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Sociology

Administrative Information

Director of Undergraduate Studies: Prof. Karen Barkey, 601C Knox; 854-5622; kb7@columbia.edu

Academic Department Administrator: Jacqueline Pineda-Vega, 501-B Knox; 854-9890; jp2280@columbia.edu

Undergraduate Program Assistant: Dora Arenas, 501A Knox; 854-4226; da9@columbia.edu

Department Office: 501A Knox; 854-4226

Professors
Karen Barkey
Peter Bearman
Yinon Cohen
Jonathan R. Cole
Thomas A. DiPrete
Gil Eyal
Priscilla Ferguson
Todd Gitlin (Journalism)
Bruce Kogut (Business)
Bruce Link (School of Public Health)
Debra C. Minkoff (Barnard)
Aaron Pallas (Teachers College)
Jo Phelan (School of Public Health)
Jonathan Rieder (Barnard)
Saskia Sassen
Michael Schudson (Journalism)
Michael E. Sobel
Seymour Spilerman
David Stark
Julien Teitler (Social Work)
Diane Vaughan
Sudhir Alladi Venkatesh
Amy Stuart Wells (Teachers College)

Associate Professors
Courtney Bender (Religion)
Alondra Nelson
Frederick F. Wherry
Emmanuelle Saada (French and Romance Philology)
Josh Whitford
Guobin Yang (Barnard)

Assistant Professors
Elizabeth Bernstein (Barnard)
Shamus Khan
Peter Levin (Barnard)
Yao Lu
Adam Reich
Carla Shedd
Ion Bogdan Vasi (School of International and Public Affairs)

Lecturers
Denise Milstein

On Leave
Profs. Stark, Vaughan, Lu (2013-2014)
Profs. Venkatesh, Shedd (Fall 2013)
Profs. Sassen (Spring 2014)

Sociology is the study of associational life. In examining patterns of association, sociologists explore the interactions of people, communities, and organizations. In this sense, sociology is not the study of people; it is the study of the relationships among people. That study includes the associations between people and the products of human interaction, such as organizations, technologies, economies, cities, culture, media, and religion. In the kinds of questions it asks, sociology is a deeply humanist discipline and sociologists demand the analytic rigor of scientific investigation.

In training students in our department, we encourage them to ask big questions and we work to give them the tools to provide answers. These tools might mean ethnographic observation, pouring through historical archives, looking at census data, analyzing social networks, or interviewing people in various walks of life.

As a bridging discipline that seeks the scientific exploration of questions that matter to human communities, such as inequality and social injustice, sociology addresses many of the same areas of life as our neighboring social science disciplines. Yet we often approach these areas quite differently. For example, problems of economic and political life are a central concern to sociologists. Rather than explore these as independent or particular features of society, we seek to embed them within the complex whole of the social world. Students will find sociology to be a broad, demanding department that provides its students with the conceptual and methodological tools to make sense of the opportunities and social problems of the global communities in which we live.

Departmental Honors

In order to be considered for departmental honors, majors must have a minimum GPA of 3.6 overall and 3.8 in courses in the Department of Sociology. In addition, students must produce an exceptional honors thesis in the two-semester Senior honors seminar (SOCI W3995-W3996). In order to register for the Senior honors seminar, students must have completed SOCI W3010 Methods for social research and have had their research project accepted by the faculty member teaching the Senior honors seminar. Submissions of research projects are due by May 1 preceding the seminar. Normally no more than 10% of graduating majors in the department receive departmental honors each year.