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Anthro Dep't Info



Since the founding of the department, sociological theory has been one of the main areas of graduate specialization. The department offers training in the development of explanatory theorizing—broadly conceived—while also addressing critical approaches to theorizing. Particular emphasis is on the development of abstract theoretical models and propositions from classical theorists, sets of research findings, and recent theoretical approaches. The department requires that all incoming students, whatever their background, take a two-course theory sequence in their first year of residence. The first core course addresses the early masters of sociological theory, especially Herbert Spencer, Karl Marx, Max Weber, Geog Simmel, Emile Durkheim, and George Herbert Mead. The second course presents an overview of contemporary theories and theorists. In this second course, the list of theorists can vary, but includes the key figures working within the main traditions of present-day theory. Among the traditions examined are functionalism, conflict theory, human ecology, evolutionary theory, exchange theory, interactionist theory, cultural theorizing, and structuralist theory.

In addition to these two required core courses, those choosing to specialize in theory will take seminars on special topics that are offered every year.