Historical Sociology Study Focus

The Historical Sociology Study Focus, overseen by Profs. Ravi Ahuja and Rupa Viswanath, trains students to analyze concrete historical transformations in the relations among classes, states, and economic and political systems. Students will learn historical research methodologies, and acquire the theoretical tools needed to complete master’s theses in historical sociology. Topically, our courses examine histories of work and the labour process, slavery and unfreedom, agrarian transformation, class power and democracy, and welfare and social policy. Historical sociology’s approach is comparative and global: specific regional transformations and themes are examined within wider trajectories of global capitalism and the nation-state system. In addition, the Historical Sociology Study Focus provides students with the necessary theoretical and conceptual tools to analyze historical processes. Courses in theory will address critical historiographies, theories of the state, concepts of ideology, histories and theories of space, and the analysis and critique of basic sociological concepts including race, caste, gender and class. The aim is to develop well-founded content-related knowledge in thematically-oriented seminars as well as to practice methods of historical-sociological research in special method seminars.

Students in the Historical Sociology Study Focus must also complete a 30 credit master’s thesis, supervised by Prof. Viswanath or Prof. Ahuja or a member of one of their research groups. Prior to beginning their thesis, all students must complete a four-course sequence in historical sociology, with one course each from the following prescribed module lists: Historical Sociology I: Labour and Capital, Historical Sociology II: State Power and Racialized Labour, Historical Sociology III: Specialization Area, and Theories and Methods in Historical Sociology.