Introduction to Social Demography

Fall 2016

Why do human populations increase and decrease? Why do morbidity and mortality rates vary across groups? How does race and class impact health outcomes? Why do birth and death rates rise and fall? Why is fertility declining in over half of the world? How do people form unions and households? Why do people migrate across border and from rural to urban areas? And what are the implications of a more diverse population in the U.S.? 

This course provides an overview of demography: the study of human populations. We explore the social factors associated with population growth, mortality/morbidity, health disparities, growing and declining fertility, unions and households, migration, and population diversity. We will also examine the answers to how, when, and why these trends differ across populations, both domestically and globally. Throughout the course, you will develop your sociological imagination and build an analytical toolkit that will allow you to connect what happens in individuals' lives to broader, demographic trends that transform the economic and political landscape of societies worldwide.


The Sociology of the Family

Summer 2016

This course explores how, when, and why people form families. We apply a sociological perspective to examine the family as a social institution, with attention to how it is historically and culturally situated. First, we define basic terms, concepts, and theories about the family and review the history of the family. Next, we consider trends in the family at the macro-level (large-scale social processes) and micro-level (small-scale interactions), with attention to the complexity and variation in family formations. Then we cover the causes and consequences of inequality within and among families, with an emphasis on race, class, gender, and sexuality. To conclude, we contemplate the future of the family and discuss public policy solutions for the social issues covered throughout the course.

While we all have our experiences as part of families, in this class you will learn how to connect what happens in your own family to broader trends at the society level. My goal is for you to develop your sociological imagination to demonstrate an understanding of the social forces that shape family life, of a wide variety of family experiences that differ from your own, and how these family formations shift over time and across groups. 


Fertility and Reproduction

Fall 2015

Why do birth rates rise and fall? Why is fertility falling in over half of the world? Why does the United States have high rates of childlessness, delayed parenting, teen childbearing, unplanned pregnancy, and maternal and infant mortality? Why is the U.S. exceptional among industrialized nations in terms of fertility and reproduction? And why do countries in the Global South face unique issues when it comes to family planning and population control?

This course explores when, why, and how people bear children around the world. We examine the social factors associated with declining fertility, voluntary childlessness, unplanned fertility, non-marital and teen childbearing, delayed parenting and infertility, assisted reproduction, adoption, maternal and infant mortality/morbidity, population control, family planning, and government support for families. Throughout the course, you will develop your sociological imagination by learning how to connect what happens in individuals' lives to broader, demographic trends that transform the economic and political landscape of societies worldwide.


Past Teaching Experience

2010-2015

  • Introduction to the Study of Society
  • Life and Death Decisions
  • Race, Class, and Health
  • Juvenile Delinquency