Department of Sociology
What kind of world do we live in? Is it the kind of world we want for ourselves and our children?
The goal of sociology is to understand how the social world works. Sociologists study people in all sorts and sizes of communities, from couple relationships to whole societies and even groups of societies. We seek to understand what leads to consensus and conflict, whether within relationships, families, neighborhoods or whole societies. We examine work settings, health care institutions, social service agencies, and other organizations, asking how they influence employees, clients and/or customers. We study individual experiences in order to understand how discrimination, immigration, and the class structure influence such things as health and illness, educational achievements and frustrations, occupational possibilities, and involvement with the criminal justice system.
A young woman or man coming of age today has plenty of reasons to take a keen interest in human society and wonder about justice. Learning about the social world all around us is extremely rewarding and often great fun.
If you choose to study in this department, we will help you to develop what C. Wright Mills called a "sociological imagination." This way of looking at the world will help you to understand how social order and personal problems interrelate — how larger social forces shape the course of our individual lives. It will also help you to analyze people's lives in the historical contexts in which they are being lived, encouraging you to make sense of the social pressures surrounding both your own life and the lives of others in whom you have an interest. Sociology has the power to transform people, and many of these people go on to transform society.
Chair: Dr. Michael Hodge
Office: Wheeler Hall Room 229
Our department includes seven full-time faculty, two permanent part-time faculty and many other adjunct faculty. Currently, about 100 students major in sociology with another 40 opting for the criminal justice minor. Faculty expertise lies in many areas including criminology, race relations, social policy, gender, medical sociology, education, aging, urban problems, demography, developing countries, and the family. Many faculty are engaged in research and consulting in their areas of expertise. The fields and interests of each permanent faculty member are listed at the end of this Handbook.
If you are interested in discussing a major or minor in this department, please visit or call the department office for more information or to arrange an appointment with a faculty member. The office is located in Sale Hall Annex and is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mary Jackson is the departmental secretary, and her phone number in the office is 404/215-2624. You may visit any faculty member during his or her office hours, which are posted on the bulletin board near the department office. There is an information rack outside the office that is accessible even when the office is closed. Help yourself to whatever interests you.