Draft Syllabus                                                                                               draft date 10/24/2015

Sociology 149/249

Urban Studies 112


"The Urban Underclass"



Winter Quarter 2016

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

Room TBA


Plus once a week section, day and time TBA

Section sign-up via Coursework


Michael J. Rosenfeld

Associate Professor

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

* 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:

* Moynihan, Daniel P. 1965. The Negro Family: The Case for National Action. US Dept. of Labor.


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

Jan 4

Class orientation


Jan 6

Making the Second Ghetto, Ch 1-3




Week 2

Jan 11

Making the Second Ghetto, Ch 4,5


Jan 13

Making the Second Ghetto, finish the book




Week 3

Jan 18

Wilson: Declining Significance of Race, Introduction, and Ch 1-3


Jan 20

Wilson: Declining Significance of Race, Ch 4-8




Week 4

Jan 25

American Apartheid, preface + Ch 1-2


Jan 27

American Apartheid, Ch 3-5




Week 5

Feb 1

American Apartheid, finish the book


Feb 3

In Class Midterm Exam




Week 6

Feb 8

The Power Broker, Chapters 10-15.


Feb 10

There Are no Children Here, Preface, and Ch. 1-19.




Week 7

Feb 15

There Are no Children Here, Finish the Book


Social Exporer draft papers due; upload to Coursework


Feb 17

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




Week 8

Feb 22

Streetwise, Intro and Ch 1-2


Feb 24

Streetwise, Finish the book








Week 9

Feb 29

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


Plus Cherlin, “The Consequences of Welfare Reform”


March 2

Moynihan’s The Negro Family








Week 10

March 7

Michelle Alexander The New Jim Crow readings TBA


March 9

Last Class, Review Session


Wednesday, March 9 by midnight. Social Explorer final papers due; upload to Coursework


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