The Department of Sociology offers students a world of difference. We constantly challenge the status quo. We inform action with empirical evidence. We share alternative perspectives on understanding how and why societies are structured in ways that make some groups of people succeed repeatedly, some groups stagnate indefinitely, and other groups fail miserably from one generation to the next. We expose the exploitative relations of the powerful relative to the powerless. Indeed, the Department cracks open the logic of how and why particular power-groups in society use such social institutions as the family, government, law, economy, education, media, religion, medicine, military, police, and prison to silence, divide, conquer, discriminate, oppress, criminalize, enslave, medicalize, and/or kill different groups of people, considered as “others,” at different points in time, across different societies.
The fundamental mission of the Department is to develop students’ critical understandings of social life through the shared power of knowledge and resourceful action. Our faculty is committed to working with students to understand how classism, racism, sexism, homophobia, and other forms of inequalities intersect and operate, and how individuals, groups, and organizations challenge these inequalities against all odds. Our primary aim is thus to equip students with a lifelong love of learning; broad, diverse, and critical perspectives of the social world; and relevant and important life skills that are consistent with the goals of a liberal arts education. By deepening students’ critical understandings of the structures and patterns upon which everyday life rests, the Department fosters the students’ “sociological imaginations” through empowerment, social engagement, and commitment to social justice.