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WRI119 - WHAT WE OWE: Welcome!

Support Writing Seminar

Getting HELP

VISIT A REFERENCE DESK No appointment needed. All of the Princeton libraries have them. The usual hours for the Firestone reference desk are Monday-Friday 11am-5pm, Sunday 2pm-6pm.

CHAT September - May: Connect instantly with a librarian on Sundays from 6pm-11pm, Mon-Wed 1pm-11pm, Thur 1pm-9pm and Saturday 1pm-5pm.

E-MAIL Get a response from a librarian within 24 hours, year round  - often more quickly.

Guide to Research

An excellent overall guide to academic library research is found in Library Research: what every student needs to know / Mary W. George. 2008, Princeton University Press.  It gives more background about the library research process and how to adapt it to a variety of complex research projects, and can be found in both electronic and paper formats through the Library's Catalogs.

About this Research Guide


                Debt’s paradoxes run deep. Debt allows us to grow our wealth. But just as often it can leave us more behind than ahead, and interest compounds with shame. As Americans borrow more and more, how can we evaluate their decision making? And how do moral ideas about debt shape public policy about what we owe? In this Writing Seminar, we will draw on history, sociology, politics, and economics to examine our debts and the structures that lie beneath them. We begin with the economic assumptions that underlie formal debt relationships, examining them in dialogue with sociologist Karl Polanyi’s concept of embeddedness, which posits that economic relationships are always also social. We then turn to student loans, reading the stories of individual borrowers within interdisciplinary academic conversations about choice, stress, and policy. In the semester’s second half, students pursue their own research relating debt and society. Possible topics range from predatory lending to prosperity theology, from national debt to reparations for slavery. Finally, students will write to a member of Congress and convey their findings.

First Steps

Princeton University Library is a treasure house of resources for research in all aspects of Sociology.  In this guide we identify a core group, and suggest several useful ways to delve into them.  If you need items we don't have, reqquest them through Princeton's Interlibrary Loan service.  If you want Princeton to acquire materials for our collections, including films or other videos, send an email to the Sociology Librarian who welcomes suggestions for acquisitions.