Graduate Student Workshops

Graduate Student Workshops

Culture, Organizations, and Politics Workshop:  The Workshop is the primary activity organized by the Center for Culture, Organizations, and Politics at the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE). The Workshop has been in existence since 1996 and is organized by Professor Fligstein, Director of the Center. The Workshop meets biweekly and is composed of mostly graduate students and faculty in Sociology.  Over the years it has drawn on students and faculty from Political Science, the Business School, and Law and Society, as well as visitors from the U.S. and abroad. The Workshop discusses individual scholars’ work in progress. Papers will be distributed beforehand, and the session will involve no formal presentations by the papers’ authors but will instead involve free-flowing and open discussion. Almost all of the presenters in the workshop are students. This workshop gives students an opportunity to get feedback on their papers to prepare them for publication.  Around 150 papers presented at the Workshop have been published since the Workshop started.

The principal theme of the workshop is theoretical, not substantive. Papers in the Workshop focus attention on how social fields (defined as social arenas where actors gather, know one another and engage in interaction under a set of rules) come into existence, engage in piecemeal social change and are transformed. Work is theoretically and empirically eclectic. As such, over the years, we have read papers in a large number of fields in sociology including the sociology of work, political sociology, social movements, sociology of science, economic sociology, globalization, education, race, gender, and law. The theme of culture, organization, and politics reflect the broad theoretical issues raised by the creation of fields. Culture is used to define the

ways we perceive ourselves and the system of power in which we are embedded. Formal organizations are the primary vehicle by which fields are propagated. The formal politics of law and society impinge on most aspects of modern life including who gets to be an actor and what forms of organizing are possible. The informal politics of organizational life pervades social growth within and across organizations. Together, culture, society, and politics are the building blocks that produce fields that work to both enable and constrain people.

Dates/Time/Location: Meets in 475 Barrows from 5-6pm on Mon, Sept 7 and on the following Wednesdays:  Oct 3, Oct 17, Oct 31, Nov 7, Nov 14, Nov 28.

Contact Professor Neil Fligstein at

Gender/Sexuality Workshop:  In the Gender/Sexuality workshop, we take a broad view of the study of gender and sexuality, placing it into conversation with studies of race and ethnicity, immigration, religion, labor, work, development, social theory, crime and punishment, culture, aging and the life course, social movements, education, medicine, and other subfields. The group was formed by sociology graduate students in 2009 to create a space to discuss graduate student and faculty work on gender and sexuality in the department as well as to support and connect students. We meet several times throughout the semester to workshop papers and read books of interest.

We meet at the beginning of the semester to see who wants to present work and to decide on a schedule collectively. For each session, we have one or two people perform their work and assign a discussant to provide thorough feedback, although everyone is expected to have read the work before we meet. Although it is okay if participants have to miss a couple of sessions, we appreciate it if people come to as many sessions as they can, particularly during semesters that they are presenting work. Meets regularly throughout the semester.

Dates/Time/ Location:  Meets in 473 Barrows from 2-3:30pm.  Begins on Thursday, Aug 23 and ends on Thursday, Nov 29.

Contact graduate student Krista Schnell at or Skyler Wang at

Global South Workshop:  The objective is for students to share and receive comments on their work, whether it be a proposal, an article draft, an MA paper, a dissertation chapter, data gathered that needs analysis or even a practice job talk.  The expectation is that participants will read and comment on the work presented.The listserve is, however, we also generally send an email to all the grad students in the department about the specific workshop sessions.

Students can merely attend an announced session to join; if one wants to present in the workshop, one needs to respond to the "Call for Presenters."  The expectation is that they will attend all of the sessions in the semester they present, so that receipt of feedback is reciprocal. One can enroll in the spring semester if one has participated in the workshops throughout the year.  Dropping in is fine, as long as the student doesn’t expect to present/receive feedback on their work (as the latter is dependent upon the reciprocity implicit in regular attendance). Meets regularly through the semester.

Dates/Times/Location: Meets in 420 Barrows from 3:30-5pm on 4 Fridays: Sept 7, Oct 5, Nov 2, and Nov 30. 

Contact Professor Laura Enriquez at

Interdisciplinary Immigration Workshop:  The Interdisciplinary Immigration Workshop meets every two weeks during the academic year so members can share work-in-progress about any aspect of research on migration/ immigration. Chaired by professors Irene Bloemraad and Cristina Mora, the workshop is open to graduate students, postdocs, faculty and visiting researchers. Undergraduates completing a senior thesis have also joined our discussions. Members read circulated work, offer feedback and, depending on demand, can shop a paper, grant proposal, dissertation chapter, or other in-progress work. Early drafts of work circulated in the workshop have gone on to win major awards for ‘best book,’ ‘best-published article,’ ‘best student paper’ and a variety of grant and fellowship competitions. Open to grad students in any discipline, as well as visiting scholars, post-docs and faculty with an interest in migration, any historical period, any place on the globe. Professors Irene Bloemraad and Cristina Mora run the workshop. 

Dates/Time/ Location:  Meets in 420 Barrows from 12:00-1:30pm almost every other Monday.  Specific dates are Aug 27, Sept 19, Oct 1, Oct 15, Nov 5, Nov 19, and Dec 3.

Contact Professor Irene Bloemraad at

Job Market Workshop: These workshops for Sociology grad students are held throughout the academic year. All students who are considering entering the job market should attend the spring workshop (introduction to the job market), which will show them how to find job openings, prepare application materials, and request and submit letters of recommendation. All students who are on the job market should attend the fall workshops (the job talk, the campus visit, negotiating the job offer), which collectively will reveal how the job market process works post-application.

Contact Assistant Professor Armando Lara-Millan at

MAXSoc (Mathematical, Analytical, Experimental Sociology):  MAX-soc is a graduate student working group that meets most Friday afternoons to discuss and constructively critique student work in progress. The group began as a Mathematical, Analytic, and Experiment Sociology group (hence the name) but has transitioned to be a workshop for research on a range of substantive topics. These topics include culture, organizations, labor markets, and the criminal justice system using various methodologies (including archival, interview-based, and statistical methods), and at different points in the research process (from ideas and grant proposals to full drafts of papers). The group might be particularly helpful if you want feedback on the concrete methods/strategies you are using to analyze your data, especially if you are running quantitative analyses.

Dates/Time/ Location:  We meet on an ad hoc basis as people have topics they want to present, almost always on Friday afternoons at 4 and almost always in Barrows--we broadcast meetings a week in advance or so. We don't require people to attend a certain number of sessions, but we hope that those who want to present at MAX-soc also show up for others' presentations.

Contact graduate student Joe LaBriola at or Matt Stimpson at

Methods and Epistemology in the Social Sciences (MESS): This group focuses on reading both contemporary and past scholarship on the theoretic and pragmatic basis of sociological methods. The readings will aim to deal equally with both how to think about things and about what to do. Also, it serves as a venue for both graduate students and faculty to present ongoing research and the specific challenges they have faced in the field or their investigation. For the 2018-2019 academic year the group will be focused on discussing and reading work on the role and nature of causality in social science explanations of the social world. This focused initiative is funded in part by the Social Science Matrix.

Dates/Times/Location: Meets biweekly during the semester in Barrows 420, every other Thursday at 2pm.

Contact Professor Samuel R. Lucas at

Race/Ethnicity and Inequality (REIW) Workshop:  REIW is a student-led workshop in which members share research in progress on topics related to race/ethnicity and inequality. This workshop has included work related to race theory, empirical work on racial/ethnic disparities in the U.S. and internationally, and work on inequality more broadly (for example, related to housing, education, or incarceration). We welcome both qualitative and quantitative work and read papers at all stages, from paper proposals to MA papers to dissertation chapters and R&Rs. Participants circulate their work a week before the meeting, and we have an informal discussion about the article, with an eye to whatever type of feedback the presenter would find most useful. We do not have formal presentations or a discussant. Non-presenters are always welcome to attend, and all presenters are asked to participate throughout the semester to offer feedback to all other presenters. Non-presenting participants may participate in the meetings according to their schedule/interest, but presenters are asked to attend regularly. As a student-led workshop, there is apparently no formal enrollment.

Dates/Time/ Location: TBD at the beginning of Fall 2018 (5 meetings to be scheduled).

Contact graduate student Veronique Irwin at

Science, Technology and Society (STS):  This group offers an interdisciplinary venue to discuss readings and work in progress in the field of STS. In addition to graduate students from various Berkley departments (such as Anthropology, Biology, Education, Environmental Science, Policy and Management, Ethnic Studies, History and Sociology) the Working Group includes visiting scholars from abroad. Full details can be found at the group's website

Dates/Time/ Location: TBD for Fall 2018

Contact graduate student Santiago J. Molina at

Semester Writing Accountability Group (SWAG):  We're a group of misfit writers that write/commiserate/celebrate in community.  Associate Professor Cristina Mora turns on a timer and graduate students write for fifty minutes, break for ten. SWAG is designed to help teach students how to develop a regular writing practice. If you are looking for a community to help get your through your Masters/Dissertation Chapter/Article - we might be the place for you. No need to ask for permission to join our drop-in group, just show up!

Dates/Time/ Location: Official SWAG sessions with Cristina are Tuesday/Thursday 9am-12pm (with an option to stay until 1pm) in the Duster Conference room of the ISSI, at 2420 Bowditch Ave.)

Unofficial SWAG sessions are Monday/Wednesday/Friday 10am -1pm in the "Green Room" of the ISSI (same address).

Contact graduate student Matty Lichenstein at to be added to the SWAG email list.

UCNETS Project on Personal Networks:  The workshop is organized around the analysis of the UCNets survey of personal networks. The study entail​s​ three waves of about 1000 respondents asked to describe in detail their social ties -- and much more. See for a description. At this stage, sessions include presentations of ongoing analyses of the data (or outside research, where appropriate), practice conference talks, brainstorming about various issues, and collaboratively moving the project forward. ​More than a dozen​ papers have been published or presented, but vast amounts of the data are yet to be mined, particularly regarding the over-time change. Basically, anyone who is a regular participant in our ​group can have first access to the data (now meaning ​​all three waves) for their research, benefit from collaborations with other group members and the PI, and share from mutual advice. There are no application or attendance requirements, just an expectation of serious cooperation. Regular members of the workshop include sociology graduate students, postdocs, and a few faculty both here and at a distance.

Dates/Time/ Location: Alternate Fridays, 10am, 420 Barrows

Contact Professor Claude Fisher at