2023-2024 Education and Society Minor Courses

All courses are subject to change.

Spring 2024

EDSO 23011. Beyond the Culture Wars: Social Movements and the Politics of Education in the U.S.

Instructor: Lisa Rosen
Term: Spring
Wednesdays, 11:30-2:20
Crosslistings: EDSO 23011, CHDV 33011, 23011, SOCI 20588, SOCI 30588, HIST 27718, HIST 37718

Passionate conflicts over school curriculum and educational policy are a recurring phenomenon in the history of US schooling. Why are schools such frequent sites of struggle and what is at stake in these conflicts? In this discussion-based seminar, we will consider schools as battlegrounds in the US “culture wars”: contests over competing visions of national identity, morality, social order, the fundamental purposes of public education, and the role of the state vis-à-vis the family. Drawing on case studies from history, anthropology, sociology and critical race and gender studies, we will examine both past and contemporary debates over school curriculum and school policy. Topics may include clashes over: the teaching of evolution, sex and sexuality education, busing/desegregation, prayer in schools, multiculturalism, the content of the literary canon, the teaching of reading, mathematics and history, and the closure of underperforming urban schools. Our inquiry will examine how social and political movements have used schools to advance or resist particular agendas and social projects.

EDSO 23007. Culture and Education

Instructor: Kafi Moragne-Patterson
Term: Spring
Wednesdays 6:30-9:20

In this course, we examine past and current theories and research about differential educational achievement in US schools, including: (1) theories that focus on the characteristics of people (e.g., their psychological characteristics, their internal traits, their essential qualities); (2) theories that focus on the characteristics of groups and settings, (e. g., ethnic group culture, language, school culture); and (3) theories that examine how cultural processes mediate political-economic constraints and human action. We will discuss the educational consequences of these positions, especially for low income and ethnic and linguistic minority students in the US.

EDSO 23008. Approaches to K-12 Teaching and Learning

Instructor: Natie Pietrini
Term: Spring
Mondays 5:30-8:20 

This course will explore contemporary approaches to K-12 teaching and learning, looking at how the theoretical foundations that ground each approach lead to different perspectives on the purpose of public education, what students should learn, and how teachers should teach. The class will put these approaches in conversation with one another, exploring areas of agreement and conflict. Students will learn to observe and analyze classroom instruction. For students interested in K-12 education, this course will provide a helpful survey of some of the current debates around teaching and learning in public education.

EDSO 23013. Educational Excellence in US Public Schools

Instructor: Darnell Leatherwood
Term: Spring
Wednesdays 2:30-5:20

What are the mechanisms that promote educational excellence for students in US public schools? Are there particular aspects of the school setting that enhance the educational experience of students? In this discussion based course, we will engage these questions via extant literature and community engaged activity (i.e. getting involved with a school). The core interests central this course are as follows: (1) at the conclusion of this course one should be better positioned to promote educational/academic excellence for students in the United States, and (2) one should be better positioned to eradicate inequity and inequality in the educational/academic excellence of students in the United States.

PBPL 26303. Public Policy Practicum: Interview Project on Public Education

Instructor: Karlyn Gorski
Term: Spring
Thursdays 12:30-3:20
This course is only available to Public Policy majors.

This one-quarter practicum in qualitative methods aims to develop interview research skills, including instrument design, questioning, transcription, thematic analysis, and write-up, in the context of a mini-BA thesis trial run. The topic of this version of the practicum is public education. Students will engage in interviews with informants in different roles in education, potentially including teachers, administrators, policymakers, and education researchers. Meant to prepare Public Policy Studies students for the BA thesis process, each student, using interviews conducted by themselves and their classmates, will formulate a question related to public education and construct the component parts of their own research paper, which they will submit at the end of the quarter.

PSYC 20500. Developmental Psychology

Instructor: Katherine O’Doherty
Term: Spring
Mondays/Wednesdays, 9:30 – 10:20
Crosslistings: CHDV 25900, EDSO 20500

This is an introductory course in developmental psychology, with a focus on cognitive and social development in infancy through early childhood. Example topics include children’s early thinking about number, morality, and social relationships, as well as how early environments inform children’s social and cognitive development. Where appropriate, we make links to both philosophical inquiries into the nature of the human mind, and to practical inquiries concerning education and public policy.

PSYC 25620. How Children Think

Instructor: Lin Bian
Term: Spring
Tuesdays and Thursdays 2:00 – 3:20

The goal of this course is to help you understand how children’s thinking develops from infancy on. We will discuss the content of children’s knowledge across a variety of domains and evaluate the major theories and explanations of intellectual growth. We will review and evaluate both classic findings and state-of-the-art research on cognitive development. We will also apply classroom knowledge to real-world issues that pertain to children’s cognitive development.

SOCI 20112. Applications of Hierarchical Linear Models

Instructor: Steve Raudenbush
Term: Spring
Mondays 9:30-12:20

A number of diverse methodological problems such as correlates of change, analysis of multi-level data, and certain aspects of meta-analysis share a common feature-a hierarchical structure. The hierarchical linear model offers a promising approach to analyzing data in these situations. This course will survey the methodological literature in this area, and demonstrate how the hierarchical linear model can be applied to a range of problems.

SOSC 26008. Principles and Methods of Measurement

Instructor: Yanyan Sheng
Term: Spring
Tuesdays and Thursdays 11:00-12:20

Accurate measurement of key theoretical constructs with known and consistent psychometric properties is one of the essential steps in quantitative social and behavioral research. However, measurement of phenomena that are not directly observable (such as psychological attributes, perceptions of organizational climate, or quality of services) is difficult. Much of the research in psychometrics has been developed in an attempt to properly define and quantify such phenomena. This course is designed to introduce students to the relevant concepts, principles, and methods underlying the construction and interpretation of tests or measures. It provides in-depth coverage of test reliability and validity, topics in test theory, and statistical procedures applicable to psychometric methods. Such understanding is essential for rigorous practice in measurement as well as for proper interpretation of research. The course is highly recommended for students who plan to pursue careers in academic research or applied practice involving the use or development of tests or measures in the social and behavioral sciences.

Autumn 2023

CHDV 20305. Inequality in Urban Spaces

Instructor: Micere Keels
Term: Autumn
Mondays 1:30-4:20

The problems confronting urban schools are bound to the social, economic, and political conditions of the urban environments in which schools reside. Thus, this course will explore social, economic, and political issues, with an emphasis on issues of race and class as they have affected the distribution of equal educational opportunities in urban schools. We will focus on the ways in which family, school, and neighborhood characteristics intersect to shape the divergent outcomes of low- and middle-income children residing with any given neighborhood. Students will tackle an important issue affecting the residents and schools in one Chicago neighborhood. This course is part of the College Course Cluster: Urban Design.

ECMA 36700/EDSO 26700. Economics of Education

Instructor: Derek Neal
Term: Autumn
Two Sections Offered: Tuesdays/Thursdays, 9:30-10:50 and 11:00-12:20

This course explores economic models of the demand for and supply of different forms of schooling. The course examines the markets for primary, secondary, and post-secondary schooling. The course examines numerous public policy questions, such as the role of government in funding or subsidizing education, the design of public accountability systems, the design of systems that deliver publicly funded (and possibly provided) education, and the relationship between education markets and housing markets. This course has a pre-req: ECON 21020/201030, Econometrics

EDSO 23005. Education and Social Inequality

Instructor: Lisa Rosen
Term: Autumn 
Tuesdays 11:00-1:50

How and why do educational outcomes and experiences vary across student populations? What role do schools play in a society’s system of stratification? How do schools both contribute to social mobility and to the reproduction of the prevailing social order? This course examines these questions through the lens of social and cultural theory, engaging current academic debates on the causes and consequences of social inequality in educational outcomes. We will engage these debates by studying foundational and emerging theories and examining empirical research on how social inequalities are reproduced or ameliorated through schools. Through close readings of historical, anthropological and sociological case studies of schooling in the U.S, students will develop an understanding of the structural forces and cultural processes that produce inequality in neighborhoods and schools, how they contribute to unequal opportunities, experiences, and achievement outcomes for students along lines of race/ethnicity, class, gender, and immigration status, and how students themselves navigate and interpret this unequal terrain. We will cover such topics as neighborhood and school segregation; peer culture; social networks; elite schooling; the interaction between home, society and educational institutions; and dynamics of assimilation for students from immigrant communities.

MAPS 30128. Sociology of Education

Instructor: Marshall Jean
Term: Autumn
Tuesdays & Thursdays 3:30-4:50

This course examines the social organization of formal education – how schools are shaped by the social context in which they are situated, and how students’ experiences in turn shape our society. It focuses specifically on schools as the link between macrosociological phenomena (e.g. culture, political systems, segregation, inequality) and the microsociological interactions of individual students and educators. The focus will be on contemporary American education, although lessons from the past and abroad will inform our learning. Prior introductory coursework in sociology will be useful but is not required.

PBPL 25120. Child Development and Public Policy

Instructor: Ariel Kalil
Term: Autumn
Mondays and Wednesdays 1:30-2:50

The goal of this course is to introduce students to the literature on early child development and explore how an understanding of core developmental concepts can inform social policies. This goal will be addressed through an integrated, multidisciplinary approach. The course will emphasize research on the science of early child development from the prenatal period through school entry. The central debate about the role of early experience in development will provide a unifying strand for the course. Students will be introduced to research in neuroscience, psychology, economics, sociology, and public policy as it bears on questions about “what develops?”, critical periods in development, the nature vs. nurture debate, and the ways in which environmental contexts (e.g., parents, families, peers, schools, institutions, communities) affect early development and developmental trajectories. The first part of the course will introduce students to the major disciplinary streams in the developmental sciences and the enduring and new debates and perspectives within the field. The second part will examine the multiple contexts of early development to understand which aspects of young children’s environments affect their development and how those impacts arise. Throughout the course, we will explore how the principles of early childhood development can guide the design of policies and practices that enhance the healthy development of young children.

PSYC 22220. Understanding Inequality as a Psychologist

Instructor: Lin Bian
Term: Autumn
Thursdays 9:30-12:20

Inequality within and across social groups has risen sharply in the past few decades. What are the early traces and psychological mechanisms of this pervasive phenomenon? In this seminar, we will discuss these questions from multiple angles, integrating developmental, social and cognitive psychology. Specifically, this course will cover topics in early social cognition, including social categorization, essentialism, structural reasoning, normative reasoning, stereotypes and prejudice, etc. Students will evaluate past studies throughout the course and propose original research at the end.

PSYC 22580. Child Development in the Classroom

Instructor: Katherine O’Doherty
Term: Autumn
Tuesdays & Thursdays 12:30-1:50

This discussion-based, advanced seminar is designed to investigate how preschool and elementary students think, act, and learn, as well as examine developmentally appropriate practices and culturally responsive teaching in the classroom. This course emphasizes the application of theory and research from the field of psychology to the realm of teaching and learning in contemporary classrooms. Course concepts will be grounded in empirical research and activities geared towards understanding the nuances and complexities of topics such as cognitive development (memory, attention, language), early assessment systems, standardized testing, “mindset”, “grit”, exercise/nutrition, emotion regulation, and more.

PSYC 22950. Emergence and Development of Mathematics and Language

Instructor: Susan Goldin-Meadow and Susan Levine
Term: Autumn
Mondays, 1:30-4:20

We will discuss the emergence and development of mathematics and language in humans. Among the topics we will discuss are the universality and variation of the development of these systems as well as their resilience in the face of biological and input variations.

SOCI 20004. Statistical Methods of Research

Instructor: Steve Raudenbush
Term: Autumn
Tuesdays/Thursdays 9:30-10:50

This course has two purposes. First, using nationally representative US surveys, we’ll examine the early emergence of educational inequality and its evolution during adolescence and adulthood. We’ll ask about the importance of social origins (parent social status, race/ethnicity, gender, and language) in predicting labor market outcomes. We’ll study the role that education and plays in shaping economic opportunity, beginning in early childhood. We’ll ask at what points interventions might effectively advance learning and reduce inequality.

Second, we’ll gain mastery over some important statistical methods required for answering these and related questions. Indeed, this course provides an introduction to quantitative methods and a foundation for other methods courses in the social sciences. We consider standard topics: graphical and tabular displays of univariate and bivariate distributions, an introduction to statistical inference, and commonly arising applications such as the t‐test, the two‐way contingency table, analysis of variance, and regression. However, all statistical ideas and methods are embedded in case studies including a national survey of adult labor force outcomes, a national survey of elementary school children, and a national survey that follows adolescents through secondary school into early adulthood. Thus, the course will consider all statistical choices and inferences in the context of the broader logic of inquiry with the aim of strengthening our understanding of that logic as well as of the statistical methods.

SOCI 20192. The Effects of Schooling

Instructor: Ross Stoltzenberg
Term: Autumn
Tuesdays & Thursdays 2:00-3:20

From at least the Renaissance until some time around the middle of the twentieth century, social class was the pre-eminent, generalized determinant of life chances in European and, eventually, American societies. Social class had great effect on one’s social standing; economic well-being; political power; access to knowledge; and even longevity, health, and height. In that time, there was hardly an aspect of life that was not profoundly influenced by social class. In the ensuing period, the effects of social class have receded greatly, and perhaps have even vanished. In their place formal schooling has become the great generalized influence over who gets access to the desiderata of social life, including food, shelter, political power, and medical care. So it is that schooling is sociologically interesting for reasons that go well beyond education. The purpose of this course is to review what is known about the long-term effects of schooling.

Winter 2024


CHDV 20100. Human Development Research Designs in Social Sciences

Instructor: Chiara Galli
Term: Winter
Wednesdays 1:30-2:50

This course aims to expose students to a variety of examples of well-designed social research addressing questions of great interest and importance. One goal is clarify what it means to do “interesting” research. A second goal is to appreciate the features of good research design. A third goal is to examine the variety of research methodologies in the social sciences, including ethnography, clinical case interviewing, survey research, experimental studies of cognition and social behavior, behavior observations, longitudinal research, and model building. The general emphasis is on what might be called the aesthetics of well-designed research.

EDSO 23002. Schooling and Identity

Instructor: Lisa Rosen
Term: Winter
Wednesdays 11:30-2:20

This course examines the dynamic relations between schooling and identity. We will explore how schools both enable and constrain the identities available to students and the consequences of this for academic achievement. We will examine these relations from multiple disciplinary perspectives, applying psychological, anthropological, sociological, and critical theories to understanding how students not only construct identities for themselves within schools, but also negotiate the identities imposed on them by others. Topics will include the role of peer culture, adult expectations, school practices and enduring social structures in shaping processes of identity formation in students and how these processes influence school engagement and achievement. We will consider how these processes unfold at all levels of schooling, from preschool through college, and for students who navigate a range of social identities, from marginalized to privileged.

MAPS 30289. Intermediate Regression and Data Science

Instructor: Marshall Jean
Term: Winter
Tuesdays and Thursdays 3:30-4:50
Undergraduate course numbers: EDSO 23089, SOCI 20289

This course is designed to provide intermediate-level training in research methods that would pick up immediately after traditionally introductory-level classes that end with multiple regression. This course is designed to be a standalone package of training that will provide tools of immediate use in students’ own research or to make them more capable RAs in larger projects. I expect the course will provide the most utility to advanced BA and MA students that will not have time to complete many advanced, specialized courses. However, it would also serve as a useful bridge to more advanced statistical coursework. Students will also learn how to present findings in competent and accessible ways suitable for poster or conference presentations.

MAPS 31522. Education, Culture, and Power

Instructor: Maximilian Cuddy
Term: Winter
Undergraduate course number: EDSO 21522
Tuesdays 2:00-4:50

This course critically examines how power and culture operate within educational systems. This course will presume that education is not simply a neutral good that we must acquire to gain social mobility. Instead, educational systems are sites where power is enacted and where culture is learned (or suppressed). Thus, this course will ask important questions like: What type of education gets you power? What is the normative culture of education (schooling)? Do you need to perform a certain type of culture to accrue educational power? Who has power over educational systems? How is education wielded as a tool of power? Can educational systems be sites of challenging power? To answer these questions, we will read a range of educational scholars, sociologists, historians, anthropologists, and social theorists. We will pay particular attention to the many lines of difference that stratify educational systems, such as: race, indigeneity, gender, sexuality, class, nationality, and disability.

MAPS 32700. It Goes Without Saying: Conversations in Context

Instructor: Natalie Dowling
Term: Winter
Tuesdays and Thursdays 2:00-3:20
Undergraduate course numbers: EDSO 22700, CHDV 22700

In everyday conversation, the language we use is part of a larger interactive context. The words we use are neither spoken nor heard in a vacuum. As speakers our bodies, faces, voices, and histories send messages above and beyond the words we choose. In this course we broaden the scope of how we talk about talk, where language is just one of many ways we communicate. We explore how identity, society, and the physical world allow us to make meaning from language using perspectives from linguistics, psychology, and sociology. Over the quarter students will build a multi-modal analysis of a single interaction by examining and reexamining data through lenses such as social distance, barriers to communication, stance-taking, and gesture.

PBPL 22300. Policy Implementation

Instructor: Karlyn Gorski
Term: Winter
Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:30-1:50

Good public policy has the potential to advance justice in society. However, once a policy or program is put in place, policymakers often face challenges in getting it carried out in the ways it was intended. This course explores some of the structural and cultural challenges that government and organizations face as they attempt to put policies into effect. Focusing on the United States, we will draw on organizational theory as well as case studies from education, policing, healthcare, and the corporate world in order to investigate the broader context of policy implementation. In addition to the lectures, there will be a weekly discussion section with the TA, the exact time of which will be determined during Week 1 of the quarter.

PBPL 28350. Education and Economic Development

Instructor: Anjali Adukia
Term: Winter
Mondays 9:30-12:20

This course covers policy issues related to education in developing contexts. We will analyze education policies and reforms, develop skills to be a critical consumer of relevant research on each topic, and examine implications of the findings to policy and practice. Topics include discrimination and inclusion in education, understanding factors that influence educational decisions, provision of basic needs in schools, teacher pay and incentives, education in emergency settings, and school choice.

Recommended prerequisite courses: Microeconomics and econometrics. Students in their last years will be given priority.

PHIL 22819. Philosophy of Education

Instructor: Bart Schultz
Term: Winter
Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:30-1:50

What are the aims of education? Are they what they should be, for purposes of cultivating flourishing citizens of a liberal democracy? What are the biggest challenges—philosophical, political, cultural, and ethical—confronting educators today, in the U.S. and across the globe? How can philosophy help address these? In dealing with such questions, this course will provide an introductory overview of both the philosophy of education and various educational programs in philosophy, critically surveying a few of the leading ways in which philosophers past and present have framed the aims of education and the educational significance of philosophy. From Plato to the present, philosophers have contributed to articulating the aims of education and developing curricula to be used in various educational contexts, for diverse groups and educational levels. This course will draw on both classic and contemporary works, but considerable attention will be devoted to the work and legacy of philosopher/educator John Dewey, a founding figure at the University of Chicago and a crucial resource for educators concerned with cultivating critical thinking, creativity, character, and ethical reflection. The course will also feature field trips, distinguished guest speakers, and opportunities for experiential learning.

PSYC 20500. Developmental Psychology

Instructor: Katherine O’Doherty and Margaret Fulcher
Term: Winter
Mondays and Wednesdays 10:30-11:20

This is an introductory course in developmental psychology, with a focus on cognitive and social development in infancy through early childhood. Example topics include children’s early thinking about number, morality, and social relationships, as well as how early environments inform children’s social and cognitive development. Where appropriate, we make links to both philosophical inquiries into the nature of the human mind, and to practical inquiries concerning education and public policy.

PSYC 23200. Introduction to Language Acquisition

Instructor: Susan Goldin-Meadow
Term: Winter
Mondays and Wednesdays 1:30-2:50

This course addresses the major issues involved in first-language acquisition. We deal with the child’s production and perception of speech sounds (phonology), the acquisition of the lexicon (semantics), the comprehension and production of structured word combinations (syntax), and the ability to use language to communicate (pragmatics).

PSYC 23820. Attention and Working Memory in the Mind and Brain

Instructors: E. Awh, E. Vogel
Term: Winter
Tuesdays and Thursdays 11:00-12:20

This course will provide a broad overview of current work in psychology and neuroscience related to attention and working memory. We will discuss evidence for sharp capacity limits in an individual’s ability to actively monitor and maintain information in an “online” mental state. Readings will be primarily based on original source articles from peer-reviewed journals, with a focus on behavioral and neural approaches for measuring and understanding these basic cognitive processes.

SSAD 23412. Cultural Studies in Education

Instructors: Carlos Angeles
Term: Winter
Mondays 2:00-4:50

The course begins with an introduction to the history, development, and basic tenets of cultural studies. Throughout our work together, we will examine how social class, race/ethnicity, and gender are represented in literacy, language, and cultural theories and research that examine reproduction and resistance. Using cultural studies as the point of departure, this course explores the intersection of culture, power, and language (both oral and written) within schools and school systems. In accordance with the tenets of cultural studies, the course is guided by the presumption that culture (as it is realized through the functioning of schools and their agents and the experiences, knowledge, expressions, dispositions, and meaning-making of people of color, women, and low-income or working-class individuals) is critical for understanding and intervening in the reproduction of social and economic inequality. In order to understand the reproduction of inequality we will examine theories and empirical investigations that explore how structures of domination and subordination are reproduced and social difference and inequality are reinscribed through the cultural practices that are reflected in schools. We will also analyze the extent to which the cultural practices and experiences of marginalized individuals simultaneously contribute to the process of reproduction and also affirm the emancipatory possibilities of resistance.