This seminar, designed for incoming M.A. students, provides a broad introduction to theories and methods that have shaped the interdisciplinary terrain of the social sciences. The course emphasizes the reading of classic and more contemporary works of social theory and methodology, with a focus on key concepts and thinkers. How does one define a society? What is culture? How have social and cultural processes been understood? What is the relationship between a society or culture and a social group, an institution, or an individual? What is the nature of power, difference and identity? How do such foundational questions generate theories of modernity, capitalism, nationalism and globalization? How do such foundational questions orient the variety of disciplines within the social sciences? The course also surveys qualitative and quantitative methodologies, exploring the relationship between theory, methods, and the broader goals of research within the social sciences. Empirically grounded writings will explore the links between research frameworks, methodologies, data collection and theoretical claims. Readings will include classic texts by Karl Marx and Max Weber and more contemporary theorists such as Michel Foucault, David Harvey and Judith Butler, among others. Guest lectures by Gallatin faculty will introduce students to a range of methodologies (ethnography, quantitative data sets, the case study method, documentary analysis, interviewing and survey methods) and interdisciplinary research frameworks.