Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives

Sociology & Anthropology

About the Department

At the heart of Sociology and Anthropology lies an interest in understanding the ways in which group membership, cultural context, and social hierarchies affect people’s experiences and worldviews. 


The Department seeks to emphasize how the two disciplines of Sociology and Anthropology complement each other. We offer majors in both Sociology and Anthropology, a paired major in Sociology and Anthropology, as well as minors in both fields.

Our department understands diversity in the broadest sense.  We are dedicated to creating an inclusive learning environment in all of our classrooms and social spaces.  We welcome students and colleagues from all races and ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, and social classes.

Faculty members of our Department continually work on building a program that:

1. emphasizes excellent teaching and quality student learning;
2. offers students tools to be positive and engaged participants in their communities;
3. fosters collegiality and an intellectual community;
4. subscribes to a teacher-scholar model that promotes and celebrates active faculty research;
5. provides a research-based curriculum; and,
6. encourages students to apply social justice perspectives to social issues.

The Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Southwestern University has six full-time faculty members, four in sociology and two in anthropology.  Each year, we typically graduate 8-14 sociology majors and 4-10 anthropology majors. In addition, we usually have a large number of sociology and anthropology minors.

We encourage students to be involved in research, activism, and internships. In the past few years, our students have presented research at anthropology and sociology conferences, participated in the American Sociological Association’s Undergraduate Honors Program, and in the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Undergraduates program.  Over the past seven years, our students have regularly won awards for their capstone papers and honors theses at the Southwestern Anthropological Association, the Southern Sociological Association, the Southern Anthropological Society, and the Alpha Kappa Delta paper competition at the American Sociological Association meetings. 

Students in the department have also engaged in activist work on-campus with groups like the Progressive Student Alliance, Feminist Voices and Students for Environmental Activism and Knowledge. Off-campus, our students have worked with Austin Against War, the Texas Fair Trade Coalition, Casa Marianella, The Rhizome Collective, Fellowship of Reconciliation, the Monkey Wrench Bookstore, and Third Coast Activist Alliance.

Our students have also completed internships and independent studies with the Lance Armstrong Foundation, Georgetown Animal Outreach, Texas Department of Family and Child Protective Services, the Salvation Army and PODER (People Organized in Defense of Earth and her Resources).

At Southwestern, we are especially interested in examining the ways in which race, class, gender and other social attributes operate within systems of domination and resistance. The analysis of these topics is central to the disciplines of anthropology and sociology. In addition to courses that focus specifically on these topics (like Gender and Sexuality; Race and Ethnicity; Social Class in the United States; Gender, Power, and Violence; and Race, Class and Gender in the Caribbean), issues of diversity are integrated into courses across the curriculum. Through participation in the MOST (Minority Opportunities through School Transformation) grant, funded by the Ford Foundation, the department has systematically examined its curriculum and focused upon research training for undergraduates with the aim of creating a pipeline for students of color interested in pursuing advanced degrees in graduate and professional school.

As a department, we aim to create a climate that encourages and fosters multi-cultural and pluralistic perspectives. Faculty work one-on-one with students to help them determine which combination of courses best suits their career goals. Students are encouraged to use our Handbook for Majors to help them plan their major and think about how sociology and anthropology can prepare them for graduate or professional school and careers in various fields.

Visit any of the links on this page for more in-depth information about the department and related programs.