School navigation

Sociology and Anthropology

The disciplines of sociology and anthropology share common philosophical roots and concern for the social and cultural conditions of human life, although the two fields have developed independently over the last century. Historically, sociology dwelt more on the modernizing world, while anthropology focused on nonindustrial societies. Such distinctions of subject matter no longer prevail, and the line between sociology and sociocultural anthropology today is neither firm nor fixed.

The Department of Sociology and Anthropology builds on the overlapping concerns and distinctive strengths of sociology and anthropology. Instead of maintaining separate curricula in the two fields, the department has developed a single curriculum dedicated to providing solid preparation in social theories and qualitative and quantitative methodologies. The department is strongly committed to teaching a variety of methodological perspectives including ethnographic fieldwork and interviewing; survey research techniques; texts, discourse, and the practices of representation; computer-mediated modes of inquiry; and historical methods. This methodological pluralism is in keeping with recent trends in both disciplines.

The department’s curriculum stresses the relationship between cultural formations and social structures set in historical context. Among the areas of emphasis in the department are the study of inequality and difference by race, gender, class, and region. Sociology and anthropology courses in the department draw heavily on cross-cultural examples. Students are encouraged to participate in an overseas program. In addition to providing classroom study, the department provides majors and nonmajors opportunities to conduct field research in the Portland area, elsewhere in the United States, and abroad. All majors complete senior theses, many based on overseas work or local field research. 

Sociology and Anthropology

Contact Us