draft date 1/6/2020

Sociology 149/249

Urban Studies 112



"The Urban Underclass"



Winter Quarter, 2020

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3-4:20P

Room: 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 Mondays 3:15-4:30, or by appointment


TAs:    Emma Williams-Baron, emmajwb@stanford.edu

            Terresa Eun, tjeun@stanford.edu




            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

* Kathryn Edin and Luke Shaefer. 2016. Two Dollars A Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America. $12. ISBN-10: 054481195X

* 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 to see 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 Stanford Office of Accessible Education, https://oae.stanford.edu/.

If you need accommodations, please share your OAE letter with Professor Rosenfeld early in the quarter.




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

Jan 7

Class orientation


Jan 9

Making the Second Ghetto, Ch 1-3




Week 2

Jan 14

Making the Second Ghetto, finish the book


Jan 16

Wilson: Declining Significance of Race, Ch 1-3




Week 3

Jan 21

Wilson: Declining Significance of Race, Ch 4-8


Jan 23

American Apartheid, preface + Ch 1-2




Week 4

Jan 28

American Apartheid, Ch 3-5


Jan 30

American Apartheid, finish the book




Week 5

Feb 4

In Class Midterm Exam


Feb 6

The Power Broker, Chapters 10-15.




Week 6

Feb 11

There Are no Children Here, read the whole book


Feb 13

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




Week 7

Feb 18

Streetwise, Chapters 1-2


Feb 20

Streetwise, finish the book

Also: Social Explorer draft papers due; upload to Canvas




Week 8

Feb 25

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


Plus $2 A day, Intro, Ch1-2, and Conclusion


Feb 27

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







Week 9

March 3

Michelle Alexander The New Jim Crow read the whole book


March 5

US DOJ “Investigation of the Ferguson Police Department” (linked from my website)







Week 10

March 10

Terry v. Ohio US Supreme Court 1968; Floyd v. New York 2013 (all linked from my website)


March 12

Last Class, Review Session


Friday, March 13 by midnight. Social Explorer final papers due; upload to Canvas


March 19

in-class Final Exam Thursday, March 19, 12:15-3:15 (as scheduled by the Registrar)