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    American University
    Jul 23, 2024  
American University Catalog 2019-2020 
American University Catalog 2019-2020 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]



Chair  Gay Young

Full-Time Faculty

Professor Emeritus/a  E. Chow, J.C. Scott, J.K. Siegenthaler, R. Stone
Professor  K. Blankenship, D. Kerrigan, C. Miller-Idriss, D. Myers, C.M. Pascale, G.A. Young
Associate Professor Emerita  B.J. Dickerson
Associate Professor  M. Bader, S. Vidal-Ortiz, C. Xiao
Assistant Professor  N. Angotti, E. Castaneda, M. Dondero, S. McDonic, M. Newton-Francis, R. Serhan
Scholars-in-Residence  R. Jalali

Department Overview

Sociology explores how individuals, through their collective actions, create and change patterns of social relations and how, in turn, these social relations influence people’s lives. Sociologists focus on three major levels of analysis, from whole societies as elements of wider global systems, to social institutions such as education, health care, and politics as components of society, to individuals interacting in social groups as small as two people. They also study varied processes of social change, from migration to movements of social justice, from urbanization to environmental policy. Finally, sociologists study a wide variety of themes, from racism and sexuality to pop culture and technology. This quest for knowledge is both an end and a pathway for informed social change.

The Department of Sociology of the College of Arts and Sciences  shares a common purpose of research and education for social justice in the globalized world. The department works collectively and individually to empower themselves and their students with the knowledge, skills, and dedication necessary to participate in building equitable and sustainable social relations and institutions. These efforts are supported by collective interest in critical sociology as well as by commitment to teaching, mentoring, and experiential learning. The department’s strengths lie in the complex range of scholarly interests, research methodologies, and social identities the faculty, staff, and students encompass, seeking every opportunity to expand those strengths.

The Sociology Department serves the university, including students from throughout the world, as a center for the study of societal change, social institutions, and social processes, with an emphasis on inequality and social justice. Degree programs focus on interconnected forms of social inequality, their origins and reproduction, related to issues of social justice. They are intended to produce and apply knowledge for the benefit of society, not only to teach academic skills, but also to develop knowledge of value to those involved in working for the promotion of social equality. The programs prepare students for a variety of careers in social advocacy, research, teaching, human services, and both public and private sector policy-making institutions. Successful placements of the department’s graduates in academic, research, and policy-making institutions attest to the high standards our graduates meet.

The department’s focus on global and transnational sociology, the social dimensions of health, urban processes and structures, and public sociology are especially well suited to Washington, DC, an international capital and center for policy making. American University’s location provides unparalleled access to government, research institutions, data and archival sources, advocacy organizations, and leaders involved in social change.

The Sociology (BA)  is unique in its emphasis on health disparities, inequalities of race/class/gender, migration and global processes, urban dynamics, and transformative social change. Sociology (BA)  and Sociology (Minor)  students take core courses in sociological theory and research methods, and courses in an area of emphasis. Membership in the American University chapter of Alpha Kappa Delta, the international honor society in Sociology, is open to qualifying majors. The society sponsors lectures and other activities that involve undergraduates in the professional workings of the discipline.

The  Sociology Research and Practice (MA)  is built on a foundation in theory and research in the discipline and centered around a core curriculum in the practice of sociological research. The latter is composed of courses that build on each other to develop research skills by immersing students in research that leverages the strengths of the Sociology Department’s Center on Health, Risk and Society (CHRS). Focusing on central issues in sociological analysis, particularly related to social inequalities of race/ethnicity, social class, gender, and sexuality, in the context of other sociological subfields, such as urban development, migration, education and social movements, the 30 credit program culminates in a project consistent with students’ aspirations and career goals.

Honors in Sociology

The Honors in Sociology  program enhances the undergraduate research experience in the discipline as students engage in core activities of the field under the guidance of department faculty.   


    Major Program (UG)Minor (UG)Master’s Program (GR)Certificate (GR)