A Sociology Experiment is a new kind of textbook designed to provide the highest quality learning materials at the lowest possible cost.
We designed A Sociology Experiment so instructors have every resource to create an extraordinary course, and so students are no longer asked to pay exorbitant costs to learn sociology. This effort begins with the chapters themselves, which feature the writing of some of the best teachers and writers in the discipline. Each author is an expert in the chapter’s content, and we are committed to writing the clearest, most engaging textbook possible.
In addition to the chapters, we have tried to provide the resources that a creative, passionate teacher would need to make each week as effective as possible. Registered instructors will get access to all of the following resources for every chapter:
Supplemental readings, freely available to students
Data and maps from the web
Discussion topics with notes
Assessments, including essays and multiple choice
Lecture slides with accompanying notes
A suggested weekly course schedule
Videos and films
A set of data exercises
Our Video Lecture Series
In 2020 we developed a series of video lectures to help students learn sociology from home. These detailed slideshow lectures, led by ASE co-editor Shamus Khan, walk through each chapter of A Sociology Experiment (except for Environmental Sociology, which was added later). We are happy to provide these lectures as a free, publicly available supplementary resource.
Browse through our lecture series here.
Angela Barian taught sociology for almost twenty years to classes as small as four and as large as four hundred. She designed courses on the sociology of the body, food culture, digital citizenship, and cannabis in American society, just to name a few. Her PhD in sociology is from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where she currently works as an editor and writer. These days, her research and writing interests center on the ways people understand and experience failure. Sometimes, people pay her to sing, but most of the time, they don’t.
Jessica Autumn Brown received her PhD in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2010. She has taught courses and published articles and book chapters on a range of sociological topics, including gender, race and ethnicity, immigration and citizenship, and criminology. She enjoys reading, writing, and especially teaching, which she does full-time as a professor in the Houston Community College system. When she isn’t in the classroom, though, she’s most likely at home caring for her twin toddlers and one very loud Siamese cat.
Matthew Clair is Assistant Professor of Sociology and (by courtesy) Law at Stanford University. His scholarship examines how cultural meanings and interactions reflect, reproduce, and challenge social inequality. His research to date has focused on race and class inequality in the criminal legal system and the legal profession. His award-winning book Privilege and Punishment: How Race and Class Matter in Criminal Court shows how race and class inequalities in the criminal legal system are embedded in and reproduced through the attorney-client relationship. Beyond his academic work, he has written for public outlets, including Boston Review, Public Books, and The Nation.
Maia Cucchiara teaches urban education at Temple University in Philadelphia. She studies urban educational policy with a particular focus on communities and schools. She is also interested in the relationship between education and urban policy and wrote Marketing Schools, Marketing Cities: Who Wins and Who Loses when Schools become Urban Amenities about the costs and benefits of efforts to recruit middle-class families to urban public schools. Lately, she has been thinking about how schools could be redesigned to more effectively engage all students. Her current project, an ethnographic study of innovative urban high schools, has her spending a lot of time with fabulous teachers and students. Originally from the Washington, DC, area, Maia worked as a community organizer in Louisiana—where she learned to eat hush puppies, pralines, and crawfish—and a teacher in Camden, NJ, and Philadelphia, PA. She likes to run and do yoga and loves living in the city.
Dana R. Fisher is a Professor in the Department of Sociology and Director of the Program for Society and the Environment at the University of Maryland. Her research focuses on environmental policy, civic participation, and activism more broadly. She is the author of six books and over 65 peer-reviewed articles and chapters. When she’s not teaching, writing, or doing research at a protest, she is likely to be exploring a new city or biking and hiking in the woods with her family.
Judith Halasz teaches sociology and film studies at the State University of New York at New Paltz. She specializes in urban life, culture, labor, and social theory. She was a child actor in the award-winning performance group The Squat Theatre. Her experiences in the downtown creative scene inspired her ethnographic and historical study of bohemian life in New York’s Lower East Side, The Bohemian Ethos: Questioning Work and Making a Scene on the Lower East Side. Judith is currently researching advanced gentrification and recent cultural changes in Brooklyn, New York, using qualitative and quantitative methods. In her spare time, she enjoys running, swimming in the ocean, taking photographs, and supporting her family and friends’ creative endeavors.
Margaret (Maggie) Hicken is a Research Associate Professor in the Social Environment and Health Program at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research. She oversees interdisciplinary graduate and post-doctoral training on cultural and structural racism and population health as the Director of RacismLab, Principal Investigator of the Landscapes of Racial Dispossession and Control project, and Faculty Associate at the UM Population Studies Center. Her research centers on cultural and structural racism, with a focus on the interactive impact of social and environmental exposures, social stress, and health inequities. She loves traveling with her daughter, especially to Okinawa to visit family.
Andrew K. Jorgenson is Professor and Chair in the Department of Sociology and Professor of Environmental Studies at Boston College. He studies how development, inequality, and globalization contribute to environmental change as well as relationships between environmental conditions and population health. In 2020 he received the Fred Buttel Distinguished Contribution Award from the American Sociological Association’s Section on Environmental Sociology. He enjoys doing research and working with students, and in his spare time he really likes to listen to records and spend time with his family.
The late Peter Kaufman, formerly a professor of sociology at the State University of New York at New Paltz, passed away in November of 2018. An announcement of his death and a description of his life and work can be found here. At SUNY-New Paltz, he taught introduction to sociology, sociological theory, social interaction, education and society, and senior seminar. He recently co-authored his first book, Teaching with Compassion: An Educator’s Oath to Teach from the Heart. Since 2011, he was a regular contributor to the Everyday Sociology Blog, writing posts on a wide range of contemporary topics. In his spare time, Peter enjoyed cycling, swimming, and walking his greyhound, Billy. He also played the drums for Questionable Authorities—an all-faculty, punk-rock cover band that was together longer than The Beatles. We all consider ourselves extremely lucky to have been able to work with Peter, a truly inspiring teacher and person.
Shamus Khan is professor of sociology and American Studies at Princeton University. He researches and writes on culture, inequality, gender, and research methodology. As a teenager he attended an elite boarding school and returned, years later, as a researcher. Privilege: The Making of an Adolescent Elite at St. Paul’s School, his ethnographic study of the school, sought to better understand and explain the culture of the American elite. He recently wrote a book,with Jennifer S. Hirsch, on sexual assault on college campuses. When not writing and teaching, Shamus enjoys playing music with friends and cooking. He worked through school as a cook, co-founding the Underground Food Collective in Madison, Wisconsin. You should check it out if you’re ever in Madison!
Hedwig (Hedy) Lee received her PhD in Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2009. She was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at the University of Michigan from 2009 to 2011. She holds a courtesy joint appointment at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis and is a Faculty Affiliate in the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She is also Co-Director of the Center for Race, Ethnicity, & Equity. She currently serves as a member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, Committee on Population. Her recent work examines the impact of structurally rooted chronic stressors, such as mass incarceration, on health and health disparities. Hedy is a modern art enthusiast and currently serves on the board for The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis.
Rashawn Ray is professor of sociology and director of the Lab for Applied Social Science Research (LASSR) at the University of Maryland-College Park. He is also a co-editor of Contexts magazine. Ray’s research addresses racial and social inequality and ways that inequality may be attenuated through racial uplift activism and social policy. Publishing over 50 scholarly works and op-eds, Ray is the author of books on How Families Matter and race relations. He has written for a series of mainstream outlets including The New York Times and appeared on CNN, BBC, MSNBC, and NPR. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with family, bike riding, and watching Matlock.
Fabio Rojas is the Virginia L. Roberts professor of sociology at Indiana University and co-editor of Contexts, the official magazine of the American Sociological Association. His research focuses on organizational behavior, social movements, and institutional theory. He is the author of From Black Power to Black Studies: How a Radical Social Movement Became an Academic Discipline; Party in the Street: The Antiwar Movement and the Democratic Party after 9/11 (with Michael T. Heaney); and Theory for the Working Sociologist. He has published in numerous academic journals such as the American Journal of Sociology, the Academy of Management Journal, and Social Forces.
Todd Schoepflin is associate professor of sociology at Niagara University in Lewiston, NY. He has a PhD in sociology from Stony Brook University. The courses he teaches include introduction to sociology, social psychology, social stratification, and sexuality & gender. He is author of Sociology in Stories: A Creative Introduction to a Fascinating Perspective. His research interests are writing stories to interpret the social world and the scholarship of teaching sociology. He’s a proud western New Yorker: He grew up in Niagara Falls, roots for the Buffalo Bills, likes to show visitors the local architecture, and eats a lot of chicken wings.
Patrick Sharkey is William S Tod professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton University, where he teaches courses on crime and violence and urban inequality. He has written books on the long-term consequences of neighborhood poverty and on the changes that have taken place in cities as violence in the U.S. has fallen over the past few decades. He recently returned from a year living in Nepal while on sabbatical, where he finished his latest book while being entertained by the monkeys tearing through his backyard. He just moved from Manhattan to Princeton with his wife and two children.
Gwen Sharp is a professor of sociology and vice provost for academic initiatives & strategy at Nevada State College, a public teaching college with a diverse, largely first-generation student body. She is a displaced farm kid and the first in her family to attend college. She has taught introduction to sociology, gender, sexuality, urban sociology, race & ethnicity, and pop culture. Gwen’s current research focuses on the experiences of first-generation college students and how colleges and universities can better support their success. She lives in the Las Vegas area with her dogs and cats.
Bryan L. Sykes is an associate professor, an inaugural Inclusive Excellence Term Chair Professor, and a Chancellor’s Fellow in the Department of Criminology, Law & Society (and, by courtesy, Sociology and Public Health) at the University of California, Irvine. He is an associate editor for Science Advances (the Open Access version of Science magazine), an academic editor for the Public Library of Science (PLOS) ONE, and Co-Editor-in-Chief of Sociological Perspectives. His research focuses on demography and criminology, broadly defined, with particular interests in fertility, mortality, population health, mass imprisonment, social inequality, and research methodology.
Jody Agius Vallejo is an associate professor of Sociology and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. She is also associate director of USC’s Equity Research Institute (ERI) and she co-edits the ERI Blog. Her research areas include immigration, immigrant integration, race/ethnicity, and mobility. In addition to her book, Barrios to Burbs: The Making of the Mexican American Middle Class, she has published in Social Problems, Social Forces, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, and Ethnic and Racial Studies. Jody loves training dogs, singing in the car, cheese, and searching for vintage linens and mid-century finds at estate sales.
Melissa J. Wilde is a professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on what she calls “complex religion”; how religion intersects with other structures of inequality, especially race and class; and how those intersections can help us understand views of sex, gender, poverty, and politics. In addition to her two books, she has published award-winning articles in the American Sociological Review and the American Journal of Sociology. Professor Wilde was president of the Association for the Sociology of Religion in 2015 and chair of the Section on the Sociology of Religion of the American Sociological Association in 2019. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys any manner of outdoor activities, especially in the Adirondacks.
Jonathan Wynn used his backstage pass touring with a band to inform a study of how music festivals shape city culture, eventually writing Music/City: Festivals and Placemaking in Austin, Nashville, and Newport. He also wrote a book about tourism in New York City after 9/11. Jonathan blogs at Everyday Sociology, connecting sociology with movies, sports, and whatever Netflix show he’s watched lately. He is an associate professor and department chair of sociology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.