Sociology at Hobart and William Smith Colleges is activist and change oriented. Students typically study social behavior in modern industrial societies, especially the United States. Sociology stands between the humanities and the physical sciences, embracing core humanist concerns while at the same time incorporating the methodological rigor of the physical sciences. The sociology program at HWS has a strong justice-oriented dimension; not only do our faculty seek to convey an understanding of society, but its members have a keen interest in social problems, social theory, and social change. All faculty are involved in research and teaching that involves social issues, such as race, class, and gender inequality, community, alcohol and other drug abuse, prison life, welfare policy, organizational dysfunction, urban life, educational reforms, and marriage and the family. Much of what we teach revolves around issues of personal and social development, the distribution of social rewards, and the liberatory power of sociological consciousness.

Student Profile: Samuel Allen '20

Samuel Allen '20

Major: Sociology
Minors: Public Policy and Philosophy

“I was introduced to sociology at 8:35 a.m. on a Monday during my first-ever college course. Since that time, my passion for sociology has only grown. I could not imagine a more fulfilling academic experience. I benefit from the thought-provoking, in-class discussions and genuine out-of-class relationships with the sociology faculty. I owe a great deal of my intellectual and personal growth to the program.”

Meet Our Faculty

Without exception, the sociology faculty can be described as having a strong emphasis on the applied and as sharing a commitment to the community, broadly construed. While we do not necessarily agree in our stance, all of us believe that sociology should be more than a merely academic enterprise. We lead our students through a journey to not only understand the social world but to use this understanding to critique and reshape it. Meet the entire department >

Sociology News

HWS Alums Awarded Excellence in Education Awards

Wed, 10 Jun 2020

success-charter-schoolEducators Alta Markley ’17 and Alexandra Belden ’15 have received the Success Academy’s Excellence in Education Awards for their work as teachers with the charter school network. Markley, a First…

Freeman Took Multiple Approaches to Remote Learning

Tue, 02 Jun 2020

kendralin-freemanWhen Associate Professor of Sociology Kendralin Freeman teaches her senior seminar — a research practicum and overview of the discipline — she asks students to visit a store to experience…

Perkins Talks Social Norms with NY and PA Educators 

Wed, 03 Jun 2020

Perkins3Professor of Sociology H. Wesley Perkins, a leading expert in social norms research, presented three talks for school districts and community prevention agencies, addressing community approaches to reduce risk behaviors…

Spotlight: Recent Grad

Recent Grad

Afrika Owes '16

Current Position: Center for Constitutional Rights

Current Location: New York, N.Y.

Majors: Sociology

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Sample Courses

Class Complete Course List

Sociology of Business and Management
This course provides an "applied" sociological analysis of the major trends shaping business in the United States and worldwide. Students explore the nature of business organization and management, at the micro level in its institutional forms and the business and management environment, at the macro level as it operates within economic and cultural systems, and within global contexts. The issues of demographic effects, ethical concerns, technological innovation, the role of producers and consumers, and the changing role of government are considered.