First Year Program - Sociology and Anthropology Skip Navigation

Sociology and Anthropology (SOCI / ANTH)

Chair: P. Lopes
DEPARTMENT SITE

Sociology and anthropology study human cultures and societies, past and present, on a comparative basis. These disciplines are concerned with analyzing and understanding the social structures and values that shape our lives, as well as the institutions and social forces of our own and other societies. The major in sociology or anthropology provides an excellent preparation for graduate study and a variety of careers, including law, education, business, public administration, journalism, health, counseling, and social work. Sociology and anthropology graduates also pursue careers in local, national, and international non-profit organizations. The department offers two majors, one in anthropology and one in sociology.

Anthropology is the study of human beings in all their complexity. The scope of anthropology is truly global, as it aims to describe and analyze the full diversity of the human experience and cultural creativity across time and space. Anthropology recognizes that human beings are, simultaneously, social actors who create cultures and the products of those cultures. Using a broad array of research methods, including participant-observation and archaeological excavation, anthropologists investigate the historical composition of societies, their transformations, and their contemporary forms. We seek to understand the commonalities and differences in the identities, experiences, discourses, and beliefs of people around the world. We connect the details of people’s everyday lives to large-scale social systems and cultural forces and reveal that seemingly innate or natural differences among human groups are the result of historical, social, and political-economic processes. The curriculum integrates classroom and out-of-classroom learning, encouraging students to pursue off-campus study and independent fieldwork or research with collections.

Sociology is the scientific study of the organization and functioning of societies, their major institutions, groups, and values. Sociologists are particularly interested in understanding and explaining social issues and problems, and the sources of stress and change in contemporary and historical societies. Our courses provide students with critical perspectives on a wide range of major social issues, including globalization, immigration, social stratification and inequality, race and ethnic relations, gender and sexuality, age, aging, and ageism, unemployment, crime and deviance, conflict and war, environmental politics, social movements, popular culture, and media and politics. In addition, students take courses on classical and contemporary sociological theory, research design, and qualitative and quantitative research methods. The culmination of our curriculum is the required senior seminar. This course provides an opportunity for students to draw on their substantive and methodological training to complete an independent research project on a topic of their choice.