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. Without exception, our 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.


Social Norms Approach Addressing Problem Behaviors

Perkins_Wes Perkins_Jessica Craig_David 10-0920_0040HWS Professor of Sociology H. Wesley Perkins, HWS Professor of Chemistry David W. Craig P’05 and Assistant Professor in the Department of Human and Organizational Development at Vanderbilt University Jessica…
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Perkins’ Social Norms Research on NPR

Perkins2In a November story on, Professor of Sociology Wes Perkins discussed how his research into perceptions and behaviors around alcohol among college students intersects with successful approaches to preventing…
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Knowledge in the Age of Trump

Monson_Renee in Office 10-0667_0018Associate Professor of Sociology Renee Monson was the featured speaker at the New York State Sociological Association annual conference in October. Her talk titled “How Do You Know? Probing Inquiry,…
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