Sociology and Anthropology Chairs' Welcome
Welcome to the web pages of Fordham University’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology.
We comprise two distinct disciplines that share much in common. Both anthropology and sociology inspire a fascination with the human experience, whether it is in the world of here and now, or faraway places distant in space and time. However, each has its own history and intellectual flavor.
Two key concerns in sociology are structure and agency, which are the social forces that shape and constrain individual action, and the creative way individuals respond to outside constraints. In our department, you can learn about the impact of structures ranging from race, gender, and socioeconomic inequalities, to formal institutions such as the education, healthcare, and criminal justice systems. Our courses also cover the ways individuals and groups seek to improve their lives through actions such as immigrating across national borders or joining together in social movements.
In anthropology, culture is the major watchword. Courses in our department will expose you to the enormous variety of ways of life that humans have devised over the course of time. You can discover the unfamiliar customs of non-Western cultures, the rise and fall of ancient civilizations, and the evolutionary significance of our pre-human ancestors scavenging on the savannas of Africa several million years ago. You can even learn to think about the world outside your own window in entirely new ways.
Both disciplines foster an understanding of diversity, why it exists, what processes sustain it, and the advantages of a plural society. Further, each discipline explores the meaning of social justice, exposing the roots of discrimination and bias in many social contexts. Finally, both anthropology and sociology encourage participation in social life. Every Fordham graduate should take part in their community and in the democratic process, not just those who assume future positions of leadership. The socio-cultural knowledge and understanding you derive from studies in our disciplines will help you make decisions in both personal and public matters that are inclusive, fair, and supportive of all people around the world.