About Our Department

Our department members share a commitment to social justice and unrealized potentials of emancipation globally, inclusive of sustainable human futures. As faculty in historically related social science disciplines, our research and teaching crosscut important themes and social issues related to gender, class, race and ethnicity, exploitation, domination, and the multiple embodiments of power.

Towards this end, we emphasize understanding and critique of social inequalities in their multiple historical forms. We explore the interconnectedness of human societies and their environments, the dynamics of human diversity, and how cultural practices are mediated on the global and local levels from prehistory to the present.

We employ multiple methods and modes of analysis in order to understand issues in their complexity. Multi-faceted approaches include ethnographic research, interviews, archaeological survey and excavation, laboratory characterization, archival research, media and discourse analysis, and quantitative data analysis. These methods support our critical objectives.

Anthropology

Anthropology is the study of culture past and present from a global perspective. Anthropologist Ruth Benedict said, "the purpose of anthropology is to make the world safe for human differences." Anthropology provides insights on how human beings across the globe live and work and shape their cultural world in families, cities, societies, ethnic groups, and nations. One of the goals of anthropology is to promote understanding among peoples – an increasingly important venture in our vastly interconnected global community.

Sociology

Sociology is the study of society and the social forces that affect human behavior. A central goal of sociology is to provide insights into how our own lives are influenced by the social relationships around us. Since all human behavior is social behavior, sociology is a very broad field of study. Its subject matter ranges from families to global communities, from the values and beliefs Americans share to the ways we are divided by race, class, and gender, and from giant corporate organizations to small friendship groups. The faculty members in our department have a diverse set of interests, specializations, skills, and disciplinary backgrounds, including archaeology, cultural anthropology, economics, education, criminal justice, folklore, history, linguistics, psychology, and sociology. Students benefit from the critical perspectives and dynamic energy that come from that diversity.

An International & Global Curriculum

Our faculty members have ongoing research projects in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, East Asia, Europe, and in urban settings and with Native American communities in the United States. Our faculty's research and teaching encompasses: work in the global economy; slavery and human trafficking; immigration and refugees; racism and xenophobia; gender, sexuality, and the body; archaeological science; violence, disaster, trauma, death and dying; urbanism, past and present; colonialism and culture; economic and cultural systems of food; religion and evangelization; social inequality and poverty; and documentation and revitalization of indigenous languages. Our department welcomes students into two majors: International & Global Studies (B.S.) and Sociology & Anthropology (B.S.). Students in the Sociology & Anthropology major can specialize in one of four tracks: Archaeology, Cultural Anthropology, Sociology, and Urban Studies. The department includes the Hon. Barber B. Conable, Jr. Endowed Chair in International Studies and hosts the Symposium in American Indian Languages.