Draft Syllabus                                                                                               draft date 2/7/2017

Sociology 149/249

Urban Studies 112


"The Urban Underclass"



Spring Quarter, 2017

Mondays and Wednesdays 3:00P-4:20P

School of Ed 128


Plus once a week section, day and time TBA



Michael J. Rosenfeld


Department of Sociology

McClatchy Hall (Building 120) room 124




Office Hours By appointment






            In this class we will read and discuss some of the classic work of urban sociology, and ask a series of questions about segregation, opportunity, race, class, and public policy.


Required Readings (Available at Stanford Bookstore and on reserve at Green)

* Hirsch, Arnold. 1983. Making the Second Ghetto. Cambridge University Press. $21, ISBN: 0226342441

* William Julius Wilson. 1979. The Declining Significance of Race. University of Chicago Press. $18, ISBN-10: 0226901297

* Massey, Douglas S. and Nancy Denton. 1993. American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass. Harvard University Press. $21, ISBN-10: 0674018214

* Robert Caro. 1974. The Power Broker. Vintage. $17, ISBN-10: 0394720245

* Kotlowitz, Alex. 1991. There Are No Children Here. Doubleday. $11, ISBN-10: 0385265565

* Murray, Charles. 1995. Losing Ground. Basic Books. $21, ISBN-10: 0465042333

* Anderson, Elijah. 1990. Streetwise: Race, Class and Change in an Urban Community. University of Chicago Press. $16, ISBN-10: 0226018164

* Oliver, Melvin and Thomas Shapiro. 1995. Black Wealth, White Wealth. Routledge. $29, ISBN-10: 0415951674

* Coates, Ta-Nehisi. 2015. Between the World and Me. Spiegel and Grau. $15, ISBN-10: 0812993543

* Alexander, Michelle. 2012. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. ISBN-13: 978-1595586438. $12.80.


Plus several additional readings posted or linked on the class website, including:

* US Dept of Justice “Investigation of the Ferguson Police Department”, 2015


Plus two movies whose viewing will be arranged by TAs in the second half of the quarter:

Hoop Dreams(Director Steve James, 1994) And Do the Right Thing (Director  Spike Lee 1989)



For Undergraduates (soc 149):

* Midterm Exam


* Make one 15 minute presentation to discussion section, and lead (along with the TA) the section discussion for that week.


* Regular section participation


* Short paper using Social Explorer maps


* Final Exam



For Graduate Students (soc 249):

* Midterm Exam


* Make one 15 minute presentation to discussion section, and lead (along with the TA) the section discussion for that week.


* Regular section participation


* One 10 minute presentation to class, presenting a different book from the one you presented to section


* Short paper using Social Explorer maps


* Final Exam



Class Size:

In case of class size limitations, sign-up will require consent of the professor.


Students with Disabilities:

Students with disabilities that may necessitate an academic accommodation must initiate a request with the Disability Resource Center (DRC).  See the website http://www.stanford.edu/group/DRC/, or call (650) 723-1066 voice (650) 723-1067 TTY.




Computer use in class: In order to limit distractions in class, there is no computer use in class, except by special permission from Professor Rosenfeld.


Reading Assignments:


NOTE: Questions are posted on my website for each reading. See www.stanford.edu/~mrosenfe/urb_reading_questions.htm




Reading Assignments Due




Week 1

Apr 3

Class orientation


Apr 5

Making the Second Ghetto, Ch 1-3




Week 2

Apr 10 (no class, Passover holiday)


April 12

Making the Second Ghetto, finish the book




Week 3

Apr 17

Wilson: Declining Significance of Race, read the whole book


Apr 19

American Apartheid, preface + Ch 1-2




Week 4

Apr 24

American Apartheid, Ch 3-5


Apr 26

American Apartheid, finish the book




Week 5

May 1

In Class Midterm Exam


May 3

The Power Broker, Chapters 10-15.




Week 6

May 8

There Are no Children Here, read the whole book


May 10

Black Wealth/ White Wealth, Intro, Ch 1-5




Week 7

May 15

Streetwise, Intro and Ch 1-2


May 17

Streetwise, Finish the book

Social Exporer draft papers due; upload to Coursework




Week 8

May 22

Losing Ground, Prologue, Chapter 1-4, Ch 16, Ch 17, especially p. 227-236


Plus Cherlin, “The Consequences of Welfare Reform”


May 24

Ta-Nehisi Coates: Between the World and Me, read the whole book








Week 9

May 29 (No class, memorial day)


May 31

Michelle Alexander The New Jim Crow read the whole book







Week 10

June 5

US DOJ “Investigation of the Ferguson Police Department”


June 7

Last Class, Review Session


Wednesday, June 7 by midnight. Social Explorer final papers due; upload to Canvas


in-class Final Exam at the regularly scheduled date and time