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.
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