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Department of Sociology and Anthropology


Melanie BloomMary Ann Powell,
Department Chair

Sociology and Anthropology are related social science disciplines that examine human behavior and diversity from social and cultural perspectives. Our department is diverse, with 12 full-time faculty from both disciplines and over 100 undergraduate majors. We have an international, multi-cultural, and comparative emphasis, with interests in family, health, social organization and social inequality. The department currently offers the BA and BS in sociology and a minor in anthropology. We will offer a sociology MA with an interdisciplinary focus beginning in the fall 2008-09 academic year.

What are sociology and anthropology?

Sociology is the scientific study of human relationships. Sociologists seek to understand the ways that often unseen social forces shape our lives. Sociologists have broad interests ranging from families, racial and ethnic identity, organizations, social inequality, sex and gender, sexuality, the welfare system, education reform, human rights, to peace and war. Sociology has a distinct perspective on social inequality, patterns of behavior, forces for social change and resistance, and how social systems work.

Anthropology is the holistic study of human biology and culture across time and place. The intent is to examine all aspects, both physical and mental, of all humans, both living and dead. Traditionally, the discipline encompasses the four sub-disciplines of archaeology, biological anthropology, linguistic anthropology, and socio-cultural anthropology.

What sociology and anthropology have in common is the way our disciplines reflect and interact with real world issues. At a fundamental level, sociology and anthropology invite us to break through our common sense ideas about the world, allowing us to better understand and potentially improve society.

Mission Statement

The Department of Sociology/Anthropology is committed to excellence in teaching, research, and community engagement, grounded in but not bound by our disciplines.

We provide undergraduate and graduate students with an education rooted in key concepts of the social sciences.

We emphasize multiple theoretical and methodological perspectives that contribute to the understanding of social inequality, differences, and social justice at the local and global level.

We foster the development of student and faculty projects that contribute to the well-being and education of the local community, especially disadvantaged and underserved populations.

We strengthen our teaching and research through ongoing interdisciplinary linkages with other departments and programs, such as Latino/Latin American Studies, Native American Studies, Black Studies, and the School of Public Health.

We provide an inclusive and welcoming environment for students, staff and faculty from the diverse global community.