Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Why Study Sociology at Holy Cross?
Sociology is the study of social relationships and institutions in society. Faculty in the department regularly publish qualitative and quantitative research in top-rated academic venues, exploring topics such as inequality, race, class, gender, medicine, environmental issues, work, consumerism, family, religion, globalization, travel, social movements, poverty, and corporate responsibility.
The study of sociology at Holy Cross provides close faculty-student interaction and mentoring. Students are encouraged to go beyond the classroom by participating in internships, study abroad opportunities, community-based learning, and multidisciplinary concentrations. Students graduate with strong critical thinking and research skills, entering careers such as business, health professions, education, marketing, and non-profit organizations.
Tackling Real World Issues
The sociology curriculum focuses on applying theory and sophisticated empirical research methods to address complex real-world issues. Students gain analytical tools to reflect critically on their own lives and the world around them. The department is committed to the social justice mission of the College, with special strengths in the study of social class and inequality.
Faculty Members Are Public Intellectuals
Many of the sociology faculty members are public intellectuals, who regularly publish in popular media, such as blogs and newspapers, produce gallery exhibitions, share expertise with K-12 teachers, or work for social justice in Worcester and beyond.
- Ellis Jones regularly publishes a handbook to help consumers make more socially and environmentally responsible purchases (he has been quoted about the subject in the Chicago Tribune), and has his students translate their in-class research into smartphone apps for use by the public.
- Daina Harvey was recognized as one of the “Coolest People in Worcester” for his research with a student on the relationship between tree coverage and economic inequality in the city, which was later published in a top-ranked academic journal. He also co-curated a major two-part exhibit in the Cantor Art Gallery on Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.
- Over the past few years, Jennie Germann Molz has contributed to Teaching for Global Understanding in the 21st Century, a summer institute for K-12 teachers organized by Primary Source, a global education nonprofit located in Watertown, Massachusetts.
Faculty members in the department also publish their research in top-rated academic venues. Professors publish books with major academic presses (California, Chicago, Hawaii, NYU, Oxford, Routledge, Rutgers) and articles in prominent journals.
General Information About Majoring in Sociology
- Everyday Sociology Blog: Why Major in Sociology
- American Sociological Association: Navigating the Sociology Major (PDF)
Why Study Anthropology at Holy Cross?
Anthropology provides students the skills to navigate a rapidly changing world, marked by globalization and political turmoil. The anthropology major or minor helps students understand these global transformations and creates bridges between different worldviews. Anthropology’s distinctive way of studying the world through intensive ethnographic fieldwork provides key insights into how people around the world experience gender, race and class hierarchies in their daily lives, and how they challenge those hierarchies. Anthropology not only provides a diagnosis for the present, but also offers possible solutions to our pressing human problems.
Courses offer students opportunities to study people’s experiences in all seven continents. Topics explored include art, religion, economic change, genders, sexualities, race, urban life, kinship, national identities, medicine, biotechnology, youth, consumption and fashion. Anthropology aims to educate global citizens who are knowledgeable about the world and can apply that knowledge in real-life situations, either locally or abroad. Students go on to use their anthropological skills in the realms of international business, education, law, diplomacy, public health, human rights, journalism, medicine and many other fields.
A Global Perspective
Anthropology makes the world smaller by getting students to consider how events and social transformations in other parts of the world are related to our own concerns, stressing the importance of human diversity and of transnational connections. Faculty are able to bring other cultures to life because they have lived abroad for long stretches of time, or they come from different parts of the world. Faculty are actively engaged in fieldwork around the world — Zimbabwe, Singapore, Brazil, Vietnam, and the United States — and conduct original research in English, Spanish, ChiShona, French, Vietnamese, and Portuguese.
Although rooted in the main fields of sociology and anthropology, the work of the department is profoundly interdisciplinary. Faculty advisors work closely with individual students to discuss academic and career goals based on their interests and passions. Through the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, students can pursue interdisciplinary concentrations and programs in the following, in addition to their sociology or anthropology degree:
- Africana Studies
- American Sign Language and Deaf Studies
- Architectural Studies
- Asian Studies
- Environmental Studies
- Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
- International Studies
- Latin American, Latinx and Caribbean Studies
- Peace and Conflict Studies
Sociology and Anthropology Newsletter
The department publishes a regular newsletter that provides sociology majors and anthropology majors/minors with important updates including registration information for classes and news and happenings in the department.