and write-up.  Through the use of case studies, hands-on exercises, and student-led classroom discussions, students will come to understand better the implications of various research methodologies for meeting specific research objectives and the role that researchers play in the production of knowledge through the choices we make throughout the research process.

ANT 6101 Selected Topics in Political Anthropology and Socio-Cultural Change : Anthropology of Political Life (3 units)

Professor Kurtovic, Larisa
Winter 2019


In-depth analysis of selected questions in the field of political anthropology and socio- cultural change (relating, for example, to indigenous peoples, immigration, cultural diversity, globalization, minority-majority relations, citizenship, gender relations, governance, security, human rights, environmental management, health, knowledge, and technology).


This graduate seminar offers a survey of ongoing debates in political anthropology that seek to register and diagnose shifts in political imagination and political practice in our turbulent times.  In foregrounding recent ethnographic monographs, we will work to better understand and render portable anthropology’s distinctive approach to political life, in both its historically situated and traveling forms.  Topics covered will include practices of neoliberal governance, redistribution and care, humanitarian aspiration and affect, secular politics and religious life, activist politics, materiality and environmental ruination. Simultaneously, we will work on further conceptualizing your own projects by figuring out how to pose anthropological research questions and how to conceive of the relationship between theoretical concepts and ethnographic material.


This is a Master’s level seminar in political anthropology that asks what constitutes and what is specific to the anthropological approach to politics.  Embracing the spirit of what Danilyn Rutherford has recently called “kinky empiricism,” this class privileges recent ethnographic studies of diverse kinds of political engagement (that is, political practices that tend to problematize the very contours of the political), over the more self-confident approaches found in contemporary political philosophy.  You are already amidst of developing a foundation in social theory and will continue to do so with Problematique—the question that remains, however, how to productively bring together these theoretical frameworks with ethnographic material. It is my hope this course’s emphasis on anthropology and ethnographic products will be helpful to you during the process of envisioning and ultimately producing your own Master’s theses.

ANT 6102 Social and Cultural Anthropology: Fundamental Issues (3 units)

Professor: Vanthuyne, Karine
Fall 2018

This seminar will examine the "spatial turn" in anthropology in recent decades, focusing in particular on the way in which territorial imaginaries, practices and policies have been analyzed on a variety of field sites. First, we will examine the conceptual underpinnings of this spatial turn, considering how notions of place, space, and territory have begun to be problematized by a growing number of anthropologists starting in the 1990s. We will then look at the ways in which anthropologists mobilize notions of place, environment, space, territory or territoriality to account for phenomena as diverse as contrasting ways of being-in-the-world, unequal rights of access to public services, or divergent imaginaries of sovereignty or ethnic belonging. The themes we will be discussing include: settler colonialism, autochthony, socio-environmental conflicts, immigration policies, memory sites, territorial affects, and mapping. Special attention will be paid to the innovative methodologies researchers have developed to analyze the territorial imaginaries, practices and policies that are at stake in their fields of study.

ANT 6150 Research Proposal in Anthropology (3 units)

Professor: Stalcup, Meg
Winter 2019


SOC 6101 Research Design in Sociology (3 units)

Professor: Bronson , Kelly
Winter 2019


SOC 7102 Migration and Mobility (3 units)

Professor: Couton, Philippe
Fall 2018

The objective of this seminar is to discuss some of the recent, significant literature on migration focusing primarily on population movements into the western world from a Canadian and global perspective. Major dimensions of human migration will be discussed including citizenship, policy and political aspects of immigrant in and outflows, the impact of migration on labour markets, the spread of cosmopolitan ideals, and the political implication of rising mobility and transnational mobilization.

SOC 7103 Sociology of the Environment (3 units)

Professor: Young, Nathan
Fall 2018

This seminar will examine contemporary cases and theories of environmental problems, conflicts, and change. While environmental problems are often discussed using the language of the natural sciences, they invariably have strong social dimensions. Environmental conflicts are key expression points for competing interests, imbalances in power, conflicting values, and different ways of knowing the world.  The seminar will examine each of these dimensions.  It will look at the social construction of environmental values, theories of human-nature interactions, framing and communication conflicts, Aboriginal issues, scarcity and violence, disasters, environmental governance, and knowledge conflicts.

SOC 7106 The Life course and Generations (3 units)

Professor: Scobie, Willow
Fall 2018

This seminar critically examines the lifecourse literature, with an eye to drawing links to broader social changes evident in personal and interpersonal dynamics. We will examine the relationship between individual and structural conditions, such as Heinz and Krüger’s (2001) argument that the life course is “a major institution of integration and tension between individual and society that provides the social and temporal contexts” (29).

We will look at the lifecourse as a substantive, theoretical, and a methodological approach. It will also be a jumping off point for discussions of political, social, and economic contexts. We will explore normative ideas of the lifecourse, as well as consider a historical perspective on the contemporary argument that the lifecourse has become “destandardized, de-institutionalized, and individualized” (Macmillan, 2005). We will also draw upon literature that critiques normative ideas about the lifecourse as a racialized, historically, and culturally specific idea. This course will include themes such as youth, transitions, education and employment, fertility, relationships, ageing, death and dying.

SOC 7108 Sociology of Health (3 units)

Professor: Knaapen, Loes
Winter 2019

This course is a graduate level seminar within the area of the sociology of health and medicine. Its main objective will be to examine how medicine and illness are shaped by society (from social norms to the pharmaceutical industry), and how society is shaped by medicine and illness. The course’s readings are drawn primarily from work within the field of Science & Technology Studies, including articles and ethnographies, to examine how we experience, construct and treat illness.

We will examine some of the central and more classical themes within Medical Sociology, such as the social construction of illness, the process of medicalization, and the power of the medical profession. We will also explore what counts as medical knowledge, including the impact of the ‘Evidence-Based Medicine’ (EBM) movement that has placed the randomized clinical trial at the top of an ‘evidence hierarchy’. Finally, we will pay attention to the perspectives of patients, and explore the ways ‘lay people’ have used activism and ‘experiential knowledge’ to contest, contribute to and transform medical care and research.

Students may take their own research interests as a starting point to conduct an in-depth literature review of a theoretical concept or an empirical issue related to the class, and present their findings in class and as a final paper.

SOC 7109 Francophonie, Languages and Power (3 units)

Professor: McLaughlin, Mireille
Winter 2019


SOC 7110 Contemporary Sociological Theories (3 units)

Professor: Denis, Claude
Fall 2018

The contemporary practice of sociological theory is as dynamic as it is diverse. As such, no individual course could hope to encompass its whole range. This seminar will instead study a limited number of key words and ways of theorizing sociologically that have emerged since the 1960s, taking note of their sources and inspiration in previous theorizing but focusing on their original and emergent character. This is a period characterized by decolonization, gender struggles and other major social movements and transformations, all of which find expression in sociological theory. Starting from this socio-historical anchoring, we will work mainly on the following themes: discourse, fields, modernities, sexuality, colonialism, governmentality, biopolitics and posthumanism.


Week 1         Introduction: Connell, Marshall & Haraway (Intro to SwtT)

Week 2         Introduction continued

Week 3         The first colonial break, the 1960s: Fanon, Amin, Gunder Frank

Week 4         Discourse: Foucault (DP), Said, Laclau & Mouffe

Week 5         Discourse continued

Week 6         Fields: Bourdieu

Week 7         Modernity: Habermas, Beck, Baumann

Week 8         Reading week: class cancelled

Week 9         Modernity continued / Postmodernity: Lyotard

Week 10       Sexuality / Colonialism: Foucault (HS1), Stoler, Rabinow

Week 11       Governmentality & Biopolitics: Foucault (tba), Agamben, Weheliye

Week 12       Posthumanism: Latour, Haraway, Braidotti

Week 13       Posthumanism continued / Conclusion

SOC 7114 Social Change (3 units)

Professor: Scobie, Willow
Winter 2019

The study of social change is at the very core of sociology. Perhaps all sociology is about social change. Change is such an evident feature of social reality that any social-scientific theory, whatever its conceptual starting point, must sooner or later address it.  (Haferkamp and Smelser, 1992, 1)

The objective of this course is to engage critically with this idea, as well as concepts related to the analysis, interpretation and understanding of social change. We will explore ideas such as ‘progress’, ‘tradition’, ‘modernity’, ‘evolutionism’, ‘history’, and in particular critically examine some of the taken-for-granted assumptions that we make in the relationship between change and time.

In this course we look at some of the classic texts: Hegel, Spencer, Weber, Marx; some of the more contemporary key pieces by Touraine, Elias, Archer; and think about concepts such as evolutionism (Darwin) from different perspectives, including Ingold and Pierotti (Indigenous epistemologies).

There is a lot of flexibility in where students can take this material and how they connect it to their own projects. I encourage creativity in particular with this aspect of the seminar discussions.

SOC 7140 Advanced Quantitative Methodology (3 units)

Professor: Goldmann, Gustave J.
Winter 2019

Students will gain the competence to undertake multivariate quantitative analyses with methods that are currently being used in the social sciences. It is important that students have a knowledge of descriptive and basic analytical methods, including simple linear regression. The seminar covers advanced methods such as binary and multinomial logistic multivariate models, proportional hazard models and structural equations. Students will analyse real microdata files using the STATA statistical software.

The seminar will cover the following specific topics:

  1. A review of descriptive and inferential statistics (including the interpretation of measures of central tendency, measures of association and correlation and linear regression;
  2. Multivariate regressions, including comprehensive diagnostic tests and the interpretation of results;
  3. The application of simple and complex weights;
  4. Various forms of models with binary and multinomial response variables; and
  5. Other advanced models such as Cox proportional hazard models and structural equation models.

SOC 7141 Advanced Qualitative Methodology (3 units)

Professor: Rodgers, Kathleen
Fall 2018


SOC 7150 Interethnic Relations: Critical Examination of Theories and Research (3 units)

Professor: Gueye, Abdoulaye
Fall 2018

Perhaps one of the most pervasive topics in sociology today is the question of interethnic relations. In its various modes of expressions, including religion, nationality, and race, ethnicity has been at the center of sociological debates for over half a century. It has been critical in the birth and fame of many schools of thoughts, including chiefly the Chicago School of sociology. 

In contemporary societies, the ethnic diversity is considered to be one of the major causes of social crisis and conflicts.

This seminar offers an in-depth analysis of inter-ethnic relations in various societies. Its goal is two-fold.  First, it engages critically with the theories of ethnicity. Each session will be a venue for a thorough discussion of the different approaches to ethnicity will be undertaken.

Second, it unveils the determinants of ethnic relations and its forms of expression. Among questions that we address are: How and to what extent the past, the phenotype, and religion inform relations between ethnic groups? Why relations between two given ethnic groups are often conflicting, whereas other ethnic groups interact in a more pacific way?  Why does the nature of relations between two specific ethnic groups change depending on the countries where they are cohabiting? 

SOC 7176 Gender Differences in Political Sociology (3 units)

Professor: Benhadjoudja, Leïla
Winter 2019


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