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Sociology and Anthropology

The sociology and anthropology department challenges students to critically examine continuing and urgent issues of social marginalization, inequality, legacies of colonialism, and cycles of violence and suffering. Students learn to analyze structures of power and hierarchy, draw connections between their personal experiences and larger social and historical processes, as well as question preconceived ideas about the nature of society and representation of cultures around the world.

Sociology and anthropology explore the rich diversity of local and global social perspectives and cultural worldviews, from the U.S. to Europe, Latin America to Africa. Both fields aim to empower students as they become knowledgeable, ethical, and engaged citizens, ready to pursue personal and public goals.

Each discipline combines a humanistic concern for the quality and diversity of human life with a commitment to the empirical analysis of culture and society. The sociology curriculum features an analysis of social inequality, social institutions, social problems, and social change. Courses draw attention to history, culture, and social structure and their effects on peoples' lives. The anthropology curriculum focuses on human cultural experiences around the world. Courses often highlight the geographical areas in which faculty work (Latin America, Asia, and Africa) and focus on a diverse range of topics such as globalization, art, medicine, politics and violence, fashion, gender, urban life, sexuality, and biotechnology. 


Program Highlights

Classes in sociology and anthropology give students the analytical tools to reflect critically on the complex issues that face us in the 21st century, including:
  • Global structures of inequality
  • Race and ethnicity
  • Gender and sexuality
  • Power and class
  • Religion
  • Environment
  • Media and popular culture
  • Health, medicine, and the body
  • Social movements
  • Family and kinship
A department honors program offers eligible students in sociology and anthropology the opportunity to conduct original, independent research.

Sociology and Anthropology News

College Community Joins Together to Listen, Learn, Converse in Solidarity

Dec 19, 2014

For three hours, Rehm Library was standing room only as members of the College community listened intently. The beautiful space in Smith Hall — so often the scene of intellectual discussions, critical thinking, thought-provoking questions, personal reflections, and emotional discernment …