Welcome to Northeastern’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology! We are a vibrant intellectual community, and have taken a prominent place among the nation’s leading social science departments. We offer challenging programs of study at the Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral levels, and our faculty energetically engage the most pressing social issues of our time, from global warming and toxic wastes to questions involving urban poverty, civil rights, immigration, gender inequality, and human rights on a global scale. Click here for a copy of our recent newsletter. Read on for an overview of some of our recent accomplishments.
Given the current economic climate, many institutions of higher education have been forced to retrench, and social science units have often suffered sharp budget cuts. Our Department’s experience contrasts sharply with such downsizing, for we have enjoyed a period of unprecedented growth. With support from the central administration, our Department has been home to a growing number of full-time, tenured and tenure track faculty members who make contributions to graduate and undergraduate programs across the university. Our Department has grown by roughly 50 per cent since 2008, as we’ve been privileged to welcome new faculty members from the most prominent universities in the nation. Such growth has enabled us greatly to expand our course offerings, providing a wide array of choices for undergraduate and graduate students alike.
For example, anthropologist Nina Sylvanus has introduced a new course on Consumer Cultures. Ramiro Martinez has been teaching courses on Race, Ethnicity, and Violence. Mindelyn Buford has been teaching a fascinating course in the Sociology of Privilege. And Val Moghadam, our College’s new Director of International Affairs, has been introducing courses on Gender and Democracy, focusing in particular on the nature of the “Arab Spring.” This is but a small sampling of new course offerings introduced by faculty who joined us last year.
The benefits from newly arriving faculty this year will equally noteworthy. Allow me to introduce new colleagues, as of Fall 2012. Len Albright, Assistant Professor of Sociology, joins us from Princeton University, where he completed a Post-Doctoral fellowship and completed a book manuscript (with Doug Massey) on mixed-income housing in New Jersey. Len earned his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago. Trained as an environmental sociologist, Dr. Albright is also researching issues of community mobilization in response to hydraulic fracturing and natural gas extraction in Pennsylvania. He is jointly appointed with the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs.
Phil Brown joins us as University Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Health Sciences, and head of the university’s new Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute. He is the author of No Safe Place: Toxic Waste, Leukemia, and Community Action, a book that opened up new conceptions regarding the conduct of epidemiological research. His most recent book, Toxic Exposures: Contested Illnesses and the Environmental Health Movement, traces the effort by ordinary citizens to reshape the way medical doctors think about and treat disease.
Suzanna Walters is a Professor of Sociology and the Director of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program. Walters’ work is commentator on these issues for the media. Her forthcoming book, The Tolerance Trap: What’s Wrong with Gay Rights (NYU Press) explores how notions of tolerance limit the possibilities for real liberation and deep social belonging. Walters’ previous book, All the Rage: The Story of Gay Visibility in America (University of Chicago Press, 2001), examined the explosion of gay visibility in culture and politics over the past 15 years and raised pressing questions concerning the politics of visibility around sexual identity. The book was a finalist for numerous literary awards (including the Lambda Literary Award) and was the subject of radio and television interviews and discussions, culminating in a 15-city book tour in the Fall of 2001 and Spring 2002. Her other books address feminist cultural theory (Material Girls: Making Sense of Feminist Cultural Theory), mothers and daughters in popular culture (Lives Together/Worlds Apart: Mothers and Daughters in Popular Culture) and numerous articles and book chapters on feminist theory, queer theory and LGBT studies, and popular culture.
Sara Wylie is a recent Ph.D. from MIT’s History, Anthropology, Science, Technology and Society (HASTS) Program. Her dissertation “Corporate Bodies and Chemical Bonds: An STS Analysis of the American Natural Gas Industry” is an ethnographic study of the role science based NGOs played in the emergence of public concerns about the human and environmental health impacts of chemicals used in natural gas extraction, particularly hydraulic fracturing. Sara is also one of the founders of Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science, a non-profit that develops open source, Do It Yourself tools for community based environmental analysis.
For more information about our undergraduate program, please point your browser here. For information about our graduate program, click here. And feel free to contact me with any questions you might have.
Steven Vallas, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair